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panhida

Tips for Storing a Car for a Long Period

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I would be parking my Car in a closed garrage for 2-3 months :sleeping-smiley-008: (with a short run 1 or 2 times a month) as I would be travelling. Would appreciate if some advice could be provided by the AL memebrs on what should be done to keep the vehicle in good order while its parked.

Also would like to know from where I could purchase a Steering Lock (the one that fits on the Steerng wheel) for the car.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Edited by Davy
Changed topic title to a meaningful one. Added search tags.

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Just to add my 2 cents to the very comprehensive list by Crosswind above...

Make sure your AC fresh air inlet is covered with a mesh. Also depending on your model (sedans only) you may have a air vent through the rear buffer to the boot area. If so, have it covered too. Unless of course you can seal off the garage to prevent rats from getting in you need to take care of these two point in addition to those listed above.

If your car is a gasoline model with a carb then you may have to prevent the carb gaskets from drying up. What I used to do with a Mazda 929 way back in 80's was to pour in a spoonful of engine oil into the carb's fuel chamber. Do not do this if your car is fitted with a O2 sensor.

Keep the battery water level at the maximum line and keep it fully charged or on a trickle charger as Crosswind advised.

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Thanks guys for all the advice which i will remember before parking the car, will have fight with a few rats who occasionaly seems to be visiting the garrage :-(

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Storing a car:

1. Clean the garage where the car is stored. If possible, remove all cans, bottles, junk, paper etc out of it. Sweep the floor. This is to get rid of rats, which may have already settled in your garage and to get rid of the dust and dirt. Never park the car outside, unless you have absolutely no choice.

2. Wash and vaccum the car once. This will remove dirt like crow droppings, which may damage the paint if it stays on the body for too long. Vaccuming will remove any dirt in the car, particularly food particles such as 'kadala', which may start smelling and attract insects. It will be a good idea to wax it too.

3. Get a trickle charger and connect to the battery. If its an old car (without an ECU), you don't need to do this. You can just disconnect the battery terminals. If you can't do this, make sure the battery is fully charged and its good enough to hold a charge.

4. Some websites will tell you to fill up on petrol. Don't do this. Petrol in Sri Lanka already contains water and chances are that water will vaporize. Also if the car is left in storage for long, fuel rails may get corroded due to the water in petrol.

5. If possible, remove the tires and place the car on jack-stands. If a tire loses all air in it, it might become permanently damaged. You may have to replace the tire(s). This will also remove the strain on the suspension. However, if you are storing the car for just a month or two, you don't need to do this.

6. Keep the handbrake OFF. If you keep it on, you will definitely get a brake bind. Place bricks behind the tires (if you didn't remove them) to prevent the car from moving.

7. Block the air inlet and exhaust pipe. This will prevent rats going in to the car.

8. For a relatively old car, apply some lithium grease (not petroleum grease) on door hinges and similar mechanisms. This is also optional.

You don't need to do most of these things if you can start and move the car for a short distance, at least once a week.

When starting a car after storage:

1. Give a good look at the surroundings of the car. Check if birds haven't made nests and cats haven't give birth on the wheel wells, under the engine or inside the rims.

2. Open the bonnet and check for evidence of rats. Look for droppings, chewed belts, signs of shavings of plastic. Check the air filter for any damage.

3. If you covered the air intake and exhaust pipe, make sure these are removed.

4. Check the fluid levels - engine oil, gear oil, brake oil, water. Peek under the car to see if you can spot any oil leaks.

5. Check the battery voltage and tire pressure

6. Start the car and run it in idle for a few minutes before moving. Check for misfires during this time. Most likely the engine will misfire due to water in petrol but hopefully it might go away after few minutes on idle.

Elaborate on that please?

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Excellent thread... Pinning it..

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Wow crosswind. I am now a better man for having read that. Damn. :o

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Trickle charger is a charger that gives a small current. You can keep it connected to the battery indefinitely, without damaging the battery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_charger#Trickle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle_charging

so if the battery drains, could you charge with a trickle charger?

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Obviously there are different schools of thought on this but some would say that placing the car on jack stands for a long period of time may encourage the chassis / body to go out of shape.

Keeping the tyres inflated to a higher pressuere (say 5-10 psi more than the usual) while the car is in storage may save the tyres a bit but most probably they will still develop a slight flat spot if car is not moved at least once a month

As an alternative, you could fit an old, second hand set of rims and tyres and keep your good wheels well inflated and lying flat on the floor while the car is in storage.

one more thing, never use a tarp or a cheap car cover to cover the car. Use a good quality breatheable car cover if you have one, otherwise leave it uncovered. If possible get someone to open the doors once in a fortnight or so for a few minutes to air it out.

Edited by HardHat

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so if the battery drains, could you charge with a trickle charger?

No, the charging current won't be enough to recharge a drained battery. It basically charges the battery at the rate as its self discharge current.

Obviously there are different schools of thought on this but some would say that placing the car on jack stands for a long period of time may encourage the chassis / body to go out of shape.

Keeping the tyres inflated to a higher pressuere (say 5-10 psi more than the usual) while the car is in storage may save the tyres a bit but most probably they will still develop a slight flat spot if car is not moved at least once a month

As an alternative, you could fit an old, second hand set of rims and tyres and keep your good wheels well inflated and lying flat on the floor while the car is in storage.

one more thing, never use a tarp or a cheap car cover to cover the car. Use a good quality breatheable car cover if you have one, otherwise leave it uncovered. If possible get someone to open the doors once in a fortnight or so for a few minutes to air it out.

Agreed about the different schools of thought. However, I believe there won't be a damage if the car is placed on the jacking points specified by the manufacturer. I cross-checked with the Owner's manual of my car and that too confirms it.

Wouldn't placing a car on bad tires cause damage to the suspension?

Edited by Crosswind
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No, the charging current won't be enough to recharge a drained battery. It basically charges the battery at the rate as its self discharge current.

Correct. Also if the charger is totally left unattended my advise is to use a solar panel (12V, 2.5 watts assuming 4 - 5 hours of direct exposure and a 50Ah battery on a rule-of-thumb estimation) which are not very costly these days, instead of a power supply connected to mains just to eliminate the risk of possible damage in the event of a lightning strike, surge or a short circuit etc. I do not know how the insurance guys would interpret the peril, should the vehicle sustain a damage as a result of being connected to mains!.

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No, the charging current won't be enough to recharge a drained battery. It basically charges the battery at the rate as its self discharge current.

Agreed about the different schools of thought. However, I believe there won't be a damage if the car is placed on the jacking points specified by the manufacturer. I cross-checked with the Owner's manual of my car and that too confirms it.

Wouldn't placing a car on bad tires cause damage to the suspension?

Is there anything that could charge your battery enough to start up your car? you know incase your alternator fails or something

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Agreed about the different schools of thought. However, I believe there won't be a damage if the car is placed on the jacking points specified by the manufacturer. I cross-checked with the Owner's manual of my car and that too confirms it.

Wouldn't placing a car on bad tires cause damage to the suspension?

Crosswind (BTW, are you a pilot?) you are absolutely right. Shouldn't be an issue if car is propped at the jacking points. However, there are stories out there of bad expereinces people had doing this, especially on monocoque body Jap cars, like doors going out of alingnment and stuff, so perhaps not worth taking the risk.

Suspension would damage if the car was driven on bad tyres. As for storage, guess it would be alright if you selected four used tyres of same size, inflated them hard and left the car on them.

Edited by HardHat

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All this jacking a car up or putting on old tyres while being stored etc is extreme overkill IMO. :rolleyes:

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Is there anything that could charge your battery enough to start up your car? you know incase your alternator fails or something

Yes. A boost charger which can supply a constant current of 5 to 10 amps (for a 50Ah battery) with a cutoff voltage of around 14.4V (assuming a battery temperature of 25C. At higher temperatures the cutoff can be slightly lower) would do the job. Although there are chargers with more complex charging algorithms they are an overkill for occasionally charging a automotive battery. If it is a roadside failure you are referring to, then there is nothing much you can do except getting your alternator fixed and the car jump started.

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All this jacking a car up or putting on old tyres while being stored etc is extreme overkill IMO. :rolleyes:

Agreed. That's why I mentioned that it is not required if the car is in storage for a month or two (although OP was specifically saying the car will be stored for 2-3 months, my response was rather generic).

If a car is stored for a year or more, then this becomes important. If I remember correctly, MasterDon's TR2 was in storage for several years and a lot of damage was prevented because it was kept on jack stands.

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Agreed. That's why I mentioned that it is not required if the car is in storage for a month or two (although OP was specifically saying the car will be stored for 2-3 months, my response was rather generic).

If a car is stored for a year or more, then this becomes important. If I remember correctly, MasterDon's TR2 was in storage for several years and a lot of damage was prevented because it was kept on jack stands.

Correct.It is to protect the tyres and rims more than anything else.Even the 2cv which is driven about once a month is put on jack stands the moment it comes back home.But most cars I have has steel rims and easily damaged,so I dunno if this is neccessary for newer cars - all the same if it is more than one year it advisable to remove the wheels and put it on stands.

Edited by MasterDon

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I am trying to understand how putting a car on jack stands while being stored protects tyres and rims. Ok I understand if the tyre loses inflation then clearly there is a possibility of the tyre and rim being damaged by weight of the car being distributed unevenly on the under inflated tyre.

But tyres in particular suffer deterioration when they are not used. I wonder if somebody remembers the experience Duncan had when trying to use the spare tyre on his rig which had never been used and gave up nearly straight away. There is a chemical in the tyres that keeps the rubber supple and flexible when pressure is exerted on the tyre surface when the vehicle is moving (excuse me for my less than scientific explanation, I'm reciting this from memory so perhaps somebody else can explain better). So if the tyres are not used for a while (and I am talking years here) its probably you might end up needing new tyres anyway whether they were on the car or not.

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All this jacking a car up or putting on old tyres while being stored etc is extreme overkill IMO. :rolleyes:
for a short while, say a month or so - yes, overkill

for a long time - definitely need to get the load off your tyres otherwise they will develop a flat spot which will give your car a very irritating vibration when travelling at speed. Trust me, seen that first hand.

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Anyone has any advise on storing the car for around a year? Planning on moving abroad and have no one to start up the car from time to time. I used to do a full detailing, remove the battery and keep it parked on stands when i am out for a month or two but am a bit worried to keep it the same way for a long time. Am I better off selling it and buying a new one when i return(Given the fact that cars in sri lanka have a very unstable pricing scheme)? or is it still wise to keep it stored with no attention at all ? My final choice is to leave it at a car rental which i know will wreck my ride to nothing more than a tuk tuk :-/

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