Motor Storage Tips

Car Storage

Are you a car collector? Whether you prefer antique, vintage, or sports cars, utilizing motor storage in a storage unit is a great way to make more space at your home or garage. If you collect cars to enter in auto shows and parades or you have them stored away for sentimental reasons, you want to properly store them. Storing your cars properly will extend their lifetime and keep them in the best shape possible.

An easy way to keep your car in great shape is by renting an enclosed, climate controlled storage unit. Regular units let in moisture that can rust and otherwise damage your car. Additionally, an enclosed unit will keep your car safe from theft or vandalism. Your car will also be safe from bad weather, like rain, snow, and hail, that may damage it or decrease its value. When renting a unit, try to pick a facility close to your home so that you can check on your cars frequently.

Check with your insurance provider when considering storing your cars. Some companies may offer coverage specifically for stored vehicles; however, others may not. Review your insurance options to get the best deal.

The key to storing your car properly is cleaning and prepping it before storage. Therefore, keep the following tips in mind when preparing your car for motor storage. This will help keep your car running properly and looking new.

1. Grab the right tools and supplies. You’ll need: different kinds of cleaners and protectants, a tire gauge, drop cloths or tarps, and cotton cloth. You may need mothballs and mouse traps for storage. Other items you may use include plastic bags, tape, WD40, and a jack. In addition, you’ll also need different types of fluids (like oil, brake and power steering fluid, etc.) to top off your car before storing.
2. Deep clean the interior and exterior of your car. Wash, buff, and wax the exterior to get rid of any imperfections. On the other hand, to get the best possible clean, you may want to hire a professional.

3. Clean all mirrors. Dirty mirrors may rust or otherwise be damaged in storage.

4. Throw away all trash and scraps of waste. Vacuum your car to get rid of all dirt and crumbs. Next, remove any stains on the upholstery with your favorite stain remover and use air freshener to get rid of any unwanted odors. Make sure to clean your trunk, too. Remove any items in the trunk before storing.

5. If your car is in need of any repairs, have them fixed before storage. This will prevent the problems from getting worse over time.

6. Make sure to change your oil and replace your oil filter no sooner than 1 to 2 days before storing. Used oil is full of acids and moisture that will corrode your engine over time, especially if your car isn’t driven for a while.

7. After you change your oil, drive your car for a few miles to give the new oil time to circulate throughout the engine.

8. Take out your spark plugs and put a teaspoon of engine oil inside each cylinder. Then, put your spark plugs back in. This will coat your cylinders with oil and prevent rust.

9. Use cotton cloth to fill any engine openings. Cotton cloth will absorb excess moisture and prevent bugs and rodents from getting in your engine during storage. You can also fill your exhaust pipes and other openings with cloth. However, make a reminder to remove all of this cloth before you drive your car next.

10. Spray metal surfaces in your engine with WD40 to prevent rust. The WD40 will evaporate, but it will leave a protective cover over your engine.

11. Before storing, fill your gas tank to prevent air and moisture from collecting in your tank. (However, if you’re storing your car in a unit with poor ventilation, only fill the tank halfway. Otherwise, you could run into problems with gas fumes.)

12. Put fuel stabilizer in your gas tank as well. Drive your car for a few miles to let the stabilizer circulate through the car. This will prevent your gas from breaking down and damaging your car.

13. Inspect your brake fluid and note the color. The fluid should be clear. If it’s brown, you need to flush the fluid and replace it. Old brake fluid contains moisture that could cause your car to rust. Make sure your brakes, clutch, and master cylinders all have brake fluid before storing. Brake fluid is easily contaminated by water. Furthermore, most professionals recommend flushing and refilling your brake fluid annually to prevent any problems.

14. Also check your transmission and steering fluid and your engine coolant. If any of these fluids look dirty, flush and refill them. If they’re still clear, fill them completely to cut down on moisture and air inside your car.

15. When storing a convertible, store your car with the top up. If your top is down for a long period of time, it could crease. You can also treat the top with lubricant and other protectants. In addition, place desiccant sacs in your car to absorb excess moisture.
16. Your tires could go bad during store, especially if stored for a long period of time. They may dry rot or lose air. Don’t use any products to shine your tires before storage. Because this can contribute to dry rot. Over inflate your tires by just a few psi to prevent flat spots. Get your tires checked out and fix any repairs before storing your car. H-Rated tires hold up the best in storage.
17. When storing your battery, check your car’s owner’s manual for more information. There are a few ways to care for your battery. You can remove it from the car and set it on a large wooden block to prevent drainage. Or, you can leave it in the car if you disconnect the negative (-) terminal of the battery. Some car professionals suggest leaving the battery in and attached to prevent voltage spikes that could cause damage. Therefore, do some research and see which method is best for your car.

18. Look for a ‘storage switch’ on your car. If you flip this switch, your car battery will turn off and not drain any energy.

19. Make sure your windows are fully closed and shut your air vents. This will stop bugs and moisture from entering your car.

20. Check the quality of your hoses. If they have bulges or cracks, get them replaced.

21. Protect your exhaust pipes. You can duct tape a plastic bag over these pipes to protect them from bugs, rodents, and moisture.

22. Remove windshield wiper blades. To prevent them from scratching your windshield, remove the blade and place cotton cloth or thin wooden block underneath them.

23. Store your car on top of a tarp or on jacks. Make sure to leave your emergency brake off!

24. Cover your car with a tarp to protect it from dust and other debris.

25. Lay out your mouse traps and moth balls to protect your car from pests.

26. You should check on your car at least once a month. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes. (Remember to remove that cotton cloth!) Also, remember to leave the storage unit door OPEN while doing this. You’ll need proper ventilation. You can also take your car for a quick drive.

27. If your car has been stored for a long period of time, you’ll need to prepare it to be driven again. Roll down the windows and air out the car. Next, remove cotton cloth from all the openings. Check your battery and make sure it has a charge. Then, you can take your car for a drive.

Boat Storage

If you’re looking to store your boat during the off season, there are some precautions you need to take to prior to motor storage to make sure it’s ready to run in the spring. If you don’t properly prepare your boat, it could cause major damage like leaks, cracks, and corrosion. Often, these major repairs will require major bills. However, you can avoid these unwanted issues in the spring by spending a little time and energy taking care of your boat in the fall.

Consider these steps when winterizing your boat:

Look for storage

You can keep your boat close to home by storing it in your garage or driveway, or you can look at other options including a marina or storage facility that offers motor storage. Check your boat’s owner’s manual for any important motor storage tips.

Fix any damages

Get any problems you notice repaired or replaced during the fall. This will stop them from getting worse during the storage period. Also, it will help you avoid rush time when mechanics are packed with customers trying to fix their boats during the spring.

Prevent mildew

The key to preventing mildew is limiting the moisture in your boat. Store your cushions, sales, floats, and fire extinguishers. Prop open any lockers, drawers, and your fridge (make sure to empty it first!) to air out. You can keep a dehumidifier in your boat to prevent moisture and circulate the air. In addition, you can absorb excess moisture by placing boxes of opened baking soda throughout your boat.

Fuel and antifreeze

Completely fill your gas tank with fuel to prevent condensation and air from filling the tank. Also, add fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from breaking down and damaging the boat. Run the engine for around 10 minutes to allow the stabilizer to circulate through the tank. Put antifreeze in the cooling system and in the supply lines for the shower and taps.

Maintain the engine

When changing your oil, also make sure to change the transmission fluid. Take the spark plugs out and put a small amount of fogging oil in each cylinder. Then, use fogging oil or WD40 to wipe down your engine.

Remove the battery

After you remove the battery, wash it with a solution of baking soda and water. Then, rinse it with distilled water. You can apply some grease to the terminal ends of the battery and the battery cables. Keep the battery charged by using a trickle charger. Keep your battery in a safe, dry place, and don’t put it on concrete.

Prepare the bilges

Before storing, you should thoroughly clean and dry the bilges. You can use soap and hot water to clean off any oil. Once they’re completely dry, you can coat them with a water-displacing lubricant and antifreeze.

Clean your boat

Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your boat. While cleaning, make sure to check for anything that needs to be repaired or replaced before storing. Look for any spills, dirt, or mess, and try to get rid of any foul odors. You may want to apply a rust inhibitor to the steering, control cables, and other hardware.

Store electronics

Remove any electronics from your boat and safely store them in a dry location.

Drain boat fluids

Be sure to drain the fluid from your boat (including any fluid in your engine blocks, water pumps, and coolers). Drain your gearcase and fill it with gearcase lubricants. Drain things that store water like the bathroom, water tank, or water heater. Refill these with non-toxic antifreeze.

Check your oil

Dirty engine oil will thicken over time and cause problems when you try to start your boat in the spring. So, make sure to change your oil and replace the oil filter before storing your boat. Run your engine for a few short minutes to warm it up, and then change the oil while it’s still warm.

Repaint the bottom

A good way to prevent rust is to repaint the bottom of your boat. However, make sure to sand it down, first!

Check the stern drive

The stern drive can often collect plants or barnacles. Make sure to remove these. If your stern drive has a rubber boot, inspect it for any cracks or other damage. Finally, grease the fittings and check your fluid levels.

Cover the boat

Whether you’re storing the boat inside or out, you want to choose a snug cover that has proper ventilation. If you already have a cover, make sure it doesn’t have any holes or tears.
Every insurance policy is different, but many of them won’t cover damage caused by poor storing techniques. This means properly winterizing your boat before motor storage is very important. Always check your owner’s manual for the best way to store your boat. If you have questions about winterizing, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. In short, the better you prepare your boat in the fall, the easier it will be to get it back in the water in the spring.

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