For millions of people, commuting to work stopped after the pandemic. And that means some owners who want to hang onto their cars have to work out how to store their vehicles.
Where do you store a car?
If you can, the best and safest place to put a car is in a garage or covered car port. But for many of us, this is impossible. If that’s the case, try to park the car away from trees. If you do have to park it under trees, you might consider investing in a car cover or simply keep an eye on it so you can regularly wipe acidic bird poo off. We have a useful blog here on cleaning off bird poo. If you can, park your car on a flat surface.
Clean your car before storing it
If you’re not going to be doing many miles in a car, it makes sense to give it a good clean, inside and out, before you lay it up. This will do two things: it will make you feel better about your car and inclined to keep an eye on it. And you’ll be able to see where any scratches, dents or dings are. If these are added to while the car is parked, you might want to consider moving it.
Security is vital
The longer your car is left, the more likely it is to fall victim to vandals and thieves. A third advantage of cleaning your car out before leaving it is you’ll be sure nothing of value will be on show. Also consider investing in some physical protection such a steering wheel or pedal lock. And if your car is parked on your drive and has ‘keyless’ technology, you should invest in a Faraday Bag to ensure you’re not a victim of relay theft.
First check your tyres. Experts at tyre firm Continental say there’s no danger of modern tyres suffering from flat spots if the car is left in the same place for a couple of months. But to ensure tyres do stay in tip-top shape, it’s advisable to pump them up to the recommended air pressure. Check the oil too and fill the car with fuel. This will prevent condensation forming in the fuel tank.
Don’t put the parking brake on if you can help it. If it rains, there’s a chance your pads will fuse to the discs. To stop the car moving, leave it in gear (obviously, there’s not much you can do about a modern automatic car which will probably have the transmission and parking brake linked.)
Start the engine
At least every two weeks you need to start the engine, then run it for 15 or ideally 20 minutes. This should be sufficient to charge the battery up. If you can, go for a drive too. This will move all the fluids around the engine and the car’s hydraulic systems, ensuring seals stay lubricated.
What about admin?
Last but not least, it’s important you remember to keep your car taxed and MOT’d. It’s easy to forget this when you’re not driving regularly. Applying to SORN your car is one option if you don’t think you’ll be driving it for a while and you’re keeping it off the road. But if you’re going to be taking it for a drive every couple of weeks, SORN isn’t the answer. You can check when your car’s MOT is due using the government’s MOT checking service.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.