Fortunately, in South Louisiana, the weather is nice and vehicles can be driven year round. Still there may be times when it is necessary to store a vehicle, for a period of time. While storing a vehicle is always less desirable than driving it, there are measures that lessen the detrimental affects.
These steps will help preserve the vehicle for several months. When contemplating years of storage, selling the vehicle is normally a better choice than extended storage. Unless the vehicle is irreplaceable, buying another like it later will generally cost a lot less and give better results.
Dropping insurance coverage may not be legal in all states. Check with the State Insurance Commission concerning the need for liability insurance on a stored vehicle. If the vehicle is financed, comprehensive insurance may also have to stay in force. Speaking with an insurance agent about other coverage may also be wise, if loosing the vehicle represents a major financial set back.
It may be necessary to surrender the license plate in some States, if the vehicle is to be stored long-term. This may also affect insurance coverage, so check before you store the vehicle.
Storing a vehicle in an enclosed garage or at least under a carport will greatly decrease deterioration. Plastic covers, placed over a vehicle, that is left out of doors, are NOT effective and can promote rusting.
Plugging the exhaust pipe with aluminum foil may help preserve the exhaust system and keep unwanted pest from building nest. Ball a piece of foil and push it into the tail pipe[s] to help seal them.
Thoroughly washing and then waxing a vehicle before storing will help preserve the paint. Covering the washed and waxed vehicle with a breathable cloth-cover enhances the protection, if stored indoors.
Cleaning the interior thoroughly will not only help preserve it, it may help prevent insects and rodents from finding their way inside. Pest are in search of food, water and shelter. Removing any traces of food and water helps prevent their entry.
Moth balls may help keep rodents out of vehicles. Use brightly colored socks to hold three or four moth balls. Place several socks under the hood and under the vehicle. The socks keep the moth balls in place and the bright color makes the socks easier to locate when it's time to remove them. The moth balls will deteriorate in about three months and need to be replaced to stay effective.
The vehicle battery should be kept charged. A dead battery will rarely come back after sitting. Lack of charge, over time can cause problems with electrical components. Make sure all accessories are turned off and the battery is fully charged before storing. Small computer controlled and even solar powered battery chargers, designed to maintain a charge will work. Larger chargers can over-charge and damage the battery.
Supporting the vehicle on jack-stands, with the tires just off the ground, may help prevent tires from becoming flat-spotted. Inflate the tires to full pressure before storing the vehicle. Also be aware, tires have a safe age. Replace tires that are too old before you resume driving.
Old fuel will damage the fuel systems. Corrosion from moisture in the fuel will attack a metal fuel tank and damage the fuel pump. Draining the fuel tank is best for long-term storage. For short-term, up to three months, fuel stabilizer may help. Before storing, run the fuel tank to one quarter tank. Fill the tank with fresh fuel, add fuel stabilizer and then drive to mix. Stabilizer will help fuel lasts much longer, but it cannot regenerate old fuel. Draining the tank after three months and refilling with fresh fuel will help prevent damage.
Be certain coolant is fresh and adequate to protect the vehicle. Coolant protects from corrosion as well as freezing. If the coolant has not been recently replaced, change it before storing.
Rolling or turning the wheels on the vehicle allows wheel bearings to be lubricated and brakes from sticking in position. Rust may build up on brake rotors and drums. Rotating wheels may help prevent buildup. This may be easiest with the suspension on jack stands, as recommended above.
Convertible tops should always be stored in the up position. Tops stored in the down position can shrink and may allow unwanted “guest” to enter the passenger compartment.
Metal protecting sprays may help prevent rust on exposed metal parts and engine accessories.
Stored vehicles are easy targets for thieves and vandals. Keeping the garage door closed and not "advertising" that a vehicle is stored, may help prevent theft and vandalism.