How to Prepare a Car for Long Term Storage

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How to Prepare a car for long term storage

What to consider when preparing your car for long term storage with a professional storage facility.

Below are our our recommendations when faced with the first-tiome prospect pf leaving your car with a professional vehicle storage facility.

This step-by-step pre-storage process is both for customers who’d like to prepare their own cars for storage and also a great help for the facilities who you've trusted to look after your vehicle.

It must be said that any car storage facility worth their salt will caryy out the vast amjority, if not more, checks on your vehicle. They will be able to answer any reservations you may have and will put you at ease.


However, to put you the customer in thedriving seat, following these common-sense guidelines will help to keep your car in the best possible condition whilst laid up and out of regular use.

Step 1. Have your car serviced at a reputable garage.

Our first recommendation when asked about preparing a vehicle for long term storage is always this; get your car serviced by a good local dealership or trusted independent garage.

Explain to your garage that you’ll be storing your car for several months.

Your garage will most likely prescribe the ‘topping up’ (or changing for new) of all the basic fluids such as oil, coolant and brake fluid, as well as possibly suggesting that you change the oil filter.

If your car is on a managed service whilst with your chosen facility, they will likely keep an eye on any leakage from underneath the car and report back.

This should include, as we’ll discuss later, losing pressure from the tyres, loss of any ancilliary functions eg. headlights, indicators, washer jets etc.

Step 2. Remove all non-essential items (and rubbish) from inside the car.

Please remove any items from the car that do not belong with the car. Your chosen facility cannot accept responsibility for personal belongings stored inside a vehicle and will no doubt ask you to remove any bags, bottles, boxes, jackets, shoes, glasses, glasses cases, aftershaves, perfumes, sweets and so on.

They will also likely not accept responsibility for any car parts that are not attached to a car in the correct manner. These are typically left in a car at your own risk – they may ask you to remove any car-parts that are placed in such a away that might interfere with the safe driving of the vehicle.

Please do definitely check for hidden litter in your car – especially any fluids, perishables or edibles – which could rot under a seat or in a door pocket or in the glove box.

It’s obvious when you think about it, but whilst preparing a vehicle for long term storage you’d be surprised what storage companies find left inside cars.

So, do please check both in and under, the following:

  • Car seats and in the gaps between the seats and back cushions
  • Car seat pockets
  • Boots & Hoods
  • Spare wheel compartments
  • Door pockets and storage cubby holes
  • Glove box and other compartments

Step 3. Clean and dry your car inside and out.

It is entirely possible that your chosen facility will carry out the valeting of your car however, it is our recommendation that, if possible, your car should go in to storage clean and dry. Inside and out.

If you can, do take particualr care to ensure your car is completely dry inside* especially if you've had your car's carpets wet-vacced and in older vehicles do check the spare wheel compartment within the boot space.

If the storage company believes that your car may be damp inside, increasing the risk, over time, of mould attacking the interior due to excess moisture, then they will no doubt will advise a course of cleaning and drying which may come at extra cost.

This will likely include, as a precaution, the car either sitting in a sealed air-chamber or a dehumidified unit for a minimum of 48 hours prior to being put away.

*Facilities will likely use a damp meter during the induction process to test the moisture content of the car.

Step 4. Fill the fuel tank with fuel.

On your way to the facility it is usually best to fill the fuel tank to the brim with a premium grade fuel - see our post on E10 fuels.

The reason for this course of action is to help avoid any condensation building up in the tank over long periods of non-use.

If you’re worried about the fuel going off whilst the car is in storage, adding some fuel stabiliser will help to keep the fuel in good order.


Step 5. Check your tyre pressures.

Please visually check your tyres for any obvious pressure differences as well as any obvious tyre damage.

It’s quite likely your tyre pressures will have been checked during the pre-storage service too, and facilities will likely also make a note of each tyre and wheel’s condition during the induction process.

It’s a good idea to check the tyre pressures a week or so before your drop off date and make a note of these details and any differences on the day of storage.

Step 6. Use of a fit-for-purpose battery conditioner.

Obviously, we recommend keeping your cars main battery charged using a 12v or 6v (whichever the manufacturer recommends) battery conditioner whilst in storage.

However, with batteries and electricity there is always the possibility of failure and potentially the risk of fire.

Therefore, if your chosen facility intends to let use your own battery conditioner please let them know in advance and be sure to see that it has been PAT tested within the last 12 months.

Your chosen facility can most likely provide battery conditioners to their customers for a small weekly or monthly fee – some ‘Premium Storage‘ service providers include battery conditioners as part of their service.

Step 7. Use of a fit-for-purpose car cover.

It is another good idea to keep your car covered during storage and we recommend the use of clean, soft, breathable car covers. We can and do provide these to our customers for a small weekly fee and our Premium Storage service provides a soft cover as part of the service.

However, if you intend to use your own cover please be sure to that it is a clean and soft ‘indoor cover’ in good condition. Importantly, please be sure it is NOT an outdoor, waterproof style cover as these will likely trap moisture between the underside of the cover and on the surface of the car body work.


Step 8. A note about SORN

If you don’t intend to drive your car at all during storage then it’s probably wise to SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) your vehicle after it has been dropped it off or collected.

You can read all about SORN and UnSORN here

Remember that, since the introduction of Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) in 2011, your car must remain insured while not being used unless you make a SORN*

And, you will most probably have checked whether your car requires an up to date MOT* or whether the cars tax is due already on the booking form, but if not you can check both MOT and Tax status of your car here - some facilities will look after this process for you - always ask to check

  • Taxing your car will cancel any SORN.
If you need an MOT, you can only drive the car if it’s to a garage for a pre-booked MOT – most storage facilities will be happy to organise the MOT for you whilst your car is in storage.

Step 9. Insurance

If you’re intending to keep your car’s insurance in place during storage, and we highly recommend that you do (please see your chosen car storage facilities Terms and conditions), then you may be asked do give your insurance company the storage facilities contact and address details and possibly their insurance policy details too.

At the Car Store Club we will not provide customers with any physical storage facility's address details.

And that's it.

Except for one thing.

Step 10. Leave it to the Experts

Not all car storage customers have the luxury of time to prepare their car for long term storage. And that’s usually ok. That's why we've created the car storage facility search engine so you can find a trusted facility that understands your needs and can look after you and your vehicle in the way you'd like.

Find the best car storage facilities near you

All car storage customers will have (and do have) unique requirements and the storage facilities are, of course, usually more than happy to organise for any car to be prepared for storage on their clients behalf once it has been delivered.