It is important to take care of your vehicle to keep it in good condition and running well. If you are going away for more than 30 days and won't be needing your vehicle, you should store it while you are away. There are several things you should do to prepare your vehicle for safe and secure storage. Here are five areas on and around your vehicle you need to prepare for placing it in a self storage unit.
As your vehicle sits in your storage unit while you are gone, its tires will compress on the pavement. This can cause the tires to get a flat spot where they sit on the ground, which may or may not go away. Once you bring it out of storage, sometimes the tires will resume their round shape, but they may not. If they don't, you are going to need to get new tires. Buying new tires can be expensive and unnecessary, especially if the tires still have tread, so do what you can to prevent your tires from becoming flattened.
The best way to prevent your tires from flattening is to prop your vehicle on blocks and remove the tires. Or, you can put your vehicle on jack stands and add ten pounds of pressure to each tire. Tires can lose up to 1 PSI of air each month, and the extra pressure inside them will help them to keep their shape. A tire without its full pressure can sag, causing damage to the tire's structure.
Make sure you change your vehicle's oil and fill up the other fluids in your vehicle, such as brake fluid and gasoline. Allowing old oil to sit in your vehicle's oil reservoir for a long time can damage your vehicle's engine. And, leaving your gasoline tank partially filled can cause your tank's interior to rust as moisture collects inside. Having a full gas tank will also keep the fuel tank's seals from drying out. You should add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank to keep the gasoline from breaking down and prevent ethanol buildup.
Unless you can arrange for someone to drive your vehicle for a bit every couple of weeks, your vehicle battery is going to lose its charge, and its connections can corrode. To avoid corrosion, you should disconnect your battery's negative battery cable. While your battery is disconnected, you can hook your vehicle's battery up to a trickle charger to keep your vehicle charged. This step can help keep your vehicle clock and stereo presets saved and help you avoid having to reprogram everything when you get your vehicle out of storage.
Don't store your vehicle with a dirty exterior. Wash and wax your vehicle's exterior to keep its paint protected while it is in storage. Dirt and other residue that is stuck on your vehicle can damage the surface of your vehicle's paint and cause rust and corrosion. Be sure to wash off bird droppings, tree sap, water spots, mud, grease, and tar from your vehicle's exterior and undercarriage. Also, remove your vehicle's wipers, because they can adhere to the windshield after they have sat immobile for a long period.
Around the Vehicle
Mice, rats, and other small animals may try to make your vehicle their new home while it is in storage. Even if it is stored in a storage unit, mice can enter the unit through an opening 1/4 inch wide, so you need to protect your vehicle from pests.
Set up rodent bait and mouse traps around the exterior of your vehicle in the storage unit. You may want to have a friend check your unit every couple of weeks to discard any dead rodents to prevent the smell from getting into your vehicle.
Use these tips to help you prepare your vehicle for storage.