Car Storage Solutions in Rochester – Protect Your Vehicle

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An eye-level view of an indoor car storage facility

When you’re not using your car for a while, keeping it in storage can be a smart choice. Whether you’re planning a long trip away from the harsh winters or just have an extra vehicle there’s no room for at home, storage can help protect and preserve your car’s condition. But it’s not as simple as just parking and leaving. Let’s explore how to do this right, ensuring your car stays in top shape while tucked away.

Understanding Car Storage Options

Choosing the right storage for your car involves understanding the options available and matching them to your needs and the specific challenges of Rochester’s climate.

Indoor Storage Units

Indoor storage provides the best protection against Rochester’s snowy winters and variable weather. Facilities often offer different unit sizes:

  • Compact cars might fit in a 10×15-foot unit.
  • Sedans, SUVs, vans, and pickups usually require a 10×20-foot unit.
  • Large vehicles like big trucks or vans need a 10×25-foot unit.

…units shield your car from snow and ice and also reduce the risk of theft or vandalism…

These units shield your car from snow and ice and also reduce the risk of theft or vandalism thanks to built-in security features like cameras and gated access.

Outdoor Storage Solutions

Outdoor storage is more affordable and can be a good option if you don’t mind your car being exposed to the elements. This might work if your car is already weather-hardened or if you plan to use a quality car cover.

Covered vs. Uncovered Storage

Covered storage offers a roof over your car, protecting it from snow and sun damage. It’s cheaper than fully indoor storage but gives less protection against temperature fluctuations.

Uncovered storage is the least expensive option, suitable for short-term storage or for less valuable vehicles.

Preparing Your Car for Storage

Proper preparation before storage is crucial to ensure your car stays in good condition, even when idle.

Initial Preparation Steps

Clean your car inside and out to prevent dirt and grime from causing damage. Make sure the undercarriage is free from mud and road salt, which can cause rust.

Top off your fluids, like antifreeze and brake fluid, to the recommended levels to help prevent internal corrosion.

Mechanical Care

Battery: Disconnect the battery to prevent drain, or use a battery maintainer that keeps it charged without overcharging.

Tires: Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure to avoid flat spots. For long-term storage, consider placing your car on tire supports to relieve pressure.

Engine: Change the oil before storing your car. Old oil can contain contaminants that harm the engine over time.

Pest Prevention

Mice and other small animals can cause significant damage to a car in storage. Use steel wool or specially made covers to block entry points like the exhaust pipe and air intake. Place mothballs around the perimeter of your car to keep pests at bay.

Common Storage Issues and Their Solutions

Even with the best preparation, storing your car can lead to issues if not done correctly.

Moisture and Condensation

To prevent moisture and condensation, which can lead to rust, use silica gel packs inside your car and consider a dehumidifier for the storage unit if it’s particularly damp in Rochester.

Battery Drainage

If you don’t disconnect your battery, it might drain completely, leaving you with a car that won’t start. Regularly check the battery and consider a periodic charge if possible.

Tire Degradation

Over time, tires can lose air and develop flat spots. If you’re not using tire supports, move the car slightly every few weeks to rotate the tires’ resting position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I cover my car in storage?

Absolutely. Covering your car helps protect it from dust, dirt, and moisture, which can cause damage over time. For indoor storage, a breathable cover is ideal as it prevents moisture accumulation that can lead to mold or rust. If storing outdoors, ensure the cover is waterproof yet breathable to protect against rain and snow while preventing condensation underneath the cover.

How often should I start my car?

Starting your car every two to three weeks is crucial to maintain its mechanical integrity. This practice helps keep the battery charged and the engine lubricated. When you start the car, let it run for at least 15 minutes to ensure it reaches operating temperature, which helps the engine oil circulate and maintain good engine health. This also allows the air conditioning to run, which keeps the air system fresh and prevents mildew.

Can I store a car with gas in the tank?

Yes, it’s advisable to store your car with a full tank of gas. This minimizes the air space above the fuel and reduces the chances of moisture condensing inside the tank, which can lead to rust. Adding a fuel stabilizer is also recommended; it prevents the gasoline from deteriorating for up to 12 months, ensuring your fuel system remains clean and the engine starts easily when you take the car out of storage.

What is the best way to maintain tire health during storage?

To prevent flat spots and excessive wear, inflate your tires to the maximum recommended pressure before storing your vehicle. Using tire supports or jacks to lift the vehicle and reduce the weight on the tires can also be beneficial, especially during long-term storage. If you cannot use supports, rotating the tires slightly every few weeks can help avoid flat spots.

Do I need to change the oil before storage?

Changing the oil before you store your car is a good practice, especially if you won’t be using the car for several months. Used engine oil contains contaminants that can damage the engine. Fresh oil provides better protective properties and ensures that your engine is coated with a clean, protective layer of oil.

How do I prevent pests from entering my car?

Pests can cause significant damage to your vehicle while it’s stored. To deter them:

  • Clean your car thoroughly inside and out to remove any food residues or other attractants.
  • Seal entry points, such as the exhaust pipe and air intakes, with steel wool or automotive-specific covers that prevent rodents from entering.
  • Use natural repellents like mothballs or peppermint oil around the vehicle and within the engine compartment and trunk to keep pests at bay.

What should I do about my car’s brakes during storage?

It’s advisable not to engage the parking brake when storing your vehicle, as the brake pads can fuse with the discs or drums if left engaged for long periods. Instead, use wheel chocks to securely block the tires and prevent the vehicle from moving.

Legal and Insurance Considerations

Before storing your car, check if there are any local regulations in Rochester regarding vehicle storage. Also, maintain at least comprehensive insurance to protect against theft, vandalism, or natural disasters while in storage.

Choosing the Right Storage Facility

When selecting a storage facility, consider:

Security Features

Look for facilities with robust security measures like 24/7 surveillance, gated access, and good lighting.

Access Hours

Choose a facility that offers access hours that fit your schedule. Some places offer 24-hour access, which can be very convenient.

Cost Considerations

Compare prices between different facilities but balance cost with the level of protection provided. Sometimes, paying a little more for better security or indoor options is worth it for the peace of mind.


Storing your car requires careful consideration of the type of storage, preparation of the vehicle, and ongoing maintenance to ensure it remains in great condition. By choosing the right storage option and taking the necessary steps for preparation and maintenance, you can rest easy knowing your car is safe and sound, ready for the roads when you are.

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