Storing your car for a long time, involves more than just parking it in a garage and forgetting about it.
Find out the best storage environment and what checks you should make on your car to avoid costly repairs or replacements when it returns to the road. When available, follow the manufacturers guidelines.
If you don't, you could be up for expensive repairs. If you're going to store your vehicle for at least a year, you need to have its engine started periodically and given a run.
The ideal spot is a well ventilated and dry garage. Don't park your vehicle under trees for a long time because sap and bird droppings can damage the paint.
When storing for one to six months:
Change your engine oil and oil filter if it will be more than six months (three months for diesel vehicles) between the last change and the end of the storage period.
Change your engine coolant if it will be longer than two years between the last coolant change and the end of the storage period.
If its registration expires during the storage period, contact your local RTA for advice. Check that you have adequate insurance cover for the storage term, especially if someone else will drive it while you're away.
If your car is being stored for more than two months, a monthly check on key components could save you money in costly repairs or replacements when your car returns to the road.
When storing for more than six months:
Note: Car Batteries contain acid, therefore avoid contact with eyes, skin, clothing and paint finishes. They give off an explosive gas, so avoid sparks and flames, and never smoke near a battery.
Only disconnect the battery if you're storing your vehicle for more than four weeks. Disconnect the battery terminals, negative first. You'll find safety procedures in the maintenance section of your owner's manual. If this isn't available:
No, it's normal for car batteries to discharge over time. To get the best charge retention, a battery should be:
This depends on the make and model of your car. Consult your owner's handbook, or call NRMA Motoring Advice on 13 11 22 for any special start-up procedures required when you reconnect your battery. Note: When you reconnect your battery, you may need to enter a security code for the stereo to work.
Yes, increase the pressure to 245-280 kPa, (35-40 psi). This will help to compensate for normal air loss. Always resume correct pressure before you go back on the road.
It should be jacked up and supported on stands if:
Petrol will store well for six months, provided the storage area is dry and not exposed to extreme weather conditions which may cause condensation in the fuel tank. Draining your fuel system and storing your car 'dry' could result in costly repairs. You may even need to carry out costly repairs to the fuel system before your car is driveable again.
Turn off the valve on the LPG cylinder while your engine is running on gas and allow it to run until it stalls. This will use up any gas in the lines. Don't store the vehicle near open drains.
Damp, humid conditions could cause wheel cylinder or calliper seizure, particularly if your outer seals are in poor condition. Leave your parking brake in the off position and the wheels securely chocked. This may prevent shoes or pads from locking to the drums or discs. Always check and overhaul your brakes before you go back on the road.
The clutch on a manual car can lock to the flywheel if the car is stored in damp conditions. If this happens, your transmission may need to be removed to free the clutch plate.