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How to Prepare a Classic Car for Vehicle Storage

Summer slips into Autumn, the sun sinks a little earlier now, and you know the days of your late-night drives are numbered. Before long it’ll be winter, and classic car owners know that’s no time for their precious machines to be on the road. To preserve your car’s appearance and performance, you know you need to prepare it for winter storage, but maybe you aren’t sure how.

That’s okay, we’ve got you.

Prime Storage has put together a checklist for your automobile storage preparation. Let’s walk through what you need to do so you know your car is protected and raring to go once the world thaws and you can hit the streets once again.

Make Sure You Have the Right Space

First and foremost, you obviously need a storage space with enough room for your pride and joy. Ideally this will be a space that isn’t too cramped, so you can easily open the doors and, if applicable, the roof. Sure, you can get by with a small space, but when it comes to classic cars, going slightly bigger is an easy way to get around a bunch of minor stresses during the storage process. This space must be clean, dry, and resistant to dampness.

If you use a self storage facility, they usually have either large spaces for vehicles, or spaces of different sizes so you have options.

Clean, Polish, and Wax

Cleaning a car

To keep your car from falling into disrepair, you need to stay on top of a few aspects of car maintenance.

Lazy cleaning can lead to corrosion, so before taking up storage space, make sure your car is free from moisture, dirt, and especially salt, which will eat into the metal. A thorough cleaning and waxing applied to the paint will protect it. For even better preservation, perform this every few months.

It is vital that your vehicle is completely dry before storage. The residual, standing moisture can create rust if left alone for too long.

If possible, also lubricate any rubber parts to prevent them from perishing.

Allow Good Circulation

Concrete compounds are generally good for vehicle storage, with climate control systems to prevent mildew and mold from developing while you’re away. Yet, it couldn’t hurt to check on your classic car every few weeks to run some fans and circulate the air a little bit more.

Ideally, you would store your car in a brick garage, but barring that, a pre-cast concrete or wooden unit will fulfill your needs. You may just need to give it a couple extra visits.

Disconnect the Battery

It may come as a surprise, but your car’s battery doesn’t sit at a completely stable level when not in use. If it’s connected to the vehicle, it will slowly drain its power, even in an idle position. To prevent your battery from going belly-up over the winter, you should either disconnect the battery, or find yourself a smart charger capable of monitoring the battery’s power level. With the latter, you can revitalize the batter with a small charge whenever it starts getting low.

Keep Up the Maintenance

Classic pickup truck

In addition to the cleaning, polishing, and waxing, there are some key maintenance procedures you should stay on top of to ensure your vehicle remains in tip-top shape while it’s in classic car storage.

Occasionally Run the Engine

Every few weeks, take some time to visit your vehicle so you can run the engine. It might seem like a small thing, but this gives it a chance to recharge the battery and circulate engine fluids. As a nice bonus, you’ll also feel the confidence that your car is ready to go at a moment’s notice if you ever need it.

Treat the Rust

Rust spots are common with classic cars, but that doesn’t mean they should be left unchecked. When the temperatures start to drop and you’re ready to put it in automobile storage, make sure you apply lubricant in regular intervals so you can get ahead of corrosion and slow down the rusting process.

Check Fluid Levels

Don’t be hasty with turning your car on if you haven’t had a chance to check fluid levels in a while. Before you turn that key, make sure the oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant or antifreeze are at reasonable levels. If your oil levels are low, it might cause major damage to your engine when you switch the ignition.

What’s more, because you’ll be storing during the winter, make sure the coolant/antifreeze in your car’s system is prepared for winter temperatures, that way it doesn’t freeze over while the car is idle.

Smart, Classic Car Self Storage

Storing a vehicle in the eastern United States has never been so easy. Do you have a classic car that’s precious and deserves to survive another cold spell? Prime Storage has space available to help you keep your vehicle out of the moisture and the cold. Is this your first time renting storage space? Give one of our professionals a call at 888.846.6503 and we’ll get you and your car set up today!

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