Storing a car in Hawaii

I’m thinking of shipping my low mileage 2004 Honda Civic to Kona, Hawaii and leaving it at our house there. We typically visit three times a year for a month each time. Otherwise the car would sit in the garage. What should I do to keep the car in good shape during the periods (up to four or five months) when it is just sitting there? Covered or uncovered? Parking brake, on or off? Any battery, fuel tank, or tire pressure precautions? Anything else?

Park it and come back and drive it. It may need a battery tender. Thats all I would do. When you came back check all fluids and look for any leaks. I would also change the oil base on time not milage.

It wouldn’t hurt to add a fuel stablizer to the gas tank and then fill the tank before parking it. Or? I wouldn’t mind taking care of the house AND car while you’re away? I live in Minnesota.


Put stabilizer in the fuel before you park it for whatever time it is before your return. I’d also suggest buying a jump starter box in case the battery is low when your return so you can get it running again.

Cover or not depends on where it is parked? In direct sunlight a cover might be helpful but likely not really necessary.

If you are worried the parking brake might “stick” you can leave it off and put “chucks” under the wheels to make sure the car doesn’t move. The parking brake on my '03 Civic works great and I’d have no issues leaving the parking brake on.

I wouldn’t be concerned over the battery for a 2 or 3 month period. If your parking spot has access to electricity you might consider a “battery tender” charger. There are also solar chargers that will keep a battery charged nicely in Hawaii if the car is parked outside.

How much are rental cars?? Between shipping insurance maintenance etc it may be worth it just to rent while you are there.

Or look into BUYING a car from a rental company instead of shipping yours over…Hawaii is awash with rental cars and very little market for them…The rental companies DON’T want to ship them back to the mainland…Price a Mustang Convertible from a rental company and you will see what I mean…

Why don’t you just ship it over before each trip, then ship it back at the end of the trip? That way you’ll have the use of it almost all the time.

Rodent control is very important !

Little mouse, from what I know shipping cars to Hawaii is very expensive. We are talking $1000 plus each way.

It does cost around $1000 to ship a car, which is not much more than it costs to rent a car for a month in Kona. So if I go 3 times a year, I save money. And in San Francisco, my primary residence, I don’t drive much because I either walk or take public transportation most of the time. My 8 year old Honda recently turned 20,000 miles! It will probably get more use on an annual basis if I ship it to Kona.

Can you hook up a battery tender? That, fuel stabilizer, and plugging up critter entrances should do it.

If you have a garage in Kona, it’s really no problem…Six month lay-ups are no big deal…

yes, we have a garage, and yes, I can hook up a battery tender and get some fuel stabilizer if necessary. The only critters I can think of are spiders and geckos.

“Little mouse, from what I know shipping cars to Hawaii is very expensive.”

From what I know, so is having a house on Kona that you only use a few months a year. My bad if we’re dealing with a bachelor on a budget here. Nonetheless, thanks for the heads up. I even wrote it down: “shipping cars to Hawaii - expensive”. Good to know.

it’s a vacation rental when we are not using it LM, so if you ever want to rent it, just let me know :slight_smile:

LM, you just made it sound like its no big deal to ship it back and forth. No need to for flame on… I just thought you though shipping was cheap like we were talking about NY to FL for the snow birds…

Matson Lines has a virtual monopoly on keeping Hawaii supplied with all the stuff they need. This makes EVERYTHING very expensive there…Locally produced items, pineapples, sugar, coffee and pot, are pretty cheap…

"it’s a vacation rental when we are not using it LM, so if you ever want to rent it, just let me know :slight_smile: "

Yeah, I kind of figured that was the deal. Maybe someday, in my dreams.

But seriously, it does sound like a rental car would make more sense. Might even be deductible against the rental income.

@littlemouse (This is me attempting to draw you off the others lol. But really, no hard feelings bro!)

Bobinsf said he’d be using the car for three months per year. When I lived in HI, we once had to rent a car for about 1.5 - 2 weeks, wound up spending $350 on the cheapest available car they had (as you noted, many things are more expensive over there). Expand that to three months (perhaps increase the cost to account for the fact he might not want to drive a POS econobox), then subtract the cost of one-way shipment. You will likely wind up with positive $. And hey, maybe the guy just likes driving his own car.

We shipped our car to HI and back. I was in the military at the time, so you guys paid for it (thank you!). It really meant a lot to me to get it shipped for free since I was totally broke.

To answer the question though, as long as the car is well locked up I think you’re good. In HI the main problem would be theft, particularly if you have mainland plates or any stickers on the car identifying you as military, a student, etc. (perhaps invest in a “Ainokea” bumper sticker or something, as a theft deterrent, haha) Also, in HI there’s no emissions test like in CA. I’m sure your car is good, but I extended the use of my old hand-me-down, run-into-the ground 88’ camry by three years due to living in HI. The second I brought it to CA it failed the test and I had to donate it.

Thanks for the reply. You’re right that I will probably save money, especially since the car sits in the garage most of the time in San Francisco (20,000 miles in 8 years!). It will be locked in the garage, so theft should not be an issue, and I will register it in Hawaii, with kama’aina plates, etc.