Collecting cars is a passion for some people. They might only be able to drive one at a time, but their love for automobiles means that they want to own several of their favorites. However, storing them can be a real problem. Few of us have a multi-car garage that we can give over to storing extra cars. Even if you do have a garage large enough to house your collection, you have to be careful that the environment is conducive to keeping your vehicles in good condition while they are there.
Evaluate Your Home Garage
Let’s start by imagining that you do have a garage large enough to store the cars in your collection. If you want your cars to be safe, you have to evaluate your storage to make sure that the relative heat and humidity (or lack thereof) are not damaging your collection.
You can buy an accurate electronic thermometer that will measure both the temperature and the humidity in your garage. The garage doesn’t need to be at optimal temperatures 100% of the time, but in general it’s a good idea to avoid big swings in temperature. In other words, if you live in an area that has very cold winters or very hot summers, every time you open the garage door you’re causing the temperature to change. Temperature differences can harm your cars in a variety of ways.
In general, your storage space should have an average temperature of no more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of between 40% and 50%. Humidity lower than 30% can cause cracks in the upholstery, and if it’s more than 50% then mold and mildew may be a problem.
Once you know what you’re dealing with in terms of temperature and humidity, you can make a decision about where to store your cars. If you want to keep them at home, you’ll have to put some climate control measures in place. For example, if you live in a hot, dry climate you may want to add air conditioning and a humidifier. If you live in a very damp climate, you’ll need a dehumidifier instead.
Find Outside Storage
In the event that you can’t make your home garage work for your car collection, the other option is to rent a car storage space. While renting space can be expensive, in most cases it would be significantly more expensive to replace one of your cars.
What should you look for in a car storage facility? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Climate control is a must. Keep the guidelines above in mind and look for a space that has appropriate measures in place to maintain a healthy climate.
- For long-term storage, your car should be on jacks to protect the suspension and avoid flat tires. Look for a storage space that will allow you to do so.
- When you’re storing expensive items like cars, security is a must. Do some research and make sure that you’re choosing a place with a good reputation and strong security measures.
A good storage space can help keep your cars in great condition, so take your time and find one that hits all of the above points.
Prep Your Car for Storage
In addition to finding a climate controlled, secure storage space, there are some other things you need to do to ensure that your car stays in working order. Before you store it, do all of the following:
- Fill up the gas tank. A partially empty tank can be a magnet for moisture, and that can damage your car. Top off the tank for the best results.
- Change the oil. Used oil can cause problems if left for a long time, so store your car with fresh oil – and then change it periodically.
- Remove the spark plugs and lubricate the cylinders. This step will prevent the spark plugs from rusting – and also keep anybody from taking your car for a spin without your permission.
- Clean and cover your car. If you store a car that’s dirty, you may find that bird droppings and other debris cause permanent damage over time. Wash your car thoroughly before storing it, and then cover it with a drop cloth to keep it safe.
- Ideally, once the car is stored, you should plan on starting the engine every couple of weeks and – if you can – taking it for a short drive. That will keep everything in working order.
If you follow this advice, your collection will stay in great shape, and ready for you to enjoy whenever you want.