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How to store a car for 1 year????? HELP!


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#1 xpguy

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 02:31 PM

I am planning to store a manual transmission Toyota Tercel on my father in law's property for 1 year. I would like to get non-operational status from the DMV so I can cancel insurance on it and save some money (approx $270 a year).

Has anyone ever stored a car long term like this before? Is starting the car once a week and letting it idle in the driveway sufficient? Or does it have to be driven? BTW this is in Southern CA so I will not be expecting freezing temperatures or other unusual temp changes that might freeze something. Any help, experiences, comments, suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance for answering my questions.

#2 medic

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 02:49 PM

there are a few posts about car storage, but here are some suggestions:

jack up the car to avoid pressure spots on the tires. If you can't do this, over inflate the tires to their maximum PSI

use a gas stabilizer or drain the gas from the vehicle

keep some baking soda or other odor absorber in the car to avoid that nasty smell

idling a car can do worse then just driving it...it takes about 15 minutes of driving to warm up all the components (especially the exhaust). Anything less is a bit of a waste and can casue the vehicle parts to rust from inside out, but honestly, that's not really likely to happen in a year

other people will have more thoughts

where are you storing the car - a garage or in a field?

#3 xpguy

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 03:05 PM

The car will be stored on a driveway outdoors. Should I buy a car cover or will this do more harm than good?

I have done a search on car storage and the 2 threads I found they were for short term storage (a few months or for the winter), but there was a lot of useful information in those threads.

So I guess my final question is: Is there anything else that I should be considering or concerned about if I want to store a car for 1 year that isn't mentioned in the "storing a car for winter" threads?

Or is storing a car for the winter pretty much the same as storing a car for 1 year?

#4 Brad B.

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 06:20 PM

Absolutely get a car cover. You want to protect the paint and interior from UV rays which are very damaging. Get a quality cover that breathes, don't use plastic or nylon.

Store the car in gear but do not put the emergency break on. It can rust in place.

Choose one of these options:

1. Would it be possible to run an extension cord to the car and run a trickle charger to the battery? Do this and your battery will last a long time. You can then just drive the car once a month to keep the fluids moving and keep the tires in shape. (Keep the tires near the max inflation level on the sidewall. Change your oil and top off fluids before storing car. Wash and dry car well before storing and at each driving period.)

2. If you cannot trickle charge your battery then you must plan to run the car twice as often.

3. Remove the battery and keep in a garage or basement on a trickle charger. Put in car one a month and use plan #1.
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#5 Fskof

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 07:26 PM

1.Change the oil
2. Top off fuel tank. Pour Stable into the tank and run it for a few minutes (to get it into the fuel lines) Do not drain it. A empty tank will cause condensation and your tank will start to rust!
3.Top off all fluids
4. Clean the interior of the car. Make sure there are no fast food wrappers, candy bar in it. Use a box of baking soda or odor absorber.
5. Close all windows, trunk, hood. (Prevents rodents from entering and building nests.)
6.. Jack up the car and put it on blocks (this will prevent flat spots)
7.Store the car in gear. DO NOT put the emergency brake on. (It will rust in place.
8.. Pull the battery out of the car and put it into the basement, garage, shed.
9..Stuff a rag into your tail pipe. This will prevent rodents from building a nest in your muffler. ( I have seen it happen!)
10.Cover the car with a good quality car cover. If you decide not to then use a uv sunshade on the windshield and rear window. This will keep the car cooler inside (prevents the dash from cracking)

11. (Optional) Keep a viscious dog chained to your car to keep burglers away)

You will be able to store your car for years by following these simple steps.

#6 Accumulator

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Posted 02 June 2003 - 08:15 AM

You're getting good advice, but one suggestion makes me nervous. I'm not familiar with Tercels, but I'd be wary of putting a car "up on blocks" without checking with someone who really knows those cars. Some vehicles SHOULD NOT be stored with the suspensions unloaded, others don't mind. This can be a really big deal with some cars, so look into it. You might need to do SOMETHING to put some load on the suspension if the car's off the ground.

FWIW, I never had too much trouble with flat-spotted tires on my XJS (fairly heavy car). I still have the original 1985 wheels/tires, and I've stored it for very long periods (well over a year at times) on them. The minor flatspotting always went away after a little driving. Over-inflate the tires (I usually use at least 50 psi or so), or look into the tire pad things made to prevent flatspots.

It might be overkill, but pulling the sparkplugs and shooting a little oil down into the cylinders might not be a bad idea if you're not going to drive it the whole time. On some cars it only takes a few minutes.

Inspect the car from time to time. Make sure no critters are living in your engine compartment, for instance.

When time comes to start it up, pull the fuel pump relay/fuse and crank the engine WITHOUT IT GETTING ANY FUEL for a while to prime the lubrication system/circulate the oil. You don't want to wash down the (by then) dry cylinder walls with gas before it fires up.

#7 Mark77

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:50 PM

Hi guys
I know this tread is very old, but it's still useful...I will store a VW Golf next winter for about 8 months.. I read a lot of advice, but no one seems to remember the AC, the owners manuals (for many cars) recommends to use it at least a few minutes every month to keep it from leaking..
The car will be stored in a big heated storage, and it's possible to start the car there, if I want to..

#8 Accumulator

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 08:44 AM

Mark77- I'd weigh the benefits of running it for short periods to keep the A/C and other stuff lubed up against the downside like condensation and other negatives. My point being that A/C repairs are cheap compared to some other types of issues.

FWIW, and I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I've *never* had any A/C issues with any of my Audis and I let some sit for a long, long time between uses. Ditto for the vehicles I store for years.

Again, I'm not being all :nono but rather pointing out that everything's a trade-off when it comes to storing vehicles.
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#9 rdorman

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 09:39 AM

I do basically what Fskof does, except, I don't worry about putting it on blocks but I do run the tires up to max air pressure. I use a desicant inside. I pull the vehicle up on a large sheet of plastic, close it in the doors, truck, hood... what ever it take and then place the car cover over that. Instead of a rag in the tail pipe, I find steel wool to be more effective. I also release the pressure in the fuel system (pull the relay, run until it dies).

#10 Bill D

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 10:04 AM

Mark77--

I have a Car Jacket that I regularly store my covered Cadillac in. I use Stabil. Never had any problems.
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#11 Accumulator

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:32 AM

Instead of a rag in the tail pipe, I find steel wool to be more effective...


Yeah, good tip :xyxthumbs I use copper mesh that I get from my pest-control guys, rodents seem to hate it.

I also release the pressure in the fuel system (pull the relay, run until it dies).


Ah, never thought of that one :think:
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#12 rdorman

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:56 AM

Yeah, good tip :xyxthumbs I use copper mesh that I get from my pest-control guys, rodents seem to hate it.



Ah, never thought of that one :think:


Yeah a rag in the tailpipe is little more then building material for mice! I let the pressure out before I store it so I don't have to worry as much about a high pressure leak of fuel. Once it dies, shut it off and put the relay back in and it is ready to go when it comes time to start it up.... aside from of course the unwrapping and putting the battery back in! Those bags that BillD talked about are sweat. Don't know how they would hold up outside though. I just use the drive it up on plastic technique to keep moisture coming up from the concrete. So, sort of like a bag! For REALLY long storage I have seen people spray the underside and engine compartment with oil. Lot of cleaning up later of course. I would imagine something like Sonus Trim and motor coat would be a more modern alternative. Those cars where ususally pressure washed from below on a lift before they where tucked away.

#13 Accumulator

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 08:05 AM

rdorman- I've never bothered doing anything special to the underside/etc. for longer-term storage, but then I'm doing it in nice, controlled conditions too. And my "unseen bits" are generally well-protected anyhow :D
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#14 Mark77

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 03:30 AM

Accumulator; thanks for sharing your experience about ACs, I think I will just let the car sit and don't worry about the AC, 7-8months isn't too long and the car is only 2 years old, so the seals etc should be in fairly good shape....

#15 Accumulator

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:55 AM

Mark77- FWIW, my beater-Audi's original owner would often let it sit for that long, it was her "Ohio car" and she spends most of her time in Florida. No problems of any kind, and her only "storage prep" was the Battery Tender I gave her.
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#16 Bill D

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 08:01 AM

Battery Tenders are *godsends*. I have them hooked up to my non daily drivers, and my father swears by his. They work like a charm!
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#17 Mark77

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 10:59 AM

Well I will then take the battery out and charge it now and then..but the battery is my least concern.. What about the electronics in the car, what happens to all the settings and engine control etc if not hooked up to a battery?
Accumulator, is your "beater Audi" the A8 or S8 ? haven't been here for some time so I am not so up to date about what cars you have now ))
Bill D, a few years ago I remember you had a gray Audi A4 or S4? )

#18 Bill D

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 11:35 AM

Hi Mark77

I still have the black '03 A4. Just polished the hood the other day to perfection :)

All of your electronic settings are going to have to be reset if you remove the battery. You may also have to type in a special radio code to unlock it. It depends on the car. There are electronic savers that run on a 9V battery you can plug into your cigarette dash to supposedly save it all. I'm not sure , have no experience with them. I've seen them on sites like Ecklers and MidAmerica.

With regards to having the Battery Tender hooked up to my cars, I have cigarette lighter adapters so I can plug the Battery Tender right into them without the hassle of attaching it to the battery. On the A4 there's an outlet right in the trunk, so I have it running from there, right to the Battery Tender which is plugged right into the adjacent garage wall. On the Cadillac, I plug it directly into the pull out cigarette lighter under the dash.

The cigarette lighter adapter isn't functional on all cars without the key in the ignition though, so if someone has a car and it only works this way, the cigarette lighter adapter for the Battery Tender won't work. Also, if you are able to use one, do buy several because the plastic on the tip of the adapter can easily crack. I also make it a habit of just disconnecting the cable where it connects to the Battery Tender's fixed cable and leaving the adapter end in the cigarette lighter in the trunk.
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#19 Accumulator

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 09:56 AM

Well I will then take the battery out and charge it now and then..but the battery is my least concern.. What about the electronics in the car, what happens to all the settings and engine control etc if not hooked up to a battery?


That's perhaps the nicest thing about the trickle-charger/Battery Tender approach, no need to reset/relearn because the battery stays hooked up. Otherwise, as Bill D said, the biggie is usually having the unlock code for the stereo; sometimes there's a "relearn period" for the engine/etc. but that does its thing pretty transparently IME. But you'd better look into it just in case your vehicle is somehow different with regard to that being a big deal.

Accumulator, is your "beater Audi" the A8 or S8 ? haven't been here for some time so I am not so up to date about what cars you have now ))


Heh heh, it's hard for even my closest friends to keep up with my crazy buying and selling of vehicles! And "crazy" is indeed perhaps the right word :o

The S8 is a ~16K mile garage-queen and the A8 is my wife's 110K mile daily driver. The "beater-Audi" is a '93 V8 Quattro with maybe 74K that I got from a wonderful woman who bought it new (at my suggestion). It has its share of cosmetic issues, but I *really* love it; perfect winter car what with its older, more mechanical AWD system.
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#20 jfelbab

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 11:44 AM

I'd recommend the use of Stabil Marine and at double strength in the gas. Be sure to top off the gas. I'd definitely use a car cover. I'd also plant several boxes of d-CON or similar rodent killer around the car, both inside and out, in the trunk and under the hood. Mice can make a real mess of your car if they decide to make it home. I leave my vehicle on it's tires but over-inflate them to a few pounds less than their maximum. If the car will sit through both summer and winter temps don't over-inflate to the max in the winter. I'd also do a detail and add a sealant and top with a heavy wax like 845 or Megs #16 or #26. Push some steel wool pads in your exhaust and air intake prior to closing it up. Buy some visqueen vapor barrier and put down several layers under your vehicle to prevent moisture from leaching up. If you can spray some wd40 under your bushings and unprotected metal components in the undercarriage. Take your battery out and put it on a battery maintainer.




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