Taking a few precautions can help your vehicle avoid issues when it sits for months at a time

Whether you’re putting your car into storage for the winter or shipping it to another part of the country, a vehicle that isn’t getting any use could run into mechanical and physical difficulties. Allowing it to sit for a few days or weeks without moving isn’t a concern. However, when that timeline expands into months or longer, you should take a few steps to make sure it starts up and drives when you come back to it.

Here’s a look at some things you can do to ensure your car looks and runs great when you’re finally ready to get it back on the road.

Key takeaways

  • Storage can cause problems for cars
  • Shipping leads to issues, too
  • Preparing your vehicle for storage or shipping is important

 

1. Fill the gas tank

Although you won’t be driving your vehicle, it’s still a good idea to fill the gas tank before putting it into storage. A full gas tank prevents moisture from getting into the fuel system, which can lead to corrosion. 

Use a fuel stabilizer to ensure the gas is usable once you start the car again. These additives pull moisture from the gas and prevent it from oxidizing and gumming up the system while in storage. Stabilizers are easy to apply, just pour the prescribed amount into your tank and drive around for a few minutes to get it circulating.

2. Search for leaks

You must identify and seal any leaks before putting your car into storage. You could end up with a mess if you don’t repair these issues early, and then you might be on the hook for any damage your leak does to the storage facility. 

Some storage buildings and transport trucks won’t take your car if it has an aggressive leak, so inspect the undercarriage in the days leading up to your start date to ensure you don’t have a problem.

Finding a leak is a relatively straightforward process. Just put a sheet of cardboard under the car for the night and check it in the morning. If the cardboard is clean, you’re good to go.

3. Complete basic maintenance

Make sure you conduct the necessary maintenance before putting your vehicle into storage. That way, it should start right up when you come back to it.

Key maintenance jobs to do before putting a vehicle into storage include:

  • Change the oil
  • Rotate the tires
  • Check the air pressure
  • Add coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid
  • Inspect the belts and hoses
  • Replace the air filters

If you’re aren’t comfortable completing these tasks on your own, a mechanic can do them quickly and easily. All of these jobs are part of basic car maintenance anyway, so they shouldn’t be too much trouble to finish before putting your car into storage.

4. Remove the battery

When storing your vehicle for three months or more, removing the battery and keeping it in a warm, dry location can help extend its life. You might also consider attaching it to a trickle charger to ensure that it’s in working order when you’re ready to reinstall it. 

Removing the battery isn’t usually necessary for short-term storage, although you might need a jump if you’ve stored the car in cold weather.

5. Clean it inside and out

Cleaning your vehicle before putting it into storage can help protect your paint from damage. When you allow dirt, salt, and other contaminants to sit on your car for months at a time, it can lead to rusting and other issues. 

You can prevent this problem by cleaning the outside of your car before storing it for any length of time. As a bonus, washing the car before putting it into storage means the vehicle will look great when you’re ready to drive it again.

Tidying the inside of the car isn’t vital from a performance standpoint, but it ensures that you don’t end up missing some items that you’re keeping in your vehicle. It also eliminates much of the risk of theft if you aren’t storing your car in a secure location.

Additional tips for shipping a vehicle

Generally, shipping a vehicle to another part of the country won’t keep it off the road for months. Depending on where you’re sending the car, you’ll likely have access to it after a few days or, at the very most, weeks. 

At the same time, there are a few steps you should take to prepare your car for shipping. For example, you should clean your vehicle thoroughly and check for leaks before putting it on a transport truck. That way, it becomes more likely that your car will arrive at its destination in great shape. 

It’s also worth noting that it’s easier to spot damage on a clean vehicle. From an insurance standpoint, you must identify shipping damage early to receive reimbursement. Washing your car makes it easier to detect scratches and scrapes in your paint that might’ve happened along the way.

You won’t want to fill your gas tank before shipping your car because it adds extra weight to the truck. Keep your fuel below a quarter tank to lighten the load and reduce the odds of damage during shipment.

The vehicle shipping vendor you select also has a hand in maintaining your vehicle’s condition and using a broker like Mercury Auto Transport can ensure you end up with a good one. We only work with reputable carriers, so you can trust that your car is in the best possible hands throughout transport. Contact us to request a quote or to speak with one of our professional car shipping representatives.

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FAQs

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.