How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Storage

As the head designer of BMW once said, “We don’t just build cars that drive from A to B. We build mobile works of art.” If you feel the same way about your car, you’re going to want to protect it – especially if it’s being tucked up in storage for any amount of time.

From trips abroad for work to protection from winter weather or even theft, there are many reasons why vehicles go into storage. If you’re thinking of booking yours in for a while, here are some top tips for preparing it and keeping it in the best condition until it’s time to come home.

Why do vehicles go into storage?

  • Winter storage – If you’ve got a soft top vehicle or a kit car, you’re not always going to want to expose it (or yourself!) to damaging winter conditions. Storage units have climate control that can keep vehicles clean and dry until better driving weather comes around again.
  • Protection from wear and tear – While we might want to drive our vintage or valuable vehicles around all the time, there’s no denying that it enhances the risk of damage or wear and tear. Many owners of vintage vehicles prefer to keep them in storage to maintain their value and condition.
  • Protection from theft – According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK has seen a 17% increase in car theft in recent years. Good storage units come with 24-hour security, CCTV and secure containers that will keep your vehicle safer than it would be on the street.
  • Travel  – As all vehicle owners will know, cars and bikes need fairly frequent maintenance to keep them running. If you’re going away travelling or abroad for work, it’s not always cost-effective to take your own car with you, which can leave it unprotected on the street for long periods of time. To keep it in the best condition while you’re away – and safe from theft – storage is usually a much better option.

How to prepare your vehicle for storage

Whatever your reasons, if you’ve booked your vehicle in for storage, here are some key tips to bear in mind when preparing it.

  • Notify the DVLA – If you’re taking your vehicle off the road, you should register the change with the DVLA to avoid paying unnecessary road tax. Also known as a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), this procedure will ensure you’re refunded any full months of remaining tax. Just remember to change your vehicle’s tax class back again before you pick it up, as you won’t legally be able to drive it until you do.
  • Get cleaning – One of the most important steps in preparing for vehicle storage is to make sure that your vehicle is as clean as possible. Any crumbs or food items inside the car can attract bugs and rodents, as well as mould, so make sure to thoroughly vacuum the interior and throw any perishables away. Externally, water drops, salt, grit and bird droppings can all corrode paintwork over time, so give the exterior a thorough clean and wax for extra protection.
  • Avoid flat tyres – If left for a long time, the weight of a car can force air out of tyres and leave them flat. Avoid this by inflating your tyres to their maximum pressure or leaving your car on a stand to take the weight off the tyres. When the time comes to pick up your vehicle, always remember to check your tyre pressure before driving away.
  • Prep oil and fuel – Making sure your oil and fuel are both full helps to prevent moisture and contaminants from collecting in your tanks. If you’re leaving your vehicle for a long time, a fuel stabiliser is also a good idea to prevent corrosion.
  • Cover your vehicle – Covers are one of the best ways to protect your vehicle, as long as they’re used properly. Make sure all windows and doors are properly closed, and that the car is clean, to avoid any grit or dirt becoming trapped under the cover and scratching the paintwork. It can also be a good idea to plug the exhaust with rags to prevent dust, dirt or pests getting in, although you must remember to unplug it before driving away. Leave yourself a visible note if necessary.
  • Install a dehumidifier in your unit – Moisture can wreak havoc on all parts of a vehicle. A good way to keep yours safe during long-term storage is to pop a dehumidifier in with it.  

Whether you want to store a sports car or a superbike, TFM can assist with the
storage of vehicles for the short or long-term. Our storage units provide the perfect conditions for storing any vehicle and are incredibly secure. To find out more, contact us or get a quote today.