Storing a car for restoration
Storing a car for restoration

One common use of self storage is storing an older car. Many times these cars are collectibles, a family heirloom, or a project you fully intend to get around to when the time is right. And there is another commonality in many of these cars: they’re usually aging and out of shape.

Nothing stays in great condition when left on its own throughout the years, and cars are especially susceptible if not regularly maintained. Problems like rust, wiring, and debris build up can definitely build up even if left alone outside in the elements. Thankfully, no matter what the reason you have a car you’re waiting to restore, self storage can help.

How to prepare a project car for self storage

The first thing you’re going to want to do for your project car is give it a thorough cleaning, both inside and out. Starting inside the car, vacuum out any upholstery, gloveboxes, trunk space and any other nooks and crannies. Then wipe down the dashboard, center console, and any other surfaces. This will help in two ways: prevent any further dust build up or contaminants from causing damage as well as prevent any pests such as mice being attracted to the inside of the car—where they may decide to dig in and live for a while.

Give the outside a thorough cleaning to also prevent any dust build up and contaminants from causing any further damage. If there’s rust, use some fine grit sandpaper or a razer blade and scrap the rust spot until it fades away—just be careful not to damage the paint jobs unless you plan on painting a new color later on. Lastly, you can apply a rust arrestor to prevent any further rust growth. Just be sure to apply it with a cloth, brush, or cotton swab; do not spray it on at all.

Some basic maintenance could also come in handy if possible as well. For instance, old, dirty engine oil will thicken over time, so a quick change now can save time and hassle later. Lastly, if there is a battery at all attached, it may be best to remove it and keep on a trickle charge somewhere. Be sure to plug the tailpipe to prevent any pests from setting up shop in there as well.

The right storage features to store a car

Besides the obvious feature of drive up access, when it comes to features to protect your car before restoration, protection is going to be key, and in most storage facilities it comes in two ways: climate control and security.

As many older cars may have rust or faded leather, you’re going to want to do as much as you can to keep the original parts in good shape. Unfortunately, this material can be sensitive to yearly weather changes, from temperatures to humidity levels. Thankfully, the climate control features maintain both temps and moisture at a preferable level.

Many of these project cars for restoration are also an investment, and you need to protect your investment. Find a storage facility with strong security features such as electronic gate access, which restricts entry to the facility, as well as onsite management and video surveillance.

How to place your project car in a storage unit

Once you’ve got your car ready and the storage unit in place, there are still a few things left to do to store your car. If you can admit it may be awhile before you get to this project, place the car on tire jacks. This will protect your wheels from forming a flat spot over the long-term.

And do not forget to place a breathable car cover over the car, even if you’re using climate control. This will help prevent any debris build up from the outside as well as any condensation building from the inside. 

A project car is a great way to remember family, develop some skills, or even bond with another person, but it may not always be possible to keep the car on your property until you’re ready to pursue that project. Thankfully, with a storage unit, you can store your care until it’s ready to be restored.