Having a classic car often means you sought out the frame and parts and restored it yourself. These vintage vehicles are a labor of love for many, and if you own one, you’ll want to treat it right.
You might need to put it away for the winter, especially in the colder areas of the U.S., or you may want somewhere to house it in between car shows. Whatever the case, self storage can provide the solution.
The goal when storing your vehicle should be to keep it in mint condition. Let’s go over various steps to achieve that, or at least to keep it in the best condition possible.
Look for Vehicle Storage
While self storage is ubiquitous, facilities that specialize in vehicle storage are less common. Still, you’ll probably be able to find one in your area, you can use StorageFront to do so.
Many facilities have outdoor or partially covered spaces. However, for a classic car, you’ll want a fully enclosed storage space. This could be an individual unit, or it could be space in an indoor parking lot. Both can work well.
A Warm Space
An indoor unit protects against weather conditions, but not so much against changes in the yearly climate. If you can find it, we also encourage you to get a heated unit or to put it in a heated indoor lot, especially during the winter. It’s a good idea to keep it somewhere temperature-regulated in the summer, too, which can also protect your vehicle from humidity.
Ideally, you could place your vehicle in a climate-controlled unit, where the temperature is kept between 50 and 80 degrees, and the humidity between 30% and 50%. However, few drive-up units have climate control.
Some facilities do have drive-up units indoors, and those may have this feature, and some vehicle storage companies may have it for some of their drive-up units.
When you rent a unit for your classic car, make sure you have about two feet of space all around the vehicle. That will make it easier to get around the unit and to make adjustments to the car while you’re there.
Before You Store Your Car
There are a handful of steps to take before you put your car in storage, all designed to keep it in good condition. If you don’t want to take these steps yourself, you can always hire a mechanic to take care of it.
Change the Oil
Your car’s oil is what keeps your engine lubricated and prevents the metal parts from welding together, so change it and make sure it’s full.
Change or Add Coolant
The coolant, or antifreeze, cools down your engine by absorbing the excessive heat. Once you’ve filled the coolant, run the car or take a drive to circulate it through the systems that need it.
Buff the Brightwork
The metallic plating, or brightwork, on your vehicle is meant to shine. Buff it with a gentle metal polish to keep the metal sparkling.
Remove the Battery
You can do this when you get your car to storage. Most storage facilities do not provide electricity inside their units, and car batteries need frequent charging. Normally, just driving your car does this. With your classic car in storage, take the battery home and hook it up to a cycling charger or a trickle charger.
Put Down a Mat
Whether you have a heated unit or not, we suggest putting down a thick plastic mat in your unit to park your car on. This provides your undercarriage with an extra layer of protection from moisture that could form on the ground.
Fill the Tires
Make sure to pump up the tires before storing your car to avoid flat spots. You may also want to moisturize them with a rubber conditioner.
When You Store Your Car
Here are some things to take care of when you put your car in storage.
Keep the handbrake off. Having it on can damage the cable and pads. Instead, purchase parking blocks and place them behind and in front of your tires.
You’ll want fresh brake fluid to protect your brakes. Siphon off the excess liquid and replace it with fresh fluid.
Finally, once your classic car is in storage, bring your battery from home about once a month and hook it up to your classic car. Then, run the engine for ten minutes. This will keep the oil circulated.
Keep the roll-up door to your unit opened and wait outside the unit. You don’t want to breathe in carbon monoxide. Keep your car in running condition and protect your own health at the same time.
These steps will help keep your classic car in great shape throughout the year. When you’re ready to drive it again or bring it to a car show, you should have minimal work to do on it to ensure it’s ready.