Storing Your Car
Finding car storage can be incredibly important when you need to leave it unused for long periods of time. Since it is likely one of the most valuable and necessary things you own, you will want to make sure it's stored in a place that is safe and keeps it shielded from the elements as much as possible.
To keep your vehicle in the best condition when it's not in use, we provide storage units in a variety of sizes. You're sure to find a unit to keep your vehicle safe and conveniently accessible.
If you have a classic car or one that you're currently working on, a storage unit is a great option because it will keep it protected from harsh weather, rust, vandalism, damage from rodents and pests and a variety of other harmful factors.
Simply Self Storage offers a number of units that are large enough to fit a vehicle. With indoor and outdoor options available, you can choose the level of security at a cost that works within your budget.
Types of Car Storage
Generally, storage facilities offer three types of vehicle storage: outdoor car storage, covered car storage and indoor car storage. The one you choose will depend on the level of protection your vehicle needs and the amount of money you'd like to spend to store it.
Outdoor car storage and parking lots are the most common and the most affordable, but they also offer the least amount of protection. Covered car storage will offer a moderate level of protection, as the vehicle will be partially shielded from the sun and weather. This option usually comes at a moderate price as well. Fully indoor vehicle storage will offer complete protection from the elements, but it also comes at a higher cost.
Each level of vehicle storage has its own benefits and drawbacks. Deciding which type is best for you will depend on your budget, the size and condition of your vehicle and the length of time you plan to leave it in storage.
Outdoor Vehicle Storage:
Most facilities offer outdoor vehicle storage in the form of a paved parking lot designated for car and RV storage. These facilities are usually gated, monitored and safe to park your car for a long period of time.
Often times, the storage facility will utilize the unused parking spots around their covered storage units to house outdoor vehicle storage. Other storage facilities will have designated parking spots for your vehicle. Since these spots are not protected by a roof or structure, they are often the most affordable places to store your car.
Leaving your car exposed to the elements can have its drawbacks. Unprotected cars can experience sun, wind or hail damage which can cause the car to rust or harm its paint job. Using a high-quality car cover can help prevent some of this damage and is recommended if you’re going to be leaving your vehicle for long periods of time.
Covered Vehicle Storage:
Rather than have your car exposed to the elements, you can choose to store your car in a covered parking spot at many self storage facilities. This will provide a mid-grade level of protection from the sun, wind and potential rain or hale.
The cover will usually be in the form of a canopy or walled, open air structure. While you will typically pay more for this type of vehicle storage, it is a great option if you want an extra level of protection for your vehicle.
The threats of sun and weather damage are greatly reduced when you choose covered vehicle storage, making it a viable option for long-term storage. Covered vehicle storage is a nice middle ground between outdoor vehicle storage and indoor vehicle storage and the price is generally more affordable than indoor vehicle storage.
Indoor Vehicle Storage:
If your vehicle needs the maximum level of protection, you will want to spring for indoor RV storage. These facilities are simply storage units that are large enough to fit your car. Storing your vehicle inside a typical storage unit with four walls and a roof will protect it from the sun, wind, dust, dirt and the weather.
If your vehicle is a classic or very expensive car, you may want to opt for a climate controlled storage unit to keep it safe from extreme temperatures.
The benefits of storing your vehicle indoors are numerous. The indoor storage unit will essentially act as a large garage for your car, providing it the ultimate protection. A car that is kept safe from the elements will last longer and be in the exact same condition you left it in when you are ready to drive it.
While the price tag on indoor vehicle storage can be higher, it is an attractive option for anyone who wants to keep their car in mint condition while it’s not being used. If your vehicle is compact and you can fit it inside a 10x15 storage unit then the price will be more reasonable. If you require something like a 10x30 unit, you should be prepared to spend significantly more.
Preparing Your Car for Indoor Storage
When planning to store your vehicle inside, long or short term, make sure it is properly prepared for storage. Preparation is critical to having your vehicle run properly when you decide to take it out.
Preparing your vehicle for storage can help prevent costly repairs, so be sure to store it properly using these tips:
- Change your oil and filter: Professionals recommend changing your car’s oil and oil filter right before you store your vehicle to protect your engine from any contaminants.
- Top off your fluids: Topping your engine off with coolant and brake fluid can help our car avoid corrosion and oxidation.
- Wash your vehicle before placing it in storage: This is important to remove any grease and grime from both the undercarriage and body of the car. Also, add a double or triple coat of wax on your vehicle to for additional protection while it’s in storage.
- Buy a good cover (which is well-fitted) to go over your vehicle: Buying a car cover will help provide additional protection to your vehicle, especially if it is in outdoor or covered storage. Indoor, a cover can protect your car from dust and grime.
- Release your parking brake: If you leave your parking brake pads on for too long, they can fuse with the rotors. Make sure your parking brake is not engaged to prevent this from happening.
- Disconnect your battery: Car batteries can drain even the engine is completely turned off. This can be caused by accidentally leaving headlights on, a defective alternator diode, an old battery or parasitic drain. You don’t have to completely remove the battery - just make sure that the negative cables are unplugged.
- Remove your windshield wipers: The rubber on your windshield wipers may start to stick to your windshield in storage which will leave a rubber residue on your window that is difficult to remove. Remove them to avoid the possibility of inconvenient residue collecting.
- Over-inflate and rotate your tires: Your tires can develop flat spots if they are left in the same spot for too long. You can help prevent this by over inflating your tires and rotating them every so often. Taking the car for a short drive every few weeks can also prevent flat spots from forming.
Preparing Your Car for Outdoor Storage
Storing your car outdoors can be very different that storing it indoors. Since it will be exposed to the elements you will want to minimize the damage cause. There are several precautions you can take to protect your car while storing it in an outdoor lot.
- Purchase a high-quality car cover: Professionals recommend changing your car’s oil and oil filter right before you store your vehicle to protect your engine from any contaminants.
- Change your oil and filter: The greatest damage to your vehicle can be caused by sunlight and precipitation. Sunlight can cause damage to the paint and tires, while rain can cause your vehicle to erode. You can prevent much of this damage by purchasing a high-quality car cover. Ensure that the cover accounts for moisture by offering ventilation or using "dry fit" material. This car cover is not something you will want to skimp on price-wise. Invest in a high-quality cover to save you money in the long run.
- Wax your vehicle: If you cannot get a car cover, you can prevent sun damage to your car’s paint by waxing it. This also protects your car from dirt and dust.
- Purchase a protective film for your car: Another option is to purchase a protective film to cover areas that receive a lot of direct sunlight like the hood and the headlights. Ensuring the paint job on your car is protected will in turn help keep the body of the vehicle from rusting, which can be very expensive to fix.
- Touch up any scratches or pits in the paint: Before you store your car, you will want to touch up any scratches or pits in the paint, especially any that have reached bare metal. These spots are likely to worsen if exposed to the elements, and touching up the paint will slow this process.
Taking Your Car Out of Storage
Driving your car right after it has been stored for a long time can be dangerous and potentially worsen damage to the vehicle (if it has sustained any). It's important to make sure you properly check your car before taking it out on the road.
To avoid costly repairs, follow these steps every time you take your vehicle out of storage:
- Clean the car: Professionals recommend changing your car's oil and oil filter right before you store your vehicle to protect your engine from any contaminants.
- Top off your fluids: Clean the inside and the outside of your vehicle and dust off any important components. Check for evidence of pests to ensure nothing has made a home out of your vehicle.
- Check its fluids: Make sure your car’s fluids are at an adequate level and appear to be in good condition. Top off any fluids that appear to be low.
- Check for cracks in the rubber: Rubber surfaces such as tires and windshield wipers should be examined for cracks and damage before you drive your vehicle.
- Check your tire pressure: Make sure your tires are in good condition (with no flat spots) and that your tire pressure is at an acceptable level.
- Reattach your battery: Car batteries can drain even the engine is completely turned off. This can be caused by accidentally leaving headlights on, a defective alternator diode, an old battery or parasitic drain. You don’t have to completely remove the battery - just make sure that the negative cables are unplugged.
- Remove your windshield wipers: Since you should have disconnected your battery when you put your vehicle in storage, reattach it and ensure that you can start your car without any problems. Allow your car to warm up: Keep your car running in ‘park’ for a few minutes to let it warm up and ensure everything is working properly.
- Take your car for a test drive: Slowly drive your car around the storage facility before taking it on the open road. Test out the brakes to ensure they work properly and listen for any unusual noises your car might be making.
- Drive cautiously: When you are first driving your car, drive slowly and cautiously. Be aware of any signs of damage and take your car in for repairs if needed.