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Guide Storing Vehicle For Long Periods Of Time


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I have created this Guide on storing your car for long periods of time,

This Guide is now Available in PDF format: Guide Focus storage.pdf

As I have recently been made unemployed and my insurance is close to renewal which i cannot afford at the moment so i decided to invest my final pay cheque in to some items used to store a vehicle for long periods below is a list of items i purchase along with links to their suppliers followed by guidelines and recommendations :

  1. Tarpaulin Ground Sheet £8.95 Click Here
  2. Car Cover Ford Focus Tailor Fitted £154.00 Click Here
  3. Car Cover Lock Kit £13.75 Click Here
  4. Portable Dehumidifier's £19.99 Click Here
  5. battery Isolator Switch £5.95 Click Here
  6. STA-BIL Fuel Stabiliser uses: Cars, Boats, Trucks, Vans, Petrol or Diesel £9.99 Click Here
  7. Safety Wheel Chocks With Anti Theft Bracket £5.00 Click Here
  8. Latex Gloves £1.00 Click Here
  9. Cedar Rings Repels Repellant Natural Moth Balls £4.25 Click Here
  10. Turtle Wax Enduracoat Car Cleaning Valet System Box Set £19.99 Click Here
  11. Turtle Wax Refine and Shine clay Bar £6.00 Click Here
  12. Magic Tree Lavender Scent air freshener £1.00 Click Here (Not Personal Choice But Insects Dislike the smell of Lavender)
  13. Large Quality microfibre Car Valeting Drying Towel + 2 Cloths £7.49 Click Here
  14. Car Washing Bucket £3.99 Click Here
  15. WD-40 Spray 250ML Can £2.85 Click Here
  16. oil and Filter change at Local Dealers £50.00 estimated
  17. 25 litres of fuel at local Garage £30.00 estimated

all of the above items are guide line items and not essential, the whole purpose of the car being stored would understandably be down to a lack of cash,

so its basicly safe guard your vehicle as best you can with the cash you have available to do so with,

in my case every item above has been used to best safe guard against corrosion of the vehicle and best preserve the life of the car,

And yes i went way over budget on this one :rolleyes:

if i had to pick four essential items from the list above they would be items 2,6,7 and 15 a total cost of £176.48 still quite expensive but you cant put a price on peace of mind and content perticularly when you love your car.

Starting the preparation process

If you have purchased the dehumidifiers plug them in for 24 hours prior to placing them in the vehicle,

the dehumidifiers do not contain any form of batteries or need recharging,

they operate by absorbing the moisture in the surrounding area,

when they are full the crystals within the unit turn from dark blue to a salmon pink colour,

when they are plugged in to the mains power, a element heats up inside the unit causing the crystals to release the moisture contained,

this may result in a puddle of water appearing under the unit,

but this is perfectly normal once the crystals turn blue again the unit is ready to be placed in the vehicle,

one unit would be sufficient for any one vehicle at a time,

This will enable a rotation one in operation while the other is charging, although after using the units in the car 2-3 times they don't usually need changing that often.

Also top up the windscreen fluid to full with a mixture of 50% Windscreen fluid and 50% water ensure the bottle contains a high level of anti-freeze in it.

Go to local service station over inflate all four tyres up to 2 PSi under the Maximum Limit of the tyres,

in my case the side wall of thetyre has printed Maximum PSi 42

so i inflated the tyres to a level of 40Psi, this helps to prevent flat spots in the tyres,

flat spots may still occour and can take up to 5,000miles to smooth out,

using the bottle of Fuel Stabiliser dose the ammount required in to the fuel tank followed by the fuel itself,

preferably on a warm dry day using a high pressure hose wash the car thoroughly,

also using your hands reach under the tops of the arches and although the car may seem to be spotless,

its amazing how much solid muck gathers under there,

as you can see in the picture below I gathered at least five handfuls from each rear arch even after power hosing.



When complete the wash Manually dry the car and prepare to clay bar the vehicle,

once the clay bar process is complete,


Using the pre wax conditioner supplied with the turtle wax kit, mix 2 cap full's of fluid with 10 litres of warm water in a bucket,

Using the sponge mitt supplied with the kit was the car with the mixture, followed by a low pressure hose to remove the soapy residue from the car,




Manually dry again and apply the clear liquid wax supplied with the turtle wax kit, wax the car as normal.


Once the car has been completly waxed,

Lay the Tarpaulin Ground sheet in the area where you plan to store the car and park the car on top of it, the purpose of the ground sheet is to prevent damp from seeping up under the car and becoming trapped in the body due to the cover on top of the car.



using some grease proof paper wrap the Wiper Blades, to prevent them from sticking to the glass, i purchased tesco branded grease proof paper for this, i think it cost around £1.48


Next Step is to unscrew the aerial whip from the roof of the car and store in the boot compartment of the vehicle,

chock the wheels and switch off the engine if it has been running,

Open the bonnet and allow the engine time to cool if required,

Once the engine has cooled, get a dry cloth and the can of WD-40 spray the cloth with the WD-40 and wipe down all accessible areas of the engine bay, all plastics rubber and tanks, see pictures below.


Continued On Next Post Below ...cool.gif

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Using the WD-40 also spray a short burst in to the drain holes in the doors and either side at the bottom of the front windscreen see picture below:



Dry all sills using a chammy and place a latex glove over the exhaust tip and another over the air intake pipe, this will help prevent moisture or insects from entering the system while in storage.


Place a note on the steering wheel or driver's seat to remind yourself to remove both of these prior to startling the engine, as if forgotten about, the exhaust one would most likely blow off with the pressure, but the intake cover may be sucked in to the inlet pipe causing allot of hassle trying to remove it from a bend in the pipe.

Continued On Next Post Below ...cool.gif

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Once this action has been completed,

place the chocks in front of the wheels disengage the hand brake and allow the wheels to roll tight to the chocks, ensure they are aligned up correctly and leave the hand brake OFF in the car.

as if the handbrake is left on the rear drums will stick to the axle causing a nightmare when it comes time to get the car rolling again :o



Now for the final step :)

Covering the car, this task is best performed by two people, ;) dry.gif

Ensure that your dehumidifier is in place, your air freshener and moth balls are all in the car, remove any CD's MP3 player etc.

Ensure all windows are tightly closed and fold down part of the rear seat to allow air flow from the car to the boot,

also leave the glove box and centre console compartments open.

Remove the cover from its storage bag, and fold it out,

One person on the front ;) and one on the rear next to the car dry.gif , spread the corners out and place over the car,

Gently slide the cover down the body and fasten the two straps under the body, followed by the metal rope and pad lock.

Job Done B)




Once a month, remove the Main cover and Rubber Glove covers from the air intake and the exhaust pipe,

Open the bonnet and run the engine for 20-30 minutes holding it at 2000rpm and letting it idle,

When starting the car after a length of time in storage,

Turn the key to start then stop rapidly for 4-5 times e.g. Start-stop start-stop, start-stop

this will get the oil flowing around the engine better before you run the engine properly, thus reducing engine wear,

Rather than jumping in to the car and starting it up immediately as the oil will have settled in the sump.

Allow the engine coolant to reach normal operating temperature,

Then press the accelerator and hold it at 3,000RPM on the gauge for up to 10 minutes (Diesel Models)


This simulates taking the car for a run on the road, clears the exhaust of moisture and gets everything flowing as it should,

While you’re in the car switch on the air-conditioning and turn it to full heat for 5minutes and then to full cold for another 5 minutes switching to different air flow directions periodically.

also check the dehumidifier status if pink, remove and recharge

open then close electric window's a couple of times to keep them from sticking.:P

Once complete allow engine to cool down and cover the exhaust and inlet pipe prior to covering again. B)


Thanks For Looking!

Please Check my List of Guides Listed Below For More Information. B)

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Driving on the Mrs. Insurance until thing improve sad.gif really miss my TDCI Focus,

driving a 1.5 Petrol Nissan Almera, back to the days of dropping gears when overtaking sad.gif

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Another great guide Lenny :) I have been waiting eagerly for you to post it up. Some really good info in there, you have thought of everything.

It must feel like you have lost your car, having to cover it up and say goodbye for the forseeable future :(

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Another great guide Lenny :) I have been waiting eagerly for you to post it up. Some really good info in there, you have thought of everything.

It must feel like you have lost your car, having to cover it up and say goodbye for the forseeable future :(

Sorry Stef the internet was down and i had to go away for a few days too, so i didnt get time mate, i know i had promised it would be done earlier but other things came up mate,

I've lost my hobby and my feel good factor, i went way over budget on the storage too.

I even sold my PS3 on eBay to buy the Tailored Car cover it's actually quite depressing when I think about it :lol:

and doing this guide believe it or not was quite hard.

but the future is bright, i enjoy seeing you guys with your cars

and i plan to get working again ASAP and get the Zetec S body kit fitted, its currently being stored up in the attic,

Maybe remove some of the plastic engine covers and get them sprayed up, while the car is under the covers.

This is the view from my sitting room window lol feel like I've got an elephant in the front garden, but atleast i know its safe and cocooned :D

There's not much category on e-bay for car storage so hope this guide helps anyone unfortunate enough to have to store their pride and joy.


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  • 3 months later...

My Car has now survived its 6 months in storage, and has held its excellent condition,

all of the items used played their part in protecting the car from the elements, along with running the engine once a month,

if i was doing this again the only thing i would add to the list is a sheet of cardboard to be placed under the exhaust pipe when running the car at 3000rpm every month to prevent the carbon deposits from the exhaust staining the cement or surface under the exhaust.

my focus is now booked in to the local ford garage for a service prior to adding too many more miles on the clock. due to it being held in storage since september 2011.


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The storm force cover, and wheel chock are now on sale in the buy&sell section of the forum.


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