Should You Change Oil Before Storing Car: Essential Maintenance Tips

When storing your car for an extended period, it’s crucial to prepare it properly to ensure it remains safe and protected.

One common question among vehicle owners is whether they should change the oil before putting their car into storage.

Changing the oil is indeed a protective measure that can help prevent engine damage over time.

Fresh oil lacks the contaminants that can cause corrosion and other issues, so replacing old oil with new can help keep your car’s engine in better condition while it’s not in use.

Should You Change Oil Before Storing Car: Essential Maintenance Tips

Our collective experience and research indicate that old oil can have accumulated moisture and acids, which can be harmful to engine components.

This is particularly important if the vehicle will be stored for more than 30 days.

It is not just about having sufficient lubrication, but also about having clean lubrication that won’t degrade over time.

Therefore, we recommend changing the oil right before you store your car.

This way, when you retrieve your vehicle from storage, the oil will be fresh and the engine ready for use, reducing the risk of damage and maintenance issues.

Moreover, providing your car with proper care before storage includes more than just an oil change; it extends to maintaining the right tire pressure, cleaning the interior and exterior, and ensuring the gas tank is full to prevent moisture accumulation.

Taking these steps helps to ensure that once you take the car out of storage, it will be as safe and functional as when it was stored.

These storage tips are not merely suggestions, but rather measures to help protect one of your significant investments.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Storage

Before you store your vehicle for an extended period, it’s crucial to perform some key maintenance tasks to ensure its longevity and readiness for use upon your return.

Changing the Oil

Why Change Oil Before Storage:

If you’re planning to store your car for more than 30 days, we recommend an oil change prior to storage.

Fresh motor oil, whether it’s conventional or synthetic oil, is free of the contaminants that can damage engine components over time.

Taking Care of the Fuel System

Fuel System Maintenance Steps:
  • Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent moisture accumulation.
  • Fill the gas tank to limit exposure to air.

This prevents rust and ensures that you won’t come back to a degraded fuel system.

Moisture can condense as it would on a cold glass, gradually causing issues within the fuel tank.

Battery Maintenance

Battery Upkeep Essentials:
  1. Disconnect and remove the battery to prevent discharge.
  2. Use a trickle charger to maintain charge if removal isn’t possible.

Taking care of the battery ensures that when you’re ready to use your vehicle again, it will start without any issues.

Keeping the battery charged, but not too charged, is a delicate balancing act best managed by a trickle charger.

Proper Storage Techniques

Proper storage of your car involves more than just finding a space and leaving it there.

It’s about choosing the right location, protecting it against moisture and condensation, and ensuring the tires and brakes are in good condition for the period of storage.

Choosing the Right Location

Select a secure, well-ventilated place like a garage to store your car.

The location should be dry to prevent rust and away from trees to avoid sap and debris.

Protecting Against Moisture and Condensation

Guard against moisture in your fuel tank and throughout your vehicle.

Moisture can cause condensation in the fuel tank, leading to rust.

To prevent this, fill your tank and add a fuel stabilizer.

In your garage, use desiccants to absorb excess moisture.

Preventing Tire and Brake Issues

Avoid flat spots on your tires by inflating them to the proper tire pressure before storage.

Do not engage the parking brake, as it can stick or corrode over time. Instead, use tire stoppers to keep the vehicle from rolling.

Remember to check on your car periodically throughout storage to ensure that these measures remain effective.

Maintaining Your Vehicle While in Storage

Proper maintenance is crucial when storing a vehicle for an extended period.

This involves regular checks and preventative measures to ensure your car remains in good condition, ready to use when you need it again.

Routine Checkups

Oil Change: Change the oil before long-term storage, especially for diesel engines, to avoid contaminants from used oil causing potential issues.

For vehicles going into long-term storage, it’s important for us to change the oil beforehand, particularly if we’re dealing with diesel engines.

The clean oil will have fewer contaminants which can protect the engine.

Moreover, we’ll need to check the antifreeze level and top off any fluids to help prevent rust and corrosion.

Check on the car periodically, and if it’s possible, start the engine once a month to keep it running smoothly and circulate the fluids.

Keeping the Exterior Clean and Secure

Clean and Cover:

Before storing our vehicle, it’s wise to give it a thorough wash and wax to protect the paint from scratches and pollutants.

Use a high-quality car cover to shield it from dust and environmental elements.

This cover can also deter pests and prevent moisture build-up, which is crucial in avoiding rust on the car’s components.

Ensure the cover is breathable to allow air circulation and prevent moisture from becoming trapped, which might cause damage to the paint or lead to rust.

Reactivating Your Vehicle After Storage

As we bring our car out of storage, it’s crucial to perform immediate maintenance checks and replenish vital fluids to ensure our vehicle’s reliability and performance.

Inspection and Immediate Maintenance

Checking the Oil Filter and Oil Quality

Immediately after storage, we’ll check our oil filter and the quality of the oil.

Acids and moisture may have accumulated which can degrade the oil’s effectiveness, even if it was changed before storage.

If the oil has deteriorated or if it’s been a significant amount of time, we’ll replace both the oil and oil filter.

Assess Fuel Quality and Tank Conditions

Next, we address the fuel system.

We examine the fuel tank for any signs of moisture that could have led to rust or corrosion.

If the gasoline within shows evidence of degradation, which occurs over several months, we’ll drain the tank and refill it with fresh fuel to prevent potential engine issues.

Replenishing Fluids and Fuel

Ensuring all fluids are at proper levels and have not deteriorated during storage is our next step.

We carefully assess the brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid, topping up or replacing as necessary.

Fluid Type Action Required
Brake Fluid Check for moisture absorption and top up or replace
Transmission Fluid Examine for degradation and refill if needed
Coolant Inspect for contaminants and maintain appropriate levels
Power Steering Fluid Verify condition, top up or change if necessary

We also add a fuel stabilizer if the new gasoline lacks one.

This addition helps in preventing further fuel degradation, should the car need to sit idle again for a noticeable length of time.

By taking these careful steps, we ensure that our vehicle is not just ready to hit the road but also safeguarded against the effects of after storage conditions.

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