From time to time it might be necessary to store a vehicle . The  following suggestions are done for best pratice to prevent damage during storage:

1.  The use of water instead of coolant is not recommended in the cooling system of the stored vehicle. Water corrodes the radiator and the engine block from the inside.

Water in the cooling system can freeze in the event of an unexpected failure of the storage space heating system.

Water also contains limescale that can settle in the  cooling system and narrow or clog the channels (radiator). Cooling fluid provides protection against frost, but also works against corrosion.

There is no further action required concerning the cooling system when it is filled with coolant. If there is only water in the system replace it with coolant.

2. The fuel tank has an open connection with the outside air to allow the fuel go to the engine.  Fuel expands with changes in   temperature. Moisture from the  the open  air connection into the tank may cause rust in the tank.

A solution can be to fill the tank to its maximum, so that less moisture comes in contact with the tank. This is only a problem with a metal tank. Plastic tanks do not have this problem.

Modern fuels containing ethanol ( E10 and E5) have a short shelf life.

When the fuel contains ethanol  filling  the tank is not recommended   If possible petrol with no ethanol  should be used  if you store you car for more then two months.

It is still possible in some countries to purchase  ethanol- free petrol or alkylate petrol. If this is not available it is best to empty the fueltank completly.

3.  Other important fluid circuits are the hydraulic circuits such as the hydraulically operated brakes. A disavantage of traditional brake fluid used in hydraulic brakes is that it is hygroscopic, which means that it can absotbe moisture.

This moisture  can enter the interior of the brake cylinders, hoses and damage the pipes. The effect of water/moisture on metal and iron causes rust. This leads to damage to the metal brake parts.

Another problem occurs when you start driving the car again after the storage period. The moisture in the brake system can boil and cause the brakes fo fail.

For this reason it is advisable to change the fluid every two to four years. Brake fluid on a silicon base has a  longer shelf life.

4.  Not only the brake system but all metal parts are affected  by water/moisture. It is best to use  a dry and well  ventilated place to store the vehicle. Better still to treat the car with paint or oil, specially on bare metal. There are specialised companies for hollow spaces which use tectyl to protect the vehicle.

5.  It is known that plastic and rubber materials often cannot withstand the UV light from sunlight. Never store the car in direct sun light. Some plastics pulverise over time.

6. Cork and leather are somtimes not resistant to some products such as modern fuels or oils. New gaskets made of modern materials are resistant to oil and fuel.

Cork and leather tends to dry out and may  leak. However, sometimes the leak will repair itself when  the vehicle is used again. Therefore, regular checks on the oil levels are recommended.

7. Canvas is reasonable resistant to sunlight, but not to rain and moisture.

There are means to make canvas weather-resistant. But these treatments  must be repeated regurarly and can sometimes  affects the colour of the canvas.

Canvas will tear over time.

8. PVC found on hoods is resistant to rain and moisture but is not resistant to prolonged exposure to sunlight.When the hood is folded the material can crack.

9. Electronic components can be affected by moisture and high temperature, therefore dry storage is recommended. It is said that the life of electronic components is shortened by lack of use. It is advised from time to time to activate  electronic component.

10. The battery needs special attention when it is not in use. It will slowly loses capacity. When it is freezing inside the storage place the battery case can crack and is totally useless. Therefore consider removing the battery fromthe vehicle or at least disconnect the the minus-pole on negative earth vehicles. .

If leaving the battery in the vehicle it is best best to have  the battery fully charged before storage.

After the storage period never charge  the battery with a quick or fast charger. You can damage the battery by doing so. Use a  trickle charge device which will  slowly charge the battery. Also it is not recommended to start the car with a power pack or jump leads on a good battery. The high currency can damage the battery.

When using  a  trickle charger during the storage period the battery must be disconnected. Don’t forget that most fires in a places of storage occurs due to the battery.

11. The tyres are made from rubber or plastics. The tyres are in contact with the road. During long time storage the tyres will change their form. The contact area will go flat. After the storage period you can notice that the car is hobbling. Most of the time the hobbling affect reduces to zero.

Some people therefore increase the pressure in the tyres by 10%. There is a small risk  that if the temperature rises and the pressure becomes too high the tyre can burst.

Another advice is putting the car on axle stands. It is good for the tyres and  also for the wheelbearings. Be careful that the car is stable on axle stands/ stuts.

Tyres dry out due to sunlight and drafts. Drought cracks may occur.

If the drought cracks extend to the carcass of the tire, dangerous situations arise where the tire can collapse during use after the storage period.

There are remedies to prevent dehydration. Use these remedies especially on the  sidewalls of the tyre. See product specifications.

It is best to store loose tires in a cool and dark place to keep them in good order. Moisture is not problem.

Author: Herman SluiterFehac Heritage and associated member of the Culture Commission