I have a 98 Camry and my hubby has a 2000 Malibu adn we are not taking them to India for the year we are gone. We can’t get anyone we trust to drive the cars so we are probably going to store them in a field at an Aunts home. What do you recommend we cover them with, how do we keep out the mice and squirrels out and any other recommendations? Do we drain out the fluids and/or put them on blocks? I am not sure if we can get them started every month.
The cars should have a fresh oil change. Parking on dirt is not the best way, because of dampness, but if that’s all you have…Pump the tires up to 45 psi, fill the cars with fuel (but don’t overfill) and add a container of “Stabil” fuel stabilizer. Clean both the inside and outside throughly. Remove the batteries and if they can’t be charged by someone at least every 4 months, store them in as cool a place as possible. They may or may not survive a year in storage. I would cover the cars with a waterproof tarp (8’X 16’ or 10X20 works good) and tie it down snugly with cord so the wind can not make it flap against the car. I have had good luck with moth balls keeping rodents out of cars stored outside, one box in each, divided up between the trunk, foot-wells, and under the hood. Put some in the “dirty” side of the air cleaner too. Be warned, it will take a week or two before the oder will dissipate upon your return. Some people can’t stand the smell…I feel a stored car should be left undisturbed. Starting them up and running them for a few minutes will do more harm than good.
Good luck in India, you are in for quite a shock…(as in third world culture shock).
[b]Parking them in a field is more of a concern than anything else. You have ground moisture and critters.
For the ground moisture, go to your local building center and pick up some 3 mil vapor barrier and lay this down on the ground below where the vehicles will be parked. This will kill any grass where the vapaor barrier is layed. But prevent moisture from rusting the underside of the vehicle.
As far as critters? While you’re at the building center, ask if they have stainless steel wool. If they do, cram this up the tailpipe(s) and in the intake before the air filter. Critters can’t eat through steel wool.
Lay some dryer sheets throughout the interior of the vehicle.
Open the windows slightly to allow air circulation.
As far as the battery’s? Unless you’re willing to keep them charged with some sort of battery maintainer, they’ll be sulfated by the time you get back. So, give them to somebody who can use them, or keep them charged.
At first I thought this was a long-term-parking situation. But your’s isn’t. So vapor barrier and stainless steel wool.
I generally agree with Caddy and Tester. I would not cover them however as the cars are designed to be parked outside, the covers can trap additional moisture under them and if there is wind and the covers do not fit just right the wind can rub the covers so that the paint can be damaged.
I am less pessimistic about the batteries. If they are now marginal they likely will not make it, but if they are in good shape they should be OK when you return, although they will need to be recharged before use. Do remove the batteries from the cars and store someplace away from the cars and cool. A car without a batter is a lot harder the steal. The moth balls may help, but some rodents just don't seem to care. Personally I believe that you are better off storing the cars and no one touching them is the best method. I don't think much of the having someone drive them idea as they generally don't get driven long enough to fully heat up or often enough. Remember to contact your insurance company before you leave and when you return. Some parts of your insurance should be canceled and that will save you more money than the cost of a couple of battery tenders to keep your batteries fully charged in someone's garage or basement.
Enjoy your trip.
I have stored cars outside both with and without tarps. With a tarp seems to work best. The tarp keeps all water out of the car. Most cars leak a little here and there and this can lead to mold. The tarp also keeps sunlight out and the interior stays cooler. Use decent, waterproof tarps, not the “el-cheapo” lightweight $4 blue ones…Tie the cords side to side under the car and use heavy bungees front and rear to hold the front corners down and in place. Only moderate tension is needed, don’t stress the tarp by pulling to tight. Close the windows tightly to prevent insects from moving in…