It’s advisable to find a garage for your classic car if you can, but not everyone has that luxury.
There are lots of options when it comes to storing your classic car, which makes it tricky to decide what’s best for you.
There are also several factors to consider when picking the best way to store your car, including:
- How regularly will you want to drive the car?
- Will you keep it parked up throughout the winter?
- How secure do you need the storage to be?
So in this article we’ve put together some classic car storage ideas and things to keep in mind when considering how to store your vehicle.
If you don’t have your own garage, a carport is a great way of offering some protection to your classic car. Carports offer some protection against rain, snow, wind, and the sun’s UV rays.
Whilst not ideal for classic car storage in the long-term, they do provide some benefits.
The main benefit is that you can keep your car at your house and drive it whenever you like, unlike many other storage options.
This also allows you to easily keep the vehicle clean and clear of debris and dirt throughout the year.
Carports are generally affordable, and you can even install them yourself. You can expect to pay between $1200 and $3000 (£1000 – £2500 in the UK) for a decent quality carport.
They do need to be firmly anchored into the ground in case of high winds. You wouldn’t want your carport flying into your neighbor’s garden during a storm!
On the downside, your car will still be exposed to the moisture in the atmosphere which can be very damaging to its bodywork and chassis.
Over time rust will begin to form, particularly on older vehicles, eventually making them unsafe to drive and unroadworthy.
In the short-term, storing your classic under a carport is better than leaving it outside, but over time it’s likely your car will still start deteriorating. This is especially true if you live in a country that experiences cold and wet winters.
A portable garage looks a bit like a tent from the outside, but is built to be much sturdier and durable. These days there are plenty of portable garages on the market and are a great way of storing a classic car.
If you don’t have room at home to build your own garage, or don’t want to spend vast amounts of money doing so, then a portable garage might be the option for you. Portable garages can cost even less than a carport depending on the size and quality.
These structures need to be secured to the ground and will protect your car from bad weather, but won’t be able to help against humidity. Some people choose to run dehumidifiers in their portable garages to help.
As it’s a temporary outdoor structure it’s unlikely to have a power-source nearby, so some people choose to run an extension cable so the dehumidifier and battery conditioner (where necessary) can be plugged in.
Whilst there are plenty of options on the market, some are much better quality than others. High winds and heavy snow can cause issues for the majority of portable garages.
If you’re looking to buy one you’ll need to ensure it’s anchored to the ground very securely and any build-up of snow is cleared as quickly as possible.
When considering which size to buy, keep in mind that there needs to be room on either side to open the car doors.
Overall we think portable garages are one of the best home-based solutions for short-term classic car storage as they provide great protection against rain, snow and sun. We’d always advise running a dehumidifier where possible to protect the car against corrosion.
Popular with those who live in big cities where space is at a premium, underground car parking facilities offer a great way of protecting classic cars from extreme weather.
In some cities there are even companies who have set up underground parking specifically for people to store their luxury cars.
Underground parking provides easy access year-round, is generally secure, and can be cost-effective. But there are some downsides to consider.
Firstly, you may need to travel to get to your car. For most people it’s unlikely there will be an underground parking facility next to their house or apartment. It can quickly become tiresome if you need to embark on a long journey every time you want to drive your classic.
Secondly, you may not be able to plug your car into a power supply. This is important for classic car owners who drive their classics sparingly as the battery needs to be kept topped up. If you regularly drive your classic it may not be as much of an issue.
Thirdly, you don’t have any control over who parks next to you. In professional luxury car underground parking facilities this is likely to be fine, but if the car park can be used by the general public then you may risk having your door dented.
Overall, underground parking is a great option for those who live near a facility with easy access. The best underground facilities are those that are run specifically to store classic and exotic vehicles, although these can be expensive.
Classic car storage facility
Classic car storage is big business, and these days there’s a plethora of companies offering specialist storage for your classic.
These facilities tend to be warehouses or hangars that are well ventilated, insulated, and where the temperature and humidity is constantly controlled. This provides the most suitable environment for classic cars.
For a monthly cost you can rest assured that your classic is in safe hands in a secure facility, and is being treated with the respect it deserves.
These companies will often hook up the car to a battery conditioner and run the engine every now and again for you. They can even fully prepare the vehicle for long-term storage if that’s what you’re looking to do.
The major downside of this type of storage is reduced access to your vehicle. If you want to take your car out for a drive you will usually need to book a time to access it, which can be inconvenient if you like to drive regularly.
For this reason, many people choose to store their classics in these facilities over the colder winter months and keep them at home during the summer.
Unfortunately this type of storage can become expensive if you’re using it long-term. Costs will of course depend on your location and the type of facility you use, but you can generally expect to pay at least $150 per month (or £120 per month in the UK) for the use of one of these facilities.
Perambulator folding garage
If you don’t have space for a portable garage, a foldable garage may be the answer. These space-saving garages consist of a folding metal frame and a waterproof material that covers your car.
This means you can get in and out of your car with ease, and without requiring any additional space to open your doors.
These garages come in a variety of sizes, and are designed to fit the length and width of your vehicle.
They still need to be fixed to the ground to prevent them taking off in high winds. Ideally a foldable garage will be fixed to a concrete base.
The covering is breathable and the garages are designed to deal with humidity, although this solution will never be as good as a traditional climate-controlled garage.
Unlike a traditional car cover, the material is not in direct contact with your car so damage to the paintwork is less likely.
Much like the foldable garage, a car bubble is another great way to protect your car if you have limited space available at home.
A car bubble utilizes a fan system to circulate air inside the capsule, drying the vehicle, and keeping a consistent environment during storage. This greatly reduces the chance of rust forming, and is why many professional car storage facilities use these bubbles.
Simply drive onto the base mat, pull the cover over the car, and turn on the power to inflate.
The majority of bubbles you’ll see on the market are for indoor use, but there are certain manufacturers that produce outdoor versions. Be sure to check before you buy.
Outdoor bubbles need to provide more protection than their indoor counterparts, so can be slightly more expensive. Despite this, we were still able to find a number of products on the market for under $1000 / £700. An absolute bargain in our view.
A car bubble is one of the best ways to protect your vehicle from the elements if you have to keep it outside. Years of research have gone into providing the best conditions inside the capsule to extend the lifespan of your classic car.
One downside is that you will need a source of power to be able to use a car bubble effectively. If you have an outdoor power supply or you’re able to run power from your house then this might be the solution for you.
The cost of running the fans is extremely low, in some cases less than $1 / £1 per month.
Rent a garage
You don’t need to own your own garage to be able to store your car in one. These days there are plenty of people who have unused garage space and are willing to rent it out.
Ideally you want to keep your car as close to home as possible, so firstly try looking online. There are a number of websites that enable people to offer their garages for rent, especially in big cities. Social media can also be great for this.
You can also try knocking on neighbors doors to see if they have any space they’re willing to rent out. You never know what you might find in your own neighborhood.
Friends and family can be another great help if they live nearby, and you might get a discounted rate.
It’s not only garage space that you should be looking for; think outside the box. There might be a local landowner with space in a barn, or a company with room in a warehouse or storage facility.
Any building with a roof that gets your car away from the elements is preferable to leaving it outside.
Thanks to their solid construction, modular design, and abundance across the world, shipping containers are becoming a popular choice for garden storage, home offices, and workshops.
But some people are finding that with a little insulation, airflow, and power, shipping containers can actually be a great place to store cars.
Being built from metal, the biggest concern with this type of storage is condensation. If you live in a humid climate, or one that experiences extreme changes in temperature over the winter, it’s likely the container will sweat. This is very bad news for your classic car.
Insulation, airflow, and a dehumidifier is a must if you’re going to use a shipping container to store your car.
You’ll also need to check the size of the container you’re buying. They can be surprisingly narrow, so make sure you have enough room to open your car doors once inside or you may find yourself crawling out the sunroof.
Overall this is quite a specialist solution, so be sure to thoroughly research what you’d need to do to make the container befitting of storing your pride and joy.
Your own garage
Owning your own garage is of course the best option for any classic car owner. Having your own garage is convenient, safe, and protects your car from the elements.
Brick built garages offer the best protection for classic cars. They’re great at maintaining the correct temperature, and are the least likely to suffer from condensation. They are, however, one of the most expensive types of garage to build.
There are more affordable options such as wood or metal garages, but if you choose to build one of these you’ll need to insulate it and possibly heat it in the winter depending on where you live. Metal garages in particular are susceptible to sweating.
Whilst owning your own garage is the best option, we understand it’s not possible for every classic car lover. So hopefully some of the options we’ve covered here allow you to indulge in your passion.
Here at The Car Investor we’ve tried many of these options for our own classic cars in the past. We’ve rented a garage, utilized a classic car storage facility, bought a car bubble, and owned our own garages.
In our view, buying an outdoor car bubble is the best option if you don’t have your own garage but would like to store a classic car.
These have been specially designed to maintain the correct environment for classics, don’t take up much space on your property, and can provide convenient access to your vehicle.
You’ll only need to invest as a one-off cost rather than paying a monthly fee, and you won’t need to worry about condensation, rust, or anyone else parking alongside your vehicle.
If you love classic cars but don’t own a garage, our suggestion is to go ahead and buy one alongside one of these solutions.