Tech Tips
Long Term Auto Storage

Article by "Vader" 3rd Gen ID in response to another members post about extreme long term auto storage. I thought it contained good info for all of us to use.


If you're planning on long-term cold storage, there are some things you can do to minimize problems on startup. I've put machinery into long-term storage and recovered stored equipment. There is always work to do on startup.

Remove the battery. Don't just disconnect it, get it out of there.

DO NOT wash the car right before you put the ziploc on it. The latent moisture will have fun with your car while you're away.

If you have a fixed antenna, spin it off and put it in the cargo well.

Drain and change the engine and transmission fluids just before storage. Oil, coolant, trans, Normal acid formation in oils will also wreak havoc in an idle assembly. Make sure all other fluid levels are at their safe maximum
except the fuel tank. Run the fuel as low as 1/8th and treat the remaining fuel with Sta-Bil or a similar product.

Replace the coolant or enhance the heck out of it with corrosion inhibitors.

Seal all the air intakes and vents you can find. Plastic and duct tape body vents, cowl vents, exhaust pipes, throttle body, etc. Ten-year old duct tape is a mutha' to get off, but it's a lot easier than mouse dung.

Fog the cylinders and intake with fogging oil spray. Spray or brush a rust preventive
(NOT oil) on the brake rotors. Your local industrial oil and chemical supplier can hook you up with a low-oil rust preventive. (Tell them you want the equivalent of Premium Oil Co. RP245).

Suspend the vehicle on jack stands from the box channels on the body instead of letting it rest on the suspension.

Put a 9x11 cake pan on the front passenger floor to catch the coolant drips from the heater core
when (not if) it rots through.

Put fly paper or insect traps on some flat interior surfaces.

Build a startup kit and stow it in the cargo well. A sheet describing what you've done to prepare for storage; a spare set of keys or a key pinning code and blanks that fit your lock cylinders; a spare accessory drive belt (or set of belts depending on year); a replacement heater core; a new set of spark plugs; anything that you might need but not be able to get for an older car.

Close the windows and doors tight. Keep the car out of light as much as possible. If you decide to cover it, make sure the first layer is a lightweight breathable material. If you want to keep the paint as clean as possible, lay out some cotton bath towels over the flat surfaces of the hood and roof (over the lightweight cover), then cover it with a plastic tarp.

It would be best if you could get back to it at least once a year and run it, then store it again. If you don't that opportunity, you'll have some work to do when you do pull it out of storage.


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