Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
11/11/08 9:42 a.m.

If you’ve ever heard the expression “run hard and put away wet,” then you know it’s not considered a best-case scenario. The fact is we’ve all seen cars that have received much more damage from bad storage than hard use.

Fortunately, with a little bit of work and a couple of smart approaches, this damage can be avoided. Winter is right around the corner for many of us, so a few extra hours spent with the car right now can pay huge dividends when spring arrives and it’s time for that first drive of the season.

Park in the Right Place

Where you actually store the vehicle during the off-season is just as important as the procedure itself. Assuming there’s no covered space for the car at home, then there are basically four types of storage spots available: self-storage garages, generic storage “barns,” car storage specialists and extra space belonging to friends and relatives.

When we can’t keep the car at the house, many of us shop for storage based on price, and there is nothing wrong with that—just don’t let a cheap price for a bad spot lure you into making a mistake. You’re looking for clean, dry, animal-free storage. You also want a place that won’t require the car to be moved frequently, as each time that happens opens the potential for damage. (Ideally, you want a place that won’t require the car to be moved at all during the off-season.)

You should be able to regularly inspect the car and at least enjoy looking at it when you can’t drive it. Good lighting and security are a plus, as is some degree of climate control. Large changes in temperature are going to increase the chance of condensation, so a facility that holds its temperature fairly consistent is a better choice.

We’re not going to discuss outside storage, as we think it’s a pretty bad idea all around if you care about your car.

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