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Store Your Car the Right Way

Store 1Do you need to store your car? Usually, if you’re just going to leave your car for a few days or a week or two, you don’t have to worry too much about it. In that case, you can just park it and maybe put a car cover on it. On the other hand, if you’re planning on storing your car for over a month or even more than a year, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Gravity

Gravity is what keeps us and our cars on the ground, which is both good and bad. The problem is that tires conform to the ground, and they’re “flat” wherever they touch the road surface. While you’re driving, the flat spot is constantly moving around the tire. In the case of sitting in a garage, though, the rubber tire can actually deform permanently.

To prevent flat spots, you have a couple of options. You could air up your tires, putting in more pressure. You can inflate a tire to the maximum pressure on the sidewall, usually 50 or 60 psi, which can reduce the occurrence of flat spots. This is a good idea for short-term car storage, but don’t forget to put your tires back to proper pressure before you start driving again.

For long-term storage, airing up isn’t such a great idea, because air tends to leak out of the tires. Your tires would go flat unless someone was there there adjust them. For this, you can put the car up on jack stands, lifting under the frame and body to relax the suspension and get the tires off the ground. No floor contact, no flat spots!

Time

If you’re storing your car for more than a month, you should disconnect the battery and put a car cover on it. To keep fluids and seals in good condition, you should have a friend start your car, maybe drive it around, at least once a month. If the car is on jack stands, you can run the wheels in the air, though the traction control or anti-lock brakes might freak out a bit. You won’t do any damage, though. When you put your car away, don’t forget to fill the tank. If you plan on storing your car for more than six months, add a bottle of fuel stabilizer.

Invaders

Keeping out invaders, specifically bugs and rodents, should be an important part of your car storage checklist. Your car is just full of little holes where critters can find a home or hiding spot. At the same time, they might decide your car seats would make good nesting materials or that a wire is running right through their living room. Restarting your car after being in storage for so long might be impossible, even dangerous.

Stuff engine holes, such as the intake and exhaust, with steel wool, which rodents hate to chew on. Around the car, you can put mothballs, but don’t put them inside the car, as the smell may be impossible to remove. Inside, open up all the cubby holes, glove box, and others, which eliminates hiding places. Then, place a couple bars of soap, something like Irish Spring or something else you like that has a distinctly human smell to it, which will repel most four-legged invaders.

Once you get your car back out of storage, make sure the tires are properly inflated, all fluids are at the proper level, and maybe take it to your local trusted mechanic for a checkup.

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