By Ritehly Quimbo. Posted on October 23rd, 2023 in Self Storage Article.

When it comes to vehicle storage, whether it’s cars, RVs, boats, or motorcycles, the decision to store your precious vehicles properly is essential to keep them in top condition. 

Vehicle storage ensures the safety of your prized possessions and extends their longevity. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about vehicle storage, including the types of storage, preparation, and choosing the right storage facility.

Benefits of Vehicle Storage

Before delving into the specifics of vehicle storage, let’s explore the advantages it offers:

  • Protection from the Elements: Vehicle storage shields your vehicles from harsh weather conditions, preventing rust, paint damage, and other environmental issues.
  • Security: A secure storage facility protects your vehicles from theft, vandalism, and other threats.
  • Space Savings: Storing your vehicles off-site frees up space in your garage or driveway.
  • Longevity: Proper storage helps preserve the condition and value of your vehicles.

Now that we understand the benefits, let’s explore the different types of vehicle storage.

 

Types of Vehicle Storage

Indoor Storage

Indoor storage facilities provide a controlled environment, protecting your vehicles from extreme temperatures, humidity, and pests. This option is ideal for classic cars, high-end vehicles, and items you want to keep in pristine condition.

Outdoor Storage

Outdoor storage is a cost-effective solution for short-term storage. It’s suitable for vehicles like RVs and boats, especially if you plan to use them regularly. However, it offers less protection from the elements compared to indoor storage.

Garage Storage

 A garage is a common and secure option for storing vehicles, protecting them from the elements and potential theft.

Carport 

A carport is a semi-covered structure that provides some protection from the elements, typically featuring a roof and open sides.

Outdoor Parking

This involves leaving your vehicle in an open outdoor space, such as a parking lot or driveway. It offers less protection than enclosed options.

Covered Storage

Covered storage includes parking in a sheltered structure like a canopy or awning, providing some protection from sun, rain, and snow.

Boat and RV Storage

Specialized storage facilities are available for larger vehicles like boats and RVs. These facilities can be indoor or outdoor.

Container Storage

Some people opt to store vehicles in shipping containers. This provides security and protection, though it may lack climate control.

Vehicle Lifts

 Vehicle lifts, especially for smaller cars and motorcycles, allow you to store your vehicle vertically, saving floor space.

car inside the container van

Long-Term Storage

This is suitable for vehicles you won’t be using for an extended period. It may involve preparations like fuel stabilization and tire protection.

Short-Term Storage

It is ideal for seasonal vehicles or when you need to store a vehicle temporarily. Short-term storage options may include outdoor parking or covered storage.

Residential Storage

Storing vehicles on your own property, in a garage, driveway, or yard.

Commercial Storage

Some businesses offer vehicle storage services for fleets, company vehicles, or individual customers.

RV Parks and Campgrounds

If you have an RV, you can often store it at RV parks and campgrounds during the off-season or when you’re not traveling.

Specialized Storage Facilities

Some vehicles, such as motorcycles or classic cars, may benefit from specialized storage facilities designed to cater to their needs.

 

Vehicle Preparation for Storage

Before you store your vehicles, there are essential steps to ensure they remain in good condition while not in use:

  • Clean and Wash

    • Start by thoroughly cleaning the vehicle’s interior and exterior. Remove any dirt, debris, and contaminants that may corrode or damage the surfaces. Pay special attention to the undercarriage and wheel wells.
  • Change Fluids

    • Replace the engine oil and filter. Changing the transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant is also a good idea if the vehicle will be in storage for an extended period. Old fluids can deteriorate and lead to problems.
  • Fuel

    • Fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer. This prevents moisture from accumulating in the tank and the fuel from deteriorating, which can cause issues with the engine.
  • Tire Care

    • Overinflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum PSI. This prevents flat spots and ensures the tires don’t lose pressure over time. Consider using tire jacks to lift the weight off the tires or move the vehicle periodically to avoid flat spots.
  • Battery

    • If possible, disconnect the battery or use a battery maintainer to keep it charged. A dead battery can cause issues and lead to replacements.
  • Fluid Levels

    • Ensure all fluid levels are at their recommended levels, including the windshield washer and power steering fluid.
  • Pest Control

    • Place mothballs or traps inside and around the vehicle to prevent critters from making your vehicle their home. Ensure all openings, such as exhaust pipes and air intakes, are covered.
  • Cover Up

    • Use a high-quality, breathable car cover to protect your vehicle from dust, debris, and the elements. Make sure it fits snugly and doesn’t flap in the wind.
  • Lubrication

    • Apply a light coat of lubricant to exposed metal parts to prevent rust and corrosion. Common areas to lubricate include door hinges and latches.
  • Maintenance Records

    • Record your maintenance and specific storage instructions for your vehicle’s make and model.
  • Insurance

    • Consider adjusting your insurance coverage for the duration of storage to save money. Ensure you have adequate coverage for unforeseen events, even while in storage.
  • Suspension

    • If your vehicle has an adjustable suspension, consider lifting it to reduce the weight on the suspension components.
  • Start and Drive

    • If your vehicle will be in storage for an extended period, it’s a good idea to start and drive it for a short distance every few weeks to keep everything lubricated and in working order.

 

Choosing the Right Storage Facility

Choosing the right storage facility is essential when you need a place to keep your belongings, whether for short-term or long-term storage. Here are some key factors to consider when making this important decision:

  • Location
  • Convenience
  • Size of Storage Unit
  • Security Features
  • Accessibility
  • Pricing and Payment Options
  • Cleanliness
  • Insurance Options
  • Customer Reviews
  • Contract Terms
  • Special Requirements
  • Customer Service

Storing Cars

car in container yard

Storing cars properly is essential to maintain their condition. Choose a dry, well-ventilated space whether you’re putting your vehicle away for the winter or just need to keep it safe. Fill the gas tank, add a fuel stabilizer, disconnect the battery, and cover the car to protect it from dust and debris. Regular checks during storage ensure your vehicle stays in top shape.

Storing RVs

 

Storing RVs is crucial for preserving their condition between adventures. Seek a secure, covered facility with climate control for longer-term storage. Empty and clean all tanks, disconnect batteries and protect tires. Regular inspections ensure your RV is ready for your next road trip, saving you from costly repairs.

 

Indoor vs. Outdoor RV Storage: Which is Right for You?

indoor vs outdoor RV

When it comes to storing your RV, you have two primary options: indoor and outdoor storage. The choice between these two options depends on various factors, including your budget, location, and the level of protection your RV requires. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of indoor and outdoor RV storage to help you make an informed decision.

Indoor RV Storage

Pros:

  • Protection from the Elements: Indoor storage provides complete protection from harsh weather conditions, such as extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and hail. This can extend the life of your RV and reduce the risk of damage.
  • Security: Indoor storage facilities often have robust security measures, including surveillance cameras, gated access, and on-site personnel, which can deter theft and vandalism.
  • Privacy: When stored indoors, your RV is out of sight from potential thieves or vandals, which can give you peace of mind.
  • Maintains Aesthetic Appeal: Storing your RV indoors can help preserve its appearance, reducing the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Cons:

  • Higher Costs: Indoor storage is generally more expensive than outdoor storage options.
  • Limited Availability: Depending on your location, indoor storage facilities may be in high demand and have limited availability.

 

Outdoor RV Storage

Pros:

  • Cost-Effective: Outdoor storage is usually more budget-friendly compared to indoor storage.
  • Ample Space: Outdoor storage facilities often have more space for larger RVs and trailers.
  • Flexibility: You can access your RV anytime without relying on facility hours.

Cons:

  • Exposure to the Elements: Your RV is vulnerable to weather conditions, UV rays, and temperature fluctuations, which can lead to wear and tear.
  • Security Concerns: Outdoor storage may have fewer security measures, making your RV more susceptible to theft or damage.
  • Limited Privacy: Outdoor storage may lack the privacy and protection you desire for your RV.

In summary, choosing between indoor and outdoor RV storage depends on your priorities and budget. If protecting your RV from the elements and potential security threats is a top concern, indoor storage is a better option. However, outdoor storage may be suitable if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution and can accept some exposure to the elements.

Maintenance Tips

car in container

Proper maintenance is crucial when storing a vehicle for an extended period. To ensure your vehicle remains in good condition, thoroughly clean the interior and exterior. Change the oil and filter, as old oil can become corrosive. 

To prevent flat spots, top off all fluids and inflate the tires to the recommended pressure. Consider using a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel system issues. 

Additionally, disconnect the battery or use a trickle charger to maintain its charge. Cover the vehicle with a breathable, weather-resistant cover to protect it from the elements, and periodically start and run the engine to keep it in good working order. 

Following these steps will help preserve your vehicle during storage and make for an easier transition back to the road when you’re ready to drive again.

See also: DIY Storage Unit Maintenance: Essential Tips and Tricks

 

Storing Boats

Storing boats properly is essential to ensure their longevity and to protect them from the elements. Here are some tips on boat storage:

boat in storage van

  • Choose the Right Location
  • Clean Your Boat
  • Inspect and Repair
  • Winterize the Engine
  • Remove Valuables
  • Cover or Shrink Wrap
  • Properly Inflate Tires
  • Elevate the Bow
  • Disconnect the Battery
  • Ventilation
  • Use Jack Stands
  • Regular Check-Ups
  • Insurance

 

Marina Storage

Marina storage offers convenient access to the water, making it a great option for boating enthusiasts.

Marina Storage” typically refers to storage facilities near a marina, a harbor, or a basin where boats and yachts are kept. These storage facilities are designed to provide a safe and secure place for boat owners to store their vessels when they are not in use. Marina storage can include dry storage options, where boats are kept out of the water on racks or in storage sheds, and wet storage options, where boats are moored at a marina slip.

Marina storage facilities often offer boat maintenance, cleaning, and repair services, making it convenient for boat owners to access their vessels and keep them in good condition. These facilities are especially popular in coastal areas and regions with a high boating and water recreation concentration.

Dry Storage

“Dry storage” refers to a method of storing items or materials in a way that keeps them free from moisture or humidity. This is important for preserving the quality and integrity of various products, especially those that can be damaged by exposure to moisture. Dry storage is commonly used for storing food, chemicals, electronics, documents, and other sensitive materials.

Here are some key points related to dry storage:

  • Moisture Control
  • Food Preservation
  • Chemical and Pharmaceutical Stability
  • Electronic Device Protection
  • Document and Archive Preservation
  • Preventing Mold and Mildew on Clothing
  • Tool and Equipment Maintenance
  • Protecting Art and Collectibles
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Proper Labeling and Organization.

Motorcycle Storage

Motorcycle storage is essential to keep your bike in good condition when you’re not riding it, whether it’s for the winter months, an extended vacation, or any other reason. Proper storage helps protect your motorcycle from the elements, prevents mechanical issues, and ensures it’s ready to ride when you are. 

motorcycle inside the container van

Winter Motorcycle Storage

If you don’t ride during the winter, store your motorcycle in a safe, dry place and follow the same maintenance tips as with cars.

Long-Term Motorcycle Storage

For long-term storage, consider a specialized motorcycle storage facility.

Safety and Security

Safety and security for vehicle storage are essential to protect your vehicle from theft, damage, and the elements. Here are the measures:

Locks and Alarms

  • Use high-quality locks on all entry points to your storage area.
  • Install a security alarm system.

Surveillance

  • Install security cameras.

Well-Lit Area

  • Adequate lighting is essential.

Secure Storage Facility

  • Choose one with a good reputation for security.

Vehicle Cover or Tarp

  • Use a quality vehicle cover or tarp.

Anti-Theft Devices

  • Use steering wheel locks, tire locks, or other anti-theft devices.

Inventory and Documentation

  • Keep detailed records.
  • Store vehicle documents and spare keys.

Regular Check-Ins

  • Periodically check on it.

Insurance

  • Maintain comprehensive insurance coverage.

Maintain Vehicle

  • Perform maintenance such as changing the oil, filling the gas tank, and inflating the tires.

 

Insurance for Vehicle Storage

Ensure your vehicles are adequately insured during storage in case of unexpected events. If you want to insure a vehicle you plan to store rather than actively use, there are a few different insurance options to consider. The type of insurance you need may depend on the specifics of your situation and the regulations in your area. Here are some common insurance options for vehicle storage:

  1. Comprehensive Insurance
  2. Storage Insurance
  3. Reduced Coverage
  4. Classic or Antique Car Insurance
  5. Suspension of Coverage
  6. Notify Your Insurer
  7. Storage Facility Requirements

 

Accessibility and Convenience

Consider the accessibility of the storage facility, especially if you plan to use your vehicles periodically.

 

Cost of Vehicle Storage

Storage costs vary depending on the type, duration, and location. It’s essential to factor in this cost when planning your storage.

 

Tips for Efficient Packing

Organize your storage space efficiently to maximize the use of available rooms.

 

Summary

Proper vehicle storage is crucial for preserving the condition and value of your cars, RVs, boats, and motorcycles. Whether you’re storing them for the short or long term, following these guidelines will ensure your vehicles stay in top shape.

FAQs

1. Is climate-controlled storage necessary for all vehicles?

Climate-controlled storage is not necessary for all vehicles. It is particularly beneficial for classic cars and vehicles with sensitive components. Regular cars may not require climate control.

2. How can I find a reputable vehicle storage facility?

You can find reputable storage facilities by reading reviews, asking for recommendations, and visiting facilities in person to assess their security and cleanliness.

3. Can I access my vehicle while it’s in storage?

Most storage facilities offer periodic access to your vehicles, but this varies depending on the facility’s rules and policies.

4. What should I do if I plan to store my vehicle for an extended period?

For long-term storage, follow all the preparation steps mentioned in the article, including maintenance, cleaning, and choosing a suitable storage environment.

5. Is insurance necessary for vehicles in storage?

Yes, having insurance coverage for your vehicles in storage is a good idea to protect against unforeseen events like theft or damage.