How difficult is it to store a car for a long time, and have it still function when needed?

I am being offered a really good deal on a car which I have always wanted. It is currently 30 years old, and has only 47,000 miles. It has been dealer maintained all its life, and currently looks and runs like new. This model has many great features which I really appreciate, that just aren’t offered anymore.

The only problem is that I don’t actually need another car right now, but I would really like to store this classic until I actually do need it, which might be a few years down the road. I would like to talk about the feasibility of doing this. If not feasible, then I may just give away my other car and drive this one.

I live in southern Arizona, and I have a carport which is open on two sides, and obviously has a roof and two walls. So I would want to use some type of car cover to protect the paint, which is nearly flawless against the sun on the side which gets afternoon sun.

I am looking for advice and personal experience about storing such a vehicle long-term, and protecting it from deterioration.

It would be best to store it indoors, because the car, even covered, will be exposed to a great deal of heat when the Arizona sun shines on it. And the "rubber"parts will deteriorate at the same rate they would if you used the car daily, no matter what you do. Seals will dry out and shrink and harden, flexible lines will crack and leak, and tires will begin to “rot”. None of these things are fatal, but you will have serious maintenance chores to do when you decide to wake it up.

Why don’t you see if you can find useful info from places that support storage of things like RV’s, which often sit idle. There are probably specialized products to protect vulnerable parts.


Add this to the gas tank and fill the tank.

Park the vehicle and remove the spark plugs and fog the cylinders with fogging oil.


Reinstall the spark plugs.

Put the car on jack stands so the tires don’t flat spot.

Change the oil and filter.

Remove the battery.

Take stainless steel pot scrubbers and stuff these up the exhaust pipe(s) and the intake before the air filter to keep critters out.

Place a note on the steering wheel as a reminder to remove these when the vehicle is put back into service.

Place drier sheets throughout the interior of the vehicle to keep critters out.



What is it?

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I hope it’s a Daytona with the Turbo IV engine or a TC with the Turbo III engine and not another P body.

I drive my Duster only a few times each year, the tires dry rotted after 12 years. Tires can dry rot after just 4 years on a daily driver on the hot desert pavement.

don’t you mean this model ( what ever it is ) does not have the many features you don’t want :wink:


It is none of the above, but it is a Chrysler product. I won’t say exactly what model this is, just that this model was released to great “acclaim” and it really captures the “spirit” of the 1990s.

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One of these?


Pre-1972 340, I hope.

I had a '95 Plymouth Acclaim with the 3.0L Fun car at the time.

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Is it one of these “spirited” models? :wink:

Are you the guy who wanted to use sandpaper to clean up the crank journals with motor in car?

They were not particularly good cars. The only one I’d consider is the Imperial version.

If I had a clean, low miles car that I wanted to have as a nice driver several years down the road I would not consider storing it outside. I did that once with a car (although it wasn’t under a carport it was still sheltered by 2 walls) and it still seemed to deteriorate. Stuff gets under it, around it, the interior starts to smell, etc…

It’s been my experience that covering a car that sits outside just lets stuff accumulate between the car cover and the car. I have had better luck leaving it uncovered and washing it every couple of months.

Everyone could use another car! :grinning:

I would get the car, especially since you’re so happy to find it, and drive it once a month. Better for the car and you get the enjoyment of driving your dream!


I’m not sure if it’s the same where you live, but if I register a car, I have to insure it. If you have to insure this car too, I suggest that you drive it. Insurance can be inexpensive if you declare a couple thousand miles per year.

I had a car that I didn’t drive anymore but wasn’t ready to sell it. My insurance company suggested storage mode. $7 a month

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In 2008 I bought a 1993 Dodge Spirit for an acquaintance that needed a vehicle, I didn’t trust her to buy insurance so I drove the car for 3 months, then sold it. Roomy and inexpensive but not exciting to drive.

A co-worker’s son had a Spirit R/T years ago. Turbo III engine, 224 horsepower.

Hoping that it’s a Prowler, Stealth or even a Neon SRT but if it’s a Chrysler/Maserati TC find a landfill. :frowning_face:

But back to your question, any 30 year old car is like a sailboat; lots of maintenance and no estimated time of arrival.

My current oldie is pushing 70 years old so…

  1. Rust is your enemy so store it in a cool, dry location and in AZ it seems you have 1 out of 2.
  2. UV is also your enemy so cover is also important.
  3. Critters are next and my preference is mothballs in old stockings, plus it gives that “Old Geezer” aroma when you forget to remove them before driving.
  4. Maintenance is hugely important…Wash, wax, dry, polish, oil, grease, flush and clean everything that’s not currently moving twice as much as you’d normally do it.
    5 And the most important is to accept the inevitable, which is that even with the best care things will wear out so only buy a vehicle where replacement parts are reasonably available. Personally I’d love to have a Lancia Zagato but if you can’t find basic parts …

My logic is that a half hour with my oldie and the maintenance costs are a lot cheaper than a Shrink so my advice is to buy the car your love, even if it’s a LeBaron (which actually was a pretty nice car).

So drive it, maintain enjoy it, which is what cars are all about.

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There were no Prowlers or SRT vehicles in 1991, the Shelby and other performance models from that time are quite rare today. Of the Chrysler vehicles from 1991 that I would accept would be a Chrysler TC, I find the smell of the leather upholstery pleasing. Despite being based on the K platform the vehicle has a different feel. All 1991 models came with the Mitsubishi 6 cylinder engine, I would have to insist on a 1989-1990 model with the turbo engine and 5 speed.

It could be fine without doing a huge amount, the 88 Grand Voyager pictured in 2013 hadn’t been used for about 3yrs at that point but fired up and drove after a battery charge. Probably don’t want to know how old the tires were. Headliner was a little saggy but nothing some spray adhesive didn’t fix. Dad ordered it new in 1988 and daily drove it until late 2006. Kept it around to tow the16ft boat that’s peeking out behind it until 2010.