There are times when you may not need to use your car for long periods. For example, you might not need your car if you are traveling out of the country. In times like this, you should know how to prepare your car for long-term storage. You can do this by following basic maintenance and service guidelines. Doing so will protect your car from damage and make sure you have a car in good condition to use when you return. Here are some steps to take when you have to keep your car in long-term storage:
DO NOT ENGAGE THE HANDBRAKE
This can lead to the brake pads getting stuck to the discs or drums. Instead, use wheel chocks, like bricks or a piece of wood, to keep the car from rolling, and leave the car in first gear.
This is much safer and cleaner. If you cannot park indoors, make sure you get a quality car cover. Make sure you buy one for your car model.
SPARK PLUG CARE
It is advisable to remove the spark plugs and spray a little oil into the plug sockets before putting the plugs back in. This will prevent the insides of the cylinder head from rusting and keep away moisture during long-term storage.
CLEAN THE INTERIORS BEFORE PARKING
Leaving trash in the car, such as snack wrappers, water bottles and left over food items, will attract rats. Rats can damage the floor mats, seat covers and even the wiring of the car.
FILL UP THE FUEL TANK
This is to prevent rusting on the inside of the fuel tank. If possible, add some fuel additives. These will keep moisture away from your fuel tank during long-term storage. Make sure your fuel tank is properly sealed too.
It is better to remove the battery if you are putting your car into long-term storage. Also, smear petroleum jelly or grease on the terminals and the wire ends to prevent rusting. Ensure that the battery is fully charged and top up the water level. Remember to store the battery in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight.
PAINT JOB PROTECTION
A car’s paint job can be damaged if it stays outside for too long. To prevent damage, clean the exterior thoroughly. Make sure to remove any dirt, dust or grime stuck to the vehicle before applying a coat of polish and wax.
JACK UP THE CAR
This is to prevent flat spots on the car tires. Use four jacks, or blocks of wood to lift up the car so the tires do not rest on the wheels.
CHANGE OIL AND FILTERS
Used oil contains moisture, meal filings, sludge and other corrosive elements. Thus it makes sense to put in fresh oil and new filters before putting the car up for long-term storage. However, drive the car a bit for that the fresh oil circulates inside the engine.
KEEP THE TIRES PROPERLY INFLATED
Check the tire pressure and make sure that the tires are at the correct pressure. This helps prevent cracking of the sidewalls and flat spots. Also, check the valve caps for leaks.