There are several things to keep in mind when deciding how store your car, including where you’ll store it, how to prep it, and more. Here’s what you need to know about storing your car long term.

What Can Happen to Your Car in Long-Term Storage?

Whether you store your vehicle in your garage or at a storage facility, letting your car sit unattended for long periods of time can result in some possible effects of long-term storage:

  • Degradation of fluids
  • Tires losing pressures and developing flat spots
  • Belts and hoses drying out and cracking
  • Pest infestations

To mitigate these, you’ll want to ensure you’ve properly prepared your vehicle for storage and visit periodically to run the car and check for critters.

Benefits of Long-Term Vehicle Storage

If you need long-term car storage, storing your car in a storage facility may be right for you. The benefits of using self storage for cars include:

  • Freeing up space in your garage or driveway
  • Dedicated security and protection
  • Saving money on maintenance
  • Additional protection from inclement weather

Long term storage unit benefits include additional space at home, dedicated security, weather protection, and repair savings.

Additionally, depending on your storage facility’s insurance policies, you may be able to save money by dropping collision coverage or temporarily suspending your car insurance.

Where to Store a Car Long Term

There are a few car storage options with varying levels of protection to consider, based on your storage needs. Some commonly used car storage methods are:

  • Outdoors with a car cover
  • Inside a carport or home garage
  • A storage unit with or without climate control

Storage facilities are a popular choice because indoor vehicle storage offers additional security, and a climate-controlled storage unit can greatly reduce the chance of temperature- or weather-related damage. Contact your local storage facility to help determine the right storage unit size for your car.

Benefits or climate controlled storage units include temperature regulation, weather protection, and pest reduction.

How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage

Before you store your vehicle long term, it’s important to prep your car to help keep it safe in storage. Here are a few tips for storing a car:

  • Clean the car’s interior and exterior thoroughly
  • Fill up the gas tank
  • Disconnect the car battery
  • Change the oil

Prepping your car for storage included picking up trash, vacuuming seats and floors, wiping down surfaces, washing car, cleaning wheels, disconnecting battery, changing oil, and filling gas tank.

Consider your vehicle’s age and current condition, your local climate, and whether you’re utilizing indoor or outdoor storage to help you select a storage solution for your car. Extreme weather conditions, season transitions, and excessive hot or cold temperatures can damage your car’s exterior, as well as affect some hoses, belts, and other temperature-sensitive car elements.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I store my car?

You should put your car in storage if you:

  • Won’t be driving for a month or more
  • Collect classic cars
  • Travel for the military
  • Are taking a month-long vacation or relocating for a season

If you only plan to be gone a couple weeks but don’t want to store your car in a unit, be sure to check parking ordinances in your area. You should also consider what you need to protect your stored car and how that relates to your area’s weather patterns.

How long can a car sit unused?

Well-maintained cars can be stored for longer periods, but in general you shouldn’t let your vehicle sit unused for more than two weeks. After two weeks, technical difficulties may arise, and storing a car for even longer can lead to engine damage.

How long can a car sit before its battery dies?

Batteries can stay charged between four weeks and two months, depending on the age and condition of your car and battery. To keep your battery charged and in good condition, you can:

  • Drive the car every few weeks
  • Unplug your battery
  • Install a battery maintainer

How much does it typically cost to store a car?

The price of storing a vehicle varies based on location, size, and amenities, but the average cost of vehicle storage typically ranges from $45 to $450 per month. At Life Storage, the average price of car storage is $132.84 per month.

What to check before taking a car out of storage?

Before starting your car after it’s been sitting in storage, make sure to:

  • Take off covers used for weather protection
  • Look under the hood for evidence of pests
  • Remove tire blocks/chocks
  • Check tire pressure, brakes, and fluid levels


Ready to store your car in a storage unit? Life Storage offers long-term vehicle storage solutions, including indoor car storage, outdoor, and covered car storage options that you can utilize. Rent secure car storage today!

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Life Storage

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