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 of those surplus autos sit in a garage, driveway, or somewhere on the street. But for many people, keeping extra cars on or around their own property isn’t possible or isn’t desirable. Auto storage exists for those people.
If you have a car, truck, van, SUV, or collector car you don’t have a good place for, long-term car storage may be the best option. Private storage sites located 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 haven’t tried it yet. Then, we will go over some tips for how to store a car that ensures whatever you drive stays in optimal condition while in storage.
Why Smart Drivers Choose Car Storage
Why do millions of drivers across American 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 very 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 car 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 store 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 own garage or driveway.
- Rely on Auto Storage Specialists – Indoor storage facilities go to great length 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 on staff who will perform necessary maintenance/upkeep to keep your vehicle in the very 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 in place to keep the climate controlled 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 the 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 drive, and in other cases cars they depend on to handle extreme weather or rough terrain. If you need to keep your car in road-worthy condition at all times, auto storage is the best place for it.
- 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 Right Way
Maybe you have one or more collector cars that you want to keep in perfect condition. Or perhaps you have more vehicles than space and don’t want to sell something. In these and lots of other cases, auto storage looks like the best option, whether it’s 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. This 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. This has the added benefit of preparing your vehicle to take a drive of any length when you pick it up from storage.
- Wash and Wax the Exterior – There has never been a more important time to pamper the exterior of the vehicle. 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 out 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 a smart, 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 Vehicle Transport Partner
If you have a car in auto storage, it stands to reason you have something else to drive on a daily basis. Having multiple options to drive is a lot of fun, but it can create hassles when you’re trying to get the right vehicle to the right place.
Let’s say you want to get a collector car you have in storage to 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 coast to coast road trips, and you would probably prefer to travel in your daily driver, or even a plane. Whenever you need to get a vehicle from Point A to Point B and you don’t want to drive it yourself, rely on vehicle transport providers 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 exactly what you need or want wherever you are spending time.
Another reason they’re a great pair: Vehicle storage keeps cars in excellent running order, which then saves you money on auto transport. Transporters will charge an extra $150 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 the vehicle will start strong and drive smooth when it’s time for transport.
Use the car shipping quote calculator from Direct Express Auto Transport to arrange auto transport the easy way. In moments, we can connect you with the top vehicle haulers in the industry – the kind you can trust with classic and exotic vehicles. Read our blog for tips about auto transport, and contact us if you have any questions.