How to Store a Car in a Storage Unit: Top Questions Answered

long will it be in storage? What is the climate like where you live? The answers to these and more questions will help you maintain the integrity of your vehicle when it is not being driven.

How you store a car depends on a handful of factors. How old is the car? How long will it be in storage? What is the climate like where you live? The answers to these and more questions will help you maintain the integrity of your vehicle when it is not being driven.

If you need to store a vehicle for the short term, using a storage unit to do so might be an ideal solution. To help you with this process, we answer your car storage questions and provide you with expert advice if you plan to store a car for a year or less.

  1. Where Should I Store My Car?

If you only need to store a car without driving it for a month or two during a warm season, keeping your car outside with a car cover won’t do much harm. However, if you are looking to put a car away for three months or more, the best option is to store it someplace indoors and away from the elements, such as our Vancouver and Burnaby car storage or White Rock and South Surrey car storage facility.

  1. Do I Need Climate Control for Vehicle Self-storage?

The majority of cars are stored in a non-climate controlled environment. We do not have extreme weather in general in Greater Vancouver so the need to store a vehicle in a climate-controlled car storage is very low.

  1. How Much Does It Cost to Store a Car?

For information about the fees of storing your vehicle at our Vancouver and Burnaby car storage or White Rock and South Surrey car storage facility, please contact us for rates.

  1. How Safe Is Car Storage?

Keep in mind that you are responsible for the contents of your self-storage unit, and you will need to lock it up tight to be certain that you will be the only person with access. You can rest assured, though, that our Vancouver and Burnaby car storage or White Rock and South Surrey car storage facilities are secure and well-maintained. We take the security of our customers’ property very seriously.

  1. Is Working on a Car in a Storage Unit Allowed?

No; unfortunately working on a car in a storage unit is prohibited. Working on cars on site creates issues with oil and fluid spills. Besides the lack of electric power, noise, smoke, and odors are all factors that affect other customers. You should get all engine maintenance done off-site before storing your vehicle in a storage unit.

  1. How Do I Prepare a Car for Storage?

There are a few things you should do before storing your car in a storage unit. For storage under a year in length, review our recommended steps to prepare your vehicle below.

  1. Perform Basic Car Storage Maintenance

Before you put your vehicle into storage, do some basic maintenance to protect your investment.

  • Fill the tank with premium high-octane gasoline to help prevent condensation. With a full tank of gas, the chances of moisture forming in the tank or lines are greatly reduced.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer to increase the longevity of the fuel in your tank for up to 12 months. Be sure to read any manufacturer specifications before adding.
  • Remove the vehicle’s battery to prevent acids from escaping and damaging the car. Most batteries do not store well during the winter and all batteries discharge over time.
  • Change or top off the oil, brake fluid and antifreeze before storing.
  1. Protect Your Car’s Finish and Avoid Pests

Many people underestimate the importance of this next step. Placing a dirty, unkempt car into storage is risky in that you could damage the car’s finish or attract unwanted critters. Take the time to do the following to your car before storage.

  • Wash and wax your vehicle. Do not forget door jambs and under the hood.
  • Vacuum and dust the interior and apply a conditioner to any vinyl surfaces. This will not only protect your vinyl from drying out, but it can also help prevent any foul odors from developing and thus deter rodents and pests from taking up residence. If you plan on steam cleaning, do so far enough in advance for the interior to completely dry.
  • Give the car’s exterior a final wipe down once it reaches its storage location. This step eliminates any final traces of dust, debris or salt.
  • Use a car cover to further protect the car’s exterior finish while in storage.
  1. Prevent Tires From Flat Spotting

Tires can be the first thing to cause issues when storing a car for an extended period. Flat spotting occurs when a tire flattens over time due to contact with the ground. If you plan to store a car for more than a month, consider resting the vehicle on blocks or jack stands.

If you are looking for a Vancouver and Burnaby car storage or White Rock and South Surrey car storage facility, please call or visit U-Lock Mini Storage and inquire about our car storage facilities and rates!

10 Things You Shouldn’t Store In a Garage

want to store items in your garage that you don’t have room for in your house, you could be in for a surprise later. Moisture, heat and pests can damage or destroy your belongings. In fact, some of those items could even become dangerous when stored improperly.

If you want to store items in your garage that you don’t have room for in your house, you could be in for a surprise later. Moisture, heat and pests can damage or destroy your belongings. In fact, some of those items could even become dangerous when stored improperly.

Before you stash another box or unused item in your garage, make sure it’s safe to do so. We compiled this list of 10 things that should never be stored in a garage.

These items should never be stored in your garage:

Food

You should never store food of any kind in your garage. Fresh food attracts rats and other pests, which can easily break into bags and cardboard boxes. Canned goods don’t fare much better. Temperature fluctuations can cause bacteria to grow inside cans, and humidity can cause the cans’ metal and the metal lids on glass jars to rust. In turn, the rust can cause a chemical reaction in the food that makes it unfit for consumption.

Alcohol

Beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages shouldn’t be stored in the garage either. Light and heat can alter their taste and even turn wine into vinegar. Instead, make room for them in a dark, cool place inside your home.

Paint cans

You’re not alone if you store leftover paint in your garage. However, the extreme temperatures of your garage, basement or attic can ruin your paint, rendering it useless. To keep your paint at its best, store it in a utility closet or laundry room.

Propane

Since propane tanks can leak, they’re a potential hazard when kept in your garage. Just one spark can start a fire when a leaking propane tank is present. Store propane tanks in a well-ventilated area a safe distance from your home.

Firewood

Pests like spiders and termites make their home in piles of stacked wood. If that wood is stored your garage, those pests can easily infiltrate your living space. Avoid an infestation by storing firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.

Pet food

Like human food, pet food shouldn be kept anywhere but in your garage. Although temperature won’t affect pet food the same way it does your food, rats and other pests can easily chew through pet food bags. If you must store it in the garage, keep it in a tightly sealed plastic or metal container.

Plywood

Who doesn’t store wood scraps in their garage? For an immediate project, it’s usually not a problem. But over the long term, wood can warp thanks to fluctuating temperatures and humidity. If you have nowhere else to store your scraps, the garage works. Just realize the wood may warp and become unusable by the time you need it.

Wooden furniture

It’s not just plywood that suffers in the garage. Pretty much any wood is susceptible to its harsh conditions. As a result, if you store wood furniture in your garage, expect some damage to it over time. For example, changes in the humidity will cause the wood to swell and contract, leading to cracks that you may not be able to repair.

Collectibles

Valuables don’t belong in the garage. Moisture can cause coins to tarnish, Hot Wheels to rust and trading cards to mold. Heat can cause vinyl records to warp, and dirt can mar autographed posters. Not to mention, it’s easier to steal these items from your garage than a secure place inside your home.

Electronics

Old electronics like computers, laptops, DVD players, game consoles and TVs can easily be damaged by extreme temperatures, with moisture posing the greatest risk. Any condensation or moisture can cause electrocution. Either keep these items inside or donate them.

We recommend renting a storage unit for your storage needs. Storage units at self storage facilities such as U-Lock Mini Storage offer secure, climate-friendly, and pest-free storage solutions. Our storage units are suitable for storing goods both for the short and the long-term.

We offer storage solutions to our clients across Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley, with storage units in Chilliwack (Chilliwack U-Lock Mini Storage), South Surrey and White Rock (White Rock U-Lock Mini Storage), Burnaby and Vancouver (Burnaby U-Lock Mini Storage), Victoria (Victoria U-Lock Mini Storage), Nanaimo (Nanaimo U-Lock Mini Storage) and Parksville (Parksville U-Lock Mini Storage). 
Please contact a U-Lock Mini Storage self-storage facility near you to inquire about our storage units and our team members will be delighted to answer any questions you have!

How to Prepare a Car for Storage in a Storage Unit This Winter

If you plan to store your car in a storage unit for longer than a month, you are going to need to do a few things to get it ready. Otherwise, you will have flat tires, a dead battery…and that is just to name a few of the problems that you will encounter.

If you plan to store your car in a storage unit for longer than a month, you are going to need to do a few things to get it ready. Otherwise, you will have flat tires, a dead battery…and that is just to name a few of the problems that you will encounter. 

Here are tips you can follow to prepare your vehicle for storage.

Wash and Wax the Exterior of Your Car

If you do not clean and protect the paint of your car, any dirt or contaminants left on it will cause corrosion, and turn into rust.

Clean and Vacuum the Interior

Again, dirt and debris can cause damage if left to sit for an extended period of time. Place a pan of mothballs inside the vehicle after vacuuming it to keep bugs away.

Top Off Fluids

A full fluid reservoir will leave no space for condensation to occur.

Change Oil and Filter

Old oil will become acidic and eat away at the inside of your engine. However, fresh oil will take much longer to break down. By changing the oil and filter before storing, your engine seals should remain in good condition throughout the storage period.

Grease Steering and Suspension Components

A full grease service will keep the seals and rubber bushings in your suspension from drying out while the car is in storage.

Disconnect the Battery in Older Vehicles

If your battery is left connected, its charge will completely deplete, causing one or more of the inner cells to go bad.

Place Battery on a Trickle Charger in Newer Vehicles

Most newer vehicles are equipped with advanced computer systems, which require a constant source of power. Without a trickle charger, the computer will have to be completely reprogrammed.

Top Off Fuel Tank and Add Fuel Stabilizer

A full tank means that there is less room for condensation; fuel stabilizer will keep the gas from breaking down and evaporating.

Make Sure the Parking Brake Is not Engaged

If your vehicle sits for an extended period of time with the parking brake on, the brake pads can rust to the rotor/drum, causing the wheel to seize. Instead, use a set of wheel chocks to keep the vehicle in place.
If you have further questions about car storage or want to book a car storage unit, please contact us at the U-Lock Mini Storage Burnaby location and our staff will be delighted to help.

How to Add Storage Space to Your Garage (Part 2)

Adding storage space to a garage is a great way to organize your garage and create more room.

Adding storage space to a garage is a great way to organize your garage and create more room. Before you begin adding anything new to your garage, you will first need to organize it by sorting your things and drafting a floor plan. Once your garage is organized, you can build some shelving and install other vertical organization systems. You can also free up some space by hanging things from the ceiling or placing them in cabinets and plastic bins.

Build Shelving

One simple way to maximize the space in your garage is by adding some shelves. You can build some floating shelves on your walls or install premade shelving. Shelves are a good choice because they are inexpensive, easier to access, and they let you take stock of your items.

  • If you buy ready-made shelves, make sure that they are raised so that you can easily clean underneath them.
  • If you want to be thrifty, consider installing second-hand kitchen cabinets in your garage.
  • If you have the space, consider installing some hooks on the underside of your shelves to hang lighter items.

Buy a Pegboard

A pegboard is easy to install and relatively inexpensive. The flat piece of particleboard with evenly spaced holes can be attached to most walls. You can also paint it whatever color you want and alter it to fit a wall space of any size. A pegboard is perfect for storing lightweight things like hand tools or sports equipment.

  • You should be able to find pegboard and hooks at your local hardware store.

Install a Panel-based Vertical Organizing System

This high-end system allows you to maximize your wall space. Each wall in your garage is finished with slotted plastic panels that hold and lock in hooks, shelves and cabinets. However, the system is expensive and, in most cases, it has to be installed by professionals.

This system is a great option for those who want to get the most out of every inch of wall space in their garage. It can handle lightweight and heavy items.

You can go online to find local professionals to install the panels in your garage.

Put Together a Track-based Vertical Organizing System

In this system, shelves, hooks, cabinets and other organizers hang from tracks that are affixed to the garage walls studs. This system is relatively cheap, extremely versatile and capable of handling large and heavy loads. However, it can be difficult to install. You will need to make sure that each track is level with the ones next to it so that the shelving hangs straight.

  • You can find tracks and shelves at most hardware stores.
  • If your garage is not plumb, you may have a difficult time getting your tracks and shelves level. Using a level, you should check the level of your garage before you install the tracks.

How to Prepare Your Car for Long Term Storage: 8 Tips You Should Know

There is quite a difference between not using your car for a couple of days and not using it for six months.

There is quite a difference between not using your car for a couple of days and not using it for six months. Understanding how to prepare your car for long-term storage by following simple maintenance and service is integral in keeping your vehicle in top condition. Here are eight tips for preparing your vehicle for long-term storage.

Check Your Paperwork

Renew your registration beforehand if it is set to expire while your vehicle is in storage, or set a reminder to do so when it is due. Additionally, contact your insurance company to inform them that you will be storing your car and confirm that your car is fully covered by your existing insurance policy.

Service Your Car

It is important that your engine and fluids are in good shape before you store your vehicle for a long period. Otherwise, your car might not start when you are ready to use it again.

  • Change or top off fluids, which may contain sediments, as appropriate. This includes oil (synthetic oil breaks down more slowly over time, which makes it a preferred option for storage), coolant, transmission fluid and brake fluid.
  • Empty out windshield washer fluid in regions susceptible to freezing to protect spray hoses from freeze-thaw cracks.
  • Fill your car with gasoline, as it leaves less airspace for moist air to enter the engine and form condensation (or ice), and add a fuel stabilizer, available at any hardware/parts store.
  • Check belts, filters, hoses and other components of your engine. Ensure that all are in working order and clean.

Lubricate the Car

Oil the hinges of the hood, doors and trunk. Use a graphite-based lubricant for locks. Coat rubber parts of the doors and tires with silicone or white lithium grease. This will help prevent them from freezing shut.

Clean the Interior

Throw away any trash. Vacuum seats and floor mats to prevent damage. Do not use chemical protectant (i.e. Armor All) on leather, vinyl and other fabrics as it may stain or cause excessive chemical damage to surfaces. Wash the inside of your windows. Getting the interior of your car in shape before storing it will prevent smells and potential damage from the sun or heat, if you are not storing your vehicle in a storage unit.

Care for the Exterior

Wash, buff, and wax your car. Have the vehicle detailed, if possible. Make sure to clean the underside of your car – anything stuck to the bottom of the car acts like a sponge, trapping moisture that could lead to the creation of rust. Remove wiper blades or lift them up so they do not become deformed or flat. Ensure all leaves, pine needles and any other debris have been removed from the engine compartment and the windshield wiper cowl.

Ensure that the Battery is Fully Charged

Electronics can quickly drain the power of your battery, so make sure it is charged before you store your vehicle. You can also consider using a trickle charger. Disconnect your battery if you are storing your vehicle for more than 6 months and take the disconnected battery someplace temperate and dry.

Deflate Your Tires

Deflate your tires to 10psi less than the manufacturer’s recommendation and place the vehicle on jack stands if you are storing your vehicle for more than 6 months. This allows the rubber to relax and prevents cracking while allowing you to still drive on them when you remove the vehicle from storage. There are accounts of “flat spots” if a vehicle is stored on the ground, but newer tires are engineered to prevent this and any flat spots will be worked out while driving within 160 km or so.

Cover Your Vehicle

Vehicle covers protect your car from sun damage, dust and minor dings. Try to find a vehicle cover designed for long-term storage – these will not trap moisture, but they will allow your vehicle to breathe.
If you have any questions about car storage, please contact U-Lock Mini Storage and our staff will be delighted to answer any questions you have!

5 Tips for Seasonal and Long-Term Classic Car Storage

s by investing in seasonal or long-term car storage (visit our Burnaby and Vancouver car storage and White Rock car storage pages for our car storage solutions).

Classic cars are beloved investments that should be kept in mint condition through the year. One of the best ways to keep your classic car in top condition is by investing in seasonal or long-term car storage (visit our Burnaby and Vancouver car storage and White Rock car storage pages for our car storage solutions). Using car storage assures that your classic car is stored in a safe and secure location and the temperature in the facility is suited for keeping a car in top condition.

Before storing your classic car in a car storage unit, you have to prep your car to assure that it is ready for long-term storage. Here are five tips to prep your car for long-term storage.

1. Fill the Tank & Change the Oil

Fill the tank with premium gasoline and add a fuel stabilizer per the manufacturer’s instructions. The fuller the tank, the less chance excess moisture will build up in open spaces, which can cause the tank to rust.

The fuel stabilizer will prevent the fuel from hardening and gunking up. Make sure you drive the car around for a few miles after adding the stabilizer so it can work itself throughout the system. Then top the tank off before leaving in storage.

Along with fresh gasoline, make sure the oil has been changed and the oil filter has been replaced. Leaving dirty, old oil in your classic car can lead to premature rusting within the engine. Remember to drive the car a few miles immediately following the oil change.

In addition to an oil change and refueling, remove the spark plugs and lubricate the cylinders before long-term storage. You can replace the spark plugs after lubricating the cylinders or keep them in a safe place if you don’t want anyone taking your car for a spin while it is in storage.

2. Get the Car Detailed & Prepped

This step may seem unnecessary and counter-intuitive, but it is important to store a clean and waxed car. Any dust or debris left on the car in storage can scratch or damage the exterior paint, while dirt and crumbs in the interior can attract unwanted pests and create undesirable odors. Before storing your classic car, give it a good, thorough cleaning and apply a protective wax finish on the exterior.

After the car wash, prep your classic car even further by doing the following:

  • Add a box of baking soda to the interior of the car to absorb unwanted smells.
  • Block off the exhaust using steel wool or aluminum foil to deter pests.
  • Lubricate door and hood hinges to keep them from jamming up.
  • Don’t forget the wheels! Make sure they are cleaned and dressed before storage.
  • Use a breathable cloth car cover instead of plastic. Plastic covers can trap condensation that can lead to rust.

3. Fill Tires with Air & Put the Car on Jacks

It is important to properly maintain your tires in storage because they can be very expensive to replace. First, fill up your tires to the maximum suggested PSI. Then, if you don’t plan on driving the car for a while, jack the car up using jack stands. This relieves the weight from the tires and suspension. The added support will also prevent tires from flat spotting.

Quick Tip: If you are storing your car on a dirt or stone surface, be sure to add plywood or another hard surface below the tires. This will protect the tires from ground rot.

4. Address the Car Battery & Fluids

If you plan on storing your classic car long-term, remove the car battery entirely. If the battery terminal is corroded, carefully clean it with a mixture of baking soda, petroleum jelly, and distilled water. Store the battery off the ground in a climate-controlled environment above freezing temperatures.

If you will be starting your car every now and then, consider a battery tender (or trickle charger) to keep the battery functioning over long periods of time. However, this option will only work if you have a power source in your storage area.

Do a quick inspection right before storage and make sure all the fluids are topped off, including antifreeze, brake fluid and transmission fluid.

5. Choose the Right Storage Location

Under ideal circumstances, a classic car should be stored in a clean, dark, and dry space. While it may be tempting to keep your car stored in an inexpensive old barn, the dirt floor and light exposure can be damaging. A garage attached to your home is not ideal either because the constant access exposes your car to the elements.