To store or not to store?

Hello, all! I will be deployed overseas for a year and need to leave my 2016 Jetta behind. I have two options: (1) put it in storage, where they will drive the car for 10 feet forward and back once a month to keep tires even or (2) leave it outside in private parking for my condo with a friend coming once a month to drive it. What would be best for the car? Thank you!

If it was me I would sell it to Carmax if there is one near you . Used prices are high right now and in a year things should improve. Selling lets you drop insurance and registration plus no hassle should something happen to the vehicle while you are gone.

Ah, I know… but I suffer greatly with car buying. The car is running great and I am just not ready to go through selling and buying again.

I would store it.

Add a gas stabilizer to the gas tank and fill the tank.

Remove the battery and put it on a battery maintainer, or plan on replacing the battery when you return.



Since selling is out then go with Tester’s post . Then plan on a new battery when you return plus the tires will be flat and need replaced. I would not depend on the storing place doing anything for you . Your insurance can be adjusted for non-use while in storage.

I managed a self storage and we did not want access to a persons unit and certainly did not want the responsibility of someones vehicle keys.

The idea is to park with the tires in a different place of rotation to prevent flat spotting. Fill the tires to 40 psi before storage, this will reduce flat spotting.

Your military storage facility should have a battery charger to maintain the battery every few months. If you leave the car with your friend, the battery will discharge after 6 months, will he be able to recharge it? Indoor storage is preferred.

I store vehicles for 6 to 12 months at a time, the tires and batteries last 10 years.

If you sell your car, you can expect to buy the same car a year later for $5000 more than you sold yours, but you save $200 on vehicle registration.

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I agree with tester and Nevada. Store it inside and don’t drive it. A year is not that long. Pull the battery, gas stabilizer, etc, I’d also take precautions for rodents. Steel wool in the tail pipe, dryer sheets inside, maybe crack the windows. Spray rodent guard around the engine. Instead of driving it ten feet, have them just re spray once a month. I stored mine under similar and just had to charge the battery after six months, but yeah, plug in a battery maintainer if you can.

I’m with Bing, inside storage with reasonable precautions and 12 months isn’t that long. .

Outside storage, depending on your climate, is another story primarily because in the right climate a car left closed for months at a time can create a perfect greenhouse for mold growth.

Thank you, all! It is a government storage and they will take care of rodent control and such. So I hear that if I do not take the battery out (do not think I can arrange for a maintainer), then I just leave the battery in and expect I may need to replace it when I return.

Thank you!

If it’s only one year than just disconnect the battery once it’s parked. You’ll have to jump start it by the time you get back but it should be all right as long as it isn’t exposed to freezing temperatures in the last 4 months of battery storage, which is the time that it will have already mostly discharged itself. If storing outside you can get a solar charger. Another option is to put the car on blocks to prevent the tires from developing flat spots.

There is no need for fuel treatment if the fuel system is sealed like it should be. I think you should fill up with non ethanol containing fuel before storage though.

That’s incorrect. Modern fuels with ethanol will degrade even if the fuel system is sealed. Putting a double dose of Stabil in a fresh tank of gas is CHEAP insurance, something I would absolutely do.

Edit - looking at the Stabil web site they no longer list a double dose for extended storage, so I’d just follow the bottle directions. They caution against going over a 4X dose.

Edit2 - and that fresh tank of gas would be Top Tier in my car.


I have a car that starts and runs fine after nearly 2 years, even with Ethanol. Are you suggesting that there is corrosion damage or such that could be happening to the fuel system?

Varnish can form over time, E10 is more reactive than E0. Like I said, cheap insurance, why take that risk?


You’ll probably have to replace the battery upon your return.

As a battery sits unused, a process called sulfation occurs.

So, unless the battery is kept at full it sits idle, you’ll return to a dead battery


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Just another comment, try and fill the tank with non oxy gas. At my station it is the premium for off road, small engines, boats etc. at least disconnect the battery. They might have an outlet somewhere where you can plug in a maintainer, but batteries are relatively cheap.

Thank you! But since the 10 foot driving a month is part of the service, would it require to have the battery connected?

I really appreciate your advice.

I would just leave it alone and don’t let them drive it, myself. It would keep the oil circulated and seals etc plus changing the tire location, so then you’d just leave the battery alone. A year is not that long. The army does like to exercise equipment once a month though.

Moving a car 10 feet and then shutting off is bad for the vehicle.

The rich mixture of starting the engine cold and not driving the vehicle contaminates the oil with gas.

No condensation is removed from the crankcase or the exhaust system.

The battery doesn’t get recharged after starting the vehicle.

You have two choices.

Park the vehicle and let it sit.

Or, have someone drive the vehicle while you’re away.



Concur w/Tester above that running engine for short time is worse than not running it at all. Repeated brief running likely will damage exhaust system. Due to Covid-risk/emissions testing complications I was forced to take my Corolla off the road, parked-up 30 months now. I start it up & idle the engine every couple weeks, starting at 800 rpm, then when coolant is at full operating temp, moving up to 1500 rpm for 10-15 minutes, to cause the exhaust system to get very hot, to evaporate any water. Try to orient the car’s tilt so the exhaust is going downhill. Your assistant can move car a little during this so tires get some rotation. I don’t think the tires are a critical issue though.

I just got the document from the government describing what the storage facility will have to do per the contract. I do not know if I can opt out.

Below are current contractual requirements for POV approved storage vendors:
Covered with breathable car cover
Battery disconnected / except on Hybrids the 12V will be connected to a trickle charger
Fuel Stabilizer added annually
The vehicle will be moved on a periodic basis to prevent flat spots on the tires.

Each thirty-day period the vehicle is stored, the following procedures will be performed:

  1. The brake and clutch petal will be depressed and released three times.
  2. The emergency brake will be disengaged and then reengaged.
  3. The transmission (either automatic or standard) will be shifted through the entire gear
  4. The engine will be started and continually run for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Each power window (to include sunroof) in the vehicle will be moved to their maximum
    vertical or horizontal positions one time.
  6. Power seats will be moved to the maximum forward, rear, up and down position one
  7. Heater will be run on high setting for 10 minutes.
  8. Air Conditioner will be run on the maximum setting for 10 minutes.
  9. Each power mirror in will be moved to their maximum horizontal and vertical positions
    one time.
  10. The power antennae (if equipped) will be moved to its maximum and minimum vertical
  11. Tire pressure is checked and adjusted if necessary to required PSI noted on tire
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