Protect Your Antique or Classic Car in Self Storage

As a devoted collector of antique or classic cars, you’ve dedicated a lot of time and money to your hobby. Either you’ve saved and searched for the perfect car or you’ve been lucky enough to be able to pay cash for a high-quality model.

Whether you consider your car a hobby, an investment, or both, it’s your passion. You’ve painstakingly restored it, drive it rarely, and keep it safely stored away for long periods of time.

The right long-term or winter storage for your car is critical because you want it to appreciate in value and maintain its vintage appeal. Additionally, you need to consider that the way you store your vehicle can affect your insurance rates and your ability to be insured. Universal Storage Group has locations that are perfect for protecting your treasured vehicle.

Locate the Right Self Storage Facility for Your Classic or Antique Car

Storage units that have been designed for vehicles are typically “drive-up.” This means that you drive your vehicle directly up to the unit, pull inside, and close and lock the door when you leave. Your car will be protected from sun damage, wind, and precipitation. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast – there’s more to it if you want to keep your car in mint condition.

  • Climate Control: You don’t want temperature fluctuations and humidity to affect the paint, upholstery, tires, engine, and more. Climate-controlled storage keeps a unit’s indoor temperature between 55° and 85° F and maintains a humidity level of 55%. As a comparison, the average air-conditioned home stays between 35%-45% humidity. Think of climate control as an air-conditioner, humidifier, and dehumidifier combination to sustain the proper temperature and humidity levels for your vehicle. When you find the ideal self storage unit for your car, cover the floor with a sheet of plastic. This will serve as a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from reaching the underside of the car.
  • Security: Technology has come a long way in enhancing self storage security. Many facilities are offering keyless entry that allows easy access to your self storage facility and your unit from a mobile device. Look for access gates equipped with electronic keypads, as well as twenty-four-hour video surveillance. If there is a rare security breach, it will be easier to identify and apprehend the intruder. On-site and resident managers add another layer of security; a physical presence can deter potential illicit activity. 
  • Insurance: Prior to storing your car, it must be insured. Talk with your insurance agent, and get the specifics on collectible car insurance. There are options available, and you want to make sure that you have the right insurance to suit your unique vehicle. If collectible vehicles are restored and well maintained, they will typically increase in value. Keep in mind that laws differ from state to state. If you store an uninsured vehicle, you may be subject to a citation or suspension of your license.

Prep Your Classic Car for Long-Term or Winter Storage

Because these are vintage vehicles, they require extra protection and maintenance to preserve their condition and avoid corrosion. Here are some tips to keep your car looking as pristine when it is retrieved as it did when it was stored.

  • Wash and Wax the Car

Wash the car thoroughly and apply a coat of protective wax. Dust and dirt can cause long-term damage. Lubricate door and hood hinges so that they don’t jam. If you happen to own a convertible, store it with the top up to prevent shrinking.

  • Clean the Interior

Be sure there are no crumbs or food scraps left on the seats unless you want to attract rodents and insects. Vacuum your car carefully, cleaning all surface areas with a microfiber towel, and shaking out the floor mats. To preserve vinyl, plastic, and leather surfaces, wipe them with a conditioner. Finally, leave a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.

  • Check the Tires

Use warm, soapy water to clean your car’s tires, and let them dry completely. If your tires are left dirty for a lengthy period, they can crack and rot. Check your tire pressure and fill all the tires to the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI).

  • Change the Oil

The contaminants and residue in oil that is left for long periods can be especially detrimental to classic and antique cars that have their original engines. Change the oil, and go for a short drive to allow the oil to circulate. This helps to prevent corrosion. Additionally, this is a good time to think about changing the oil filter.

  • Fill the Tank

The ethanol in gas attracts moisture, increasing the risk of rust and corrosion. Drive your classic car until the tank is nearly empty, then fill it completely. Consider adding a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from hardening.  If you’re storing for the winter, top off the coolant to ensure the engine doesn’t freeze.

  • Cover or Stuff the Tailpipe

Small animals enjoy making nests in tailpipes. Let them know there is no vacancy by covering your tailpipe or stuffing it with steel wool. Remind yourself to remove it when you take your car out of storage by leaving a post-it note on the steering wheel. 

  • Disconnect or Remove the Battery

If you’re storing your car for the long term, consider removing the battery. Battery acid leaks can potentially cause massive damage to car engines. This can be catastrophic to an older car. If the battery terminals are left connected, the car will continue to use energy, depleting the battery. At the very least, disconnect the battery and hook it up to a battery tender

  • Protect With a High-Quality Cover

Regardless of where you’re storing your vehicle, you need a quality custom cover. The lining of the cover should be soft so that your car’s surface remains damage-free. The cover should be made from a breathable fabric that won’t trap moisture and create condensation that can damage the paint. 

Wrap Up

To protect your vehicle from deterioration, damage, and the elements during long-term or winter storage, you first need to locate a convenient, safe, and secure self storage facility. After you’ve settled on the right facility for your car, you need to prep your car for a lengthy stay in storage. The suggestions in this article should start you moving in the right direction to keep your investment in top condition

Choosing the Right Self Storage Facility for Your RV

Even the most avid RVers need to store their vehicle for at least part of the year. Leaving it in your driveway, backyard, or the street in front of your home may not cost anything; but that isn’t always the best option. If you leave the RV in your driveway or yard, it’s not only inconvenient for you but an eyesore for your neighbors and may be against your HOA restrictions. Unless you use the proper covering, environmental damage caused by the sun, rain, and snow is inevitable.

Building a garage that is specifically designed for your RV can be a good choice if you’re constructing a custom home, but it can affect resale value if and when you try to sell your home. Building codes and HOA restrictions could make it impractical or even impossible to add to an existing garage or build a separate RV-sized structure.

If you want to avoid the hassle that comes with storing your RV at home, your best option is to find a self-storage facility. Many storage facilities provide indoor storage and some even boast climate-controlled storage for your home away from home. If you decide that this is the way to go, read below to understand how to find the right facility and prepare your vehicle for storage.

Check the Self-Storage Facility

Be sure to pick a reputable facility for your recreational vehicle. Convenience is important, but security should be your main concern. Check the following guidelines:

  1. Visit several facilities before making a commitment.
  2. Verify the reputation of the facility by checking reviews. Ask about break-ins and vandalism. 
  3. The facility should be clean, well-lit, and well maintained.
  4. Check that there is 24-hour recorded surveillance with motion sensors.
  5. Verify that electronic gates are accessible only by security code.
  6. Look for sturdy perimeter fencing.
  7. The facility should have regular, posted hours during which time you can enter the premises.
  8. There should be an on-site manager, and staff should perform regular walk throughs.
  9. Typically there are three types of RV storage: outdoor, covered, and indoor. Consider your needs and availability before making your final decision.

Outdoor, Uncovered Storage

This is the most affordable option, and it offers the widest range of sizes. Your vehicle will be exposed to the elements; but If weather isn’t a concern and cost is, this could be your best option. These spaces can hold everything from Class A motorhomes to small pop-up campers and tow trailers. If you’re using this type of storage, you should consider a high-quality cover.

Covered Storage

Covered storage offers shade and provides some protection from the elements. This storage is also less expensive than indoor, and close to that of outdoor, uncovered. Almost all RV and trailer sizes can fit in these spaces. A good cover helps to shield your vehicle from the weather. Both uncovered and covered storage are the best options for short-term storage.

Indoor Storage

This is the best solution, especially for long-term storage. Indoor units are more costly, but they provide ultimate protection. Not only will your RV be protected from the weather, but you may find that some facilities offer a climate-controlled option. Security won’t be as much of a concern because along with the conventional storage features available, you’ll have a space with a unit lock.

Prepare Your RV for Storage

  1.  Drain All Tanks – Drain the fresh water holding tanks as well as the black and grey holding tanks.
  2.  Drain the Water Heater – Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve.  Caution:  Do not drain when the water is hot!
  3.  Remove Food and Supplies – This seems obvious, but even that forgotten bag of unopened chips can attract bugs.  In any case, food left for long periods of time will become moldy and/or inedible.
  4.  Disconnect the Refrigerator and Leave the Door Open – Leaving the refrigerator door open prevents stale air and condensation that can ultimately cause mold.
  5.  Use RV-Approved Non-Toxic Antifreeze – To keep your pipes from freezing during frigid weather use RV-approved, non-toxic antifreeze so that you don’t poison your water.
  6. Pressurize Your System – Start with the faucet closest to the water pump and slowly open the hot and then the cold valves until the antifreeze appears.
  7. Cover External Vents to Prevent Pests – Don’t let your RV become a home for pests during an extended storage time.
  8. Check Roof Condition – Repair any holes or damage to your roof.
  9. Coat Your RV With Wax – If you give your RV a coat of wax prior to storage, it will not only look brighter the next time you’re ready to use it, but you’ll give it an added layer of protection from the weather.

At Universal Storage locations, we have state-of-the-art security features so you won’t have to worry needlessly. Here are some additional tips on doing the best job of getting your RV ready for storage. Enjoy your travels!

Your Boat is a Big Investment: Keep it Safe and Protected in Self Storage

Unless you’re the captain of the Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship doomed to forever sail the oceans, it’s that time of year to think about storing your watercraft for the colder months.

It can be very costly to store your boat at the marina for the winter months or when you’re unable to use it for an extended period of time. Trying to store it at home is inconvenient and can be a security risk. It takes up space in your driveway or elsewhere on your property and is exposed to theft and vandalism. A better solution would be to store your boat in a conventional storage unit that has sufficient space for your boat and trailer, or a secure outdoor parking area. Your jet skis, kayaks, and canoes can be stored right along with your boat. Storing with us is far less hassle for you and a safe, secure option for all your watercraft.

Here are some tips to help you get your boat prepared for storage. Some extra work now will have your boat in pristine condition and waiting for you when the warmer weather arrives.

Get Your Boat Ready for Storage

Clean the Hull and Deck

You’ll be storing your boat for an entire season. You want it clean and free of last summer’s trash when you’re ready to put it in the water next summer.

Add a Fuel Stabilizer and Fill the Tank

Condensation can form in an empty gas tank, causing corrosion or worse if the moisture freezes. Fuel stabilizer will prevent this from happening and your fuel will be ready to go when you are.

Change the Oil

Water or acids that have gotten into your oil can corrode the engine. Change the filter and flush it out so that no water remains. Then, add new oil.

Refresh the Coolant System

Drain the current coolant, flush with water, and fill with fresh antifreeze. Make sure you’ve diluted the antifreeze to specification. This will protect your engine from freezing and corrosion.

Disconnect the Battery

Don’t allow your battery to drain over the winter. Disconnect it and top it off with distilled water. Charge it periodically to make sure it’s ready to go when you hook it back up to your boat.

Grease the Steering Mechanism

Grease the steering and control mechanisms so that they will be moving smoothly when it’s time to take the boat out again.

Remove the Drive Belts

Before storing your boat, loosen or remove the drive belts. They may crack under the stress of being kept under tension for long periods of time.

Maintain the Interior of Your Boat

If you have electronics in your boat, they are vulnerable to extreme cold and moisture. Remove them prior to storage. Leather, canvas, and any other organic fabrics should be removed to prevent mold and mildew. Empty the water tanks and run antifreeze through the pipes.

Wash and Wax the Exterior

Cover the body of your boat with wax. This will prevent rust from corroding your boat’s exterior and is particularly important if you are storing your boat outside.

Use A Cover

cover is not merely an accessory, it is a necessity. A cover can be a significant investment, but it will protect your boat from moisture, mold, fading, cracking and animals as well as being a theft deterrent.   

Here at Universal Storage we can offer you a convenient, affordable, and secure facility to not only store, but protect your watercraft. Any one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to discuss your boat storage options.