September 28, 2020

Can You Park and Store a Car in a Storage Unit?

Self storage helps countless people organize and keep their belongings. However, there is one big-ticket item that often poses a challenge for renters and facilities worldwide. That’s right: we’re talking about the car.

Here at Stor-It, customers ask us all the time: Can you park a car in a storage unit? The short answer is yes — but it takes a certain kind of unit to do the job. In this guide, we’ll explore the different kinds of car storage units, what dimensions are required to store a car, and a few best practices for storing any automobile. Start your engines and store with our team here at Stor-It today!

What Size Storage Unit Do I Need for a Car?

Before diving into the different car storage units, we’re going to get right down to the numbers. Basically, you can’t store a car if you don’t have the space. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering, What size storage unit do I need for a car?

The answer, of course, depends on the type of car you’re trying to store. Hatchbacks will require less space than sedans, which will require less space than SUVs or trucks. At a minimum, a storage unit will need to be 10’ x 15’ feet to store an automobile. However, for most cars, 10’ x 20’ provides a much better fit. Many models will need even more space than this, so measure the length and width of your car carefully before investing in a storage unit.

Wondering whether your car will fit in one of the many standard self-storage unit sizes? Use our Size Guide to see what fits in common storage units and determine whether your right will make the cut.

Drive-Up Accessibility: A Necessary Prerequisite

When it comes to car storage units, size isn’t the only thing that matters. Storage units that can fit cars may not always be able to accommodate them. Some large units are located on the second floor of storage facilities, or in a back corner of the property that’s inaccessible by car. Even if they’re big enough to fit your car, these units are totally out of the question. Remember, you have to be able to drive your car into the unit to store it there. As you begin your search for a car storage unit, be sure to narrow your selection down to options with drive-up access.

Facility Permissions: Another Necessary Prerequisite

So, you’ve found an excellent facility with large storage units that have drive-up access. Great. Do they allow their tenants to store cars? While it might seem like a foregone conclusion, car storage isn’t always allowed by the facilities that can handle it.

Cars are large, powerful machines capable of big-time destruction in the wrong hands. Some storage facility owners simply don’t want to take a chance on an accident happening. To make sure that the unit you’re considering allows for car storage, check with facility staff before making your reservation.

Outdoor Car Storage Options: Covered and Uncovered Parking

The most common kind of car storage units aren’t storage units at all. They’re outdoor spaces. A step above curbside parking, self-storage car parking is found within a storage facility — giving car owners precious peace of mind they won’t find elsewhere. Another advantage of outdoor car parking spaces is size. Without walls and doors, these outdoor spots can be easily sized for all types of vehicles. There are even spots for motorhomes and RVs in some facilities— options that aren’t always available indoors. When it comes to outdoor car storage, there are two primary types of parking: uncovered and covered parking.

Uncovered parking is the most flexible and affordable type of car storage. Uncovered parking spaces are simply parking spaces contained within a storage facility. They require virtually no cost to build or upkeep, so they can be reserved at relatively low rates. The bigger the space, the more you’ll have to pay. As mentioned above, these spaces can get quite big — so they’re often a great choice for owners of RVs or car collectors who may want a larger space (or several) so nearby cars don’t touch their own.

Covered parking is a step up from uncovered parking in terms of shelter for cars. Covered parking spaces have roofs for their cars, much like carports in private driveways. These roofs are great for climates that get excessive rain, snow, or direct sunlight. Before investing in covered parking, make sure the roof is tall enough to accommodate your vehicle. Otherwise, you won’t be able to fit at all.

Indoor Car Storage Units: Traditional Units and Climate-Controlled Units

While outdoor storage units are a practical place to store vehicles of any size, some car owners want a bit more when it comes to accommodations for their vehicles. At the very least, these accommodations include four walls, a door, and a roof. At the very most, they include dedicated temperature and humidity controls to create the ideal conditions for any automobile. These two options are traditional units and climate-controlled units.

Traditional storage units are the very same units used to store other goods. Traditional storage units designed to store cars are just rather large. Technically, these units are “indoor” — in the same way that a detached garage or utility shed is “indoor.” They usually don’t have climate controls or insulation like you’d find in a house, but they do have a roof, a door, and four walls. For most cars this is more than enough — especially in areas with relatively mild year-round conditions.

Climate-controlled storage units are indoor storage units with dedicated infrastructure for controlling temperature and climate. Unlike many traditional storage units, climate-controlled storage units are always well-insulated and (almost) always impervious to outside elements. For owners of expensive automobiles or particularly sensitive collector’s cars, climate-controlled storage units are the ultimate form of accommodation. The trick is finding one big enough to store your car.

Successfully Storing Your Car: Tips and Tricks

With the issue of storage unit size now sorted out, turn your attention to your car. To ensure that it stays in great condition, you’ll have to prepare it for storage. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started.

Clean it up. After several months or years in storage, a messy car can become a cesspool or bacteria and bad scents. On the exterior, dirt, moisture, and biomatter can expedite the onset of rust. Do yourself and your car a favor and clean it before putting it into storage.

Cover it up. Especially important for outdoor vehicle storage, a fabric car cover provides an extra layer between your car and the elements. It’s an easy, low-cost way to keep your paint intact and your ride looking good.

Change your oil. Used oil can contain contaminants that may adversely affect an engine over time. If you’re storing for more than a few days or weeks, change your oil before dropping your car off.

Top off your tank and add in fuel stabilizer. A filled gas tank will keep out unwanted moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and prevent seals from drying in storage. Top off your tank and add in fuel stabilizer to prevent ethanol buildup and stop varnish, gum, and rust from invading your engine. (Even the best fuel stabilizer only lasts for a year or so. If you’re storing longer than that, change your fuel annually to keep your engine in great shape.)

Take care of your tires and roll up your windows. Get your tires inflated, balanced, and rotated to prevent deformities while your car is sitting in storage. Make sure everything is closed up to keep the critters out, and refrain from engaging your parking brake as it may cause your car’s brake pads to fuse with its rotors over time.

Reserve Your Idaho Car Storage Here at Stor-It

Now that you know the ins and outs of vehicle storage, it’s time to find a place to store your ride. Here at Stor-It, we are proud to offer an extensive selection of car storage units for rent across Southern Idaho. At our 16 locations, you’ll find outdoor covered and uncovered parking options, as well as drive-up storage units large enough to accommodate cars and trucks alike. Plus, we offer competitive prices, flexible month-to-month leases, and FREE locks for new tenants.

Come see what the industry’s best car storage is all about — contact us to learn more about the Stor-It difference and store your vehicle with our team today!