By Vince Mancuso,

Whether you choose to race along the California coasts or wander the Philadelphia International Auto Show, enjoying sports cars is something car enthusiasts throughout the United States can appreciate.

Loving a roaring engine and flawless paint job is one thing, but the stress and work of finding an acceptable space to park these prized possessions when they’re not in use or when the weather poses a threat is a different story. That’s why many owners tend to move their sports cars into storage.

Typically speaking, many who drive or display sports cars don’t have space at home for their vehicles, as an additional car eats up garage space, and outdoor elements can damage aesthetic conditions.

“[Sports car owners] might have a car that they don’t drive every day, but they want access to it,” says Josh Bryan, Resident Vintage and Exotic Car Expert with Speed Sports Inc., a specialty auto dealership in Milwaukie, Ore. “They’re just short on garage space.”

This is one of the more common reasons for using auto storage. Owners can use a storage unit as a garage and grab their sports cars when they need them on the weekend or special nights out.

The other reason for using sports car storage is over the winter, generally from November to April. Most sports cars aren’t driven in the winter, as rear-wheel drive doesn’t fare well with snow and ice, which means they take up space in a garage. Self storage provides a solution for getting that space back.

For either situation, you need to find the right vehicle storage option for your sports car and prepare it ahead of time, especially if it’s going into long-term winter storage.

Finding the Right Storage Conditions for Your Sports Car

According to Bryan, finding a vehicle storage facility that offers 24-hour access (or at least extended hours) is a good place to start. If you don’t want to wait for your facility to open each time you want to pull your vehicle out of storage, access hours are important. “Personally, I would want something I had access to.”

Also at the top of Bryan’s suggestions is an indoor unit with drive-up access and climate control. An enclosed unit provides shelter from theft or vandalism and acts as a haven from the weather, and drive-up access makes it easy for you to pull your sports car in and back out of your unit without trouble.

“…climate control would be optimum, particularly if you live in a region that gets really cold or really hot.”

Josh Bryan, Resident Vintage and Exotic Car Expert with Speed Sports Inc.

As for climate-controlled storage, it’s a feature that functions as a heater, air conditioner, and dehumidifier to maintain a controlled environment. “Heat can be as damaging as cold to a car, so I think climate control would be optimum, particularly if you live in a region that gets really cold or really hot,” Bryan explains.

Of course, when storing a sports car, security features should be considered, too. “Especially if it’s a valuable car,” Bryan adds. Storage facilities offer anywhere from basic security features, like gated access and perimeter fencing, to more advanced features, such as video surveillance, alarmed units, and on-site management. All of these offer varying levels of protection against vandals or thieves.

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Prepping Your Sports Car for Storage

Bryan recommends a number of steps prior to placing your vehicle in storage for the winter in particular. “First thing I would do is have a fresh oil change.” This gets rid of acid and other buildup, as well as moisture, which when left in your vehicle over time can corrode the lines and parts of your vehicle’s engine.

“If you couldn’t do [an oil change], I would get the car to the absolute operating temperature,” Bryan says, referring to the highest allowable temperature for your car to operate. While not the ideal solution, he says it boils off any moisture in your vehicle prior to storage.

Another important step is filling your gas tank up completely before moving your car to storage. This, again, is a great way to prevent any condensation buildup. “Depending on how long you’re going to have it in storage, you may even get a fuel stabilizer,” Bryan adds.

Your battery should also be given special attention, as a battery left in park will slowly drain. To prevent this, Bryan says you can use a battery tender, a charger that provides a slow trickle charge to keep your battery from dying out. “You’d have to have power for that, so that may affect your choice for a storage facility.” Fortunately, more and more storage facilities are getting onboard with the electrical outlets trend.

“First thing I would do is have a fresh oil change.”

Josh Bryan, Resident Vintage and Exotic Car Expert with Speed Sports Inc.

One thing Bryan says isn’t on many people’s radar is the impact other items in storage may have on your vehicle’s engine, particularly items with electrical motors. “Anything that has an electric motor will create ozone.” This breaks down rubber in vehicle tires and rubber hoses, which you won’t notice until you go to take your sports car out of storage. “If it’s a dedicated [storage] facility, you’re likely not going to run into a situation like this, but it can happen. Make sure there’s nothing producing ozone.”

As far as maintaining the aesthetics of your sports car in storage, washing and waxing helps protect your vehicle’s paint and shine. “I like to see a fresh coat of wax on the exterior of the car,” Bryan says. “I always put them away clean like that.”

You can also place a cover over your car. “I highly recommend a fabric cover, one that can breathe. Plastic or other heavy covers allow condensation to form, corroding and rusting your sports cars paint away.”

Using vehicle storage to store your sports car, whether’s it short-term or long-term, is a great option for anyone who needs a safe place beyond a home garage for their “baby.”