Benefits of Storage for Older Car

I have considered placing one of my older cars in a self-storage unit. It is not climate controlled but would keep the car out of the rain and elements. I have been covering the car with a car cover to keep bird droppings and debris off the surface. The storage unit is over $130 a month, and I am just wondering if the benefits for the car would be worth it. This car is not a classic but perhaps could be one day. Thanks for your opinion!

All cars depreciate until there value is close to zero. Then, some models (not many) have enough personality and character that they will become “classics”. Take the big 3 1957 sedans and hardtops. How many 1957 Fords do you see at car shows, or Plymouths and Dodges? Chevies stole the show.

At $130/month, you will spend $1560 per year out of pocket, plus the investment interest you could have on that money. If you keep it 10 years you will have spent $15,600, or with 4% interest, that would be $19,142.47,compounded monthly. That’s the minimum additional amount you have to recoup in order to break even, not counting what the car is worth now if you sell it. I’m not counting the insurance you will still need when it’s stored.

Some of my friends are car restorers and collectors. They make their money by restoring basically good cars that have personality or performance and sell them quickly. Hanging on to a car is financially not rewarding, unless it is very special.

A colleague of mine still has his late father-in-law’s 1954 Chrysler Saratoga, fully equipped, in their garage. They will eventually sell it, but they’re aware that it will need a lot of things, even though the mileage is quite low. They would not look forward to making a lot of money on it.

Even Jay Leno quips that he is the chairman of the “not-for-profit corporations club”.

Since we don’t know what car you have in mind, we can only suggest what type of return you have to look for. If you tell us what the car is and the mileage and condition, some posters may give you more useful advice.


We love hearing from you, and we’re glad you’ve finally found the vehicle you’ve been searching for.

The cars you’ve talked about, hoped for, and wished to acquire, are obviously important to you, but not necessary valuable to the collector car community.

I suggest you reconsider paying this much money to put a car in a garage.

It’s your money, and you can spend it as you wish, but wasting your money is never a good idea. Please read Docnick’s post, and pay attention to what he says.

Docnick did a good job of giving you the numbers. I will suggest a couple of additional comments:

You could have it painted every year for that rental cost. Do you drive this car at all? If not make sure you are not paying for collision insurance.

Tell us what this “old car” is and we will tell you if you are wasting your money.

Pretty much agree but storage buildings should be pretty much short term not long term storage. When I looked at it, the owners break even at about five years, so for that kind of return on investment, you could build yourself a nice garage instead.

It is funny about the 57 Chevy being the most popular 57 low-priced car now. At the time they were new the Chevy was considered ugly compared to the Ford and Dodge. It was the only post war year that Ford outsold Chevy.

I truly appreciate your feedback. Thanks to all the posters. As MC referenced, I do like old cars – and perhaps the ones most people do not care for. This particular car is a 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. It has a relatively new paint job and a good bit of chrome. I can garage it at my home, but my old convertible would then have to sit in the drive. I had purchased a nice car cover for the Eldorado, detailed it this weekend and used Zaino polish to protect paint and chrome, and then covered it. I just think the $130+ a month is too much, and I am thinking if I can keep the cover on it (and it is one that fits the car rather tight), keep a good coat of polish on the paint that it should be okay. Feedback is appreciated. Thank and Happy Holidays to all.

thanks again for all the advice

Why paint yourself into a corner and then ask Car Talk people to bail you out? What else is available in your area to park a car indoors? Can you find a farmer or someone who lives in a farmhouse that may have empty building space to rent for a small amount?

Do you have neighbors with empty garage space that they would rent out for little money? How about a widow who does not drive and owns no car? She would likely love the extra cash.

A work friend built a large wooden box for cheap to store his Corvette during the winter. I didn’t ask if he did but if I did that I would line the floor (ground) with plastic.

Think outside of the box, so to speak.

An '85 Caddy will NEVER appreciate in value…Nothing about it is noteworthy. Save your money…

At one time, I was storing 4 cars at one of those type of storage facilities during the winter months (November-April). Some of them were just daily summer drivers and not especially collectable. I liked owning and driving them but when winter came, they were in the way for snow removal. I also had trouble with mold and mildew growing inside the covered cars during the warmer times in fall and spring. Not to mention the constant vigil to stop the intrusion of mice and chipmonks. Moving them indoors, although not heated, eliminated these problems. I don’t regret any of the money I spent on storing them over the years. Some things are hard to put a price on…