When you need to store your car for an extended period, there are a lot of variables to account for. Different storage options will be preferable depending on the local climate, the type of vehicle, the expected storage time, and the overall cost-effectiveness of the storage method. To help you begin to understand which storage method is preferable for you and your vehicle, we are going to cover the most popular and available car storage methods and what you can expect from each.
This is not a comprehensive list of every possible storage option; instead, it is an overview of the categories that the primary storage options will fall under.
Here are the storage option categories you are most likely to utilize:
Outdoor car storage can be a viable option if you don’t plan on being away for long or if the weather in your area is terrific. This is a less viable option for long term storage or through long periods of poor weather. For larger vehicles, this is sometimes the only local option available to you. Boats, trailers, commercial vans, etc. are all likely candidates for short to mid-length outdoor storage.
This is often the most affordable option and can still be an excellent choice for short term storage.
Since security is really one of the few added benefits of taking your car to an outdoor lot, make sure it is of a decent quality.
Questions to ask yourself when considering an outdoor storage option:
Covered lot storage is a step up from a pure outdoor lot since your vehicle will be protected from the worst of the weather. You will no longer have to worry about your vehicle being directly exposed to rain, most pollen, and snow. The height and type of roof will change the overall effectiveness. The less open space, the better it will be for your vehicle overall.
Covered lots are a bit rarer and more expensive than open lots but do provide an added layer of protection and are preferable for longer trips. Motorhomes (see covers for motorhomes), boats and RV’s that are being put away for the winter are often found in covered lots.
Questions to ask yourself when considering a covered storage option:
Car storage units come in as many shapes and sizes as there are possible vehicles. While these units are typically entirely enclosed and can keep out all likely weather and debris in the air, they are also the most expensive option. If you are storing a precious vehicle, this may be the required choice. Car storage units also allow you to avoid exposing your vehicle to the public without your presence.
You would need to balance the cost of this type of storage against the possible cost of theft and damages if your vehicle was left in a more exposed lot.
Questions to ask yourself when considering indoor storage:
While you may not think of car or truck covers as a form of storage, since these covers can and should be used every day, the truth is that a car cover can provide the same or better protection than the majority of inexpensive car storage options. The use of a car cover in tandem with the usage of other forms of car storage can exponentially extend the lifespan of your vehicle’s exterior.
By investing in custom car covers or truck covers for the vehicles you plan to store long-term, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Many heavy-duty outdoor car covers are available on the market today and are preferred for uncovered lots.
Questions to ask yourself when considering a car cover:
Your personal needs and situation will dictate which storage option is ultimately better for you. You will need to weigh the length of time with the cost and the effectiveness of each option.
These are the typical choices for common vehicle storage situations:
(1-8 weeks) Suggested: Covered Lot
This can be considered a short-term storage situation. All options are viable at this length though a good car cover or truck cover and an outdoor lot are likely to be the most cost-effective at this length of time. Just make sure a monsoon or something isn’t on its way in. If you think the trip may be extended for another month or so, opt for covered storage.
(1-16 weeks) Suggested: Storage Unit
Putting a classic car into a storage unit during the winter months (or just when not in use if you live near salt water) can be a huge factor in maintaining appearances and longevity. These storage units keep them safe and out of the way when they are not going to be used. Cars that require seasonal storage are often not good candidates for more exposed storage lots.
(3-12 months) Suggested: Storage Unit
If you are leaving for a military deployment, taking a hiatus, or perhaps traveling the world, you will need to consider your best form of long-term storage. While it may be expensive to go for the storage unit, this will likely have the best results for the well-being of your vehicle. Covered lots can also be a viable and less expensive option, but will require a good location and a good car cover.
(2-5 days) Suggested: Outdoor Lot
When you are often storing your vehicle for 2-5 days stints, a car cover and an outdoor lot is often your most cost-effective choice. A car cover and secure lot will keep your vehicle safe and relatively clean when not in use. Custom car covers with that added level of protection are an excellent investment in these situations.
In Post Image Credit: Mick Garratt / Manheim Car Auctions Storage Area / Wikimedia Commons