Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

How-to: Store Your Vehicle in Florida

how-to store your vehicle


While this might be a little late for many snow-birds it is good information to have, and when our friends form up north return show them this article.

There is tons of information out in cyberspace about how to store your classic or favorite vehicle during the winter. The very first mandate is to have a garage, preferably heated. But in this land of sun there are many vehicles that are forced to stay outside for 4-6 months of the year. Of course if you are one of those fortunate owners that have a garage preferably air conditioned, just take this into consideration when it comes to overkill.

Ideal Vehicle Storage Solution

The ultimate way to store a vehicle is to have a very close friend or family member use the vehicle as their own at least once a week. Not just start it up and let it idle, that actually is worse for the vehicle, but to just drive it around while doing their chores, taking it for a Sunday morning spin on the expressway is a wonderful way to keep everything in it proper respective.

Unfortunately this scenario is far from the norm. People worry about nicks and scratches accidents and breakdowns, insurance issues etc. so only consider this if you are positive that your friendship with that other party is unshakeable.That being said we’ve already decided that our car is going to be laid up for a while.

First Step: Change Your Oil

First and foremost if your vehicle is even close to needing an oil change, this is the time to do it. This removes any corrosives that have accumulated in the crankcase that can eat at the bearings. Next fill your tank with the best “named brand” fuel that you can buy. I personally only run fuel that has no ethanol in it so that would be my first suggestion to you, if that is not possible filling your tank with a tier one fuel (BP, Mobil, Chevron, Shell) will stop moisture from accumulating within the fuel tank and keep the injectors relatively clear. If you are going to be away for 4-6 months I would also invest in a fuel stabilizer such as Stabil.

Hand Wash your Car

Now comes the hard part; hand wash the car from top to bottom from the bottom up. That’s right, after rinsing it off to remove the heavy layer of crud, liberally wash the vehicle from the bottom up so as not to miss any spots. After drying it apply a good heavy coat of wax on it. I understand that many of us are not up to paste waxing a car but there are some really good soft waxes out there. I prefer Mothers or Maquires, products. Last of all over inflate your tires by about 5-7 pounds to allow them to lose pressure naturally and to prevent developing flat spots.

Inside Vehicles: Connect Battery Tender

We’ve now come to the point of storage. If you are storing your vehicle in a garage the ultimate goal is to have the vehicle able to start up when you return. Most batteries will not last 4 months without going dead, due to parasitic drains. A state of the art battery tender can keep your battery at the optimum voltage without over charging. Be prepared to spend over $100.00 for this type of charger, and once again it’s good to have a neighbor check in once in a while to make sure everything is okay.

If you are keeping you vehicle outside or would rather not have anyone in your house then disconnect the battery. This has to be done in a prescribed manner and if you are not sure contact me and I will give you step by step instructions. This also means that when you return that all of the memory functions and shift strategies will be lost and the vehicle will have to go into a relearn situation and it may run a little funky for a while.

Outside Vehicles: Disconnect Battery

If you are leaving the car outside it’s best to remove the battery and bring it into your house or storage area, try to insulate it from the extreme heat and place it on a block of wood. Next wrap saran wrap around your wiper blades to prevent them from sticking onto the windshield, if you want you can remove them and wrap the wiper arms in with a heavy cloth to prevent the arms from scratching the windshield if they inadvertently are turned on.

Preserving your Tires & Suspension

If you are prone to do so, the ultimate care for your tires and suspension would be to jack up the vehicle and place it on jack stands, and place wooden blocks under the tires so that the suspension does not hang. If you are leaving the car in a garage crack the windows slightly and put in a dehumidifier in the vehicle to prevent mold. If the vehicle is going to be outside using a dehumidifier is also recommended.

Perfect Car Storage Cover

Last of all is what kind of cover should you use to protect the finish from the elements. Car covers come in all shapes and sizes and in all budget ranges. If you have a truly pristine vehicle the cover you buy should be in accordance to that vehicle. That means do not put a $35.00 cover on a car with a $ 4000.00 paint job. Research those covers before you buy as a poor cover can actually do more damage to a finish than leaving it exposed to the elements.

This subject was brought to us by Martha Litson who will receive her $25.00 Visa gift card.


Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services