Needless to say, storage solutions for classic cars vary widely based upon value, usage and age. Whilst modern cars can withstand the elements, many classic cars simply cannot, or at least you wouldn't want to subject it to unnecessary perils.
Storage is a year-round consideration, although it is most likely that during the winter is when your car will spend most of it's time unused. Therefore we have put together some top tips to ensure that your pride and joy is kept safe, warm, and away from harm.
Obviously, where possible, it's best to keep your car inside, in a dry environment, and away from prying eyes. If you live in a built-up area and don't have the privilege of your own garage, you'll be surprised by the options available to you. In fact, the author has just started renting a secure space in central London, minutes from London Bridge, and on his route to/from work.
Many local councils offer lock-up garages for residents. Many flat owners will have underground parking which they do not utilise, and therefore rent out their parking space for a bit of extra cash.
Websites like parkopedia.com or yourparkingspace.co.uk are useful, as are traditional classifieds such as Gumtree. However, always ensure that you trust any others who have access, and that you update your insurance company with your car's storage location.
When looking for storage, look out for spaces which offer 24 Hour concierge, CCTV and secure gates. View the space first if possible. A good sign of a secure area is a garage/ car park with multiple other classics or desirable cars in storage.
Most classics will be kept inside, in a relatively dry and frost free atmosphere. However that's not to say that it's safe from the elements. Humidity is a key consideration, especially in less water-tight or heated storages. If you have electricity in your storage, dehumidifiers can be used. However they can require frequent emptying, and can also be a drain on electric if they're working flat out.
For the fanatics, a "bubble" or air chamber is a good option. Mark Wibberley, Ferrari Owners Club official and owner of carcovershop.co.uk says "AirChambers are the rigid-framed products using a fan to blow up to 40,000 litres of drying air around a sealed clear storage chamber (with zips so you can get in) similar to the non-rigid Carcoon, which cost about £50 less, though I consider the rigidity worth the extra small cost. Allow £20 a year to run. The more floppy zip-up but inaccessible Permabag, which relies on desiccant bags to dry the air out also costs about £350. These are undoubtedly serious specialist to the issue, but effectively combine an airborne dust, mould and moisture and physical threat solution."
Bubbles and AirChambers can also help prevent storage related damage, which we'll come onto in the next section.
You can also get in-car dehumidifiers, which absorb moisture inside the vehicle and can help prevent your car from smelling like a damp run-down village hall; we all know that foisty smell. Some models are reusable by popping into the microwave for a few minutes.
Protection and Damage Prevention
You spend all year giving other motorists a wide berth, parking carefully so as not to kerb your wheels, or choosing the parking space at the other end of the carpark, only to end up finding damage on your car when you bring it out of storage.
It's amazing how much damage can occur in storage, either self inflicted or through the carelessness and mistakes of others. Garages can often be a tight fit, so to start with, protect your doors somehow from being opened into the wall. Foam door protectors can be stuck onto the wall to prevent this, or there are several options for guards which attach to the door itself, starting from just £4 in halfords.
Protector-4 Breathable fleece lined outdoor car cover from morethanpolish.com
Covering the car is also a good way to protect from any passing foot traffic - denim jean rivets, keys, watches, rings...toolboxes! The range of options for covering your car is extensive depending on your needs, budget and storage situation. A fully waterproof cover might sound like the best option (you want it to be waterproof, right?!), but actually for most storage solutions, this can be inappropriate. A waterproof cover will not breathe, and therefore any moisture on or in the car will not be allowed to escape. Instead the car will "sweat", and stew in it's own moisture. These should only really be used if you are storing a car fully outside (e.g. that restoration project you keep meaning to get started on!)
Therefore, a breathable cover is usually the best bet. These too come in different guises.
Alternatively, an outdoor breathable outdoor cover is a versatile option. These are not waterproof, but do keep most water off the car. The water that is let in, along with any moisture on the car already, will be allowed to breathe and evaporate. In the midst of winter, you can whip the cover off and easily wipe any film of moisture off the car with a cloth.
Cheap covers will not be a custom fit, so may be tight in some areas and baggy in others. If the car is stored in a breezy or draughty environment, this can cause the cover to rub against the body work, and over the course of time will be detrimental to the paint finish.
For indoor use, Mark Wibberley (carcovershop.co.uk) suggests the Peach Skin covers, or the stretchable ones: They won’t scratch and will allow air to get to the car. I don’t like cheap nylon ones for these reasons. Indoor covers will keep dust off, prevent knocks, scrapes and accidents, but won’t keep cats off ! A custom made cover with smart mirror bags costs £150, Stretch Covers from £99, in a variety of colours.
Fleece lined covers offer an additional level of luxury, and protect from scratches or rubbing.
There is no substitute for regular checking up on your car. It's the best way to notice something small before it becomes big.
It is wise to run the engine until fully warm, and also to rotate the tyres to prevent flat spots on a monthly basis. This will help to ensure that you car is on the button when you a ready to use it again come spring time. Some higher-end specialist car storage companies will offer this as a service.
Alternatively, 'Tyre Trainers' can be used to prevent flat spots. Jack the car up and lower it onto these devices. A cheap and easy solution.
If you have any questions or any storage needs, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org