We know, with so many military here in Colorado Springs, that many of you have to leave your cars for extended periods of time when you go T.D.Y. or deploy—and this information goes for those of you going on extended trips for fun as well as for work. It might not seem like it, but a lot of damage can happen to your car, even while it’s sitting safely in your garage. Even something as simple as bird droppings left on the hood can strip away the paint and begin eating at the chassis of your car if left alone too long and, with your car safely covered, you can’t expect for any natural help in washing the detritus away.
No one wants to come back from lengthy time away and have to deal with scheduling car repair first thing. In order to protect your car, there are some pretty easy steps you can take before storing it to prevent heartache later. Start by checking back to part one of our blog to learn more about the damage that can be done, where to store your car, and why getting your car serviced pre-storage matters. Once your car is serviced and ready to be stored, the next step is to:
Clean it thoroughly
You really don’t want to come back to your car several months from now only to open it up and get smacked in the face with the stench of rotten food. Seriously, how gross would that be? Cleaning your car before you store it does more than prevent unsightly smells, though. You’ll want to clean out and vacuum the inside (as well as give it time to air out, if the weather cooperates), but the exterior cleanliness is just as important. You’ll want to be very diligent about cleaning the exterior because natural elements like water, sand, salt, and even bird droppings can seriously degrade your paint job and damage your car, so it’s important to clean your care carefully just before storing it.
Cover it and leave it
Even if you’re storing your vehicle indoors, you’ll still want to cover it. If you’re storing it here in Colorado Springs, humidity isn’t necessarily a big concern, but it will provide an extra bit of protection against anything getting in and damaging the paint. No matter where you store your car, you’ll want to pop the wiper blades off so they don’t stick to the glass. Also, an important note: do not set the parking brake. The brake pads can actually fuse to the rotor if left long enough; if you need extra assurance that your car won’t roll away, invest in a set of chocks. Finally, remove the battery. Disconnecting it is great, but removing it entirely is even better because, in the off chance that it begins corroding, it won’t damage the engine as well. Make sure everything is closed up securely, drag the cover over it, and your car should be good to leave safely.
While you’re gone: Don’t worry about having someone start it up on occasion unless they will actually be taking it out for a bit of a drive to rotate the tires. If you will have someone driving it occasionally, be sure they are prepared to replace and re-remove the wiper blades and battery between uses to protect your car.
A few precautionary considerations
While these aren’t steps you’ll actively need to take with your car, there are a couple of other things you’ll need to do just to make life a bit easier while your car is in storage. First, contact your auto insurance company before you store the car. You will need to keep the vehicle insured, but many companies offer a greatly reduced rate for cars in storage, so you’ll want to ask your company what the required steps are. If your registration is set to expire while you’re gone, check with the state requirements for keeping your registration up to date.
The other thing is that pests often find cars a perfect spot for shelter from the winter weather. You’ll want to stick a bit of steel wool or a rag in the (completely cooled!) tailpipe to prevent mice from making a home in there. When you return, check for any damage from pests before you go to start it up, just in case.
The steps above can go a long way toward preventing the need for car repair when you return. If you have any questions or need further assistance, a local mechanic can more specific advice on the necessary steps to protect your car from Colorado Springs’ winter weather and wherever you’ll be storing your car. Contact Your Import Car Doctor today to get trusted advice and schedule your pre-storage car service.