By Patrick Galvan,

Do you need to store your car, but not sure where to start? The need for vehicle storage is very common. However, it’s not just for SUVs or compact vehicles. Motorcycles, boats, and ATVs are also personal vehicles that can benefit from being left in a storage unit when they are not in use.

While it might seem efficient and convenient to simply keep your vehicle at home, some people live in an area where they do not have easy, affordable access to a garage or a private parking lot. Renting a space in a parking garage can be pricey, especially in big cities where space is limited and shared with millions of other people. Even individuals who live in the suburbs might occasionally need a backup storage space for their vehicle if they are going out of town for an extended period of time.

Whether you live in a suburb or metropolis like Chicago or Los Angeles, use this guide to learn how self storage can benefit you and what storage features to look for when storing specific kinds of vehicles.

Only want to know about a specific type of vehicle storage? Jump to any of the following:

How to Store a Car

How to Store a Classic Car

How to Store a Boat

How to Store an RV

How to Store a Jet Ski

How to Store a Motorcycle

How to Store an ATV



The storage unit size and necessary features will vary depending on what you are storing and for how long. Here are a few facts about vehicle storage you should be aware of.

Three Kinds of Vehicle Storage

  • Outdoor Vehicle Parking: Outdoor vehicle parking is located on a storage facility’s property, usually behind a secure fence. This is convenient if you need cheap or temporary storage and is typically the cheapest option when it comes to vehicle storage. However, if you live in an area where harsh weather can be a problem or if you are storing an expensive vehicle, know that it will be exposed to the elements in this type of setting.
  • Covered/Canopy Storage: For larger vehicles like boats and RVs, some facilities offer covered parking spots. These provide more protection from the elements than a simple outdoor parking spot, but aren’t as costly as larger storage units.
  • Indoor Vehicle Storage (Inside of Storage Unit): Indoor vehicle storage is a more expensive option, but it offers the most conveniences. Your indoor storage unit basically functions as a personal garage. You park your vehicle inside your storage unit, where it will remain completely sheltered from the elements and safe from potential theft and vandalism.

Features to Look for When Storing a Vehicle

  • Drive-Up Access: With drive-up access, you do not need equipment or machinery to move your vehicle, boat, or motorcycle. You simply drive the vehicle you are storing up to your designated parking space or storage unit and park the vehicle in your spot.
  • 24-Hour Access: If you don’t want limited access to your vehicle, reserve a storage unit at a storage facility that offers 24-hour access so you can use your vehicle any time that is convenient for you.
  • Nearby Location: The self storage facility isn’t part of your home, but that doesn’t mean you should have to go all the way across town to get to your storage unit. This would be especially inconvenient during the winter months when there is inclement weather. To avoid this, look for a facility that is located close to where you live or work.
  • Video Surveillance: The sight of video surveillance cameras discourages potential thieves and gives you the peace of mind knowing that the facility will be constantly watched over.
  • Electronic Gate Access: A vehicle is not a cheap investment. No matter which type of vehicle storage unit you end up reserving, look for a facility with a electronic gated entry. You’ll be given a private access code which will grant your entry and simultaneously prevent intruders from getting in.


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car by storage unit
Photo by SoulRider.222

Storage Unit Size to Reserve: 10×20 with drive-up access

Average Spending: $100-$300/month

Decide What Kind of Storage is Right For Your Car

  • If your storage facility is located in a quiet suburb with a temperate climate, you may be comfortable with parking your vehicle in an outdoor or covered storage space as you have little to worry about in terms of theft, vandalism, and weather-related damage.
  • If you live in a big urban environment with a high crime rate, you might want to invest a few extra dollars into renting an interior self storage unit so that you’ll know your vehicle will be safe 24/7. Do you live in an area prone to inclement weather such as rain and hail? If so, consider renting an indoor self storage unit for around the clock protection.

Consider How Long You Need Your Storage Unit

  • If you’re moving to a new city and living in apartment until your new home is move in ready and you only need storage for a few weeks, you can probably get by and save some money with an outdoor storage facility. Some facilities offer monthly leases, allowing you to save even more.
  • Is storing your vehicle more of a long-term situation? Rent an indoor storage unit and use it like a personal garage.

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old car

Storage Unit Size to Reserve: 10×20 with drive-up access

Average Spending: $100-$300/month

Whether you’re storing your classic car for the winter or touring around the country in car shows, you’ll want to take extra care in picking out a self storage facility. These vehicles aren’t cheap to come by or to maintain, so guaranteeing their protection is a must!

Must-Have Storage Features When Storing a Classic Car

  • Indoor Vehicle Storage Unit: You can’t afford to take any chances with a classic car. Outdoor parking leaves your vehicle vulnerable to direct sunlight and debris stirred up by the wind. When it comes to classic cars, an indoor vehicle storage unit is the safest option!
  • Climate Control: The best option for keeping your classic car in a climate-controlled environment is to find a storage facility that has a showroom where you can store your classic car among others. Otherwise, a storage unit with drive-up access is not likely going to be climate-controlled.
  • Advanced Security Features: When storing something this valuable, look for the best when it comes to security. Video surveillance and on-site management are good to have to ensure your vehicle will be watched 24/7. An individually alarmed storage unit warns off intruders. Reserve a storage unit at a facility that has electronic gate access so that you can be sure only tenants and staff members can enter the property.
  • Drive-up Access: Whether you prefer to transport your classic car around on a trailer or drive it, a storage facility with drive-up access will reduce transportation efforts. You can haul or drive your vehicle directly into its designated storage unit.

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boat with cover

Storage Unit Size & Price to Reserve for Small Boats: 10×20 to 10×30 ($125-$300/month)

Outdoor Parking Space Size and Price: 20-45′ ($45-$150/month)

Whether you are a passionate boater or someone who just hits the lakes for fun every now and then, you will want to make sure your boat is stored properly during the off season.

Why Do I Need Boat Storage?

  • Avoid Clutter at Home: A boat takes up a lot of space, regardless of whether you store it in the driveway or garage.
  • Avoid Complaints with Neighborhood Covenants: Some neighborhood covenants do not allow outdoor boat storage, even if it’s on your own property. You will receive no complaints or HOA fines for keeping your boat at a self storage facility.

What Type of Boat Storage Do I Need?

  • Outdoor Boat Parking: Just like with vehicles, outdoor boat parking is the cheapest. Even though boats are designed for outdoor use, they are still prone to long-term damage related to weather. When storing your boat outdoors, always use a boat cover to keep precipitation and pests out. You don’t want to pick up your boat only to find the interior soggy from rainwater or infested with unwanted guests.
  • Covered/Canopy Parking: The raised roof of covered storage shields your boat from constant exposure to the sun’s rays and therefore reduces the chances of your paint job becoming faded. With covered storage, you also don’t have to worry about damage from precipitation such as hail.
  • Indoor Boat Storage: Indoor boat storage will typically only be used for small boats, such as ones used for fishing. This option will offer the most protection from inclement weather conditions.

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Class B RV

Neighborhood covenants and limited driveway space can make at-home RV parking nearly impossible, and the nearest RV park isn’t always within convenient driving distance from where you live. With self storage, you can solve your problems of storage and space without upsetting anyone.

Benefits of Parking Your RV in a Self Storage Facility

There are three classes of RVs, but the general benefits of choosing to park your RV at a self storage facility apply to all three.

  • 24-Hour Access: If you’re one of those early-risers who likes to start their road trip at dawn, seek out a storage operator who offers 24-hour access. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until the facility opens before you can access your RV.
  • Saved Driveway and Garage Space: Most RVs are much too tall for the average garage, so their owners usually resort to parking them in their driveway. But no matter which storage location you choose, an RV always takes up a great deal of space. If you’re storing it in your garage, you might have to move something else into the driveway, such as your every day vehicle, which will only inconvenience you.
  • Avoid Neighborhood Covenant Complaints: Many neighborhood covenants do not approve of parking RVs in the open, the owner needs to find somewhere else to store them. Self storage is the solution to this problem.

What Type of RV Storage Do I Need?

  • Outdoor RV Parking: Parking your RV outdoors will be the cheapest option. This option is ideal if you live in an area with nice weather where damage to your RV is unlikely.
  • Covered/Canopy Parking: Slightly more expensive than outdoor parking, covered or canopy parking will provide ample protection from the elements. If you live in an area where hail damage is common, this option is recommended. Additional coverage for your RV will also protect the paint from fading due to sun exposure and prevent rust from rain or snow.


Parking Space Size to Reserve: 45′

Average Spending: $100-$150/month

Class A RVs are the largest and most expensive of the three classes and are commonly used by people who travel very often.

  • Because they are so massive, Class A RVs need a considerable amount of space to drive and make wide turns. Double check with your local storage operator to make sure their driving aisles are wide enough to accommodate these bus-sized vehicles.
  • One of the storage-related benefits of having a Class A RV is that you can potentially use to store belongings as well. These RVs are complete with shelves and storage space, which you can use to store your on-the-road belongings. Just remember that these RVs are generally too massive for storage units, so don’t store anything inside of them that is sensitive to temperature such as electronics and paper documents.


Parking Space Size to Reserve: 25′

Average Spending: $50-$150/month

The smallest of the three, Class B RVs are basically vans with raised rooftops. They offer the fewest amenities, but they’re still consume enough space to make them ideal for self storage.

  • Even though Class B RVs are most likely to fit inside of your garage, they will still take up a great deal of space. So unless you use them on a consistent basis, parking them at a storage facility will allow you to use that garage space for more regularly used belongings.


Parking Space Size to Reserve: 30′

Average Spending: $80-$130/month

The mid-sized Class C RVs are too large to fit in most garages, so they are ideal candidates for self storage if your neighborhood covenant does not allow them or if you simply want to create more space in your driveway.

  • Like the Class A RVs, these vehicles oftentimes feature interior storage compartments, so you can store household belongings inside of them and then park in a storage unit and save even more space at home.

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jet skis near lake
Photo by TimothyJ

Storage Unit Size to Reserve: 10×15 to 10×20 with drive-up access (must allow space for trailer)

Average Spending: $100-$250/month

While you’re putting your boat away for winter, you might as well pack up your jet ski too. After all, even if you experience a warmer-than-average winter, it’ll likely be too cold to hit the lakes.

Benefits to Storing Your Jet Ski in Self Storage

  • Save Space: When winter comes, you won’t have a need for your jet ski for several months, and keeping it in the garage will only take up much needed space.
  • Easy Access for Maintenance: In order to guarantee your jet ski remains in good condition all winter long, it is important to properly winterize your jet ski. Since your self storage unit is operating basically as a garage, you can work out of there.
  • Protection from the Sun: Jet skis are made for outdoors, but they should be kept out of the sun whenever they’re not in use. Constant exposure to the sun will fade paint and cause the seats and traction mats to start deteriorating.
  • Drive-up Access: With drive-up access, you simply hook up your jet ski trailer to your vehicle and tow it up to your storage unit. The only manual labor is unhooking the trailer and placing it precisely where you want it.

Understanding In-Unit Electricity For Charging Batteries

As you continue to use your jet ski, sooner or later you will need to recharge your battery. It would inconvenience you to have to haul your battery from your storage unit to your garage just to recharge it. If this is a concern, ask your storage operator if their storage units feature in-unit electricity. Also be sure to ask if they permit the use of battery chargers in their storage units, as some might prohibit this.

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Honda NTV650 Motorcycle
Photo by Dennis van Zuijiekom

Storage Unit Size to Reserve: 5×10 with drive-up access

Average Spending: $35-$85/month

A motorcycle does not take up that much space, but if you are going out of town for a while or only find time to go riding on the weekends, it might be convenient to keep it in storage. This is especially true if you don’t have a garage, and even if you do, that space is better used for items you do use on a regular basis such as automobiles and lawnmowers.

Benefits of Using Indoor Storage For Motorcycles

  • Keep Your Bike Safe From the Elements: Due to their fragile nature, motorcycles are not fit for long-term outdoor storage. Use an interior self storage unit to protect them from hail and debris stirred up by the wind. Also, you wouldn’t want your bike to accidentally tip over. Dents and dings can be expensive to repair.
  • Out of the Way During the Off Season: Throughout the country, there are places where riding a motorcycle just doesn’t work during certain seasons. During these times of non-use, being able to put a motorcycle away into storage can be a major convenience.


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Storage Unit Size to Reserve: 5×10 to 5×15 with drive-up access

Average Spending: $35-$85/month

Some people use their ATVs year-round, while for others, it’s a summer toy. Regardless of when you use it the most, an ATV takes up space, and some neighborhood covenants prohibit parking ATVs in driveways. Unless you use it daily, you can reduce your at-home clutter by keeping your ATV in a self storage unit.

Why Should I Use a Self Storage Unit When Storing an ATV?

ATVs may be designed for long hours outdoors, but several weeks or months of exposure to the elements could eventually lead to damage. Debris stirred up by the wind can lead to chipped paint, and in the event of hailstorm, your ATV doesn’t stand much of a chance. For this reason, it’s not the best idea to store your ATV in an outdoor storage space.

  • Protection From Theft and the Elements: With an interior self storage unit, you can rest assured your ATV will not suffer wind, rain, and hail-related damage. As is the case with motorcycles and smaller vehicles, indoor storage units will keep your ATV away from the eyes of potential thieves.
  • Easy Access for Maintenance: If you need to perform any maintenance on your ATV, you can be sure it’ll be easy to access in your storage unit. When winter comes around, you can even winterize the ATV without ever taking it outside.

Do you need storage for your car or one of your recreational vehicles? is here to help! Reserve a self storage unit that fits your storage needs online today!


All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.

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