Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

What should I do with my car when I go sailing?

Next year I’m retiring and planning to go sailing. I plan to be cruising for at least a year, possibly two or more. I’ve heard that it’s not a good idea to drop auto insurance as insurers look askance when one attempts to resume coverage after a break. I live in a condominium without garages. I have a daughter and son-in-law who might be able to use my car, but the value to them would likely be minimal. What suggestion/s do you have?

Sell the car if it’s going to be over a year… If you have never been cruising in a sailboat for an extended period, you may find 6 months is more than enough…

I Have Cars That I Don’t Drive For Extended Periods Of Time. They “Live” Outdoors. With A Phone Call, I Suspend The Collision And Basically Everything Except Comprehensive Coverage.

The company credits my account for unused collision insurance and uses it to pay future comprehensive premiums.

This coverage insures for fire, theft, and damage while parked. It costs less than $100 / year. One phone call to my agent reinstates full coverage and she’s got a “proof of insurance certificate” waiting or she’ll fax it.

I must have accidentally taken the back window out of one om my “suspended” cars with a weed trimmer (glass exploded, I was trimming, and that’s all I could come up with) and my son broke the windshield on another with his head, accidentally (he was very active as a youngster), from inside another “suspended” parked car. No problems with coverage.


I’ve gone without insurance for extended periods twice (I was living overseas). It didn’t noticably affect anything.

The best way to find out is to contact your insurer, explain your situation, and find out what they recommend. After the call center respondent gets over her envy, she will be happy to tell you, or find out what they do when a car is not driven for a year. You will need to find a safe place to store it, and prep it for storage, too. You will need to use a fuel stabilizer in you gasoline, and put a few drops of motor oil in each cylinder through the spark plug hole. Replace the plugs when you are done. You might consider a car cover, and putting the car on jack stands to prevent permanent flattening of the tires while it sits. And while an Integra is a nice car, it is not a classic. You could sell it and buy another car when you return.

One argument I’ve heard that might solve your insurance problem, especially if the trip stretches out is the following. Unless you’re really married to the car, storing it can decrease it’s value to you over that years time as well as affect reliability on components that are meant to be used. Do the “gazintas” and you’d be surprised at how close it would be to just selling to them or gifting and buying new on your return. If it’s two years, it’s a no brainer…dump it ! It’s one less headache while away and returning. If not used much, you will loose big time in value. Put proceeds in some interest drawing account and sail with freedom from worry. That you really don’t know how long, is the best reason to sell !

For over 20 years I have been parking one car for the summer and another for the winter most times in a well ventilated garage and have found that when the car stops, deterioration stops also. One of the two cars is still running well, the other gets traded now and then. It is not at all necessary to periodically drive a car stored for 6 months in my experience.

With fuel injection the system is sealed and so the cars start immediately after storage. The sealed system does not permit the volatile portion of gasoline to evaporate off to make for hard starting as it was when carburetors were used. Stabil might be good but I don’t use it but in this case would do so as a precaution not knowing if it is really good or not.

If you get a locking gas cap, be sure to get one that does not easily permit ventilation to allow the volatile portion of the gasoline in your tank to evaporate.

For one year, keep the car. For two years, sell it.

A year shouldn’t be that bad. You might want to have your relatives drive it every few weeks or so, and consider getting one of the chargers that monitors the battery and keeps a small trickle charge going to keep it topped up. Change the oil and coolant before you park it. Change again if necessary when you resume driving it.

Another option besides having someone drive it would be to take the battery out and cover the car. This will keep sun damage away. I’d be a little leery of parking a car outdoors for that long, as small animals may make it their home, wasps will build nests behind the side mirror glass (happened to me), and weather will affect it.