Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Storing Car Outside for 6 months in Snow AND Heat

I’m sure this has been asked a hundred times but after several minutes of searching I couldn’t find exactly what I’m looking for.

I will be storing an '05 Corolla from January-June in Central VA (Snow, rain, heat). Outside, no carport, on what is essentially a yard with lots of dirt & not much grass. How should I prepare? Cover? Tires on or off? Battery? etc

I wouldn’t cover it. You could just leave it outside, after putting a full dose of Sta-Bil gas treatment in it, filling up the gas, and running it for a few miles. Can you run a power cord to a battery tender? That would keep the battery fully charged. You also could change the oil prior to storing it.

Good advice, I kept wondering while reading it how many cars sit in car lots for 6 months, and what do they do?

Tex is right. I would only add two things.

First I suggest you remove the battery and put it on a battery tender. Removing the battery makes it far more difficult to steal.  Unless the thief has a spare battery the right size and wants to take the time to install it, they will likely pass over your car and find someone else's  It is also easier than running a power cable out to the middle of your yard. 

Second, contact your insurance company. You want to keep the comprehensive coverage as that protects you in the event of theft.

If you have the choice try to store it in an area of the yard that gets sun every day. Another idea to consider is a portable temporary “garage”, with the cloth skin over the metal frame. You can get them pretty affordably. Just be sure it’s staked down to the ground securely.

If you’re parking directly on the ground, you want to lay down a vapor barrier on the ground where the vehicle will be parked. This will help prevent ground moisture from coming up and rusting everything under the vehicle. You can get plastic vapor barrier from any home improvement center.

You’ll want to install stainless steel pot scrubbers both in the tail pipe and in the intake box before the air filter. This keeps critters out of the engine because critters can’t chew thru stainless steel and it also allows air into the engine to prevent condensation in the engine. These can be had at the home improvement center. Make sure to leave a note on the steering wheel to remind you to remove these when the vehicle is put back into service.

You’ll want to add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and fill the tank.

Once the vehicle is in position over the vapor barrier, remove the battery and store it in a cool dry place. A battery tender would be nice to have on the battery, but a recharge will sometimes bring the battery back when put back in service, depending on how old it is.

Take some drier sheets and place them all over the interior. These seem to keep critters out of the interior of the vehicle. Also make sure that there’s nothing in the interior of the vehicle that may attract critters.

That’s about it! I’ve stored vehicles a lot longer under the same conditions. And these tips are what worked best for these many years.


All good advice. Howver, don’t park under a tree. The tree sap will ruin the car’s finish.