Long term vehicle storage

I will need to store my vehicles for several years while I am out of the country. The vehicles are an '06 Toyota 4Runner and a near perfect, all original '71 Chevy Cheyenne pick up. I’m looking for advise from those who have successfully stored long term because I think it is different than storing a vehicle over the winter or even for a year. I need to know what to do in preparation before putting the vehicles into the enclosed storage gargage and what to plan on doing when I get them out in 3 years, before driving them.

From my experience gasoline with Stabil still turns to varnish after 18 to 24 months so that won’t work and I’m also concerned about dry, cracking seals and siezed brakes.

Any and all advise will be much appreciated.


If you treat the 4runner like a daily driver, you loose way too much value not running it. I would sell it, bank the money and purchase another when you return. IMO, the Cheyenne is worth storing. I would run the gas you have through and use a long term storage fuel like Truefuel to run through it. Take rodent control measures, others will have more complete suggestions who have more experience. It would be real helpful if it could be run once year by friend or whom ever, and spinn the wheels as my friend with a gazillion antique cars does. I still would avoid all ethanol fuels. You are right…stabil is not magic.

I think Dagosa is pretty much on the mark,but if I was storing for 3 yrs,the pickup is the one to keep.I would actually run it dry of fuel and put some oil down the sparkplug holes,seal all the openings the mice can get in and set it on blocks,make sure any corrosive materials are removed from the chassis,remove the battery and sell it or give it away,make sure the brake fluid isnt contaminated,find a dry,pretty much dust free place to store it,clean the tires and lower the air pressure in them.And there are a several more things you can do(you could bag it I suppose,dont know what that would cost) 71 Chevys are nice trucks,with excellent parts availibility, sure some other guys will give you better ideas-Kevin

Agree with dagosa and kmccune; three years is too long to pay for storage, insurance and incur all that depreciation. Thanks to Kia and Hyundai, cars are not getting more expensive in terms of value for m money.

Invest your proceeds and you will be able to start afresh when you get back.

The 4-Runner is not unique. Sell it and buy something else when you return. You might want to pack steel wool around openings in your truck and wrap your exposed wiring harnesses with it. Rodents won’w chew through steel wool. You can buy steel wool at your local hardware store.

I agree with jtsanders. THAT MAKES SENSE!!!

If you insist on storing them for 3 years the only thing I will add is that you really need to remove all of the gasoline from the system. Stale gas can kill a fuel pump so allowing even a little to remain is not a good idea.
Drain the carburetor on the Cheyenne also.

Give the batteries away before you leave because they will be untrustworthy at best when you return.

I’d sell the 4Runner as it’s just a generic vehicle and keep the '71 Cheyenne as that is a desireable truck. The Cheyenne is also much easier and cheaper to resurrect if any problems do surface.

Thanks guys. All good ideas. I will probably follow your suggestions because they make sense. FYI - my nick name is REO man because I will also be storing my 1929 REO SpeedWagon - International show winner. It was my Grandfather’s, he bought it new in '29!!

If you think you may have a rodent problem put some de-con or one bite around the tires and/or jack stands. It will keep them out. I like One Bite myself because it makes them go to water. They wont die in the truck. Also wipe down the door seals to keep them from drying out.

I would seldom recommend putting a vehicle “up on blocks” when in storage, but for three years, taking the weight off the suspension and tires might be advisable…The tires are bound to lose enough air to damage the sidewalls…And yes, sell the 4-runner…

Agree with everybody. Just to add, in 3 years, gas might be $6-7 per gallon and with newer cars being more efficient, that 4Runner would be worth much less than it would today.

Do you have a picture of the REO you can post?Thanks-Kevin

I will add one more idea.  Put one or two corners of the car on blocks and remove the tyres to a safe place.  It will make the car less likely to be stolen and few of the bad guys bother to have an assortment of various size tyres. handy.

The REO sounds like it could be the answer to your question. You don’t want to rely on advice given on a blog post to store your REO – you should get answers from a reliable and responsible source, and you can then apply those answers to your '71 (I assume you will sell the '06 for depreciation reasons alone). Many cars are bought at auction for hundreds of thousands, or over a million, dollars, and most of their owners are not going to drive them much – they will be storing them, and they are going to rely on the experts for advice on how to store them. If you are storing your REO at a commercial garage, they can give you suggestions (maybe you could share them with us).

I’m also for letting a trusted friend drive around in the Cheyenne now and then. If you want someone to drive around in your REO now and then, you will have dozens of people to select from.

Also should have added … before storing the cheyenne, I’d recommend a good wash and then a coat of good wax, and then putting flannel sheets on (maybe even two layers). You’ll still get dust (some of which is pretty acidic) on the paint, but it won’t be nearly as bad.

Nobody else said it so I will: Park whatever you decide to keep in an indoor location as you said, well ventilated and with low humidity. Everything else was covered pretty well. You might want to talk to someone at a car museum for good measure. I’d want fresh oil and antifreeze installed for an extended storage time period. I would not worry too much about the tires (vehicle blocked up, of course) unless they are old to begin with. When you get back, install gasoline, check tire pressures, fluid levels, then start and go. There will be enough residual oil on the engine parts for a safe start.

The fire department in my home town had a 1928 or 1929 REO Speedwagon fire truck that I can clearly remember in service when I was very young. I recall seeing that thing freshly started and driven hard to get quickly to a fire. The driver would wind the 6 cylinder flathead, I believe it was, engine up in each gear until it would not go any faster. Then he would shift to the next gear. That REO Speedwagon had a tough engine to withstand that abuse.

Don’t forget to check with your insurance company. You should be able to cancel your collusion insurance as it is not likely you will be having an accident, but don’t cancel all the insurance. It is possible a fire or theft might destroy your car.

Also consider selling them. They are only going to loose value, will cost you for insurance (unless you want to risk total loss) Are they something that you will not be able to replace when you get back home?

If the REO was bought new by the OP’s grandfather (how awesome is that!) I can’t imagine he’ll ever consider selling it. I know I wouldn’t. Even if the Cheyenne doesn’t have the same sentimental value, they’re getting rarer and more valuable, and an all original in near perfect shape is very hard to come by. 4 Runners are a dime a dozen in comparison.

REO man, you’ve got a great fleet of old trucks! Store 'em right and never let them go!