Even if your car will be sitting for a period of only a few weeks, it’s important that you take steps to store it properly or you will risk having mechanical problems crop up from disuse – some of them critical. Storing your vehicle outside should be avoided whenever possible, as dampness can cause serious problems throughout the vehicle. A dry location such as an old barn is fine but a garage with electricity is the ideal.
Preparing the Vehicle
Inflating the tires to the recommended P.S.I. indicated on the tire is recommended, as well as thoroughly cleaning the vehicle and changing the oil. Add conditioner to a full tank of gas and be sure to run the vehicle for at least five minutes after the addition to run the chemicals fully through the engine system to get it in shape for storage. This is also a great time to change out the other various fluids such as engine coolant, hydraulic clutch and brake fluids, and windshield washer fluid. A full tank of gas fights oxidization.
Prepare the Location
A dry, clean, secure location is best. Once you’ve selected your location, clean up the space for your vehicle and put down a drop sheet or tarp that your car will reside on. You may also want to get a car cover that will keep the vehicle protected.
Disconnect the Battery
Before you make it final, be sure you know about any codes needed to reconnect your radio after disconnecting the battery. Store the battery in a cool, dry location like a basement or leave it inside the vehicle disconnected or hooked up to a trickle charger.
Leave It Alone
While you may be tempted to go down and start your car once in awhile, resist the temptation! This can be more damaging than leaving the vehicle completely alone until you’re ready to bring it out of hibernation. You may even want to plug the exhaust of the car with steel wool to prevent small rodents from helping themselves to a nice, soft bed inside your car’s seats.
Cover It Up
You may also want to get a car cover that will keep the dust down and will also prevent any water or water vapor from forming on the vehicle. The best type of cover for long-term storage would be a permeable (breathable) material that is relatively thick and will be very protective.
Keeping your car under wraps can be a tedious process, but taking these steps will ensure that your transportation will be ready for use when you’re ready to use it!
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Storing Your Car and was authored by Valerie Johnston.