If you happen to be going on vacation, going away on a business trip for work, or simply aren’t going to be home much for a good while, it’s very likely that the storage of your vehicle will go overlooked. Dust accumulating, bird droppings, and exposure to sun, rain, and different changes in climate can, and most likely will have an adverse effect on your vehicle before you know it.
We’ve teamed up with Corvette America to put together some tips on how to store and protect your car day-to-day or for long-term periods of time, as well as which of their car covers best fits your application – after you see how easy and simple these tips are, it will change your whole perspective on storing a car. In this article, we will also go over the proper way to take care of and store a car cover when it is not in use.
The EconoTech cover is a single-layer cover for your Corvette that repels water and dirt, but still remains breathable. Perfect for long-term or short-term indoor storage, the EconoTech cover comes with a one-year warranty and a storage bag for when it is not in use. This cover is available for all Corvettes from 1953 to 2015, so you can guarantee whichever ‘Vette you own will be protected.
Corvette America’s Premium Flannel covers are 100% breathable and mildew resistant, so you can bet that your Corvette will stay nice and dry indoors with no condensation issues whatsoever. Used and trusted by thousands of Corvette Owners worldwide, the Premium Flannel cover envelops Corvettes from 1953 to 2015 in a single, double-napped layer of soft protection. Premium Flannel covers are available in gray or tan and adorns a three-year warranty – it comes with it’s own storage bag, as well.
The four-layer SoftShield can be used for indoor or outdoor storage – it is completely breathable and combines the outdoor protection properties from the MAXTech cover with the soft, paint-pampering properties of the Premium Flannel cover for ultimate protection. SoftShield’s three outer layers are made up of the same UV-treated polypropelene material as the MAXTech covers and the one inner layer is made of soft polyester nap for ultimate paint protection. Available for all Corvette generations, this cover also includes front and rear elastic hems, non-scratch cable tie-down grommets, tie-down cable, cable lock, nifty storage bag, and a two-year warranty.
If you want great indoor/outdoor protection for a great price, put The WALL around your Corvette. It features a durable three-layer design that they say will give most competitors a run for their money, at a fraction of the price. This cover fits like a glove with its elastic hems and will protect your Corvette from rain, snow, ice, dirt, tree sap, and other debris that often troubles outside parkers. Included with the cover is a storage bag, cable, and cable lock.
Preparing For Storage
Whether your car is going to sit for a month or a year, over summer, or over winter, taking the right steps to make sure your vehicle doesn’t develop problems over time from disuse will save you a lot of time and money in the long run – plus, your ride will look and run as spiffy as the day you put it into hibernation.
Change the oil, filter, and other “consumable fluids” – If you’re going to be storing your car for a month or longer, changing the oil and filter in your vehicle should definitely be on the to-do list. Oil breaks down over time and absorbs foreign deposits in your engine’s lube passageways, resulting in premature wear on the components, loss of compression, and increased oil consumption, which is never a good thing. After the new oil is in the car, run the engine to get the oil circulated throughout the engine and oil filter. It is also a great idea to change the brake fluid, hydraulic clutch fluid, engine coolant, and winshield washer fluid, as all of those can deteriorate over time.
Fill up the tank with fresh fuel – This is one of the most important aspects of storing a car that is often overlooked. Condensation is caused by fuel with alcohol in it – alcohol pulls moisture out of the air, which in turn, causes water to accumulate in an empty, confined space. If there is no empty space in the tank, water won’t accumulate and mix with the fuel or dry out any seals. In some areas, premium fuel doesn’t contain ethanol, which is corrosive, so it would be best to ask around or make a few calls to see which station in your area carries a fuel with no ethanol in the mixture. If there happens to be no stations that carry fuel without ethanol in it, there is always the option of using synthetic fuel stabilizers, like Sta-bil Storage, for example – it keeps fuel fresh for up to twelve months, which eliminates the need to empty your tank during that period of time. Anything over twelve months would have to be drained and refilled.
Keeping the battery charged – Even when the car is off, the battery is still in use – when a car sits, it drains the battery, especially when the car has other auxiliary systems that are only in use when the car is started, such as navigation, keyless entry, etc. The best way to keep your battery charged while in storage, if possible, is to have a friend or a family member start up the car every two weeks and go for a little drive or let it idle for a few minutes. If that’s not possible, it would be in your best interest to disconnect the negative battery cable and move it out of the way of anything metal, so it doesn’t ground or arc out – yeah, you might lose some radio presets, but that’s cheaper than having to replace a car battery! Another option would be to invest in a battery maintainer, which will trickle-charge your battery and keep it good as new without overcharging it.
Maintaining the tires – Tires are rubber, rubber dries out and cracks – we don’t like that. Overinflation can help prevent flat-spotting in the tires when not in use, but does not keep them from drying out. If you don’t have anybody to drive your car around periodically while it’s in storage, it’s a good idea to put the car up on jack stands at all four corners and remove the wheels. The tires will be in a lot better shape if the weight of the car isn’t sitting on them the whole time. Worst case scenario, the flat spot stays permanently in the tire and the tire has to be replaced – not the end of the world, but an unnecessary expense, indeed.
Never keep the parking brake engaged – It’s always a good idea to use the parking brake, just to have that extra assurance that your car won’t go anywhere while you’re not in it, even with an automatic transmission car. If the parking brake is engaged while the car is in storage for an extended period of time, the pad and rotor could fuse together, which would ultimately mean that you need a new set of rear brakes. A good solution to this, if your car isn’t on jack stands for the storage duration, is to get a tire chock, which prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards or forward – chocks on both sides of the tire are optimal.
Detail your ride – Having a clean car feels great and it gives people a reason to stare, so why would you store your car without giving it a proper detail? A nice wash, some claybar action, and some wax can go a long way when storing a car. It doesn’t take more than a few hours to detail a car and it will definitely be worth it in the long run. If there are any water spots or bird droppings on the paint before putting the car in storage, they can be a pain to remove when taken out of storage – especially with bird droppings, the acidic properties can severely damage the clear coat. Also, putting a car cover over a dirty car can scratch the paint quite a bit. That coat of wax will help you out big time in the long run!
Keep your insurance up to date – Putting a car in storage isn’t probable cause for temporarily canceling your insurance policy. Yeah, it might save money overall, but the gap in the coverage will most likely cause the insurance company to raise the rates of your policy. It would be best to check with your insurance company beforehand because this can vary depending on who the insurance provider is. Keeping the car under insurance would be your best bet, especially if it isn’t being stored in a proper garage/storage facility.
Keep rodents out – On a vehicle, there are a few good spots for a rodent to enter and make itself at home. For example, the intake and exhaust are really popular spots for rodents to enter a vehicle – plugging up those spots will help keep rodents out. Keep in mind that a garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm, so if the car you’re storing is under a cover and in a garage, it would be best to set up some traps and rat poison around the perimeter of the car or near entry points of the garage. The smell of peppermint is also said to drive away mice – spreading some peppermint oil-drenched cotton around the perimeter of the vehicle could also be another deterrent. It is ideal if there is someone you can have check on the garage incase there are any casualties, otherwise it would smell pretty rank when you go to take the car out of storage.
Keeping The Cover Clean
Keeping your car cover clean is half the battle – if you don’t keep the cover clean, it will damage the car more than it will protect it. There are different methods of cleaning covers that are made from different materials, so we’ll explain the most universal way of doing it.
First, if you don’t have a washing machine without a center agitator, you’re going to want to bring it to your local/most trusted laundromat, so they can throw it in their commercial-sized machine. If you have a washing machine with no center agitator, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup of Simple Green or mild detergent, select warm or cold water and normal or permanent press cycles and let the machine begin filling.
When the cleaner is dissolved into the water, you can throw the cover in and let it run through the proper wash/rinse cycle. It’s best to run the cover through another rinse cycle to ensure that all soap is removed – this is important in order to keep the hydrophobic properties of the material.
Do not machine dry the cover, unless the cover can be. Your best bet would be to pick it up from the laundromat, take it home, and let it dry on your car for a nice, even dry with less wrinkles.
No matter where you store your car, in a garage or not, it is always a good idea to keep it clean, maintained, and most definitely covered to prevent problems that could arise should you neglect the condition of your car before putting it into storage – it will really save you money in the long run. In Corvette America’s line of car covers, there is a model that will cater to everyone’s specific storage needs. Take a look on Corvette America’s website for pricing and availability on their car covers, you definitely won’t be disappointed with the fit, quality, and protection that their covers provide. Plus, they make each cover for every generation, so you can assure they’ll have one for you.