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Car storage

I recently purchased a distant vacation house and would like information on the best way to store a car in the garage that may not be used for months at a time.

How often does the oil need changing?

Nitrogen in the tires to keep them inflated?

gas tank full to avoid condensation or 1/2 full so it can be mixed with new fuel?

Trickle charger?

Any other thoughts.

This will be in the Northwest where the winters are fairly mild and the summers are dry and hot.

“How often does the oil need changing?” If under warranty follow the owner’s manual, with one of the changes right before storage. If not under warranty, do the same, but don’t count the unused time against any time interval.

“Nitrogen in the tires to keep them inflated?” No, there is no benefit to nitrogen, you’ll lose a little inflation regardless, just check them when you take the car out of storage.

“Gas tank full to avoid condensation or 1/2 full so it can be mixed with new fuel?” Add a full dose of Stabil to a low tank, fill it up, and drive it around for a few miles to distribute it throughout the system.

“Trickle charger?” May not be necessary, but if convenient I’d get a ‘battery tender’, which is a ‘smart’ trickle charger that won’t over-charge the battery.

No change in the oil change intervals. Check the owner’s manual and it will tell you X miles or X months, which ever comes first.

The air you breath is 78% nitrogen. If someone will fill the tyres with 100% nitrogen for free, fine, but don’t expect it to make any real difference and don’t pay for it.

Full tank has a slight edge IMO, but you will likely get other opinions. That said, you do need to use a fuel stabilizer fluid before you put it in storage. That will usually keep the fuel good for about a year if you follow the instructions. Don’t make the error of thinking that if one unit of the stuff is good three would be better.

Trickle charger (Battery tender) is a good idea, but I suggest that you remove the battery from your stored car and take it home with you. Store it someplace with stable temperature and use a battery tender on it. That will make your car at your vacation home a lot harder to steal. Not may car thieves carry extra batteries to fit all cars.

Call your insurance agent. You still need insurance coverage to take care of floods or fires etc. But you don’t need collusion insurance as you will not be driving it.

If you use this site’s search feature, you will find this topic has been discussed many times before. Here are some examples:

Stabil, or similar fuel stabilizer in the gas prior to storage is probably most important thing you can do. A “battery tender” charger is good to hook up so you don’t have to disconnect the battery. Have an AC or DC powered air pump handy in case a tire has a slow leak and is flat when you come out of storage. Not a bad idea to have a battery jumper pack handy as well.

It is best to store the car clean, so wash it prior to storage. An old sheet can be a dust cover if the car is inside a garage. Covering outdoors has pluses and minuses so that is your call. If you cover it outside buy a car cover, plastic tarps cause damage to paint and scratch the finish as they flap in the wind.

If you have mice and squirrels take measures to protect the car from the pests. They can nest in the car and do a lot of damage including eating seat cushions and wiring.