How to Prepare a Car for Storage

There are many reasons why people require car storage for motor vehicle.  Perhaps they are in the armed forces and have been deployed overseas for a period of time.  Or maybe they own a classic car that is driven on the weekends but is inconvenient to store in their home garage.  Perhaps a decision has been made to take that extended trip overseas. 

Whatever the reason, it’s important to prepare your vehicle for an extended period of non-use.  Our best recommendations on how to prepare your car for this are outlined below.  These tips will help keep your vehicle in pristine condition or avoid returning to your car only to find some unwanted surprise.


Petrol will remain stable for a few months.  If you plan on storing your car longer than a few months then make sure to have a modest amount of petrol in your fuel tank.  By doing so you prevent the seals from drying out.  Also, use a premium fuel instead of an ethanol blend.  This will lower the risk of moisture building up inside the tank which could lead to rust beginning to form.  Adding a fuel stabiliser to your petrol tank can also help prevent the build-up of gum and thus help protect your engine.


Make sure your vehicle is free of any food scraps.  By doing so, you are preventing a reason for rodents making their way into your car and having themselves a party with disastrous consequences.  To close access routes for rodents, insects and other creepy-crawlies, block the air inlets and exhaust pipe by using some old rags.  Lastly, consider placing a few mothballs inside the car for some added protection.

It’s import to remember one thing when you return after having stored your car.  Make sure that you take out any rags from the exhaust pipe and air inlets before you drive away.


The vehicle should be thoroughly washed and cleaned prior to storing for any length of time.  This is often overlooked but it’s an important step to take.  Your car’s paintwork can be damaged if bird droppings or tree sapis not cleaned off and left for a prolonged length of time.  Another reason is that dirt can hold moisture and this combined with air can lead to rust beginning to form.Also, preventing unpleasant odours from developing can be prevented by insuring your car’s interior has been well vacuumed.


It’s important to shield your car from the elements when storing for a long period of time to protect it from sun damage, dust and leaves building up in any nooks and crannies.  If possible, select a covered storage space or a lock up garage.  However, if you have to store your car outside then it’s better to buy a quality car cover.  A good cover should allow air to flow through it while still being able to curb moisture build up.  These types of covers are known as breather covers.

Another important consideration when choosing a cover is to ensure it fits correctly.  Loose fitting covers are prone to whip against your car during windy conditions.  If dust and debris is caught under a loose-fitting cover during these conditions it can lead to scratches on your paint work.


Storage facilities do provide a level of security but it’s incumbent on you not to invite temptation to test it.  Before leaving your car in storage for any length time, remove all valuable items from inside your car and don’t forget the boot.


Make sure the car storage facility you select provides an excellent level of security.  All Hills Self Storage facilities are monitored with 24-hour CCTV surveillance.  The facilities are also accessible via individually distributed PIN codes.


It’s a good idea to get advice from a mechanic before you place your car in storage.  Not all cars will have the same mechanical requirements for an extended period of non-use.  A classic car’s engine is built very differently to a modern car’s engine and may need to be prepared for storage in a different way.  A mechanic will give you advice on how to deal with the issue of tyre pressure, battery terminal connections and the possible need to deal with your car’s oil and coolant.


Before you leave your car in storage make a list of the steps you carried out to secure your car (removed battery, exhaust pipe blocked with rags, air in tyres) and ensure you reverse these steps when you return to your car.               

Concluding words

So, with a few of our practical recommendations, it’s quite simple for you to preserve the longevity of your vehicle while it’s in storage.  Our centre at Galston has a large outdoor area for vehicle storage.  It also has a warehouse dedicated for car storage which is under camera surveillance and is fully alarmed.  No one has access to the car warehouse or moves the vehicles other than Hills Self Storage staff.  Oh, and by the way, they even provide you with a free car cover while your car is in storage.  You can find them at 36 Mid Dural Rd, Galston or call them on 02 9653 1122.