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Storing a Car: Top Tips for Winter and Summer

Christian Petterson

October 3, 2023

If you travel a lot during the year or have more than one car, you have certainly encountered the need of storing vehicles long term


This can mean winter car storage in a garage, leaving the car outside in cold weather, or just the need to park outside in the sun for a couple of weeks till you come back from a business trip. 


Either way, there are certain recommended tips to follow if you want to find your vehicle just how you left it and not see any damage. 


Prevention is always cheaper than repair, so let’s get to it and discuss some universal tips for storing cars, and tips on storing cars for winter in particular, as that’s extra tricky. 


General principles

The best way to store a car is always indoors. 


Obviously! Outside there are a lot more risks, higher humidity, and pretty much any other risk is magnified. 


If you don’t have a garage, try to find a storage unit that can fit your needs, especially if you are planning on storing a car for 6 months or more. Even if you can’t get hold of a storage unit, don’t despair. 


Storing a car outside is not preferable but doable. You are going to need some extra steps, that’s all. 


If you are planning on long term car storage, which is not advisable, see if you can get anyone to take your vehicle out for a drive every month at least. It’s always better for your car to stretch her muscles while you are away. 

Preparation steps

Before storing cars, especially before storing vehicles long term, there are certain procedures to be done first.  So if you are wondering how to store a car for a year, or shorter, read on to find out how to prepare the car for storage and do it properly. 


   1. Wash the car thoroughly


If you’re wondering how to store a car for 3 months, the car should first of all be clean. And not just the interior. Every inch of the car should be clean in and out. It’s not about being obsessive over cleanliness. 


Storing vehicles often means not checking on them for long periods of time. If your interior, for example, is not cleaned out perfectly, the crumbs and other junk will attract rodents and insects. That’s surely a company you don’t want to keep. 


Clean the interior with a powerful vacuum to get all the junk out of the little nooks and crannies. After you wash the exterior with proper solutions, dry it manually and apply wax. For tips on maintaining a clean car before storing it, check out our guide on washing your car effectively.


    2. Fuel up the car


How to store a car for 6 months? Store it full of gas. This will stop moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and will not let the seals dry up. There’s one more ingredient to add while preparing car for storage. 


Add some gasoline stabiliser to the tank for better results. This keeps ethanol from building up and makes sure that the gasoline won’t deteriorate for up to a year. 

 3. Keep the charge


As we mentioned already, storing vehicles for a long time will kill the battery eventually. So if possible, have someone come in and take the car out for at least 15-20 minute drives to recharge the battery. Otherwise, you’re coming back to a dead battery. 


Even if you can’t have someone to watch over the car, don’t despair. Read on for another tip on how to deal with the battery. 

Tips for storing the vehicle indoors

As we mentioned before, if you have a problem with parking in a garage and wonder where to park car for long term, you can always use a storage facility. 

It doesn’t matter if you want to store vehicle for winter or looking for summer car tips

Inside wins all the time. If nothing is working out, read on to find out how to store a car outside


 1. Barrier on the floor


If the garage you are planning to park in has a concrete or earth floor, you are going to need plastic sheets to create a barrier between the car and the floor. This will minimise the damaging effect of minerals, moisture, etc. 


 2. Spray oil


To prevent corrosion and rust, spray some oil on the cylinders after removing the spark plugs. Turn the crankshaft to circulate the oil. A few times should do the trick. After that, reattach the spark plugs and don’t forget the wires. 


 3. Remove the battery 


Disconnect all the battery cables and then remove the battery. Wipe and clean it from all sides to make sure it won’t retain moisture. 


 4. Lubricate the hinges


Proper lubrication of the door hinges, the hood release latch, and the hood hinges will make sure there’s no rust when you open it up in a few months’ time. 


 5. Keep the rodents and insects away


We have mentioned this before, but it’s worth doing again. To keep unwanted guests away from your vehicle, give the interior a proper clean and use mothballs. 

The truth is, it’s hard to repel rodents, so try and use strong-smelling repellent if you have to. The consequences of a rodent infestation can be dire. 


 6. Use a car cover


Don’t be fooled by the safety of a garage. Yes, a roof will protect your vehicle from the elements, but having a cover will also make sure there are no scratches and dust on the car. 


Usually, the covers intended for indoor use are light and breathable, so no trouble putting them on the car by yourself. 


When choosing the right cover for your vehicle, be sure to get the one tailor-made for your car’s make and model. This will guarantee a tight fit and make sure there are no loose ends here and there. For an in-depth exploration of car cover types and their optimal use, check out our comprehensive guide on Car Cover Types And Their Use.




Soft, elastic and high-quality material



Tips for storing car outside

No storage unit or garage after all? You can still park your car outside, but you’ll need a few extra steps to make sure it’s safe. 

Several procedures are essential to follow for classic car winter storage, so if you are wondering how to store a vehicle, and especially how to store a car outside for winter, here are a few tips that will help. 


 1. Don’t park on the ground

Place a layer of plastic sheets topped off by a layer of plywood. And then it’s safe to park. This will keep some of the moisture off your vehicle and protect it against wind, rain, and snow.


 2. Put coolant in the radiator 

Plus, make sure there’s no water. Otherwise, if the water freezes inside, the radiator will get damaged. This is one of the winter car storage tips.


3. Clean clean clean 

Follow the cleaning steps thoroughly before you use a car cover to prevent further contamination. Covering a dirty car is damaging to the paint job. 


4. Use a car cover 

This is the best way to protect car parked outside. Tuck it in and make sure you get the right cover. We have mentioned covers before, but interior covers are very different from the ones intended for outdoor use. 

These covers are quite rigid, to protect the vehicle against the elements, they are waterproof, and they are thick. Some even have padding to protect from hail. 

The level of protection really depends on the area and the general climate. So if you have snowy winters, definitely learn how to winterise a car for storage

While choosing the cover, be sure to check the order thoroughly. Outdoor covers, especially winter covers, are quite thick and heavy; you don’t want to be ordering something just to find out it won’t fit.

An outdoor cover should be fitting tight and snug, so get the cover tailored for your car’s make and model. Make sure the cover is high-quality and follow the general steps on prepping the vehicle. That’s how to store a car for winter.  



Dustproof, waterproof, sunproof, and rainproof



Clean the car, prep everything under the hood, take care of the repellents for the unwanted company, and you’re good to go!  

In the world of car storage, prevention is the key to maintaining your vehicle's pristine condition. Whether you're preparing for winter hibernation or an extended summer getaway, following these expert tips can make all the difference between finding your car in top shape or facing unexpected damages. While indoor storage is the ultimate choice, outdoor storage can be managed effectively with the right precautions.

Remember, a thorough cleaning, proper fueling, and regular maintenance checks are the foundation of successful long-term car storage. Protecting against rust, corrosion, and unwanted guests is essential, and a tailored car cover can be your vehicle's best defense against the elements. Whether indoors or outdoors, these guidelines ensure your car will be ready to hit the road as if you never left.


Indoor storage provides better protection against risks such as high humidity, extreme weather, and potential damage from external elements. It helps maintain your car's condition and prevents unnecessary wear and tear.

While indoor storage is recommended, storing a car outside is possible with some precautions. Using a high-quality, outdoor car cover and following the outlined steps for outdoor storage can help minimize risks.

Removing the car battery during winter storage is a recommended practice. Detaching the battery and storing it in a cool, dry place helps prevent battery drainage, extends its lifespan, and reduces the risk of freezing or damage due to extreme temperatures. Be sure to clean the battery terminals and use a battery maintainer to keep it charged if you choose to remove it.