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Prepare Your Vehicle to Survive Long-Term Storage

Whether you have a seasonal vehicle like a jet ski or a boat that you need to store for the winter, an RV or trailer that your home owner’s association won’t allow parked on your driveway or in the street, or a car you need to store while you’re on an extended vacation, don’t just park it and forget it. AAA Self Storage in Topeka recommends taking the proper precautions will help ensure that your vehicle doesn’t deteriorate while in long-term storage.

– If you have a choice between an indoor garage storage space and an outdoor parking space, a garage space will provide the best protection from the elements. If your only option is an outdoor space, be sure to use a weatherproof cover, but be sure it is ventilated so that it will not trap moisture. AAA Storage in Topeka offers indoor and outdoor vehicle storage to accommodate vehicles of all sizes.

– Be sure to clean your vehicle thoroughly inside and out. Vacuum, dust and clean the interior to remove all trash and debris, including food. This will help prevent mold and mildew and keep from attracting rodents. On the exterior thoroughly wash every area of your vehicle, including the underside and wheel wells to remove dirt, grease, tar, bird droppings, and other residue that could damage the paint over time. After you’ve wash it, give your vehicle a fresh coat of wax.

– Fill the tank with gas, preferably premium non-alcohol fuel, to prevent moisture from accumulating and to prevent the seals from drying out. Also consider using a fuel stabilizer to prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine. A fuel stabilizer will prevent gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months.

– Replace all of the fluids with new ones before storing your vehicle, including oil and filter, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid and anti-freeze.

– Consider placing a vapor barrier plastic sheet under the vehicle if you’re storing it indoors to prevent water vapor buildup.

– Prevent your windshield wipers from sticking to the windshield by placing a piece of plastic wrap over the windshield under the wiper blades. You can also remove the wiper blades completely but be sure to pad the wiper arms to prevent scratching your windshield.

– Over time the battery will lose its charge. Ideally you should start the engine and drive it for 15 minutes every two weeks to help the battery maintain its charge and keep the engine and components lubricated. While you’re at it, run the air conditioner to keep it in working order. If it’s not feasible to drive it frequently, you can disconnect the negative battery cable.

– Do not set the parking break. Over time the brake pads and rotors could fuse. Use a tire stopper instead.

– Ensure that your tires are inflated to the proper pressure to protect against flat spots. Again, driving the car on a regular basis can help. If the vehicle will be stored for 30 days or more, and you are parking inside a unit, you might consider removing the wheels and putting the car on jack stands.

– Prevent animals from getting into your vehicle and causing damage by covering any gaps or openings where a small animal could get in, such as the exhaust pipe or air intake. Steel wool works well for this.

– While it may seem unnecessary if your car is secured in an indoor storage unit, you should still lock the doors to increase protection.

– Be sure to keep your insurance and registration current. A gap in insurance coverage could result in higher premiums when you renew it later.

– Lastly, leave yourself a note of what steps you took to prepare your car so you know what needs to be done when you’re ready to take your vehicle back out of storage.