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Classic Cars: Simple Tips for Long-Term Storage

Classic Cars: Simple Tips for Long-Term Storage

Author: Ron Moorhead

Classic cars require a little bit of planning and foresight before they're put away for long-term storage (up to six months). But it's not necessarily that classic cars are more vulnerable to damage -- instead, it could be that the caretakers of collectible cars are more concerned for the welfare of those vehicles.

We've compiled a few tips for long-term storage. Combining these with our recommendations for short-term storage will help protect your investment and make it a little easier to put that classic car back on the road when it's time to take it out storage.

Routine Maintenance

Change the oil and filter. Older oil can contain contaminates that are acidic and can harm internal engine components if left sitting. Run the engine with new oil so it circulates through the engine, coating those vital parts.

Lubricate all the spots that require grease, like suspension components and hinges. Apply silicone spray to door and window seals to keep them pliable.

Top up all other fluids, such as coolant and brake fluid. Use the proper mixture of coolant. As brake fluid attracts moisture, fill the brake reservoir with the correct type of fluid. The smaller the surface exposed, the less likely the fluid will become contaminated.

Gas Tank

Fill the gas tank as full as possible so there is less likelihood of condensation forming in the tank. Add the proper mixture of fuel stabilizer and drive the car a short distance so the stabilizer mixes with the fuel and circulates completely through the carburetor or fuel injection system.


Tire experts say all tires will flat spot, even slightly, if parked for an extended time period. Even a small flat spot is annoying when driving a classic car. In order to avoid this issue, raise the vehicle off the ground and support it on jack stands. This will take the pressure off the tires and the suspension components.

Critter Protection

Critters can be a real issue when storing a classic car. Not only do they build nests -- usually from seats and upholstery -- they chew on wiring, hoses and other components, creating huge repair bills. Plus, they leave behind remnants of what they ate.

Using a combination of steel wool and dryer sheets, stuff the tailpipe tip, the air intake at the air cleaner and any other external area a critter could use to gain entrance. Tie brightly colored surveyors tape to these packets as a reminder to remove them before restarting the vehicle.

Though mothballs may seem like an ancient solution, they are well-known to repel creatures like mice. They are quite inexpensive, so they make an easy and plentiful resolution for placing a barrier in the passenger compartment or around the exterior.

Use the dryer sheets as a border around the exterior, placing them on top of tires and around the engine compartment. Place them on the floor boards and under the seats, on the dashboard and rear window shelf. These sheets help repel the furry beasts, and keep the interior smelling fresh.

Interior Moisture Protection

Condensation can ruin the interior of a vehicle, but a few tricks can stave off moisture. There are many commercial moisture absorbents on the market. Most contain silica gel, which absorbs 15 percent of its weight in water vapor and lasts around 60 days.

Household baking soda also works well at absorbing both moisture and odors, and can be used in tandem with the other products. Some owners we spoke with sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and place a few open boxes in the vehicle.

Published Mar 13th, 2018

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