Things to Know Before Storing a Vehicle

By Patrick Galvan,

Vehicle storage is among the most popular amenities in the self storage industry. It accommodates the needs of people who want to protect their vehicles from harsh weather, spend time overseas, or simply preserve the paint job on a classic car or sports car for an upcoming show. Here are some things you should take into account before using vehicle storage.

Choosing Between Indoor, Outdoor, and Covered Storage

The first thing you should remember is that the self storage industry offers three different kinds of vehicle storage: indoor, outdoor, and covered (Only some facilities offer all three). Which one you pick depends on your storage purposes, as well as the time of the year. For instance, if you’ll be out of town for military deployment or on vacation in the spring or summer, parking your vehicle in an outdoor or covered storage space should suffice.

“Outdoor spaces are simply a parking space while covered has a roof and sometimes walls [around the vehicle],” says Jesse Ament, Marketing Manager for STORExpress Self Storage in Pittsburgh, Penn.

While outdoor storage spaces are usually less expensive, having a covered space will offer your vehicle protection from the sun. This will keep your vehicle cool while simultaneously protecting it from the sun’s rays, which can cause paint to fade.

On the other hand, if you want a sheltered environment to store a vehicle, an indoor storage unit will better suit your auto storage needs. If temperature is still a concern, check out facilities to see if they offer climate-controlled vehicle storage, which acts as a heater, air conditioner, and dehumidifier inside the unit to moderate temperature and humidity levels.

Finding Adequate Security for Car Storage

“Another big consideration for vehicle storage is security,” Ament says. “While a $25 per month parking spot sounds like a great deal, it might be too good to be true. The owner [of the facility] might not have taken the time to invest in protecting your car.”

Before renting a storage space for your car, ask the owner or manager if their facility features amenities like video surveillance, on-site management, perimeter fencing, or gated access. In addition to deterring thieves and vandals, this allows the facility personnel to monitor everyone who enters the property, which keeps your vehicle safe.

How Long Will You Be Storing a Vehicle?

You should also consider how long you will be storing your automobile because the duration of your stay may not align with the policies of the self storage facility. “Some car storage facilities store [automobiles with long-term restrictions],” warns Ament. “You could store a car in October but will not be able to retrieve it until spring. Otherwise, the facility could charge you a fee to retrieve your own vehicle.”

Long-term contracts probably won’t inconvenience military personnel who are heading overseas for several months, but anyone who might need to retrieve their vehicle in a hurry will find this burdensome and frustrating. Ament recommends checking with facilities to see if they offer month-to-month contracts. “This way, there’s no long-term commitment, [and] you can come and go as you please,” he says.

Ask your local self storage providers if they can offer you moderated conditions, adequate security, and contract terms that will suit your auto storage needs.