If you have a car that you don’t use on a regular basis, storing it in your own garage means taking up space you don’t really have. Vehicle storage solutions can take that car, truck, van, or recreational vehicle out of your garage and put it in a safe, secure storage unit, freeing you to use your space more effectively.
Benefits of Car and Truck Storage for Your Cluttered Garage
If your garage is cluttered, one way to fix the problem is with the help of a self storage unit. While many homeowners know about using storage for their extra stuff, many do not look at this option to deal with unused vehicles. Having a car self storage solution is beneficial in a number of ways. It is:
- Convenient – Storing a vehicle you don’t use often in your garage is inconvenient, but self storage means it is accessible, protected, and out of the way.
- Safe – Storage facilities ensure your vehicle is protected from thievery and the elements while you are storing it. They are often safer than your own garage.
- Accessibility – Storage designed for cars will be accessible, so you can use your vehicle when you want it.
Enclosed Storage Unit Options for Cars
There are many types of storage unit options designed for vehicles. Fully enclosed units are a great option for full protection from weather elements. These are some of the more costly types of storage, but if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, hail risk, flooding risk, and other weather risks, you may wish to choose this option.
Fully enclosed storage units provide your own garage space for your car. When choosing one, make sure that it is properly sized to fit your vehicle, including any modifications you have added. Remember, if you added a lift kit or upgraded to larger wheels, you may need additional height. Be sure to consider both the height inside the storage unit as well as the height of the opening, which may be slightly less. Some options include:
- Small storage unit – These measure 10’ x 10’ or 10’ x 15’ and can accommodate small mini vehicles and sports cars as well as motorcycles. Small passenger vehicles, like hatchbacks, will usually fit inside the larger of these sizes.
- Medium storage unit – These are ideal for mid-sized vehicles and minivans. They measure 10’ x 20’.
- Large car storage unit – These units measure 10’ x 30’ and work well for full-sized vans and trucks. They also may have room for a smaller car and additional storage items, like furnishings or household items.
Covered Car Storage Unit Options
Another option is to park your car in a covered storage facility. This is basically a large parking area with some sort of cover to protect against rain, hail, and sun damage. It does not provide as much protection as an enclosed storage option, but it provides more protection than uncovered storage.
These covered parking areas typically have some sort of fence or secured entry system to protect against vandalism or theft. However, they do not provide any protection against rodents, heat, or cold, if that is of concern. Also, they provide less protection against flooding, because floodwaters can easily get under the cover. Covered units are typically sized based on the size of the parking space, and you will need to choose one that fits your vehicle.
Uncovered Car and Truck Storage Facilities
Finally, you can opt to have an uncovered storage area for your car. These are basically large car parking lots with security to prevent damage from vandalism or theft. They provide no protection against weather-related issues, but those options do give you a secure, uncovered parking space to park your vehicle.
This is often the vehicle storage solution desired for recreational vehicles, like RVs. They are already built to withstand weather damage, but they are too large to store in your garage or driveway. If you opt for this type of storage, be sure to consider the impact of weather in your local community.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Storage
Once you find the right storage solution for your vehicle, you need to prepare the car for its time in storage. When you are not driving a vehicle, it can have difficulties, but a little preparation can prevent these from causing long-term damage. Here are some ways you can protect your car from issues:
1. Change the oil and oil filter
Regular oil changes are vital to the health of your car, but before storing it, you want to make sure it has clean, fresh oil. Leaving dirty oil in the engine could cause problems when you want to start it up again. You can either change the oil on your own or take it to the mechanic for an oil change. If your vehicle has a warranty, make sure you check the warranty information to follow the rules, so you do not void the warranty.
2. Drain and replace the cooling system
Drain the cooling system, and then replace it with a mixture that is 50% antifreeze and 50% water. This will protect the engine from any damage due to extremely low temperatures. It is common for cars to have just water in their engines during the warmer months of the year, so make sure you do this switch before you store it for winter. Again, this is something you can either do at the mechanic or on your own.
3. Top off your other fluids
Your transmission, steering box, and differential all have fluids as well, and you will want to top those off before storing the vehicle. Doing so will allow your vehicle to start and run properly when you are done with your time in storage. You can easily check these fluid levels on your own and top them off at home, but always use the products recommended in the vehicle’s manual.
4. Add brake fluid, if needed
Check the brake fluid to ensure the levels are where they should be. Having your brake system dry out while the car is in storage is a very dangerous scenario. To avoid this, top it off before storing the car, and you can be confident that the brakes will serve you well when you get the car out to use it again.
5. Clean the exterior
The finish on your car is at risk while it is in storage. Heat and cold as well as exposure to the sun can damage the paint. Ven in enclosed storage, dust can build up, and that can damage the paint. To protect your car from these risks, wash and wax the car before storing it. You can even invest in a car cover to drape over the car while it is in storage.
6. Clean the interior
While the interior of the car is at less risk for damage, you might as well give it a good cleaning before storing the vehicle. You don’t want mold or mildew growing inside the car, nor do you want to take it out at the start of the season, only to find that it has an odd smell. Vacuum the car and consider having it professionally shampooed before storing it.
7. Disconnect the battery
After pulling your car into the storage facility, take the time to disconnect the battery. This will keep things like the clock or radio from draining the battery’s power while it’s in storage. Do this job carefully, so you do not shock yourself, and only do it once the car is in its parking spot in the storage unit. After disconnecting, use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the battery connector.
8. Cover the exhaust
You don’t want anything making a home in the exhaust of your vehicle. Use a plastic baggie secured with a rubber band to cover the exhaust tip. This will keep moisture and pests out of the exhaust.
9. Run the vehicle on occasion
While the vehicle is in storage, make plans to run it every two weeks. Start the engine and drive the vehicle for at least 15 minutes. This will ensure that it is not getting worn out and that it will run when you need it to. Before running the car, make sure you re-connect the battery and uncover the exhaust, then put these protections back in place when you park it after your short run.
Find Car and Truck Storage Unit Options Near You Today
If you are in the market for a place to store your car, we can help. Search storage facilities in your area, and find which ones offer storage large enough for cars. You can even book your chosen unit from the comfort of your home. Then all you need to do is drive your car in and park it, knowing it will be well protected while you are not needing to use it. Start searching for storage options today.