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Keeping that Classic Car (or Motorcycle) Safe in Storage

Classic 1There are several reasons you may have to store your classic car or motorcycle for an extended period of time. Whether a military deployment, suspension of license, or simply collecting too many vehicles, long term storage needs exist. Unfortunately, simply locking the doors and walking away for a year will cause some damage, so let’s cover the basics on safe long term storage, so you can quickly get back on the road.


Obviously an indoor location is better than out in the weather. Your garage is perfectly fine, but if you do not have access to a garage, there are long term storage lots available. Do an online search in your area, and according to price and features. Security is nice, as is climate control, but look at the budget to make sure you are getting what services you need.

If nothing else, see if you have a very understanding friend or relative that is willing to store your prized ride for a while. You will most likely have to pay them, but anything beats outdoor storage.

Tune up

Classic 2Before driving to the temporary resting place, perform a complete fluid change. This may not be needed if you have fairly fresh synthetic, but certainly change the oil if it is conventional “dino oil.” Check all the other fluids too, and top up as needed. Fill the gas tank with fresh gas, and add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer. When storing over three months, disconnect the battery, and even better, bring it inside. If storing over a year, consider draining the gas tank and clearing the lines. Extra engine protection can be found by pulling the spark plugs and fogging the cylinders with oil.

Make it pretty

Wash and wax your vehicle. Why, when no one is going to see it? What you are trying to do here is remove any debris or dirt that can collect, damaging the finish when it comes out of storage. Completely was every part you can reach, and wax every painted surface. Do not apply the wax and leave it on. Old timey advice suggests this, but it is actually bad for the finish. Apply the wax, and buff to a shine like normal. Remove the windshield wipers if storing under a cover, or simply tilt them up. Oh, about that cover, be sure to use one approved for vehicles. A tarp is for camping, not your Tucker Torpedo or Harley-Davidson WLA.

Keep varmints out

With your vehicle stored inside, you shouldn’t have to worry about stray cats and whatnot making a home out of your ride’s wiring, but there are other concerns. Mice can get into pretty much any gap or crack, so it’s not cost or time effective to seal every opening. Windows up, plastic bags over tailpipes and a plug in the intake, and drop some mothballs in strategic locations to discourage entry.

By following a few simple steps, you should be able to return to road whenever you are ready.

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