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Storing Your Car

Classic car enthusiasts usually go through a driving season of two or four months and then store the car for eight to ten months. Or maybe you have a home up north and move south for the winter.
» Part 1: The Basics
» Part 2: Indoor Storage
» Part 3: Outdoor Storage

Outdoor Storage

If the only option is outside storage the best thing to do is park the vehicle on plywood over a heavy gauge plastic vapor barrier. This won't keep all the wind blown moisture, rain and snow from getting to the underbody of your vehicle, but it will help quite a bit.

You can take it a step further by getting an over sized piece of heavy gauge plastic and tuck it inside the vehicle and close the doors to hold it in place. You can tape it with duct tape to the unpainted surfaces of the vehicle in front and back, basically a vehicle diaper.

Be very careful to avoid having the plastic sheet touch painted surfaces where moisture can get trapped and cause rust and paint discoloration.

As with indoor storage preparations, out door storage begins with a clean, clean vehicle. Make five fairly large trays from aluminum foil and fill them with mothballs. Place four, one in each foot well back and front and one in the trunk.

Open each window about a ½" or ¾" to allow the interior to breathe. Get some metal window screen to cover the openings. Tuck the topside of the screen inside the window channel and duct tape the bottom to the glass. Don't use tape on any painted surface.

Now do all the indoor preparations, varmint and insect proofing, removing and cleaning the battery and bringing it inside and putting the trickle charger on it. Make sure you pay particular attention to rust and corrosion proofing as well.

By now you're wondering why I haven't talked about covering the body and car covers. Well, the fact is you have to use something to cover the vehicle in order to protect it. That's why indoor storage is the best way to store your vehicle and outdoor storage is the second best way to store your vehicle because it is the only other place to store it.

There are a million choices when it comes to car covers, ranging in price from $19.99 for a car cover made by the El Cheapo Car Cover Company to over $350.00 for a high quality car cover. El Cheapo offers a thin plastic cover that comes in a few sizes such as SUV, pickup truck, car, too big and too small. The last two sizes are, by far, the two most common sizes. They will keep rain and dirt off your car, but if you are store the car for more than 72 hours, they won't help and can only hurt your vehicle.

The most important concern is fit, even if the cover is just porous enough to allow air through but keep moisture out. The wind will blow a loose fitting cover against the painted surfaces of your vehicle and when you uncover it, it will look like it's been sand blasted. Of course as the quality of the cover goes up fit will be better and materials will be friendlier to your vehicle. Naturally good quality comes with a price, but isn't your baby worth it?

In areas that get a lot of sun, look for a car cover that offers protection from ultraviolet radiation to protect your vehicles finish. Also use a good quality protectant on the interior surfaces such as a good leather conditioner and plastic treatment.

If you are in an area that is very wet and windy you can cover the vehicles paint with a couple of soft blankets attached with bungee cords. The blankets will provide an additional protective layer and absorb any moisture that may get through. A top quality breathable custom fit car cover that goes down below the wheel wells is the ideal choice for an outdoor car cover.

Getting Ready To Drive

Okay, you have returned, opened the garage door and you stand there, admiring your baby. Now you remove all the stuffing, wire screen, install the battery, change the engine oil and filter and sand some of the rust off the rotors and you are ready to cruise.

Exercising The Car

If you could not find anyone to drive your vehicle while you were away, you'll need to take your baby for a serious drive. Starting the engine and letting it run until it reaches normal operating temperature is not good enough, and could actually harm the engine. The best thing is a 40 mile drive every two months with the air conditioner on to keep things loose and limber. If this was done it will feel like the same vehicle you've come to know and love.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3

Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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