Q: Phoenix summers are way too hot for me! I plan on being gone at least a couple weeks to get out of the heat. How can I prepare my car for storage while I am gone?
A: Good question! Preparing your car for storage is not difficult, but is necessary to ensure that your car will be running properly when you return.
- Keep it Covered: Ideally keep your car in a garage or some other public storage area while you are gone. If you can’t keep it in a climate controlled area, get a weatherproof car cover to keep it clean and dry.
- Give it a Thorough Cleaning: Clean your car inside and out. A proper wash and wax will keep contaminants and dirt from ruining the paint. Also be sure to clean the wheels and fenders from dirt, grime, grease and tar. Finally, a good vacuuming will protect the carpets and seats.
- Top Off Your Fluids: Top off the fluids and your gas to be sure there is no space available for condensation. In addition, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent the gas from deteriorating if you are going to be gone more than a few weeks. This will also prevent the engine from gum, varnish or rust.
- Change Your Oil: If you are leaving the car for over 30 days, change your oil before you leave. Older oil has the possibility of eating away at engine seals as it becomes acidic from inactivity. Fresh oil has less of a chance of breaking down and causing engine corrosion.
- Protect the battery: If you cannot get someone to start the car or even drive it for about 15 minutes every 2 weeks, you will need to take additional steps to make sure the battery is charged.
For older vehicles, it might be a good idea to disconnect the battery. Remember you will lose presets, time and other settings, but this will prevent battery depletion and one of more of the inner cells going bad.
For newer vehicles equipped with complex computer systems, it may be a good idea to place the battery on a trickle charger. These computer systems often need constant power and you will want to prevent them from being completely reprogrammed on your return.
- No Parking Brake: Prevent brake pad and rotor fusion by making sure the parking brake is not set. Instead you can use stoppers called chocks to keep the car from moving.
- Inflate Your Tires: If you tires are going to be bearing the weight of your inactive car for more than a month, make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure in order to prevent flat spots.
- Keep Critters Away: Prevent critters from causing damage by covering any gaps a mouse could enter. Also check out our FAQ question on our website about packrats at http://www.honest-1paradisevalley.com/january_e_newsletter for more helpful tips!
Whether it be an extended vacation, a cooler cabin retreat or just going home for the summer, taking a few necessary steps to protect your vehicle before you leave will ensure a properly running car when you return.
Make an appointment with us and we can help you out as well! Be safe and have a wonderful summer!