Long Term Storage

How Should A Car Be Prepared For Long Term Storage?


[AWN] Here’s a winter-storage checklist that was recently posted to the Porsche mailing list. Some items are, of course, not applicable to the NSX:

  1. Wash & wax the car prior to the day you intend to store it, then drive the car a little in order to help evacuate water from brakes, nooks, & crannies.
  3. Apply leather treatment to all leather to prevent drying and cracking.
  5. Fluids:
    1. Change the oil and filter.
    3. Check windshield washer fluid - be sure it is winterized with antifreeze.
    5. Add StaBil to fuel tank (run engine afterwards) & top off fuel tank.
    7. Check antifreeze strength
  7. For annual storage suspension on blocks is NOT recommended as the shock absorber pistons are fully extended and can corrode and stick.
  9. Inflate tires to 8 PSI above the maximum rating on the tire to avoid flat spotting.
  11. Lube electric antenna mast with thin oil and retract.
  13. Disconnect and remove battery or pull fuse of clock and burglar alarm to prevent battery drainage; pulled batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place OFF of the floor, preferably on a piece of wool.. slow charge in mid-winter every several months (Personally I've had good luck with small Schumacher 1 Amp smart charger which charges only when battery voltage begins to fall - about $25.).
  15. Lube door, hood, trunk and targa rubber seals with silicone spray. Close doors, hood, and trunk to FIRST LOCK position so that seals are relaxed. Be sure hood and interior door lights are not on.
  17. Place small wood blocks under wiper arms so blades are off glass.
  19. If high humidity conditions are expected, leave a desiccant bag in the car.
  21. Close the heater flaps on rear engine cars to prevent rodent entry.
  23. Seal intakes and exhaust pipe with tape or towels.
  25. Relax Targa tops.
  27. If exposed to direct sunlight, cover glass to protect interior.
  29. Park vehicle on large sheet of plastic to prevent ground moisture from attacking underbody.
  31. Cover with a QUALITY car cover which will allow humidity & moisture passage.
  33. Do NOT set the handbrake.
  35. Say Goodbye ....

    Other Suggestions

    Check out the Maintenance – Battery section of the FAQ for information on battery charges and disconnect switches.

    [LL] The most important thing in my opinion is to keep airflow out of the engine internals. Other cars I have owned  get big time rust on the cylinder walls from condensation. I’ve seen this first hand several times. I ALWAYS cover the exhausts with baggies held by large rubber bands and pull the intake boot back and stuff it with a towel. Rust on the brake rotors is bad enough, but I DO NOT LIKE RUST ON MY CYLINDER WALLS!

    I used to do the oil down the plug holes routine, but haven’t done that on the NSX. That really is a good habit. You pull the plugs, squirt a bit of oil in each cylinder and then turn the engine over a few times and re-install the plugs.

    If you use any public storage, check out the ventilation. Some of them have common roof areas that pass massive quantities of moisture laden air over your baby when the sun hits all that sheet metal. Make sure the roof area of your unit is sealed, or better yet, keep the NSX at home and store something else. That’s what I do. I had one vehicle that rusted just about every hidden bolt and bracket from two seasons in a bum storage unit before I wised up. Condensation finds it’s way EVERYWHERE.

    I pull the battery and put it in my basement. The car should be clean, but well waxed is not essential. I cover the car with a lightweight cotton cover and sometimes cover it double with a lightweight tricot cover for further protection. I do not crack a window or open the trunk – I have never experienced a "dank" condition in any car that did not have a cause other than simply being closed up. Mid-engined cars heat the truck space a lot creating a super breeding ground for bacteria, so ANY WATER spill or heaven forbid milk of OJ means trouble. Obviously if you wash your car and get some moisture in the trunk just before you store it, you will have a problem.

    [A/H] Acura says to store the car with a full take of gas so moisture is lessened.

    Larry Long had some good ideas about the exhaust, Honda does recommend oil in the cylinders of power equipment that is to be stored for a long time. I do it to my generator in my garage. Honda also has fuel stabilizer available, but it shouldn’t be necessary for a car stored for 4-5 months. Engine and washer fluid is nobrainer. Don’t set the park brake.

    The Yoko’s and Bridgestones may flat spot; it depends on their temperatures when being put away. It will require a higher temp to work out the flat spot when bringing the car out of storage. The NSX is very stiff and the hanging weight of the car will not hurt. We recommend car stands on the rocker between the tires. BTW: The tires come from the factory w/50 PSI. so they won’t flat spot in storage.

    Also, putting the car on jackstands allows you to periodically spin the tires by hand, so as to keep the wheel bearings and CV joints happy.

    There is a good battery charger available from 1800 Bass Pro, will turn its self off at 14 volts. The car locked with the radio memory and alarm does draw from the battery – about 4 to 5 milliamps.

    We have also seen rodents, some say to put the A/C on rec. to keep them out of the car. Moth balls seem to work for some people under hood and around the engine. (worked for me to keep bears away from my hanging food bags in Yosemite) Rodents like coolant hoses, wire insulation, brake lines, etc. Big problem keeping them out of engine and A/C intake systems.


    See the Maintenance – Battery section for information on keeping the battery charged.


    [GM] Ensure the climate control is in the"recirculate" position, and think about putting some moisture absorbing silica gel in the interior and trunk. Use about 5lbs. for interior, 3lbs. for the trunk. Do NOT put this stuff directly on the leather or dash, you will get marks. Put it on a towel.

    Open the glovebox, CD player etc. to expose the electronics to the drying agent. Remove radar detector, scanner etc. Bulk desiccant is sold by Griot’s, Drypack & others. Buy a hygrometer and leave it inside the car where you can check it without opening the vehicle. Renew the gel by placing in a low oven when needed.

    Enclosed Storage Products

    Car Capsule

    [AG] Read in Tue. Dec. 3 LA Times page E-3:

    SEAL OF APPROVAL: Car buffs who need long-term indoor storage for a collectible auto will want to check out the Car Capsule, an unusual "bubble" that seals the car or truck in a purified environment.

    A continuous flow of filtered air, circulated by fan that representatives say costs just more than a dollar a month to run and is warrantied for 5 years, keeps the car dry and prevents corrosion and mildew.

    Car Capsule, from California Car Cover Co., has a shroud of poly vinyl chloride that lets you see the car inside and a laminated fabric base mat. It closes with a heavy -duty nylon zipper.


    "Our company, J.F. Stanley & Co. has been dealing with the issue of "Automobile Storage" in a scientific manner since 1971 and have developed a system which we feel will be of interest to you. Kindly take a look at our web site http://www.permabag.com . Our PermaBag Humidity Control System has been specially developed for storage of cars and motorbikes and is the only car-bag offering a humidity controlled environment.

    We look forward to hearing from you and please do not hesitate in contacting us should you require further information. You may reach us at us@permabag.com  or by phone at 1-800-881 1322. With kind regards, J. Stanley us@permabag.com"

    What About Insurance For Stored Cars?

    [KS] Here, the term my insurance company uses for a car "taken out of service" is that they "suspend" coverage. They discontinue the liability coverage (and anything else that would be appropriate, like towing or rental car replacement) for the duration I specify (winter). But I continue to pay for comprehensive coverage, in case someone steals or vandalizes the car or some other damage happens that is not as a result of driving it.

    Don said in New Jersey, his insurance company required the car to be unregistered and re-registered during that period, which is not the case here in Illinois or in Ohio. But even that hassle may be worth it; I’ve been saving over $500 each winter by turning off my liability coverage.

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