How to Store a Car in Self-Storage

There are plenty of reasons people store cars, trucks and other vehicles in storage. For instance, seasonal or specialty vehicles can go months in between uses. Life events like military deployment or leaving for college can render a vehicle untouched for months. HOA guidelines may prohibit parking more than a certain number of cars in your driveway. Or simply, there’s not enough room in the garage.

Whatever the reason, U-Haul answers the question “where can I store my car” by providing several vehicle storage options in addition to trustworthy protection and convenient access. But before you drive up and put your car in park, there are steps you should take to ensure your vehicle remains in good condition. If you’re looking into car storage, here is how to store a car in self-storage successfully.

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Car Storage Tips

Clean Your Car Prior to Storing

Step one in preparing your car for long or short term storage is to clean and wax your car inside and out. Watch out for dust and dirt on the exterior which can damage paint jobs over long periods of time. Even the interior should be thoroughly cleaned beforehand to prevent musty odors from developing while the car is in storage. Use a protective cleaning product on vinyl surfaces to keep them from drying out.

Perform Routine Maintenance

Vehicles are typically valuable items. Old or classic cars can hold sentimental value in addition to monetary value in many cases. To maintain that value, it’s highly recommended that you thoroughly prep your car for storage by performing routine maintenance tasks, such as:

  • Changing the engine oil
  • Topping off essential fluids (antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.)
  • Putting air in your tires (if necessary)
  • Draining or stabilizing the gasoline using a fuel stabilizer

How To Store a Car Long Term

Disconnect the Battery

Car batteries will lose their charge over time if the car isn’t driven regularly. Obviously, this can be a problem when it comes to storing a car long term. The exact time it takes for a battery to discharge depends on factors like battery age, climate and type of vehicle. Some batteries can lose charge in as little as 2-4 weeks. Save yourself the hassle! Keep your battery fresh by disconnecting the battery terminals after the car is in place.

Invest in a Car Cover

For extra protection, we recommend purchasing a car cover for your vehicle. Car covers are effective at protecting a car’s exterior from harsh sunlight, rain, dust and other hazardous elements. There’s a cover to accommodate most common vehicle sizes. Find the right car cover for your vehicle.

Prevent Flat-Spotting

When cars are parked in one place for too long, the tires can develop flat spots on the bottoms. These aren’t overly worrisome, but they can cause strong vibrations and an overall rough ride. An easy way to prevent flat spotting is to store your car off the ground using either jack stands or storage tire ramps. If you do experience flat spotting, the good news it’s often a temporary issue. It can even correct itself over time with regular driving. However, you may have to replace your tires if the flat spotting is severe enough. It’s best to avoid this issue altogether if you can.

Car Storage Options

Choosing the right storage option will ensure your storage needs are met and your car is protected. There are typically three types of car storage options out there. These include:

  • Outdoor Car Storage – An open area on the storage facility property that is not covered or enclosed. Since your vehicle is fully exposed, consider using a car cover and only storing a vehicle that can withstand outdoor exposure.
  • Covered Outdoor Storage – Outdoor, drive-up storage spaces that are covered by canopies. This storage option provides partial protection from the elements. But your vehicle may still be vulnerable to heavy winds, rain and extreme climate.
  • Indoor Car Storage – Located with other drive-up/outside access units or within a large indoor facility. These spaces are closed off to most elements. They are usually drive up storage units or special enclosed vehicle storage spaces. Some indoor car storage units can be climate-controlled, depending on the location.

What Size Storage Unit is Right for a Car?

If you are looking to store your car in an enclosed storage unit, you will need to decide which size unit is right for your vehicle. Below are the drive up/outdoor storage unit sizes commonly available at U-Haul storage facilities and the types of cars they can typically store:

  • 10’ x 20’ – Sedans, Motorcycles or other recreational vehicles
  • 10’ x 25’ – Sedans and small SUVs and pickup trucks
  • 10’ x 30’ – Large pickup trucks, SUVs and cargo vans.
  • View this storage unit size guide to get a better understanding of all the unit sizes and what fits.

Car Storage Requirements

These are the items required to store your car:

  • Photo ID
  • License plate number
  • Owner’s name
  • Proof of insurance
  • Make of the car

No matter what type of car you need to store or for how long, there is a U-Haul storage location near you that can accommodate your needs. Choose U-Haul as your Storage Place and find a car storage facility near you today.

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