Here are essential steps to take before you store a vehicle, while we are on enhanced community quarantine and lockdown, it is essential that our vehicles are in top condition in case of emergencies. These simple tips will help preserve the life of the engine and ensure that your car starts when you need it.
- Clean it before storage
Water, oil stains and maybe animal dropping can stain the paint and need to be cleaned before that long storage period kicks in. Check for dirt, stones, mud or even nails on tires that can give you future problems.
- Keep it Covered or store it away from harsh weather or heat
Safety of a garage is the best for the car but some people especially here in the Philippines, park their car outdoors in the heat and rain. Extreme temperatures can ruin the pain and interior of the car if exposed for long periods of time. If unavoidable to be outdoors, make sure you secure a waterproof car cover to protect the car from the elements.
- Change Oil if storage will extend over a long period
Car manuals also state this, if storage is longer than 30 days, it is best to remove contaminants that may damage engine.
- Try to keep a full tank while in storage
Keeping a full tank will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out. Also it will protect the exposed parts of the tank from rusting.
- Keep the battery charged
If possible, start the car once a week, dont go over 2 weeks because batteries discharge and the older they get the faster they discharge. If possible take it for a 15-20 min spin around the block while charging the batteries. Starting and moving the car is like stretching your arms and legs in the morning.. keeping all the parts well lubricated.
If you have no one to start or move the car for you, the other solution would be to disconnect the battery terminals to slow down the discharge rate.
- Use a Tire Stopper instead of parking break
If storage is more than 30 days, avoid using parking break pads may fuse with the rotor and that will cause more problems. The Tire stopper will keep the car in place and avoid any movement without the parking break engaged.
- Protect From Tire Flat Spots
If car will be in storage more than 30 days, look for a jack and remove all the tires to avoid damaging from the weight of the car pressing on them. The flat spots can be removed by warming and driving the car around the block and getting the tire temperature up to normal usage temperature.
- Keep animals out!
Make sure windows and doors are closed and sealed well. There are so many places rats, cats and other animals can take refuge in the car. You can also set traps to make sure animals don’t find a new home in your car. You may want to cover up entry points like your exhaust pipe or make sure your car cover seals up the car well.
Ready when you need it! The Rewards of keeping your car well maintained during this quarantine and lockdown period will go a long way. Prevention is still the best solution, keep an active role in making sure your car stays in tiptop condition.
Here’s a checklist to go over when you are ready to to use your car.
- Check under the hood for any evidence of rodents or even cats! Look for chewed belts, hoses, wires or nests.
- If you covered the exhaust or air intake, remove any rags or protection before you start the car.
- Check the windshield wipers to see if the rubber is cracked or brittle.
- Check the tire pressure and inflate the tires to the recommended specs.
- Check the brakes. make sure they haven’t fused with rotors.
- Check fluids leaks and top up to recommended levels.
- If the battery cable has been disconnected, clean them and secure them well before starting.
- Wash off dust and accumulated dirt over the storage period.