Car Storage FAQ's

How do you store a car?

How do I prepare my car for long term storage?

To store a car for a lengthy period of time there are certain things you need to consider. Consider the oil, fuel, tyres and more.

It is good practice to change the oil and filter before storing a car for an extended period of time. Oil can have additives which may include slightly caustic detergents and this is something to consider.

Some storage companies will recommend filling the fuel tank with premium fuel to prevent empty space in the fuel tank. Fuel systems on normal cars are not airtight and like a fine wine, fuel goes bad when left to mix with air. Fuel also contains ethanol which attracts water from the atmosphere.

Empty space can result in condensation with vehicles left for a long period of time in environments that are not controlled. To prevent petrol over time becoming "gummy" and you can purchase and use fuel stabilisers like what is used for lawnmowers and garden equipment.

fuel stabiliser

For example, Wynn's Fuel Stabilizer is an additive for petrol and LPG engines to preserve the fuel when a car is put into storage.

Wynn's Fuel Stabilizer

  • Prevents the degradation of petrol and facilitates engine starting after periods of extended shutdown.
  • Preserves and stabilises the fuel.
  • Protects the fuel system against rust and corrosion.
  • Prevents the formation of deposits in the fuel tank and filter.
  • Forms a protective lubricating coating on the valves and valve seats.

Wynn's Fuel Stabilizer Applications

For all two and four-stroke petrol engines, hybrid and LPG engines. Recommended for: car engines, scooters, motorbikes, boats, outboards, jet skis, generators, pumps, plant, agricultural, rescue and emergency equipment, etc.
Also especially recommended for classic cars.

Technical information sheet

MSDS W23912 Fuel Stabiliser E07.02 EN


Prevent flat spots on tyres when in storage

Another thing to consider when storing a car is tyres because when left with low pressure the tyres can generate flat spots. It is advisable as a minimum to keep the car tyres at the recommended tyre pressure or to over-inflate them slightly. A classic car with fat bias-ply tyres will have more problems compared to a modern car with low-profile radial tyres. It can be advisable to jack the car up if stored for a lengthy period of time.

Clean and Polish / Wax the Car Before Storage

Before storing a car you need to clean and remove the dirt from the car, especially the wheel arches and wells. A clean interior with no food particles will prevent rotting and the attraction of animals. It is important to think about the chemicals that people use for car cleaning, for example using car care products like Armor All® which are great can cause issues in storage as they contain water and this is not what you want in car storage.

Exhaust pipe care to prevent small animals

Often never even considered but an exhaust pipe is a great starting point for a small animal or rodent to start looking for a new home. A vehicle storage company should do all they can to prevent rodents but if the storage unit is a barn then this naturally can become a problem. Prevention is always advisable and if you are storing a car in your own garage then you should think about this. Simply placing something inside the end of the exhaust or over the pipe can prevent any issues. Remember to remove before starting the vehicle.

Use a Battery conditioner when in storage

12V Automatic Battery Conditioner

Batteries on cars are designed to be used constantly and when a car is placed in storage the battery needs to be kept charged and allowed to discharge and recharge using an intelligent smart battery charger.

The battery condition is vital for the cars electronic circuits and onboard computers.

A battery conditioner should ideally always be used. A normal car battery charger is not to be used. This will charge the battery and keep charging which can result in the sulfuric acid boiling.

There are many battery conditioners on the market including Battery Tender® Plus, NOCO Genius G4, BatteryMINDer 1510 Battery Maintainer and BLACK+DECKER BM3B

Airflow 12V Automatic Battery Conditioner

As an example, the Airflow 12V automatic battery conditioner provides an economical solution to the problem of a flat battery for car storage.

Connect to the battery terminals, plug into a mains supply and the Airflow Battery Conditioner will turn itself on and off as the battery needs it to maintain a full charge!

Windscreen Wiper issues when storing cars

Windscreen Wipers can stick to the glass if left in an uncontrolled environment and then if the car is started and the wipers are knocked by mistake this can cause damage to the wiper motor. You can wrap the wipers in clingfilm before storing or lift them off the screen and leave them in the up position.

Do not leave the handbrake on when storing a car

It is advisable to release the handbrake to prevent the brake pads sticking to the rotors. Placing vehicle chocks by the tyres will prevent movement and most storage units are flat normally.

Information Notes

If you do anything specific before the car is placed in storage it is a good idea to leave yourself a note on the steering wheel containing the information you to remember. For example, rag in exhaust or tyres overinflated.


How much does it cost to keep a car in storage?

In 2019 the cost to store a car in the UK will vary on the storage company itself and the location. The average cost can be anything from £25 per week up to £300 per month. Vehicle storage can be anything from a single garage to a unit.

How much does it cost for a local council garage?

Depending upon the storage your needs you can rent a garage from the local council with prices from £25 a month up to £42 a month. This will come with no power and may not be in a secure location. Contact your local council for more information.

Can you park your car in a storage unit?

Parking your car in a storage unit is popular if you are not using it daily. For example, classic and vintage cars, supercars and investments vehicles. A storage unit can be anything from a warehouse to a shipping container.

A shipping container needs land and will require ramps to drive the car in and out and this can lead to issues. It is more advisable to use a car storage company that has a controlled environment. Shipping containers that are outside to the elements change in temperature and humidity through the day and the seasons.

How big is a Shipping Container?

A standard ISO shipping container is 8ft or 2.43m wide and 8.5ft or 2.59m high. They are available in three lengths which are 10ft or 2.99m then 20ft or 6.06m and also 40ft 12.2m.

There is also 8ft or 2.4m in length containers which are smaller in width being 7ft or 2.20m wide and 7ft 6in or 2.27m in height.

You can also use taller shipping containers called high-cube containers which are 9.5ft or 2.89m in height.

Can a car fit in a 10x10 storage unit?

Most cars can easily fit into a 10ft x 10ft storage unit. Depending on the storage needs it is advisable to use a controlled environment car cover which should be considered.

 

What size storage unit is needed for a car?

This will depend on the size of the car itself. For storage purposes the size using a unit the size of car doesn't matter too much, however, if using a shipping container you need to check the width of the car.

How much is car storage a month?

Car storage can be charged weekly or monthly. The costs will vary depending on the storage company and how you want the car stored. The car can be stored in a dry unit with a car cover or in a controlled environment.

 

airflow vehicle storageairflow classic car storage animation

How often should you drive a car in storage?

When leaving a car in storage it is advisable once a month to move the car at a minimum and start the engine and get it to running temperature. This helps to prevent the mechanical components and seal from having issues.

A car left in storage should have a battery conditioner installed which keeps the battery healthy. Without this the car battery will fail. Also if the vehicle is not moved it cause flat spots on tyres.

Is it bad to let a car sit for a week?

Leaving a car for one week is not going to cause a problem. Remember that the battery will be draining and sooner the car is started again the better. In cold weather, the battery will fail quickly and the tyres will lose air if the car is outside.

How do you store a car for 3 years?

Storing a car for a long time like 3 years, it is best to use a storage company. The car will need to have pre-storage checks completed and this includes the oil, fuel, tyres and cleaning off dirt and contaminants.