January 8, 2020

What You Need to Know When You Store a Vehicle in a Storage Unit

Like people, cars sometimes need new places to stay. Whether it’s an old beater that needs to beat it out of the garage, a convertible that simply can’t stay on the curb, or an RV that needs to hunker down for the winter, vehicles often have to relocate — for their own benefit and the benefit of their owners. In many cases, these large investments are relocating into storage.

Storing your vehicle in a unit or parking space is a unique endeavor that requires preparation. Whether you’ve had a storage unit for most of your adult life, you just got your very first-ever storage unit last week, or if you are on the fence about wanting to get a storage unit in the first place, you’re going to want to do your homework. This guide is a great place to start. Here’s what you need to know when storing your vehicle in a storage unit.

The Big Question: Should You Store Your Car?

Before pulling the trigger on car storage, ask yourself: do I need to store my car? The primary reason why you store a car is that it’s infrequently used. On top of that, it’s taking up space and, if it’s sitting outside, slowly wearing down. Sound familiar? If so, you might want to consider storage. Storing your car in off-site vehicle storage will most certainly free up space on your property. Depending in the facility, it will also keep your car in great condition.

People serving in the military, hotshot firefighters, travel nurses, and those working any other job that requires months away from home are other great examples of vehicle owners that might want to consider a storage unit over driveway or curbside parking.

Owners of classic cars and sports cars might also want to consider storing their cars in a storage unit. If you’re a car enthusiast, don’t let your car care expertise stop under the hood. Treat your pride and joy the right way by storing it properly. If you aren’t one of the lucky ones with a 16-car garage, your next best bet is going to be storing your car in a storage unit.

The Follow-Up Question: What Type of Storage Unit Should You Get for Your Car?

There are several types of car storage, each with its own characteristics and advantages that may make it the right choice for you. When narrowing down your list of candidates, consider these factors to settle on the right storage space.

  • Only leaving town for a month? You probably don’t need storage. Two months? Depending on the season, you may want to consider it. Planning on driving your car regularly? Don’t store it unless you’re okay with visiting the unit whenever you want to take it for a spin. Duration is one of the biggest factors to consider when it comes to vehicle storage, so be sure to have your timeline sorted out before booking.
  • Does your car need to be shielded from the elements? Perhaps it’s an antique collector’s item, or maybe you live in an area with the worst winters out there. If these apply to you, you’re going to want to invest in indoor vehicle storage for your car. This is by far the most expensive type of storage out there, so don’t get it unless you really need to. In reality, most cars will do fine in uncovered parking or covered parking. Just be sure to book with a storage facility with good infrastructure (walls, fences, gated access, etc).
  • When it comes to vehicle storage, size matters. A storage space that’s too small will be difficult to navigate, if not impossible to use altogether. A storage space that’s too big will run you a higher rate than you need to pay. Use our guide below to find the sizing sweet spot.

Your Vehicle Storage Size Guide

If you’re like most vehicle owners, you probably don’t know the dimensions of your car off the top of your head. You probably also don’t have a laser-calibrated vision of what 10 feet looks like compared to, say, 8 feet or 15 feet. Have no fear. Use this size guide to determine the correct storage space size for your vehicle.

A 10 x 15 storage space is good for compact cars, such as:

  • VW Golf
  • Mini Cooper
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Most 2 door sports cars

A 10 x 20 storage space is ideal for storing several commonly used vehicles, such as:

  • Toyota Tundra
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Explorer
  • Nissan Altima
  • Kia Soul
  • Subaru Outback
  • Most other sedans and mid-sized hatchbacks

A 10 x 25 storage space is good for most bigger vehicles, such as:

  • Larger crew cab trucks
  • Large passenger and cargo vans
  • Suburban, Expedition, Escalade, and Denali SUVs

5 Extra Vehicle Storage Tips

Once you know where you’re going to store your vehicle, it’s time to prep for storage. Here are 5 tips to follow to ensure successful vehicle storage from start to finish.

  1. Clean before you store. This step may seem a bit strange. Why would you clean your vehicle if you’re just going to store it? It’s not like you’re taking it out for a night on the town. Here’s why. Any dust, dirt, or residue that is caked on top of your car when you put it into storage is will wear down the paint and metal of your car’s exterior. Don’t let that happen. Always do a thorough wash and clean job before putting it into storage. Do the same for the interior, too!
  2. Keep your vehicle covered in storage. Like we mentioned above, you don’t want dust or dirt settling on your car while it’s in storage. However, you won’t be there to clean it every other week once you’ve dropped it off. To keep your car clean no matter how long it’s in storage, invest in a quality vehicle cover. Don’t have the room in your budget? A few of your family’s sheets will do a decent job.
  3. Dont engage the parking brake. You may have been taught to engage the parking brake every time you park your car, but you should do the exact opposite when storing your car for long periods of time.  If you do use your parking break during storage, you run the risk of damaging your brake pads and rotors. If brake pads and rotors are in contact for long periods of time, they may fuse together. This can lead to major headaches on your end, major safety issues when it’s time to drive your car again, and major funds getting flushed down the drain to fix your rotors and brake pads. To keep your car stable in storage, use tire stoppers. They’re much better for your car.
  4. Keep your vehicle registered and keep track of the title. There’s nothing worse than making the decision to sell your car and realizing that you can’t legally sell it because you don’t have your title. Keep your title in a safe place where it won’t get stolen, torn, or forgotten. Also, be sure to keep your vehicle registered while it’s in storage. Even if you are thinking about trying to unregister your vehicle (because you’re not exactly using it), you will not legally be able to do so. In order to store a vehicle in a storage unit, you must have the vehicle registered under your name.
  5. Take your car out for a spin every so often. You don’t need to drive your car 10 miles (or even one mile!) but you do need to start it up every so often to make sure the battery stays in good shape. When you do start your car, you shouldn’t leave it idling in the storage unit, as this can lead to a life-threatening buildup of carbon monoxide. If you don’t want to drive your car, at least roll it outside of the unit and leave it on for a few minutes to recharge the battery. There’s nothing worse than finally getting ready to take your car out of storage and not being able to start it because your battery is dead.

Store Your Vehicle in a Stor-It Storage Facility

Searching for vehicle storage in Southern Idaho? Your search ends here. As Idaho’s oldest and largest self-storage providers, our team at Stor-It has an extensive array of vehicle storage options available at affordable rates. With 14 storage facilities all around the Treasure Valley and beyond, and more being built this year, we are confident that you will be able to find the perfect space for your needs. Contact us to learn more about our vehicle storage options, and visit our Locations page to browse available spaces at each of our facilities. Clear out your garage and your life by putting that unused car in one of our affordably-priced, spacious storage units today!