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Storing car in tropics

What should I do to store a car in the tropics outside using a car cover? Do I need to put activated charcoal in the passenger area to fight molds? Gasoline additives? Disconnect battery?



Thanks in advance!

How long do you plan on storing it? Where in the tropics? What kind of car?

Yes, please define “tropics” and how long in storage.

I plan on storing for 7 months, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, 4 door sedan made by Honda, model Accord Ex.

Most of us don’t have much experience with tropics, and I sure don’t. However covering a car with a tarp would usually be a bad idea. It just traps more moisture and prevents drying as well as potentially caused paint damage if wind causes the tarp to move and scratch or wear the finish.

Hey! Find a place to keep it under cover, and DON’T use a tarp! A car port will be perfect. If you put a tarp over it, firstly the tarp will beat the paint right off your car if there is any sustained winds. Secondly, a tarp will not last in the tropical sun, will quickly develop leaks, and will have the effect of keeping the moisture IN! Don’t Do It!

Your best course of action is to find a car port where it is sheltered from the sun, but exposed to the wind. If you can find a place over 2000 ft of elevation, that is a great help as well. It gets you out of the humidity that is always present below.

I have a Malibu down in Panama, and I learned this lesson well just this last season.

Another option is to roll it into a 20’ sea can. You may be able to buy these cheap or rent. Often they are like so much litter down in the tropics.

If you have a friend you trust, have him drive it over a bumpy road once a month, and also put a charger on the battery for an hour. Starting a car does not deep charge a battery. It merely replaces what was used to start it.

This will keep your shock struts lubricated, your engine seals wet, your pulley surfaces rust free, and will shake the scale off the plates inside your battery. Heat kills batteries in the tropics. Humidity is your enemy. If your shock struts get rusty, goodbye to the seals next time you use it.

As far as I know, there isn’t much you can do about mold. The best thing to do for this is to leave the window down a 1/2 " to let some air in. You’ll have to clean it, but oh well.

Whatever you do, don’t park it in the weeds with a tarp. If you can’t find a car port and the car doesn’t leak, you can tin-foil the windows and leave it out in the rain, but not in the grass. The grass will grow up around your car and and not allow a breeze underneath.

Good luck.

I found plugging up the exhaust pipe and the air intake, as well as any other openings to cozy little rat homes is good practice. I found steel wool or brass scrubbies are pretty good for this, although steel wool rusts. Rats will gnaw through anything non-metallic. Make a list of the things you do, so you don’t drive yourself nuts when you come back and can’t get the car to start.

Since it hasn’t already been stated, a fuel stabilizer is a very good idea. Sta-Bil is the one I use, and has a nice measuring device built into the bottle. I usually pour the recommended amount into a half full tank while I am at a gas station, then fill the tank the rest of the way to mix it up. Drive around some afterward to get the stabilizer into the fuel lines.

I lived in the tropics for 5 years (Malysia) and echo yuor recommendations. In all cases, keep the air circulating around the car, and try to keep the sun off the paint if possible. Bu a tarp is the worst thing to have.

I would also put a strong dessicant inside the car to keep absorbing moisture. Tha t would also prevent mold and mildew. As well, block off engine air intake and exhaust pipe; you never know what wildlife will crawl inside.

Seven months is not an extremely long time.

A good wax job, forget the tarp. Find some shade if possible. Remove the battery, store it in a cool place. Make sure there are NO water leaks into the interior, including the trunk. 7 months is not that big a deal…