The Ultimate Guide To Storing a Classic Car

Ideal Classic Cars December 22, 2022

The Ultimate Guide To Storing a Classic Car

Are you putting your vintage vehicle away for the winter or an otherwise long period? Our ultimate guide to storing a classic car will help your vehicle emerge from storage looking just as good as the day you put it away.

What To Look for in a Storage Location for Your Classic Car

The first step in storing a vintage vehicle is finding a place to keep it for a long time. Below are some things that classic car owners need to look for when searching for a storage location.

Climate Control

The storage location for a classic car must have reliable temperature control to keep the vehicle within a comfortable temperature range. The days of putting an old car in the barn or shed for the winter and digging it out in the spring are gone, and exposing an older car to those harsh conditions is a recipe for disaster.

A temperature-controlled storage unit will be more expensive than a simple unheated garage or shed, but when considering the money invested in the classic car, it’s wise to pay extra for a comfortable space. The storage location doesn’t have to be a luxurious 70 degrees Fahrenheit 24/7, but a comfortable range that’s not too cold or too hot is ideal for older cars.

Dry Conditions

The last thing any vintage vehicle owner wants is for water to seep or drip into their storage location and ruin their vehicle. Older vehicles are fragile enough without being exposed to excessive moisture for long periods.

When scouting locations, ensure that there are no potential leaks on the floor or through the ceiling that could harm the vehicle. You also want to be careful of humidity if you’re storing in a place that gets hot, which is another reason that temperature-controlled spaces are ideal.


Last but certainly not least, classic car owners must ensure that the storage location for their prized possession is secure and capable of protecting their vehicle. We don’t have to tell car owners how expensive older vehicles are; when you’re likely to be away from it for so long, it can be a prime target for thieves.

You wouldn’t put your money and valuables in a bank that doesn’t seem secure, so you shouldn’t do the same with a classic car. Whether you’re storing in a garage, shed, or storage facility, ensure adequate security measures and consider installing some of your own, like motion-activated lights, cameras, or an alarm system.

Preparing Your Classic Car for Storage

Once you’ve picked the ideal storage location, our ultimate guide will show you how to prepare your classic car for long-term storage.

Clean & Wax

Before you put your classic car into hibernation, you’ll want to thoroughly clean and detail. Cleaning and waxing the exterior ensures no dust or debris is left behind that could scratch the paint or even cause corrosion.

Thoroughly clean the interior, polish the leather seats if the car has them, and vacuum every nook and cranny you can. Crumbs and dirt can attract insects and pests while in storage. And don’t forget to wash the wheels and tires with soap and a tire brush.

Disconnect or Remove Battery

One of the most important things a classic car owner must do before storing their vehicle away is to disconnect or remove the battery entirely. If the car’s battery is left hooked up to the vehicle in storage for a long period, it’ll eventually drain and die.

Once it’s time to take the car out of storage, you’ll have to charge the battery first—and letting the battery die isn’t good for its lifespan or capability in the first place. Either disconnect the battery, remove it, and hook it up to a charger. You could return to the car every few weeks to run the engine and recharge the battery, but simply disconnecting it is much more convenient.

Fill Tank & Change Oil

It may seem counterintuitive to fill a car with gasoline before putting it into storage—after all, it’s not going anywhere—but it’s an important step to preventing corrosion. The fuel helps to prevent moisture from building up within the empty tank and causing rust.

While you’re at it, you should also change the oil before storing the car. Dirty, old oil sitting in the system of a classic can also cause corrosion, so it’s much better to have fresh oil in the system. Make sure you drive it for a few miles after the oil change to ensure it spreads throughout the car’s system.

Pro Tip: Add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent the fuel from hardening and gunking up the tank and system.

Inflate Tires

Long-term storage is especially hard on an older car’s tires as it has to support the stationary weight, which tires are not designed to do. If you don’t plan on using the car for a long time, consider putting it on jack stands and removing the wheels to preserve their quality.

At the very least, you should fill the tires to their recommended PSI, and it’s wise to take the car out for a spin every couple of weeks to prevent them from flat spotting.

Pro Tip: If storing on a dirt surface, add plywood below the tires to protect from ground rot.

Open Windows

After you’ve finished cleaning the exterior and interior and before placing the cover on the vehicle, roll the front windows down slightly. If all the windows are closed and the interior is sealed, the air within can get stale and musty, and you can return to a car with unpleasant odors. You don’t have to bring the windows completely down, but leaving them open by a crack helps the interior air stay fresher.

Clean Storage Space

Before leaving your classic car in one place, you should ensure it’s a clean and safe environment for storage. After all, there’s not much use in cleaning a car if you leave it behind in a dusty storage unit or garage. Give the space a good cleaning and organization to ensure that no objects or tools could accidentally fall and damage the vehicle.

Cover Exterior

Last but not least, it’s time to tuck your classic car away for its long slumber, and it needs some comfortable blankets to keep it protected and warm. A car cover offers another layer of protection and helps keep the dust, dirt, and moisture away.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to plug the car’s tailpipe with steel wool to keep rodents out, and leave a flag or ribbon of some kind, so you don’t forget to take it out later.

Always use a purpose-built car cover instead of a general tarp, as plastic sheeting isn’t breathable and can trap condensation within the car instead of keeping it out. It’s also wise to invest in a custom car cover to comfortably fit your vehicle’s body.

We hope our guide has been enlightening and helpful for classic car owners. Remember, you can purchase classic cars online in the USA at Ideal Classic cars by perusing our extensive inventory! Contact us to learn more about our selection.

The Ultimate Guide To Storing a Classic Car