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How to Properly Store Your Car: 8 Tips for Long-Term Storage

There are different reasons why each of us would want to prepare a car for long-term storage. You’re probably going away on an adventure for a few weeks. You’re transitioning from working at an office to a home office. Or you’re probably even thinking of moving to a tiny house that doesn’t have its own garage indefinitely. Well, whatever your reason is, we’re here to help.

8x8 Overhead Garage Door installed on 20x30 Garage.
8×8 Overhead Garage Door installed on 20×30 Garage.

In this article, we are going to teach you how to store a car long-term. Excited? Then let’s get started with our long-term car storage tips.

Prepare Your Garage

The first thing that you need to do is to prepare the storage space that you are going to use. It could be your garage or backyard storage shed that you have built or customized for this purpose.

To begin, clean the place up and make sure that your car is going to be safe and secure in there. And when we say “safe” we know that you’re probably thinking of preventing potential theft but that’s not the only big threat that you need to prepare for. In fact, we believe that flood-proofing is one of those steps that are very crucial in car storage but most people seem to overlook.

Hence, here are quick ways to do just that:

  • Upgrade your drainage system. We recommend employing French drains since they are efficient in dealing with standing water.
  • Examine your structure for cracks. Even small fractures in your foundation can invite water in and allow it to pool inside your shed.
  • Finally, build a flood barrier. You can do so by piling up sandbags or you can also opt to dig a trench to lure water away.

Cover Your Car

The next thing that you need to do is cover your car. It is very common in our lifestyle to live from the land. To get into livestock and homesteading. And if that’s the case, then we can be sure of one thing: you’re going to store your car in an environment prone to dust, dirt, scratches, and spills (that is especially true for us here in Vermont). Fortunately, getting a reliable car cover will do the trick and keep it smooth and shiny until you’re ready to drive it again.

Change the Oil

Aside from protecting your car from external threats, you need to think about its internal maintenance as well. For instance, used engine oil has particles that can cause sludge buildup and engine damage.

Fill Up the Tank

Here’s another factor that can cause internal damage: tank moisture. Fortunately, it’s very easy to prevent. You can simply do so by filling up your car’s fuel tank.

Here’s a pro tip: You can add in a fuel stabilizer into the mix as well. This will protect your car from rust and gum and can keep your fuel in good condition for up to a year.

Disconnect the Battery

Here’s a fact: your car’s battery can still slowly drain even if you’re not using it. Hence, in order to prevent that from happening, you can always disconnect the battery first. Don’t forget to remove the negative first before the positive.

We understand that doing so will reset all of your car’s settings, but that would be easier to deal with than requiring a new battery, right? Some people use a trickle charger to do the trick, but we don’t recommend it especially if you’re going traveling and you’ll leave the car unattended because, albeit rarely, they can ignite a fire.

Keep It Parked

You would also want to make sure that your car is parked properly. It is always good practice to leave its parking brake up if you’re simply parking your car overnight, or for a few days at the most. However, if you’re thinking about leaving it for long-term storage, then we suggest to use a tire chock instead. This will help you keep your emergency brake in good condition while you’re away.

Dress Her Up

Lastly, show your car some love by washing her for the last time in a long time. After all, you wouldn’t want bird droppings leaving a permanent mark on your car’s paint, wouldn’t you? We even suggest going the extra mile and waxing your car to give her an added layer of protection. Don’t forget to moisturize your leather seats as well.


The bottom line is, don’t park your car in a storage shed for a long time without giving it proper protection from the elements. Don’t allow it to get flooded, beaten down with dust, and worse, slowly accumulating engine damage. By keeping the car storage tips that we have shared with you in mind and by leaving your car in the best conditions, then we don’t have any doubt that it will continue to serve you long after you return behind her wheels. Drive safe!

Author: Megan Jones is Communications Manager at grizzlytarps.com. She mostly writes about camping and healthy living, interior and exterior maintenance, and related topics. Having a huge experience of home improvement, Megan has gained some valuable knowledge, which she is now actively promoting.

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