Inflate your tires.
Over time, flat spots can form on your tires when the area of the tire touching the ground becomes rigid due to sitting in one position for an extended period. To help prevent this, add an additional 10 psi of pressure to each tire (Pssst! Don’t forget to deflate them when you start driving again). You can also move the vehicle periodically, or if you have the appropriate equipment, place the car on jack stands with the tires off the ground. Storage pads with semi-circular shapes that support the tire over a wider area are also a good option.
Avoid using the parking brake.
Depending on your vehicle and storage conditions, your parking brake could become seized, brake pads could rust to the rotors or brake shoes could distort the drums. This is why we don’t recommend that you use the parking brake when storing your vehicle. If your vehicle has an automatic transmission, simply place it in park. If the car has a manual transmission, place it in first or reverse gear and use wheel chocks to help hold the vehicle in place.
If your vehicle is idle for more than 45 days.
If you’re keeping your vehicle off the road longer than 45 days, the team at CAA Auto Advice offer a few additional storage tips you’ll want to consider:
- Wash your vehicle to remove road salt, bird droppings (very acidic) tire sap and dirt to help fight against corrosion and paint damage. The longer these things sit on the paint, the more time sunlight and heat have to accelerate the damage. Giving your vehicle a wax helps protect paint against the sun’s harmful UV rays. This is something you should do often, not just when your car is off the road.
- Store your car indoors in a cool, dark and dry location. If this is not possible, consider a portable parking structure or “car bag.” Bags are great at protecting your vehicle from the elements and general dirt and debris. You could also try a high-quality car cover that keeps moisture out but still lets the airflow through, allowing your car to “breathe”.
- If your car will be exposed to significant moisture, use desiccant packs inside the car to help keep everything dry.
- Prop up the wiper arms so the blades are off the windshield and won’t get stuck to the glass. If there are strong winds the arms may fall back down but they shouldn't damage the windshield.
- If there is a likelihood of mice or other critters where you are storing the car, you’ll want to seal off the tailpipe, engine air filter inlet and any other readily accessible openings with steel or copper wool (rodents dislike its taste). Just make sure to remove these items before you start driving again!
The CAA Auto Advice team provides Members with free automotive advice. If you have questions about car care, buying a new or used vehicle, auto repairs, vehicle inspection, driving costs and more, contact us by phone at: 1-866-464-6448 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org