At some point, you’re going to need to store your car. Whether you’re simply not going to use it for a few weeks or the entire season, it’s wise to know where and what is the best way to store your car to avoid as many problems as possible that can happen.
Because let’s face it, improper car storage can lead to loads to issues later on. For example:
- Moisture can accumulate in the gas tank. It happens when you leave the car in storage for weeks or months. The moisture in the air can get into your car’s tank, then creating drops of sweat that soon drips down to the fuel, contaminating the inside of your car.
- Your car can get some cosmetic damage. Leaving the car parked outside for too long can damage its paint. Imagine the extreme temperature and weather conditions it has to brave through. But parking the car inside the garage doesn’t necessarily mean your car’s safe 100%. Even inside the garage, debris and dirt can accumulate on the car’s surface, damaging it in the long run.
- Your car can become a home to rodents. Parking your car in a cool, dry place will preserve the paint job, but there’s a downside. It can be a cozy home for rodents like mice, and they can wreak havoc on your vehicle. Rodents can build their nest in the engine compartments, chew up hoses and capes, and leave a stinky and potentially dangerous dropping all over the interior.
If you need to store your vehicle for a long period, it requires some TLC. But before anything else, do you have a place to store your car?
7 Best Ways to Store Your Car
Ideally, your car should be stored in an enclosed, secure area. But if you are keeping your car outside, at least avoid parking it near trees or places where it can easily get exposed to atmospheric contamination.
So, here are some of the best ways to store your car, plus tips to keep them in tip-top shape throughout the storage period.
1. Your Garage
There’s nothing more obvious way to store your vehicle than inside your garage if you own one. Having a garage is the most convenient and safe place to park your car for an extended period. It is a 100% enclosed building, which means it can protect your car from the elements and will keep the vehicle at a relatively stable temperature. You can also secure the garage with a lock and key, keeping your vehicle less vulnerable to theft.
There are different types of garages: timber, brick, or concrete block garage. Timber garages, especially those using treated timber, have a good lifespan, prevent condensation, and can help regulate the air inside. It can also maintain a more consistent temperature and humidity levels than concrete and brick garages, perfect for storing classic cars.
Garage Expert Tip: Keep the garage secure but properly ventilated. Because while the garage is a fantastic way to park your car, it’s not a foolproof option, especially when storing the vehicle for a long while. Besides helping the space air out and getting rid of any toxic fumes from chemicals in your vehicle, proper ventilation can assist in drying out excess moisture in the garage. And you know what too much moisture can do to your car – rusting.
2. Build a Carport
Not every car owner is lucky to have their own garage, and building one can be expensive even if you have the space for it. A good alternative to a garage for storing your car is building a carport.
Although it’s an open-style structure, carports can still provide your cars a level of protection against the elements, like sun exposure, rain, snow, and ice. If you live in a pretty tight property line, a carport is also a fantastic option. Carports are generally affordable to build, and you can also buy one that you can install yourself.
The only catch is that a carport won’t protect your vehicle from moisture in the atmosphere. If you live somewhere relatively humid, keeping the car where it can get exposed to excess moisture can damage its bodywork.
Garage Expert Tip: Get additional accessories to protect your car from the elements. While a carport provides a solid roof for your vehicle, it doesn’t protect it from extreme weather conditions. Carports usually need extra car accessories to offer nearly the same level of protection as a car garage, like a car cover.
3. Use a Car Tent
Another great way to store your car is by keeping it tucked inside a car tent or a portable garage. It’s the ideal solution if you need a temporary outdoor structure to park your car.
Car tents are relatively low-maintenance and provide reliable storage space for vehicles of all types and sizes. They come in various styles but are generally made of an all-steel frame and a fabric cover. Car tents provide some sort of weather protection, keeping your vehicle secure from rain, sunlight, snow, and hail. Some options can even provide enough protection against the sun’s UV radiation to prevent fading and surface damage.
Portable garages are also simple to set up anywhere you need them, and you can disassemble them as quickly when not in use.
Garage Expert Tip: It’s essential to understand that different car tents provide varying levels of weather protection, so compare options and choose according to your car storage needs. Generally, you want to get a wind and snow-rated car tent for ultimate weather protection.
4. Get a Foldable Garage
Car tents are great, but they still do take ample space, and while you can disassemble them, it can still be a hassle to do. A foldable garage will be perfect if you need a space-saving and portable storage space for your vehicle.
Foldable garages are made of folding metal frames paired with a waterproof material to cover your vehicle and protect it from the elements. Essentially, a foldable garage is a lot like a car tent, but with the “folding” feature. It means that the garage won’t take more than the space it takes to park your car. Not to mention, you can get in and out of your vehicle with ease and without any extra space needed to open your doors.
Foldable garages are also a lot similar to car covers. But unlike car covers, the material of the folding garage is not in direct contact with your car. Hence, there’s less risk of damaging the paintwork.
Foldable garages come in varying sizes, so choose one according to the length and width of your car.
Garage Expert Tip: Remember to fix and secure the foldable garage to the ground. Because while they are sturdily made with an all-metal frame, fixing them to the ground or a concrete base ensures that your garage won’t take off in high winds.
5. Install a Car Lift
If you have more cars than what you can keep inside the garage, you’ll most likely need to park the vehicle outside on the driveway. Now, there’s a lot of risks if you do that. For instance, the bad weather outside can damage your precious car. You also risk your car getting stolen.
If you already have even a small garage, you can get an extra parking space for storing your extra car by installing a car lift. It will quickly solve your parking problems, effectively doubling your home parking space by utilizing your garage’s vertical space that’s been left unused.
Car lifts are also a smart option if you want a long-term vehicle storage option just across your home. If you have sports cars or classic cars you can’t drive about half the year, store them in the car lift. Having them stored close at hand also give you ample convenience to check and service them occasionally.
Garage Expert Tip: Find the car lift option for your needs. Different car lift types are available: scissor car lifts are the cheapest option, good for car servicing, but you can’t park underneath, so choose between a 2-post car lift or a 4-post car lift instead.
6. Protect Your Car with a Car Bubble
Protecting one of your significant investments, like a car, only makes so much sense. And sometimes, parking them inside the garage is simply not enough. While most garages are secure and safe from rodent infestation, there’s still a problem with humidity, dust, and debris.
If you want to prolong the life and condition of your prized vehicle, especially during long-term storage, keeping them inside a car bubble or a car capsule is the best way to store your car.
Car storage bubbles help preserve the best condition of your vehicles by keeping them in a contained, sealed environment with a steady stream of air. The constant air supply from a running fan keeps everything dry, including the hidden areas of your car. This way, there’s no risk for condensation build-up, which is a risk even in a dehumidified garage.
Another benefit of storing your car inside a car bubble is it protects the vehicle from dust and other debris that can damage its body and paintwork during storage.
Garage Expert Tip: Always check the features, like a heavy-duty base mat impervious to gas and oil with antifreeze properties. Consider getting a car bubble that features a shield against seasonal shifts, especially for winter car storage. Also, check for the filter and make sure it can keep dust, dirt, and insect out to maintain the good-as-new condition of the car while in storage.
7. Rent a Car Storage Space Near You
Don’t worry if you don’t have a garage or an outdoor space for a portable garage. These days, there are plenty of car storage spaces you can rent near you. There are plenty of garage owners willing to rent out their extra garage space. Ideally, you want to rent a garage that’s as close to your home as possible.
You can also check our luxury car storage options for the long-term storage of your classic and sports cars. It will cost you a considerable sum, but these facilities are generally equipped to keep your precious cars safe and secure with ideal conditions for your vehicles. Some storage facilities even provide routine maintenance with car experts and staff keeping tabs on your vehicle for you.
Garage Expert Tip: Start by asking your neighbors or checking out garage spaces for rent online. But think outside the box too. If there’s a company with an empty storage facility or warehouse or a space in a barn near you, that will do as well. Any secure, enclosed building is always preferable to leaving your car parked outside.
How to Prep Your Car for Storage
Storing your car for the long term isn’t all about parking it somewhere safe against the sun, rain, or snow. They need a little TLC beforehand, or you’re going to be dealing with plenty of car problems the moment you take the car out from storage like moisture in the gas tank, complete battery drainage, cosmetic damage, and more.
No matter what storage solution you choose for your vehicle, these tips will make them storage-ready.
- Store the car in a full tank. At first, it makes sense to empty out your car’s gas tank before storage. After all, you’re not going to use it for weeks or months, and the gas sitting there would just be a waste. But a car with a full tank during storage is less likely to have moisture accumulating inside than a car with an empty gas tank.
- Protect the car exterior. Give your car a good wash before storage, and consider adding a paint-protecting wax to avoid discoloration and fading. Using a car cover even when keeping the car inside the garage will help protect the topcoat from scratch-causing dirt.
- Change the oil and replace the filter. Used oil is more likely contaminated, and changing it will help fend off contaminants, preserving your engine while the car is in storage.
So, what type of storage do you need? If you’re leaving the car unused for a month or two, you probably don’t need to pay for storage if you have a garage or if you can put up a portable garage. But if you’re looking for long-term storage for an antique collector’s item vehicle, you’ll most likely need to invest in specialized indoor car storage.