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How I stored my car for 3 months without having any issues upon return

I presume we can maintain a car like this for about 6-9 months.

BHPian drsarao recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

My Experience with keeping the car completely idle for 3 months.

(Long term storage of car without losing battery charge or tyre pressure and avoiding rat infestation)

I was away for exactly 3 months.

The car was parked in the open parking of an apartment complex which has a rat infestation problem.

The process when going away:

  • My 3rd / 10k km service was due just before I left. So the car was thoroughly cleaned inside out, greased, filters and oil changed.
  • The brake, coolant and wiper fluids were checked and topped up.
  • Filled air to tyre pressure of 45 PSI for all tyres which is 10 more than the recommended.
  • Filled petrol to half tank mark.
  • Anti rodent measures. Filled 4 old socks EACH with half packet chewing tobacco, 5 naphthalene balls and 4 pieces of camphor. These were tied to 1. battery positive cable in the left engine bay, 2. under the brake fluid reservoir on the right side, 3. in the glove compartment in the cabin (it is nearest to the A/C intake) and 4. in the dicky.
  • Used 3M anti-rodent spray in all-wheel wells, around the engine, most of the under-body except the silencer tube, along front, and rear bumpers, under seats, around brake/accelerator pedals and steering column.
  • Sprayed the already cleaned upholstery with Turtle Wax Luxe Leather conditioner.
  • Wrapped front and rear wiper blades in soft cloth.
  • Put the hand brake off and the Transmission in P mode.
  • All window glasses were fully closed.
  • Locked the car doors with a fob and then opened only the driver door.
  • Opened the bonnet.
  • Disconnected the battery negative cable and wrapped it in a thick plastic pouch with zip ties.
  • Closed the bonnet.
  • Closed the driver's door.
  • Used the mechanical key from the fob to lock the driver's door.
  • Check that all doors and dicky are locked.
  • Used the car cover from Nexa. In addition to the supplied single under-body belt, I used 6 nylon strings passed across under the body to further strengthen the cover anchorage. I made holes and covered them with holed rivets for the purpose. In a previous car, the cover was retained only by a single under-body strap that was blown off by strong winds - hence extra precaution.
  • Told the security guys to take care while I am away (a double-edged sword!).

Process on return:

  • Removed the car cover.
  • Opened the driver's door with a mechanical key from the fob.
  • Opened bonnet.
  • Connected back the negative battery cable.
  • Closed bonnet.
  • Removed cloth wraps from wiper blades.
  • Removed the 4 anti-rodent socks. (Fire hazard in Engine Bay!)
  • Started the car (no problems)
  • Went to the petrol pump and checked tyre pressures - found to be 35-36 PSI - the recommended pressure.
  • Got it checked for PUC (Pollution Under Control) as 1 year was over.

Observations:

  • The car cover became very dirty due to outdoor status - washed in the washing machine.
  • Car exterior and interior were unaffected - no dust/dirt/mud/foul smell/rodent infestation. (the anti-rodent socks now contained only tobacco leaves which also had become odourless)
  • The car started quite easily suggesting adequate residual battery charge after 3 months.
  • Petrol level showed half tank suggesting insignificant evaporation in 3 months.
  • Lithium battery level showed 3 bars - again adequate.
  • Radio station settings were surprisingly retained! Either the entertainment console has an onboard backup battery or the radio station storage is in non-volatile memory. Good for us.
  • Odometer readings were also maintained, obviously.
  • However, lost all the fuel consumption data and trip records.
  • As per the internet, we also lose engine optimization data built up over the running period which may lead to poor fuel efficiency and non-optimal idling/acceleration/auto gear-shift etc. However, I did not feel any change in engine sound, response, AT behaviour or handling. Will update on FE later.
  • Tyres lose about 10 PSI in 3 months. (I have new tyres that run about 9K with no rim damage)
  • Found no evidence of rats like foot marks over the engine or rat shit in the engine bay or cabin. There are lawns/plants around the parking space definitely harbouring rats. So anti-rodent measures did work.
  • I will henceforth use 3M anti-rodent spray routinely every month.
  • Did not notice anything else related to long-term storage.
  • I presume we can maintain a car like this for about 6-9 months.

Other options:

  • Keep the car with a friend/relative or ask them to go to your place to drive/check once a fortnight.
  • If you have a personal garage then you can jack up the car so the tyres are not touching the ground and connect a trickle charger to the battery for continuous charging.
  • If going away for longer than a year and have nobody to look after the car then it is better to just sell the car and buy another later.
  • Take the car with you! Doable if relocating to the same country.

Longish post. Hope it helps someone.

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