No one said that a classic car should be practical. A classic car is not a yeoman ‘s vehicle meant to haul groceries or tote grass-stained Little Leaguers. A classic car is a symbol — a gleaming, growling badge of honor declaring that you have made a wish come true. Classic cars are investments in dreams.
So why would you take your dream and shove it in the garage between your paint cans and softball equipment? Or — even worse — let it sit in your driveway with a thin sheet of polypropylene protecting the car that kept you up at night as a teenager from the sun, snow, and neighborhood kids?
Investing in permanent or seasonal car storage is an affordable way to protect your automotive labor of love. Is it nice to have your lovingly rebuilt Camaro or head-turning Mustang in your driveway or carport? Sure, but it’s nicer — and more relaxing — to know that your classic car is securely protected from the whims of cruel fate.
Here are five tips for classic car storage:
1.) Give it some gas. “Moisture is the natural enemy of any classic car, and there are a few things you can do to keep it at bay,” writes Huw Evans of AutoTrader.com. “One of them; is to keep the gas tank full of fuel as often as possible, especially when you’re moving it to storage for extended periods.”
According to Evans, a full tank stops moisture from forming in the void left by the spent fuel, and prevents sediment in the bottom of the tank from getting kicked into your fuel line. Evans also recommends using fresh, high-octane gas to fill ‘er up before packing your vehicle into a car storage unit, and adding a fuel stabilizer. Older cars can be finicky.
2.) Jack it up. “Place the vehicle on jack stands,” recommends Donald W. LeGoullon oh Hagerty.com. “This step avoids tire flat spots and adds longevity to the suspension because it is not supporting the vehicle’s weight during storage.” Kind of like how you put your feet up after a long day’s work.
3.) Change the oil, pocket the sparkplugs. It may seem like a no-brainer, but an oil change should not be delayed if you plan leave your vehicle in a car storage unit for an extended period.
“Dirty oil is contaminated with acids and water that can cause premature bearing failure and rust inside the engine,” according to BuyClassicCars.com. “(Also), if the car is likely to be left for a very long period of time unattended, remove the spark plugs and liberally squirt some form of ‘upper-cylinder lubricant’ into the cylinders…This will help stop the piston rings from rusting to the cylinder walls.” This will also prevent anyone from taking your car for an unauthorized spin (looking sharply at you, teenage sons).
4.) Hit the showers. Even if you were proactive enough to get your car into a storage unit before the salt trucks took to the street, you still want to make sure your vehicle has been thoroughly washed before leaving it in car storage.
“Protect the paint. Give the vehicle a good washing before it’s put away for the winter to remove any road salt or grunge, and be sure to dry it thoroughly, too,” notes MuscleCarClub.com. “Then apply a protective coat of wax. Finally, slip on a breathable cloth car cover (plastic covers will trap condensation and provide a fertile breeding ground for rust).”
5.) Go with the pros. Sure, Farmer John may have a nice, spacious barn with a good roof and a sturdy lock. He may also have mice and moths and other pests cruising through the winter in your sweet ride. A professional self-storage provider like Uncle Bob’s can offer car storage units for rent that you can trust. See if there is an Uncle Bob’s near you.
Almost everyone has a special vehicle in their fantasies. If you are lucky enough to live out the dream, make sure you take the best possible care of your classic car. And feel free to let me borrow it sometime.
Photo from Flickr / possumgirl2.
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