Finding the right place to store your car in the UK can be a nightmare, there are so many different companies to choose from catering for a wide range of budgets, but what should you be looking for and which things do you need to take into consideration when looking for car storage?
The first thing anyone thinks about when searching for car storage is security. Will your pride and joy, your investment be safe? And that’s not just from theft either. Accidental damage through door dings or building work have been known to happen, even leaking roofs ruining soft tops isn’t unheard of.
Many car storage companies are well advertised, but it’s the ones who keep their location out of the public domain which are the safest. The fewer people that know they exist, the safer their contents are.
Levels of security will vary depending on your budget, if you’ve just imported a classic car, you’ll no doubt want Fort Knox, but the car enthusiast that merely needs to keep their vehicle dry for the winter, then a padlock probably will do just fine.
At the least look for somewhere that has guarded access, either through a key code or a card system. This can be into an outer compound before getting to your actual storage location after that a regular lock should suffice.
Places that have 24-hour security or a number of businesses on site are also ideal, this way there’s plenty of people to spot suspicious behaviour and deter would-be thieves.
Equally, renting a garage from a neighbour can be the perfect situation, local and being in a residential area, again there’s less chance for a long break in and a car theft going unnoticed.
Depending on how precious you or your car is, pricing for UK car storage can be from as little as £40 a month to nigh on £300. It’s best to weigh up what’s right for you and what sort of extra costs you may incur by choosing a ‘cheaper’ option.
While an empty farmers barn may look like a budget-friendly hidey hole for the winter what if mice find their way into your engine bay? Or if your car gets damaged by a falling bike in a neighbour’s garage? The cost of repairs in either scenario will negate any saving made in the first place.
As with everything in life, you don’t get something for nothing. Pay what you can afford, not what you’d like to.
Finding somewhere as local as possible is always a good idea, you don’t want to be driving 50+ miles whenever you need to drop off or pick up your car.
Some companies offer a bespoke collection and return service, but expect to pay for such luxuries.
You’ll also want to consider a location with excellent transport links if you intend to use public transport to and from the place of storage.
Next up is insurance, yes, you’ll need to inform your own insurance that the car is in storage and the location, but the place that’s caring for your motor should also be fully insured against total loss.
That’s to say if there’s a flood, fire, or some other unforeseen disaster you’ll be compensated for the market value of your classic car.
It’s best to keep your car insured as well as have insurance from the storage company, that way you’re definitely covered, and there are no legal loopholes that could leave you high and dry.
Always ask to see proof of insurance, don’t just assume.
Leaving a car stored for months on end is fine, but expect the battery to drain. Of course, you can disconnect the battery totally, this will help, but all car batteries will still lose power if sat unused for long periods.
Keeping them connected will drain them much faster as electric is always being used for ignitions or alarms.
Most places offer trickle charging, this way your battery will be connected and conditioned keeping it topped up and in full working order.
Sometimes this service is an added extra so don’t take it for granted, the majority of storage companies will provide a fully PAT tested charger while others ask you to provide your own, or purchase one from them.
It’s often said that leaving cars sat does them no good at all, they’re machines that are meant to be used and driven. Oil needs to move around various parts, pumps need to be fired up, and tyres rolled…so they don’t end up with flat spots.
This sort of ‘active maintenance’ always costs extra, if you’re storing your car for more than months at a time, it’s worth investing in this sort of care.
Companies such as Storacar offer 30-day inspections of tyres – including rotation, electric switches, fluid levels, battery, general bodywork, and they will even start your car letting it run up to temperature. This is part of their Active Storage Program which costs as little as £170 a month or £39.12 a week.
As you can see there’s a lot to think about and take into account, don’t always opt for the cheapest storage you can find. Think carefully about what could and may go wrong, set a budget aside and find somewhere that suits all your needs.