Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Car storage

I know everyone’s taking their car out of storage, but I like to be prepared. I have a 2000 Toyota Avalon that I’ll be storing in September for 8 months. The car will be in an unheated storage unit with a tarmack floor. What precautions do I have to take with this auto before closing the door and heading for Florida?

The first thing you want to do is add a fuel stabizer to the gas tank and fill the tank.

If the floor is porous, lay out a vapor barrier on the floor and park the vehicle on top of the vapor barrier.

Remove the battery and either keep a battery maintainer on the battery or expect to replace the battery when you return.

Get some stainless steel pot scrubbers and stuff this in the exhaust pipes and in the air filter box before the air filter to keep critters out of the engine.

Take some drier sheets and spread these throughout the interior of the vehicle to keep critters out.

Crack the side windows slightly to allow air into the interior.

Have a good trip!


I would add only one thing to Tester's response. I recommend removing the battery from the car and store it at a different location, like in the house.  Not only will it be a little better for the battery, but it will make it a bit harder for someone to steal.  Not many thieves carry around an assortment of car batteries.  

You may be able to safe some money on your auto insurance by dropping your collusion part of your insurance.  However if you are going to be driving up north, then make sure you will have all the coverage you need or want for for any time you may be driving a different car.  Consult your agent.

Right down the street from my home is National Parts Depot (NPD). The owner has a large number of cars (100+) stored in his facilty. He says DO NOT use a stablizer with the new gas + ethenol as it will turn the gas to sludge. Anyone have experience with this?

I wonder where he got that Idea?   There are a lot of us here and I don't believe I have ever seen on suggesting that.  I have never heard of stabilizer doing anything bad as long as you use the instructions.

Batteries on charge release flammable gasses…don’t store it in a house. Storage shed, sure…but something well ventilated.

I’ve been storing boats for years, and I always use stabilizer, and have nver had a problem. I just fired up a waverunner that I stored almot 3 years ago. Runs like a top. Not sure where he heard that, but it sounds like he used some very old stabilizer and had a bad experience. Check a bottle yourself…Pretty sure they state they’re good on th new fuels.

I was finally able to catch up to Rick Smith, the son of the owner of NPD, and the individual responsible for the 100+ cars in the collection of NPD. He confirmed that they have seen bad results stemming from utilizing a gas stablizer for stored cars. This is what he recommended: Run the gas down to as close to empty as possible. Then put 5 gallons of CAM5 (100+ octane unleaded in the tank). When you take the car out of storage drive to the nearest gas station and fill-up. Is anyone familar with CAM5?

I’ve been using Stabil fuel stabilizer in my motorcycle for years, as well as my mother’s RV and my lawn equipment. Sludge has never been an issue. Whatever is causing the sludge in Rick’s vehicles, it isn’t the fuel stabilizer.

Why would 100+ octane fuel help?

I guess you’re talking about ethanol-free racing gas (which I think is called Cam2, and is somehow related to Sunoco 100+ octane). Have you checked this web site for ethanol-free gas?

I guess you’re talking about ethanol-free racing gas

Now that would make sense. I don’t know if it would really help, but it at least sounds plausible.

After answering posts on rodent control, that could be a consideration too. Consider precautions in that area as well.

In addition to what others said, park the car with the engine and therefore the exhaust system well warmed. Park with a recent oil change (within 500 miles) and with a full gas tank and make sure that your garage has some ventilation to preclude brake rotor and drum corrosion. I suspect that the tarmack floor will be waterproof and will not permit high humidity to form inside your garage. The concrete in my garage is not waterproof so I had to ventilate it well to compensate.

I have been parking two motorcycles over the winter for many years, a car over the summer and another car over the winter and don’t use a fuel stabilizer. All start fine after storage. Some say that Stabil works fine for them. I say that not using Stabil works fine for me. It is cheap to use, however, so use it if you like for good luck.

I use battery maintainers, not chargers, and simply leave the batteries in the vehicles. For the car, it will then be ready to go at a moment’s notice if it is needed for an emergency.