A row of classic cars in an outdoor parking lot.

How to Store and Protect Your Classic Car

Lockaway Storage | May 15, 2024 @ 12:00 AM

Classic cars are more than just vehicles – they’re postcards from another time, priceless collectibles and testaments to lasting craftsmanship. If you want your vehicle to last well into the future, proper storage is essential to preserve its beauty and value for years to come. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to make sure your classic car stays in perfect condition while in storage.

1. Choose Climate-Controlled Storage

When storing your classic car, protecting it from the elements is critical. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause damage – leading to cracks in rubber components, faded paint, and deteriorated vinyl. Extreme temperature fluctuations can also harm your car's oil and detailing. Ideally, you should park your car in a climate-controlled storage unit to protect it from extreme temperatures and humidity. Lockaway Storage offers large and extra-large climate-controlled storage units – measuring up to 12x30’ – so you can keep your vintage vehicle in peak condition.

2. Prepare Your Parking Space

If storing your classic car on concrete, take precautionary measures to keep moisture from seeping into the vehicle's undercarriage. Start by treating the parking space with a degreasing cleaner. Then lay down a plastic vapor barrier to create a barrier between the concrete and your car. Seal the edges of the plastic to the concrete and cover it with a tarp or canvas for added protection against moisture infiltration, which can lead to rust on the underside of your vehicle over time.

3. Fuel Management: Short-Term vs. Long-Term Storage

Your fuel management needs depend on how long you plan to store your classic car. For short-term storage, fill the tank with recreational fuel and add a stabilizer to prevent fuel degradation. Change the oil and oil filter, then take your car for a brief drive to circulate the stabilizer and new oil throughout the system.

However, if you’ll be storing your vehicle for more than three months, it may be a good idea to drain the fuel tank completely. Stagnant fuel can oxidize over time, leading to potential engine issues down the line.

4. Clean and Deodorize

Before storing your classic car, ensure it's thoroughly cleaned inside and out. Wash, wax, and buff the exterior to protect the paint and prevent corrosion. Clean the interior, removing any debris (no matter how small). Placing containers of baking soda in the interior and trunk can help absorb any lingering odors, keeping your car fresh during storage.

5. Choose the Right Cover

Invest in a form-fitting car cover made from a soft and breathable material like cotton. Avoid polyester, cotton-polyester blends, or plastic covers – they can trap heat and moisture, potentially leading to rust and mold growth. A quality cover will provide an additional layer of protection against dust, dirt, and scratches.

6. Keep Your Car Parked Safely

When parking your classic car for an extended period, refrain from using the parking brake. Leaving the parking brake engaged for too long can lead to brake damage or seizing, causing unnecessary headaches when it's time to hit the road again. Instead, you should use tire chocks to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

7. Regular Maintenance Checks

Even in storage, classic cars require regular maintenance checks to spot any signs of rust, corrosion, or moisture buildup. Periodically inspect your vehicle to ensure it remains in optimal condition, addressing any issues promptly to prevent further damage. If you aren’t in a position to check on your car, pick someone you trust to regularly do check-ups.

Storing a classic car requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these steps, you can ensure your timeless beauty remains in pristine condition, ready to hit the road whenever the urge strikes. After all, preserving the legacy of these iconic automobiles is not just a duty but a labor of love for enthusiasts around the world.

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