How do I properly store my car for an extended period?

Imagine coming back from a long trip, eager to drive your car, only to find it won’t start, or worse, it’s damaged from months of neglect. Properly storing your car can prevent such unpleasant surprises.

store my car

Storing a car isn’t as simple as parking it and walking away. The process involves several steps to ensure that your vehicle remains in optimal condition while it’s not in use. This guide is essential for anyone looking to store their car for weeks, months, or even years.

We’ll cover each critical aspect of car storage, from cleaning and maintenance to protecting various components of your vehicle. Follow this logical sequence to ensure nothing is overlooked.

Cleaning and Preparing Your Car

Exterior Cleaning: Start by giving your car a thorough wash. Remove all dirt, grime, and debris to prevent paint damage. Apply a coat of wax for an extra layer of protection against moisture and rust.

Interior Cleaning: Clean the interior to prevent mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors. Remove all trash, vacuum seats and carpets, and use a good-quality interior cleaner. Consider using a moisture absorber to keep the cabin dry.

Lubricate Moving Parts: Lubricate door hinges, locks, and other moving parts to prevent rust and ensure they operate smoothly after storage.

Close Windows and Sunroof: Close all windows and the sunroof to prevent moisture from entering the interior.

Remove Valuables and Documents: Remove any valuables, important documents, and personal items from the car.

Consider Pest Control: To prevent pests from making your car their home, consider placing mothballs or other pest deterrents around the vehicle.

Cover Exhaust Pipes: Place a cloth or tape over the exhaust pipes to prevent moisture and pests from entering.

Fluids and Maintenance

Change the Oil: Used engine oil contains contaminants that could damage the engine over time. Change the oil and filter before storing your car to ensure the engine remains in good condition.

Top Off Fluids: Ensure all fluids are topped off, including coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Full reservoirs help prevent moisture buildup and corrosion.

Fuel Stabilizer: Add a fuel stabilizer to your gas tank and fill it up. This prevents the fuel from breaking down and causing damage to the fuel system. Run the engine for a few minutes to circulate the stabilizer.

Battery Care

Disconnect the Battery: To prevent the battery from draining, disconnect it. If possible, remove it entirely and store it in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, you can use a trickle charger to keep the battery charged.

Tire Protection

Inflate Tires: Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure to avoid flat spots. Consider placing your car on jack stands to take the weight off the tires if you’re storing it for more than a few months.

Use Tire Stoppers: Place tire stoppers or blocks around the tires to prevent the car from rolling. Avoid using the parking brake, as it can seize up over time.

Covering Your Car And Regular Checks

Indoor Storage: If possible, store your car in a garage to protect it from the elements. Use a breathable car cover to prevent dust accumulation while allowing moisture to escape.

Outdoor Storage: If garage storage isn’t an option, invest in a high-quality, weatherproof car cover. Ensure it fits well and protects against rain, snow, and UV rays.

Set Up Regular Checks: If possible, arrange for someone to start the car and let it run for a short while every few weeks to keep the engine and components lubricated.

Record Storage Details: Keep a record of the storage date, maintenance tasks performed, and any specific instructions for starting the car after storage.


Properly storing your car involves cleaning it thoroughly, performing essential maintenance, protecting the battery and tires, and using appropriate covers. These steps will help preserve your vehicle’s condition and ensure it’s ready to drive when you return.

For more tips on car maintenance and storage, subscribe to our blog and share your own storage experiences in the comments. Don’t forget to check out our detailed guides for more in-depth advice on keeping your car in top shape!

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