As much as we love our vehicles, there may come a time when we have to store them for long periods of inactivity. Whether it’s due to a vacation, deployment, or simply not needing the vehicle for a while, proper storage and maintenance is crucial to ensure that your vehicle remains in good condition. In this article, we will discuss some essential tips on how to properly store and maintain your vehicle during long periods of inactivity.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Before you store your vehicle, it’s important to prepare it properly. Start by giving it a thorough wash and wax to remove any dirt or grime that may cause damage if left on the surface for an extended period. Make sure to clean the interior as well, removing any food crumbs or debris that could attract pests.
Change the Oil and Fluids
One of the most important steps in preparing your vehicle for storage is to change the oil and other fluids. Old, dirty oil can cause engine damage over time, so it’s essential to have fresh oil before storing your vehicle. Additionally, consider topping up other fluids such as coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.
Check the Battery
If you’re storing your vehicle for an extended period, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery. This will prevent it from draining completely and potentially damaging it. Alternatively, you can use a battery maintainer or trickle charger to keep the battery charged during storage.
Fill Up the Tank
Before storing your vehicle, fill up the gas tank to prevent condensation from forming inside. Condensation can lead to fuel system corrosion and other issues. Adding a fuel stabilizer is also recommended to keep the fuel fresh and prevent it from deteriorating over time.
Protect the Tires
To prevent flat spots and damage to the tires, inflate them to the recommended pressure and consider using tire cradles or placing the vehicle on jack stands. This will help distribute the weight evenly and minimize stress on the tires. It’s also a good idea to periodically rotate the tires during storage to prevent flat spots from forming.
Cover and Store in a Suitable Location
Once you’ve prepared your vehicle, it’s time to cover and store it in a suitable location. Use a breathable car cover to protect the vehicle from dust, dirt, and UV rays. Avoid using plastic covers as they can trap moisture and cause damage. Ideally, store your vehicle in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and minimize the risk of rust and corrosion.
Regularly Start and Run the Engine
If possible, start and run the engine for a few minutes every couple of weeks. This will help circulate the fluids and prevent them from becoming stagnant. It will also keep the engine components lubricated and prevent seals from drying out.
Check and Maintain Regularly
Even though your vehicle is in storage, it’s important to check and maintain it regularly. Every few weeks, inspect the vehicle for any signs of damage, pests, or leaks. Check the tire pressure and rotate the tires if necessary. Additionally, keep an eye on the battery charge and top it up if needed.
Properly storing and maintaining your vehicle during long periods of inactivity is essential to ensure its longevity and performance. By following these tips, you can protect your vehicle from damage, prevent costly repairs, and have peace of mind knowing that it will be ready to hit the road when you’re ready to use it again.