How to Prepare a Car for a Long Storage

The warm season is approaching the end, and some drivers and convertible owners begin to think about the upcoming storage of their cars. A warm or cold garage, on the street, or under a canopy – which place is the best? Find out how to prepare the vehicle for a winter downtown. 

Where to Store the Car 

Long-term storage is a situation when regular car maintenance is not enough. The worse the car is prepared and the longer the idling, the more devastating the consequences. At least the battery will run out. More serious problems are rust on the body, a burst washer reservoir, torn door seals, deformed wheels, and wiring gnawed by rats.

Experts from the Indy Auto Man used car dealership assure – despite popular belief that there is nothing better for a car than a garage, you can leave it on the street only under a canopy. The canopy is mainly needed to protect the vehicle from precipitation. Open parking space is a good choice if you live in a state like Indianapolis, where winters are short but cold.

It is not necessary to cover the car, as there may be indelible stains on the body. This happens when the vehicle is stored outdoors. The cover is in contact with the atmosphere and acts as a greenhouse when the water dries. Also, the cover moves a little with the wind and erases the paint.

You can also store a car in a warm or cold garage, but it must have good ventilation (natural or forced) for better air exchange. Storing a car in a garage without any ventilation is much worse than outdoors under a canopy, and it does not matter whether it is heated.

However, the long-drawn-out downtime of the vehicle is fraught with deterioration of its condition. So if your car is not a rare exemplar, and you drive it less than it is parked, consider selling it before it loses its value.

To Wash or Not to Wash

If you put the car in a garage right after the summer season, then it is not necessary. The water without access to air and ventilation will dry for a long time, and corrosion may occur. In winter, it is advisable to wash off the salt film and dry the car thoroughly afterward.

Technical Preparation

Once you’ve decided on a storage location, it’s time to think about the technical details. First of all, it concerns the body of the car. It must be clean and dry. Of course, it would be better to carry out anti-corrosion treatment and paint over chips if any.


During storage, it must be removed and placed, for example, in a cellar. The main thing is that the temperature in the storage place should not be lower than 37.4 °F. Do not forget to recharge the battery before storage.


It is best to put the car on bars to unload the suspension. The wheels mustn’t touch the ground because this will remove the fatigue load from the wheels and springs. But the wheels can also suffer during storage because they are subject to temporary aging. It is desirable to treat them with tire ink.


You need to check the engine cooling system. If there is water in there, it must be drained. And in the spring, it is necessary to fill in new antifreeze.

General Tips to Remember

  • It is harmful to the car to stand for a long time without movement. It is better to run it from time to time, re-park, and clean the vehicle of snow. All this is true even when stored in a heated parking lot. You won’t need to re-park and clean, but it is recommended to start the engine and drive around a bit. But don’t leave the engine idling
  • The best place for long-term storage is a heated garage with good ventilation.
  • Guarded covered parking will protect the car from theft, vandals, and precipitation.
  • Choose the right place for parking on the street: lit, passable, on a hill, without trees, pipes, and fire lanes.
  • When parking on the street, there is no need to put the car on the handbrake. 
  • In the garage, you can put the car on safety stands and remove the wheels.
  • Technical fluids must be drained, changed, or left, depending on how long the vehicle has been idle

Not all storage tips are universal. They depend on the car type, the time of year, and the duration of downtime. To get prepared properly, visit a specialized service center. 

Charly bell

Hi there! I'm Charly Bell, a writer and explorer. I love sharing cool stuff about travel, health, business, finance, and much more in general topics. My aim is to provide informational articles so that maximum people will learn and educate themselves. I'm all about making it interesting and easy to understand. Join me on this journey, and let's explore together!

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