You wouldn’t think that keeping your car in long-term storage would require much work on your end, but the reality is that there’s a few steps you need to take before you can drive your car out on the open road. Here’s how to get your car back into working order after long-term storage.
How to restore your car’s aesthetic appeal
As you might expect, storing your car for a long period of time has some adverse effects on how it looks and even smells.
Step 1: Air out your car’s interior. The first thing to do is open the windows on your car and get some fresh air into it.
The air inside the car is probably stale and a little musty, so getting some fresh air flowing through it will fix that. You may also want to do a good cleaning of the interior of the vehicle. Using some light cleaners appropriate to your car’s upholstery, you can remove any unwanted smells and freshen them up with something more desirable.
If you notice that the smells are lingering even after you have aired the car out, then you should consider purchasing an air freshener or even have a professional deep clean performed. If you are planning on spending lots of time in your car, it may be worth it to pay for a quality cleaning.
Step 2: Wash your car. Chances are that after spending a long time in storage, your car’s exterior is not looking its best.
There may be some accumulated dust or other dirty spots from the storage facility that you have noticed. If so, grab some car soap, water, and sponges to get it looking a little brighter. Once you have washed the vehicle, you can apply some wax to maximize your car’s look.
Address your car’s functional needs
Once you have done a few items relating to aesthetic upkeep, you can begin to prepare your car for driving.
Step 1: Check your car’s battery. Car batteries are notoriously susceptible to corrosion, so inspect the connections for any sort of evidence of corrosion.
Corrosion often appears as a powdery substance at the points where the connections of the battery meet the cables.
Step 2: Inspect under the hood. There are lots of ways that something can go wrong during long-term storage, and it is not easy to predict, so do a general inspection under the hood.
Look at all the hoses and make sure they are forming tight connections and show no visible signs of damage. Check for any other signs of damage or wear and tear that you may not have noticed when you first put your car into storage.
Step 3: Check the fluids. A vital part of keeping your car functioning well is maintaining the fluids at the proper level.
Check the oil and make sure that the radiator fluid is not too low. Take a look at your transmission and brake fluid levels if you have the ability to do so.
You can also check your windshield wiper fluid. Fill up any fluids as needed.
Step 4: Check the tires. Tire pressure tends to change when the temperatures outside change, so this is an especially important step if you live in an area with a harsh winter.
Use a tire gauge to ensure that the tire pressure on each of the tires is at the acceptable level, which can be found on the door panel inside the front driver’s side of the car. If the level is too low, add air to the tires as needed until it reaches the proper amount.
Step 5: Take the car for a drive. This will be the final determination for how well the car is running, so if you encounter issues, see a mechanic.
Removing your car from long-term storage involves a few simple steps, which can give you a good idea for how well your car withstood the process and will hopefully clue you in on any issues before you get out on the road.