The onset of the global covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the everyday lives of many people, especially here in the United States. Where previously our car was king, many of us find ourselves working from home and not needing our car at all. In this situation, the option of storing our car for a period of time presents itself.
Setting aside our cars in storage can seem an obvious strategy, but it is not without its pitfalls. In today’s blog post, we’ll be sharing with you our tips and advice on how to properly store your car and protect both the interior and exterior from damage.
Wherever you plan to store your vehicle, detail first
You might be wondering why we advise you to detail the car before you store it. If you’re going to cover it up and/or lock it in a garage, why bother cleaning it, right? In fact, the most crucial first step is detailing, regardless of how you plan to store it. This is because:
1. Any dirt or other contaminants already on the outside your car will do damage to the paint if left untouched. Dirt and dust on the paint will eat through the clearcoat, causing the car to lose its gloss finish.
2. Dirt and moisture left on the inside of the car can attract pests and even result in mold growth.
So, before you take the step to store the car, you should conduct a full detailing. Car detailing services are still active in the pandemic, since they have been granted “essential service” status.
Essential tips and advice for when detailing your car before storing
When detailing before storing your car, there are some important things to remember for both the interior and exterior of your car. Let’s start with the interior:
Interior Cleaning Tips:
First of all, clear out all the trash that you have in your car --- all of it. This will help ensure that nothing left in the car will attract pests, which can often find their way into your car, especially insects.
Second, if you are using any kind of shampoo or conditioning products on your upholstery that will leave it damp, ensure that there is adequate time for it to completely dry. Any trace of moisture left in the interior before storing in a dark, often damp garage can result in mold or other unpleasant side-effects (e.g. must odor) in your car.
Exterior Cleaning Tips:
You’ll want to clean of any and all dirt, grease and other contaminants from all your car’s exterior surfaces. A clay bar is a handy detailing tool that works wonders in getting out the most embedded contaminants from their tiny hiding places.
Finally, you should always apply a layer of wax or sealant to add a protective layer around the paint to stop any further contaminants from getting onto the paint while it’s sitting in storage. This is especially important if you aren’t using a car cover.
Can’t I just forge the detailing and wash the car after storing?
For some, the idea of spending good money to detail the car when it’s only going to be covered up and/or go into storage seems a waste of time and money. Here we’d like to reiterate the fact that not detailing before your store means those contaminants sitting on the paint and other surfaces of your car’s exterior/interior are just going to further embed themselves and do more damage.
Washing and detailing the car after storage is good, too, but you can’t miss the pre-storage detailing step.
Safe Car Storage – Important Advice
After a thorough wash and detail, it’s time to store your car. The question remains, how do you do that safely and effectively? Below are our top tips on achieving that:
Trees are the enemy – No matter what else you do with regards to storage, do not leave your car exposed under a tree. Even covered, it’s far from ideal. It seems odd to say this because you might have believed their shade helpful, but believe us when we say that their sap, acidic by-products carried over by rainwater, nesting birds and their excrement and more are all far more significant than any benefit brought by shade.
You should also avoid storing the car near any kind of mulch, since that can launch artillery spores, which are not good for your car one bit.
Whether you’re storing indoors or outdoors, a car cover is very helpful. Invest in a good one --- favor quality over low price; covers range from $100 to 400 or so --- and remember to clean the car before you apply the cover.
To keep your car’s battery charged and its fluids in good circulation, you should get into your car, start it and warm it up about once a week. It’s a little bothersome, but you’ll be glad you do it when your battery, fluids and other parts are all in good working order when the time comes to resume regular use.
Other tips include adding air to the tires to keep tire pressure optimal while sitting in storage. You can also use fuel stabilizer to stop the fuel from corroding the tank, but only if you’re going to be storing the car for 6 months or more. Finally, leave the emergency brakes off to relieve pressure on the pads and drums.
All of these things will help ensure that