In the US, there are around 273 million registered vehicles but only 227 million licensed drivers. Quick arithmetic shows there are 46 million more vehicles than drivers. Some surplus autos sit in a garage, driveway, or street. But for many people, keeping extra cars on or around their property isn’t possible or desirable. Car storage exists for those people.
Long-term car storage may be the best option if you have a car, truck, van, SUV, or collector car you need a better place for it. Private storage sites across the country cater to every kind of vehicle and vehicle owner. Plus, the cost of storing a car might be less than you think, especially when you compare it to the cost of the alternatives.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the advantages of vehicle storage for those who have yet to try it. Then, we will go over some tips for storing a car that ensures whatever you drive stays in optimal condition while in storage.
Why Savvy Drivers Choose Car Storage
Why do millions of drivers across America rely on auto storage? Plenty of reasons:
- Protect Your Favorite Car – If you drive something rare, exotic, luxurious, or otherwise valuable, you want to protect your investment in one of your favorite possessions. Cars parked outside will show the abuse of being exposed to the elements. Even a car parked in a garage under a tarp will age faster than it needs to. The best way to defend your ride against age, abuse, and unnecessary risk is to store it away. You don’t need a “special” car, either. Any vehicle will drive stronger for longer when kept in auto storage rather than elsewhere.
- Access Ample Amounts of Space – You can store one model in a car storage facility or hold a dozen, making it easy to access as much space as your car collection requires. Plus, for every vehicle you put in storage, you free up space in your garage or driveway.
- Rely on Auto Storage Specialists – Indoor storage facilities go to great lengths to ensure that the conditions inside remain within the perfect range for long-term preservation. There are even facilities built exclusively for storing vehicles. Many of these facilities have auto storage specialists who will perform the necessary maintenance to keep your vehicle in the best condition possible.
- Access Climate-Controlled Units – Extreme heat and cold can degrade materials inside an automobile, both cosmetic and mechanical components. Many car storage businesses offer climate-controlled units to keep cars at the ideal temperature year-round. They also have redundant and backup systems to control the climate even when the power goes out, or the AC needs a fix.
- Benefit from Extra Amenities – Depending on where you go for auto storage, the facility may offer extra amenities that will appeal to automotive enthusiasts: things like car detailing services, appraisals, and specialized mechanic assistance.
- Keep Your Car Roadworthy – Some people store collector cars they never intend to drive, but more people store cars they LOVE to operate, and in other cases, cars they depend on to handle extreme weather or rough terrain. If you must always keep your vehicle in road-worthy condition, auto storage is the best place.
- Meet Like-Minded Enthusiasts – Car storage facilities tend to attract people who love cars. If you count yourself in that category, expect to meet people who share your passion once you start storing your vehicle. Some facilities even cultivate the local enthusiast community by organizing events or offering free drinks to members who hang around the facility.
How to Store a Car the Properly
You may have one or more collector cars you want to keep in perfect condition. You may have more vehicles than space and don’t want to sell something. In these and many other cases, auto storage looks like the best option, whether for just a few months or a few years. However, if preservation is your priority, learn how to store a car so that it undergoes the least amount of wear, tear, stress, and strain possible:
- Top Off the Tank – Park the car with as much gas as possible in the tank. That serves two purposes. First, metal surfaces inside the gas tank can rust when exposed to air. Second, the more gas you have, the farther you can go when you pull away from the storage facility. Make a point to top off the tank on your drive to the car storage facility.
- Add New Oil – Used engine oil contains particulates and impurities that could cause damage if allowed to sit inside the engine for too long. Change the oil and oil filter soon before putting the car into storage. That has the added benefit of preparing your vehicle to take a drive of any length when you pick it up from the warehouse.
- Wash and Wax the Exterior – There has never been a more critical time to pamper the vehicle’s exterior. Dirt, grease, and grime left to sit on paint or metal parts for months into years will lead to damage and premature corrosion. A thorough washing gets these impurities off. Following with a wax job creates a layer of protection between your paint job and the outside elements.
- Clean and Dust the Interior – Dirt can have the same effect on the interior as the exterior. After emptying the interior, vacuum the upholstery and wipe down the surfaces to remove as much dust as possible. If you have leather upholstery, you may want to apply a protectant product.
- Plug Up the Tailpipe – Plugging up the tailpipe prevents moisture and critters from getting into the pipe and causing damage. This tip applies more to vehicles stored outside or in a typical garage rather than inside a car storage facility. Regardless, it’s an innovative, simple step to protect your car.
- Avoid the Parking Brake – Leaving your parking brake engaged for months or years can damage the components. You will have a flat surface to park your car on inside a vehicle storage building. However, it’s still good practice to put blocks of wood or wheel chocks behind your back tires.
- Park on a Plastic Sheet – This tip serves a few purposes. First, if you park on a sheet, you notice any fluids leaking out of your car so that you can address the issues before heading out on a long drive. You also keep those drips from staining the floor of the car storage facility and keep any oil already on the floor from damaging your wheels.
Final Tip – Find a Car Shipping Company
If you have a car in auto storage, it stands to reason that you have something else to drive daily. Having multiple driving options is much fun, but it can create hassles when trying to get the right vehicle to the right place.
Let’s say you want to get a collector car in storage in another part of the country where you plan to spend time for vacation, work, or to move permanently. You don’t take cars you’re trying to preserve on the coast-to-coast road trips, and you would prefer to travel in your daily driver or even a plane. When you need to get a vehicle from Point A to Point B and don’t want to drive it yourself, rely on car shipping services instead.
Vehicle haulers traversing the country all the time can pick your vehicle up and move it anywhere in the lower 48 states without putting miles on the odometer or wear on the engine. Plus, you don’t have to do the driving – a professional handles it instead. The combination of car storage and car transport lets you drive what you need or want wherever you spend time.
Another reason they’re a great pair is that vehicle storage keeps cars in excellent running order, saving you money on auto transport.
Transporters will charge an extra few hundred dollars if a vehicle won’t start and they have to manually load it onto a vehicle trailer or into an enclosed trailer. Keeping a car in car storage and following the tips outlined above makes it far more likely to start strong and drive when it’s time for transport.
The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator
Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. We recommend the expedited car shipping rate and have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and many customers are glad they went with that method.