Vehicle storage tips


IMHO Midas has that name for a reason. Every tech there is required to try to turn every single job, even on e as simple as new windshield-wiper blades, into gold. By any means necessary.

I don’t know if they still do, but they used to weld up new exhaust systems using their “lifetime guarantee” muffler. The muffler would quickly rot, and the patron would return to get the free replacement muffler. Of course the patron had to pay for all the new piping, the new welding, and all the miscellaneous parts all over again… at inflated prices… but the cheapie muffler was free!

Midas had another trick. They recommend major work on every car that came in, whether it needed work or not. If the patron declined, they’d stamp in big red letters “UNSAFE TO DRIVE” on the customer copy of the shop order to scare him/her. Every shop order. Every time.

They were caught pulling these tricks by an AG investigation in one state, but I doubt if it changed anything.


Then put some sort of rodent repellent in/around the vehicle or you’re likely to come back to a mouse nest.


This will keep the wear on schedule, we know how much you enjoy repairing your vehicles. I don’t see much benefit in this, new and used cars on dealer lots are not driven each week.


I wouldn’t even bother with that. Fill the tank, add some Stabil, drive it home, pull the battery and keep it on a trickle charger, add some rodent defense since it’s outside. I think trying to drive it once a week makes it way more complicated…


George, not everybody lives in paradise, believe it or not (but, I’m working on that). The reason I park vehicles is to get them out of the wet rock salt during our long winters. Therefore, driving them during salt season is not an option.

Also, taking a car for a few mile spin at 10 or 20 degrees below zero only adds a bunch of water to the exhaust system. I’d probably need a 20 mile ride.

Since I suspend collision insurance and it costs just a few bucks to continue the comprehensive insurance, joy rides are not an option.


In addition to things already mentioned, I would use 1-2 tanks of ethanol-free gas ahead of time to work it through the fuel system, putting fuel stabilizer in the last tank before driving it and storing it - to circulate stabilized fuel throughout the fuel system. I’d also shine up the tires before putting it into storage to prevent dry-rot.

I’d also find a way to connect the battery to a smart* trickle charger. Some of the better solar chargers work in indirect sunlight, so they might work in some covered parking.

*one that cycles through a testing phase and a trickle-charging phase, such as a Battery Tender®


No kidding

We don’t all live in San Jose


Oh, that’s another thing! Did you see my comment about insurance? If the vehicle truly parks and isn’t driven you can suspend all insurance coverage except comprehensive coverage.

It should save you anywhere from probably 70% to 90% of the insurance costs (depending on what coverage you have). I have full coverage (including collision, etcetera) on all my vehicles. Check it out with your agent.

I make phone calls to suspend and phone calls when I wish to reinstate insurance. I’ve done this for decades.


I will suspend unneeded insurance.


I also live in Northern California. Maybe the weather is your idea of paradise, but our traffic and terrible congestion in every way of getting around is very, very far from paradise. And, once again, massive numbers of homes and stores are burning in Sonoma and Napa County because it hasn’t rained since April (Paradise?), the wind was up to 60 earlier and the relative humidity was in the 25% range. Paradise looks like hell today.

State income tax is up to 11%, sales tax is 9 or 10% on everything, It will cost $130 a year to renew the registration on the cheapest vehicle (including my 30 year old scooter), a house that might burn to the ground or be flattened by an earthquake costs far more than $500,000.

Paradise, indeed.


You’re reading WAY too much into this

sounds just like southern California, where I happen to live

I don’t live in silicon valley, like George. I’m just a blue-collar guy living in a not-so-nice neighborhood of Los Angeles


I haven’t always lived in San Jose. When I lived in Colorado at 6000 feet + , my neighbor was a cattle rancher. He’d work like a dog in the warm months, 7 days a week 14 hours a day, so he’d often go on 2 or 3 month long vacations during the winter months. And ask me to drive his car once a week to town and back, about a 15 mile round trip, as he believed that was the best way to prevent car storage problems. I asked him if he’d rather I just idle the car to operating temperature instead. He said no, take it for a drive, that’s better. If he had any problems with his car after returning from his vacation, he never mentioned them to me.


That’s probably the best choice, but for a few months there’s really not much to worry about. Fill the tank, air up the tires, and that’s enough. If you have a battery charger, it might help, otherwise call AAA. Keep the comp insurance.


A friend let me borrow a DieHard trickle charger.

I will drive it about 5 miles per week.


If you continue driving the vehicle it doesn’t sound like it is being stored, you are just driving it less.


Oy vey, what a waste of time and gas.

If you’re going to do that, why use a trickle charger at all? A car can sit for a week and still have an almost fully-charged battery, and driving it will bring it back to a full charge.

It takes 20-30 minutes of driving to get everything up to operating temperature. It might only take 5-10 minutes to get the temperature gauge to the normal range, but in order to boil off moisture in the exhaust system and burn off gas in the oil that drips past the cylinders when the engine is cold and the air/fuel mixture is rich, you should drive it at least 30 miles or 30 minutes, whichever comes first.

Wax the car, run some stabilized ethanol-free fuel through the fuel system, connect a trickle charger to the battery, cover the car and/or the wheels, and let it sit. If you feel compelled to drive it while storing it, take it for a 30 mile drive every 3-4 months, topping it off with stabilized ethanol-free fuel each time.


Yeah… By that definition my elderly mother is storing her BMW because she drives it maybe 5 miles every other week. :wink:


Someone above mentioned filling your tank with ethanol free fuel. My opinion would to store it as close to empty as possible. Its one of those things that damned if you do damned if you don’t. A full tank will not condensate and rust but if it is modern it likely doesn’t have a metal tank. If it ends up sitting longer than expected, I would rather put fresh gas in then drain out a tank full of stale gas that is not easy to dispose of. Either way I would avoid E10. It certainly will not be good a year later.


Just put some StaBil in it. It’ll be fine for a year.