If you’re like most people, your adventure vehicle is an important part of your life. It’s a way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and explore the great outdoors. But when it comes to storing your adventure vehicle, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are some tips on how to store your adventure vehicle so that it’s ready for your next adventure.
If you haven’t read our article on preparing your vehicle for adventure, check that out here.
Why are we writing this article? Our first hand experience with what can happen to your car when not stored properly. In our last trip back to the east coast, we encountered a major downed tree that damaged two vehicles, yet the vehicle in the garage remained undamaged. In addition, a car stored outside experience corrosion on the brake lines, causing some very dangerous breaking conditions.
The Importance Of Storage
You’ve likely invested a fair amount into your adventure vehicle. Whether it is a fully customized vehicle, brand new, used, or even handed down to you, you probably want to keep it in the best shape possible, so it is ready for your next adventure.
Benefits Of Proper Car Storage:
- Reducing the risk of wear and tear like rusting or water damage while parked
- Reducing the amount of work needed to keep the vehicle in good condition.
- Increasing the longevity of the vehicle
- Decreasing long term maintenance costs
- Increase your trust in the vehicle’s performance
As adventurers, this last bullet is more important than you might think. Having confidence that your vehicle is reliable is a major factor in the enjoyment of your trip.
Key Storage Considerations
Before reading the below tips, we have some key considerations for you:
- How often will you be using your vehicle? How long are you storing it for? If your vehicle used used very weekend and you are only storing it for the week, that has a different set of consideration than 30+ days. Anything longer than 30 days, we recommend all of the below tips, but shorter durations, you may only need to use a few of the tips below.
- What is your environment? If you live in a cold and/or moist environment, then proper vehicle storage becomes even more important. That doesn’t mean if your vehicle is in a dry and temperate environment that you shouldn’t follow the below tips, it simply means it may become a necessity in certain climates.
- Can you use your vehicle instead of storing it? What’s better than storing a vehicle? Using it! If you can switch the vehicle you use more regularly, take it to the store, or even fully replace your other vehicle, simply consider that before spending time and money for proper storage.
Vehicle Storage Tips
Here are some tips on how to store your vehicle so that it stays in good condition and is ready for your next adventure.
Clean & Wax
First, take the time to properly clean and wax your vehicle. This will protect it from inclement weather and reduce the chances of rust or corrosion during storage. Not only does wax help keep the vehicle while in storage, but it will keep it more scratch resistant and debris resistant while traveling.
Top Off & Replace Fluids
Make sure all liquids like antifreeze, oil, fuel treatment and stabilizer are topped off – the best way to do this is by treating yourself to a full service at a professional garage before storing it away.
Protecting your vehicle from the elements is essential for keeping it in great condition. Parking it in a garage or carport is great if you have the option, as they can block out rain, snow, wind and even sun.
Not only will this keep your vehicle looking clean and shiny, but having less exposure to the weather can mean fewer times spent performing upkeep on things like cleaning, brakes, and even paint.
InIn terms of a storage location, the best option is a fully climatized storage area where temperature stays constant, and humidity is low. The second best option would be a fully enclosed space like a detached garage, and the third best option would be a carport, or a simple structure over the top of the vehicle to block sun, precipitation, bird droppings, tree limbs, sap, and other debris.
If you don’t have access to a garage or carport, make sure to cover your vehicle with a tarp or other waterproof material.
Ideally, you find a car / vehicle cover designed specifically for your vehicle. No matter the vehicle type you have, you’ll be able to find an rv or motorhome cover, truck cover, van cover, or even a cover customized to go over addons to your vehicle like a roof rack or roof tent.
A cover like this can help protect against UV rays and water damage from inclement weather. A tarp can be an effective option to cover your car when needed, as long as it’s held in place well with straps or clamps. Doing so can also discourage others from tampering with the vehicle while also keeping it clean and dry while parked outdoors.
If your vehicle can’t be stored in a fully enclosed area for long durations, it becomes extremely important to invest in a cover.
Use A Trickle Charger
A trickle charger (sometimes called a battery tender) will help maintain the battery life of your vehicle and reduce corrosion. Trickle chargers can be left connected for long periods of time, as they will automatically shut off when the battery reaches its full charge. When you’re ready to head out on your next adventure, just unplug it so that it’s ready to go!
Check On Your Vehicle Regularly
Make sure to check on your vehicle periodically while it’s in storage. Check the tires, battery, and fluids levels so that everything is in working order when you’re ready to hit the road again.
Vehicles stored outdoors, or in areas where animals can get in should be checked periodically. Chipmunks, rodents, insects, and other animals can cause damage. Checking periodically can help identify issues so you can prevent them from causing greater damage.
Winterize Your Vehicle If Needed
Winterizing your vehicle can be a longer process, especially for RVs, but is absolutely essential if your vehicle will be stored in a cold climate.
Use A Tire Chock
Generally, it isn’t a good idea to use a parking brake for long term storage. Corrosion can occur with long term storage. Therefore, the best bet is to utilize a tire chock (tire stopper) instead.
Consider Using Jacks
Jacks taking pressure off the suspension and tires can help the suspension long term, as well as help prevent tire flat spots. If there is long term storage (beyond 30 days), this may be something you want to consider, or simply take your vehicle out semi regularly, like to the grocery store to help keep things moving!
Avoid Parking Directly On The Ground
If your vehicle is being stored outside, don’t park your car directly on the dirt or grass. Lay a tarp down to protect the underside of the vehicle and the tires.
While storing your vehicle won’t be the most exciting part of your adventures, it is an important part of keeping them up and running for years to come. With just a little bit of extra effort and precautionary maintenance, you can ensure your vehicle is ready for whatever adventures may come your way in the future!
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about