Skip to main content

Care for Your Vehicle While It’s Not in Regular Use

To make sure that your car or truck is safe while not in regular use, follow this list of tips to help keep it looking and running as good as the day you parked it in the garage.

1. Keep your vehicle parked

Consider parking your vehicle in your garage if you have one. This will keep the car or truck away from the danger of falling objects or severe weather. Parking your vehicle will also keep it out of sight and away from those who would look at it as an opportunity to vandalize or steal. If you do not have a garage, keeping the vehicle off the street can also help to prevent a hit and run. If you keep the vehicle out in the open, ensure to clear snow or other debris off the car regularly.

2.  Invest in a good cover

A good car cover protects your vehicle from dust, dirt, or other objects that could scratch or mark your paint. A cover can also serve as a first line of defense against insects, mice, and other animals (more on those later) that may want to set up shop inside the vehicle. Look for a cover made of a breathable fabric to avoid trapping moisture against paint, and make sure that your vehicle is clean, freshly waxed, and completely dry before you drape the cover over it to maximize paint protection.

3. Bugs and mice are the enemy

Your vehicle can be a tempting nesting spot for creatures of both the four and six-legged variety. Keeping vermin out of your vehicle is a multi-step process that starts with ensuring the interior is as clean as possible, with no leftover crumbs or food particles that could attract pests. Next, you will want to seal up any potential entrance points in your garage; set traps for mice around the vehicle’s perimeter; and sprinkle the interior with either mothballs or scented dryer sheets. If you have small children or pets, carefully consider the safest placement of any traps or deterrents you put out. Finally, close all of the vents in your vehicle’s ventilation system and seal up the tailpipes with steel wool to prevent rodents from venturing inside to munch on insulation, wiring, or upholstery.

4. Charge that battery

If you are going to keep your battery connected under the hood of your car, it is a good idea to attach it to a trickle charger that will keep it topped up over the course of the winter. Modern automobiles often draw a small amount of current to keep certain systems alive even when the vehicle is turned off, so feeding the battery a slow charge over many months is a good way to ensure strong cranking amps when you turn the key. If there is no electricity available where you are storing your car, don not be afraid to remove the battery and bring it home with you where you can keep it charged, or at the very least, warm.

5. General Maintenance

Over time, gasoline begins to break down, which can lead to a syrupy, watery mess in your vehicle’s fuel tank at the end of the winter. While most fuel formulations can last as long as three or four months without issue, a bottle of fuel stabilizer is cheap protection against a tank full of varnish. Keep your tires inflated and start the car up every couple days.
You should also fill the gas tank to the top right before it is time to store your car, as a full tank prevents moisture from forming inside it, which can lead to corrosion.

Follow these simple steps and you will add years of enjoyment to the life of your vehicle.

Storing a vehicle for the season? Did you know that you can remove coverage for the use and operation of your vehicle from your auto insurance policy during those storage months and reinstate it at a later date? If you will be storing your car, you may want to call your insurance agent or broker to discuss coverage options that could potentially save you money.