7 Tips for OFWs leaving their cars for extended periods

Take care of your car while you're away
by Joey Bernardez | Jul 5, 2018

Our OFWs spend many months out of the country because of work, and one concern for them is how to properly store their cars while they’re away. For most people, a car is one of the most expensive things they’ll buy aside from a house. Hence, proper care in car storage is something that everyone should be concerned about.


Here are seven tips on how to store a car for extended periods of time.

1) Store it indoors or put a weatherproof cover on it if outdoors.

It’s best to store a car indoors so that it can be protected from the elements. However, not everyone has the luxury of an enclosed garage. Most will only be able to park their car under a carport or outdoors. If you can't store it indoors, invest in a good weatherproof car cover. But even if you have a closed space, it’s a good idea to put on a light car cover to minimize the accumulation of dust on the paint finish.

However, having a weatherproof car cover on your car outdoors also presents problems. If water and dirt get under the cover because of wind, you can't allow them to dry in between the cover and the paint as this will damage the finish. Be sure to have someone look in on your car occasionally.

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2) Prepare the car for storage by cleaning it.

It would be best to give the car a good cleaning before storing it. Tree sap, bird droppings, mud, and grime that sit for extended periods on your paint’s finish can cause permanent damage. A wax job before storing your car also means that you can easily dust off or rinse it when you get back.

The car’s interior should also be cleaned and vacuumed of any mud that may dry into the upholstery, or crumbs of food that might attract insects.

3) Do not engage the parking brake.

When parking the car, it’s usually a good idea to engage the parking brake. However, the same can't be said if you’re parking the car for an extended period. If the parking brake is engaged for a long time, there's a good chance that the friction material on the brake shoe or brake pad may fuse onto the drum or rotor. If this happens, you will have problems moving your car when you get back to it. Instead, you can find or purchase a tire-stopper or a wheel chock to prevent your car from moving.


4) Inflate tires to maximum pressure.

Your tires will usually have a maximum recommended pressure printed on the sidewall. More often than not, tires lose a certain amount of pressure over time. Underinflated tires may cause flat spots, which means the tire loses its round shape, resulting in a rough and noisy ride. To minimize the likelihood of this happening, it's recommended you inflate the tires to their maximum pressure before storage.

5) Keep the fuel topped up.

Keeping the tank topped up with fresh fuel will prevent moisture from accumulating inside and minimize corrosion. Also, if you can find a fuel stabilizer, add a bottle of it into your tank. With ethanol mixed in, today’s fuels have a very limited lifespan. A fuel stabilizer will extend that. 

6) Start the car occasionally.

If you have family or household staff members who can look in on the car, you can ask them to start it once a month. Make sure they get it up to normal operating temperature and to run the air-conditioner as well. This is just to circulate the oil in the motor and to keep the seals in the air-conditioning system from drying out.


7) Hook up a smart battery charger.

As we said in a previous article, a lead acid battery tends to lose its capacity to hold a charge every time it gets completely discharged. Hooking up a smart battery charger to your car’s battery while in storage will ensure that its always topped up and never gets completely discharged.

There are many more things you can do to store your car, but following the aforementioned tips should keep your car in relatively good shape while you’re away.

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PHOTO: Kim Heisler/Freeimages
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