Are you temporarily moving to a big city with public transportation, or jetting around Europe for a while, and won’t need your car? If so, there are steps you should take to keep it ready for your return. Here is a checklist of steps to follow to keep your car in tip-top condition while you are gone.
Fresh oil – if you are going away for years, consider changing the oil with a standard oil that has no caustic detergents.
Fresh fuel – Condensation in the tank is a huge problem for stored cars. Water condenses out of humid air and sits on the bottom of the gas tank. We suggest that you fill your tank with premium non-alcohol fuel to avoid any empty space where humid air can infiltrate and condense.
Use a gas stabilizer – Gasoline may become “gummy” over time. Thus, it is useful to add a gasoline stabilizer to your gas tank. This is what www.kindledodge.net out of Cape May Court House, NJ recommends. You can get gas stabilizers at many auto parts and hardware stores.
Use a vapor barrier – Think about placing a sheet of vapor barrier plastic under the car on the floor if your car will be stored indoors. You can get large plastic sheeting at hardware stores and home supply stores. These sheets will prevent water vapor from seeping up into your vehicle.
Use a trickle charger – These are battery chargers that only turn on occasionally while your car is in storage. A battery trickle charger will keep the battery charged so all the car’s computers and other electronic devices remain “on”.
Put the vehicle up on jack stands – If your car will be stored for a while, it is advisable to put it up on jack stands to prevent your tires from getting flat spots.
Windshield wipers – Be careful of leaving the wiper arms extended if you take off the windshield wipers. If the windshield wipers snap back on the glass, the arms can break the windshield, especially in cold conditions. Instead, wrap the arms in washcloths. Wrap it with a piece of duct tape, then lay the arm back on your windshield.
Leave the parking brake off – If the parking brake is left on, the brake pads may stick to the rotors. Place chocks underneath the tires to prevent movement if the car is not up on jack stands.
Spray oil in the cylinders – Take out the spark plugs and spray some “fogging oil” into the cylinders to prevent rusting, then put the plugs back in. Fogging oil is an item used all the time in the boating business and you should be able to get some at any marina.
Finally, we recommend placing a note to yourself on the steering wheel outlining the steps above you completed. Upon your return, you will be glad that you took care of your vehicle, and left this note for yourself to refer back to!