Although there are plenty of physical preparations to be done for the safe storage of your automobile and preservation of its mechanical components, one of the more important steps for long-term storage of an automobile is checking your insurance paperwork. Most insurance policies have requirements and/or clauses regarding the long term non-use of an insured automobile. Notifying your insurance company of your intention to leave your vehicle for a long period without use can be a requirement of some policies. Alternately many insurance companies will lower insurance rates for vehicles in storage and not on the road. You may also want to check with your state and local laws regarding vehicle registration. You may be required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles about your intention to be your vehicle used for a long period of time.
In addition to all the preparations mentioned in a previous article in regard to storage of automobiles for less than three months cars I’m used for longer periods of time require extra preparation. In about an hour or so you will be able to prepare your automobile for an extended period of non-use in a fashion that will best protect the value and workability of your vehicle for no matter how long it is stored.
It is a good idea to loosen all belts in the engine area. Relieving this tension will keep your drive belts from losing the elasticity which is necessary to their function. You should also release all areas of moving parts such as the axle and drivetrain.
With a can of WD-40 or similar lubricant spray a light coating over all metallic surfaces in the engine compartment, including the interior of the bonnet and it’s hinges. Apply the same protective coating to your wheel nuts and interior and hinges of the trunk. It is also a good idea to oil or grease the hinges of the fuel compartment door as well as all of the passenger and driver doors.
Treat all keyholes including that on the steering column with key lubricant.
Make sure you have added fuel stabilizing chemicals to the petrol with which you have filled your car’s tank. Without stabilizing chemicals modern gasolines will deteriorate in the span of a year. Nevertheless it is important to keep your tank full to avoid damaging humidity and moisture throughout the fuel system.
Unlike short-term storage you want to close all windows securely and seal any other entrances which may be infiltrated by insects or rodents. This primarily means covering up the end of the exhaust pipe.
Although your car will be motionless for a long period of time is very important that you do not engage the parking brake when keeping the car for long-term storage. The system may lock up freezing the parking brake in a locked position after a long period of non-use. Instead use wheel chocks or possibly even suspend the vehicle up on jacks to keep it securely motionless.