Do you need a place to store your car or truck? Have a valuable vintage vehicle but no place to keep it at home? Whether you’re going to be out of town for a few months for work, military deployment, or simply lack the space at home for your collection, many storage facilities offer auto storage as a secure space to leave your vehicle while you’re away.

Auto storage can come in multiple forms, but all allow you a safe spot to keep your vehicles. Storage facilities can have enclosed storage units with drive-up access, a covered space, or a fenced parking lot. Auto storage can be highly beneficial in a number of ways, though it all depends on your needs and asking the right questions.


Is it better to store in a parking garage or find auto storage?

Parking GarageIn larger cities such as Chicago, New York City, or Los Angeles, parking space can be at a premium with multi-level parking garages spread throughout the city. While these will give you a place to keep your car, it may not always be the best option. When it come to determining whether you should use a parking garage or auto storage, you need to determine what’s more important: cost or convenience.

For example, looking at a major metropolitan area such as Brooklyn, a spot at a parking garage can come at a high price of $250 to $550 a month, while an outdoor parking space at a Brooklyn storage facility can be found at a price range of about $170 to $280 a month. While it may seem like auto storage is the obvious choice when looking at the cost, you need to take into account the convenience of a parking garage.

If you’re one who uses your vehicle regularly and at most hours of the day, then a parking garage is the way to go as the cost is worth the convenience of easy and frequent access. The cheaper rate of auto storage is ideal when storing vehicles for long periods of time such as when on military deployment, extended business trips, or even if you prefer to use public transportation but don’t want to get rid of your car.

Is vehicle storage only outdoors?

Parking lot

While outdoor vehicle storage is the most popular, there are options when it comes to protecting your vehicle when you’re away. Auto storage can be found in three forms: outdoor, covered, and indoor storage.

Outdoor auto storage is the most well-known and affordable form of auto storage and often consists of a parking lot with a security fence. If using outdoor auto storage, be sure to find additional security features such as electronic gate access, video surveillance, and on-site management to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

Covered auto storage comes at a slightly higher cost and gives your vehicle an awning or other overhead cover. Covered storage provides additional protection from the elements such hail, snow, and severe rainstorms. This method of auto storage should be considered in places that may be susceptible to rough weather.

Indoor storage can be in a designated garage, but is much more likely to be in a large storage unit with drive-up access. While indoor auto storage is likely to be the most expensive, it adds the most protection for your vehicle from weather, vandalism, or theft. Indoor auto storage should definitely be given priority when storing valuable vintage or sports cars.

How much does auto storage cost?

Although the population of a city can greatly impact the monthly price of self storage, it’s the demand for parking space that has the biggest impact on auto storage rates.

For instance, in the relatively small city of Dayton, OH, with roughly 143,000 residents, outdoor auto storage can be found for about $65 a month. Meanwhile, in Denver, CO—more than four times larger than Dayton—outdoor auto storage can be found only slightly higher at $70 a month.

It’s in cities such as New York City and Chicago, where parking space is hard to come by, that outdoor auto storage costs more. For example, an 8×20 parking space in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn can be found for around $170 a month, while a similar parking spot in the Jefferson Park area of Chicago is about $135 a month.

It is the relatively low price that makes outdoor parking the most popular auto storage choice. To show a price comparison of outdoor, covered, and indoor storage, a 10×20 outdoor parking spot in Santa Maria can be found for $100 per month, while covered parking spots at a comparable size for go for $170 each month and indoor units of the same size at $215 per month.

What kind of insurance coverage do I need while my car is in storage?

Though you may not be driving your car for a while, it must remain registered and insured to be in a storage unit. Talk with your insurance agent about switching to a less expensive temporary coverage plan, as vehicle laws vary from state to state. Comp-only and seasonal insurance policies are commonly used for cars in storage. If you park an uninsured vehicle in a storage unit, you run the risk of receiving a citation or having your license suspended. And finally, don’t forget to switch your insurance when your car is back on the road!

Is it bad for my car to sit undriven for long periods of time?

It depends. While it’s not ideal for a car to sit unused for an extended amount of time, there are steps you can take to prepare it for storage. For instance, fill up the gas tank and get the oil changed.


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