Are you leaving on a cruise or for a trip lasting between three and six weeks? If so, your vehicle will be unused for a fairly long period of time. Here are CAA-Quebec’s recommendations to help you find it in good condition when you return… and so that you can travel worry-free!
Of course, some people leave their vehicle in an airport parking lot for practical reasons, but our experts advise that you find an appropriate location to store your vehicle and have someone drive you to the airport instead. The ideal location is cool and dry—the parking garage of an office or apartment building, for example. Some buildings have parking spaces available for monthly rental. Otherwise, storage facilities can be rented for the same purpose; the Yellow Pages should list some options. Do you have friends in the area? Perhaps they know of a vacant parking space in the building where they live.

Next, prepare your car for its time in storage:

  • Give it a thorough wash to rid it of all the contaminants that may be coating it.
  • Shortly before putting the vehicle in storage, get an oil change and have the oil filter changed. Also, check the density of the engine antifreeze and make sure you have the right type of windshield washer fluid for the season. A temperature drop during storage could, in extreme conditions, result in a cracked engine block or windshield washer tank.
  • Fill the gas tank to three-quarters to prevent condensation inside it.
  • It is also wise, if possible, to run the engine for about 30 seconds after leaving it off for a few hours. The purpose? To cover the internal surfaces of the engine with a thin protective layer of oil. Since the oil is cold, and thus more viscous, it will stay in suspension for longer.
  • Just to be careful, check the air pressure in your tires.

We also suggest that you contact your insurance company. It can provide you with the FAQ-16 rider, which suspends civil liability coverage with regard to the driving or use of a vehicle, meaning you will get a credit.

Another possible saving: a credit for your vehicle’s registration, depending on the number of months until your next renewal. Simply call the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. Incidentally, it may be best to start your storage at the end of a month, since you need to pay for the entire current month anyway.
When you return, check the air pressure in your tires and inspect the vehicle’s undercarriage for leaks. Before driving away, don’t forget to have your insurance and registration reinstated. You may also want to visit a mechanic to have the vehicle checked, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you to go back home.
If you need to store your vehicle for longer than six weeks, please contact CAA-Quebec’s Automotive Advisory Services for details on long-term storage. You can reach an advisor by calling 418 624-0613 or 1 888 471-2424.

© CAA-Quebec, November 2007.