How to Safely Store Your Classic Car: The Collector's Guide

close up of classic car
Own a pristine piece of rolling vintage art? Or perhaps you're just starting to build your collection? This extensive guide will walk you through every crucial step and expert tip you need to safeguard your automotive treasures from the wear and tear of time.

What Makes an Ideal Classic Car Storage Space?

A classic car is an investment, which means your storage space should protect your investment by being:

  • Dry: Moisture is an enemy of metal, leading to corrosion. A climate-controlled storage unit will keep the humidity at just the right percentage.
  • Stable Temperature: Temperature swings can lead to condensation, creating rust. Consistent, moderate temperatures are best.
  • Secure: Opt for a fully enclosed unit, locked, with security measures in place. This could include 24/7 cameras, gated access, or unique gate code access.
  • Light-Free: Sunlight can fade paint and interior materials. Darkness is your friend for long-term storage.
  • Equipped with a 110 Plug: Access to a 110 plug helps with the battery tender, ensuring your car's battery remains charged and in optimal condition during storage. All of our car storage options offer this feature for added convenience.

A Step-By-Step Guide for Safekeeping

Follow these four steps before using classic car storage.

1. Choosing A Storage Facility

Be picky. Visit potential spaces to ensure they meet the criteria. Facilities with a history of storing classic cars are often a good bet because the staff will know the nuances of collector care.

2. Preparing the Engine

For short-term storage, change the oil to ward off moisture build-up in the engine. For the long haul, it's better to drain and refill; oil left to sit for too long can become acidic. Top up on gasoline for short-term, but for long-term, consider adding a fuel stabilizer to avoid carburetor gunk and fuel degradation.

3. Taking Care of the Exterior

Give it a good wash, ensuring all the grime and salt from your last drive is gone. Apply a wax to protect the paint, and cover the car in a breathable, soft fabric car cover.

4. Cleaning the Interior

Remove everything that might attract mold, mildew, and dirt, including floor mats and seat cushions if they aren't upholstered. Protect the dashboard and interior trims with UV blockers to maintain their shine.

Common Classic Car Storage Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  • Underuse: Every month or so, do a start-up to keep the fluids moving, which will lubricate the engine and prevent seals from drying out.
  • The Battery: A dead battery is storage's most common fatality. Unhook it and connect to a trickle charger to keep it alive.
  • Tires: Avoid flat spots with periodic movement. If keeping the car stationary, over-inflate the tires slightly by about 10 psi. Swapping tire positions or rotating the tires regularly can prevent spot flattening.
  • Pests: Keep critters at bay with deterrent tactics. Mothballs are effective, but there are also specialized products and ultrasonic devices that deter pests without the residues.

Taking Your Ride Out of Classic Car Storage

When it's time to take your car out for a spin, don't rush. Give yourself plenty of time to conduct a thorough inspection and address any issues before hitting the road.

  • Check Fluids: Don't skip this step! Make sure all fluids are at their proper levels and check for leaks.
  • Tire Check: Inflate tires to the recommended pressure and check for any damage or wear.
  • Battery Reconnect: If you disconnected the battery during storage, make sure to reconnect it securely.
  • Clean-Up: Give your car a good wash and wax before hitting the road to get rid of any accumulated dust or debris.

Need a Safe Home for Your Classic Car? Reserve Your Unit With Hawkeye Storage Today!

Whether you're expanding your collection or simply looking for the best possible home for your classic ride, Hawkeye Storage has got you covered. Our top-of-the-line, climate-controlled storage units are designed specifically with your treasured vehicles in mind.

From advanced security measures to perfect climate conditions, we ensure your classic car stays in pristine condition year-round. Reach out to us at our Gale facility now and find out how we can help protect what drives you.