Getting Your Classic Car Ready For Long Term Storage

Posted on: 12 May 2015


Just because you finally have the money to purchase the classic car you've always wanted, does not mean that you have the time to get it running right now. Alternatively, you may have purchased it as a gift for a close friend or relative, and you need to put the car away for awhile until the time is right. Either way, putting the care away in a secured storage unit is a great way to keep the car out of your way, as well as keeping it safe and secure. All you need to do is make sure it is ready to go.

Clean the Car Until it Is Spotless

Any dirt or grime that is left in the car will eat into the paint and upholstery over time. Unless the previous seller had the car recently detailed, you should wash and wax the car as part of your storage prep. Get inside and wash and vacuum the inside as well. No elbow grease is too much for your baby. Remember-- all that work now will be worth it when the car comes out of storage in the same condition it went in.

  • Now is the time to get picky about fingerprints on the chrome. They don't just look bad, the oils in human fingerprints will eventually start to eat into the chrome itself.
  • Canned air (found in most stores that carry electronics) isn't just for your computer. It is the perfect tool for getting into corners and getting out the dust your other tools can't reach.
  • If there are any stickers on the windows, now is the perfect time to remove them. Rubbing alcohol is the perfect tool for loosening up the gummy stickers on your window so you can carefully slide a razor blade under them.

Grease Anything You Can't Drain

This isn't really a literal direction, but it is close. Anything that needs to be greased regularly should get a liberal coating. Really go to town, since these parts will have a better chance of withstanding the years with a liberal coating of grease.

On the other side, most fluids will break down with time, so it is better to remove them and add new when it is time to move the care. Flush your break lines and replace the fluid. If possible, dispose of everything else. This includes oil, gas and the cooling system. Just don't forget to refill them before you try to drive the car out of storage. Along the same lines, the battery should be unhooked so it does not cause corrosion.

Do Your Final Prep Once You Arrive

Now the car is clean and ready to withstand the years, you still have just a couple final tasks before you can say goodbye. Get the wheels up off the ground. Rubber breaks down over time, and having the wheels sit in dirt and possibly mud will only accelerate the process. If you feel comfortable doing so, it is actually best to store the car up on jacks and remove the tires completely. If you don't have this option, you will need to visit a few times a year to maintain the tires, or risk coming back to a flat when it is time to move the car.

Storing a classic car is a time-consuming process, but it is vital for maintaining the value of the car. You've probably seen the results of improper storage, and you can use that mental image as you go about these tasks. If you simply don't have the time, ask the manager at the storage location or your friends for some recommendations. Many shops will provide these deep cleaning services for you for a fee, so the only thing you do is take the car for one last trip around the block and the final prep. For more ideas on storage, check out sites like