One simple solution is to entrust the care of your car to a relative or friend. Another is to ask the person who is keeping a regular check on your home to take the car for a 20-minute drive at least once a week. If neither of these two options appeal then consider having the car stored.
There are a number of car storage facilities in the Perth metro area. Whichever you choose, your car requires special attention during the period it is not being used.
RAC offers the following advice to motorists contemplating storage of a car whether it be locked away in a garage or placed in a secure self-storage unit. Registration
- Check the expiry date of your car's registration to ensure the licence will not expire while you are away.
- Driver's and motor vehicle licences can be paid up to three months in advance at police licensing centres - not their agents - if going overseas.
- You must present proof of travel when applying.
- Advise your insurance company that you intend to store the car and confirm that it will be fully covered by the existing insurance policy.
- If you have arranged for someone to look after and drive your car while you are away, your insurance company may request that you lodge a drive and claim authority form which will require details of the person who is going to look after your car.
- Most insurance companies will allow payment in advance, however check with your insurance company to find out how far ahead the motor vehicle policy may be paid.
The ideal situation for storing a car is within a dry, covered, well ventilated lockable area with adequate space around the vehicle for inspection and movement. Using a car cover or covering the car with old bed sheets will keep it clean and minimise damage to paint and trim.
Recommended steps to prepare your car for long term storage are the same as for short term storage but with the following additions:
- Advise your insurance company that you intend to store your car and where.
- Have the car fully serviced and fill the fuel tank just prior to storage.
- Wax and polish all body work and chrome.
- Arrange to have the battery slow-charged regularly.
- Raise the car off the ground and support using axle stands or heavy wood blocks.
- Make sure that the tyres are not touching the ground, so that the transmission and driveline may be operated.
- Caution - do not use bricks to support the vehicle. This is a dangerous practice as they can crumble resulting in damage to the vehicle and personal injury.
The following procedure is recommended on a fortnightly basis:
- Have oil, water and fuel levels checked.
- Non-driving wheels spun by hand.
- Start the engine and run until normal operating temperature is reached.
- Drive the car (while on the stands) normally for approximately 20 minutes making use of the gears up and down the range. Run the air conditioner for a least 5 minutes. Caution - when operating the vehicle while on stands, ensure the driving wheels have stopped rotating before selecting park or reverse. The vehicle running speed should not exceed approximately 65 km/h.
- Extreme care should be taken if jump starting a low or flat battery. The operator could be seriously injured or damage may be caused to the car's electrical system.
When the time comes to return the vehicle to normal service after storage the following steps should be taken:
- Check tyre pressures.
- Remove support stands.
- Clean battery terminals and reconnect.
- Check oil, water and fuel.
- Carry out any special instructions outlined in the owner's manual.
- Test the brake pedal pressure.
- Start engine and check operation of all the systems.
Important: seek expert advice if your car's systems appear abnormal. The above procedures will reduce but cannot eliminate all of the risks involved when storing your vehicle.