How to store your car when you don't have a garage

Motor experts estimate that only one out of six households in the UK have a garage. This means that most motorists don’t have a permanent place to store their vehicle and keep it out of the elements. 

This can be pretty bad for your car, as the UK weather poses many risks to the health and performance of your vehicle. 

Thankfully, if you want to store your car without a garage, there are various other options that you can use to keep your vehicle safe.

Here’s a look at some of the best products to ensure your car is protected against the elements. If you need more advice on how to look after and maintain your car, you can find plenty more guides here on Car Adviser

In this guide

Why should you keep your car covered?

The UK weather can be hazardous for your car, and if it’s left out in the elements, it can start to suffer and wear. A car that’s been damaged by the weather loses its value a lot quicker, meaning that storing your car well can help you protect your investment, which is crucial if you’re looking to sell the vehicle once you’re done with it. 

Each season and weather condition poses unique threats for your car if it’s left outside without protection. 

Although you may think that your car is safe in the summer, hot temperatures and direct sunlight can cause your car’s paint to fade over time. Plus, high temperatures within your vehicle can also ruin interior items such as the upholstery. 

In autumn, when things get windier and where there is more debris, your car is susceptible to being battered by things like small stones and pebbles caught in the wind, which can cause scuffs, scratches, and even cracks on your windshield. Not to mention that the wind can also blow dust over your car, which can make it look dirty. 

The cold winter can also be an issue for components within your car and may cause your engine to freeze over, which isn’t great for the long term. Plus, rain, common in winter and spring, can also impact your car’s appearance and speed up the rusting process. 

It would help if you also considered the risk of wildlife, which can harm your car. For example, if you leave your vehicle exposed, birds could leave droppings on your car, damaging the paintwork due to how acidic it is. Also, if you live near the sea, the salt in the air can scratch and harm your paintwork and cause components to rust and wear away quicker. 

These multiple risks and reasons make it important that you covet your cover and do what you can to protect your car, even if you don’t have a garage. 

Best products to store your car

There are multiple handy products and gadgets that you can use to help protect your car from the elements if you need to leave it parked outside. Here are some of the top ones we at Car Adviser think you need.

Windshield Sunshade

One of the best things you can get is a sunshade to stop your car’s interior from getting cracked, faded, and warped by UV rays and sunlight. 

A sunshade is designed to lay across your windshield to prevent the sun from penetrating into your cabin. This then means that the interior of your car is protected and helps to stop it from getting warm inside your car. In fact, many of these products can decrease the interior temperature by around 10 degrees on average, preventing electrical items like GPS and CD players from overheating and potentially melting. 

Plus, sunshades aren’t only valuable for summer. Many are also reversible and can be used in the winter to stop your windscreen from freezing, saving you time from having to defrost it when starting your car. 

If you’re looking for a sunshade, here are a couple of options:

VANGE Sunshade

VANGE Sunshade

Customer score

Based on over 264 reviews.

If you’re looking for a sunshade perfect for all-season usage, there are a few better options than the VANGE front windshield sunshade. This sunscreen is designed to protect your windscreen from snow, ice, sun, dust, and rain, making it perfect throughout the year. 

This product is designed specifically for large vehicles like SUVs, meaning it’s a reasonably large cover. Despite its primary purpose for large cars, it is versatile and can also be used for other cars. 

This sunshade is made from high-quality materials and is easy to set up.

BASENOR Tesla Model 3 Sunshade

BASENOR Tesla Model 3 Sunshade

Customer score

Based on over 212 reviews.

To better protect your car, you can also get a set of sunshades that cover your windshield and shield your front and rear windows. This means that no UV rays can get into your car at all, helping to keep the interior protected, and it’s also great if you want to create some privacy as well. 

This specific product is designed for Tesla cars; however, they may also be suitable for other models and manufacturers as well.

Car Covers

To give your car total protection from the elements, a car cover can be one of the cheapest and most effective ways to look after your vehicle. A car cover is a sheet of tarp that covers every square inch of your car, which can help protect it from debris, dust, animal droppings, rain, and snow. 

The advantage of car covers is that they’re very quick and easy to use and don’t take up much space when they’re not being used. Some car covers can be stored in the boot of your car so that you can protect your car when away from home. 

Car covers can also be put over a car when wet, as they still allow the vehicle to dry due to the material being very breathable. That said, to prevent condensation from forming and being trapped under the cover, you shouldn’t keep your car covered at all times and allow it to be exposed to fresh air every once in a while. 

For complete protection and to ensure that the cover is snug, you should try to get one that’s designed for your specific car model. At the very least, make sure it’s designed for the type of car your drive, such as a cover specifically for an SUV or designed for a coupe or saloon car. That said, a generic cover suitable for a wide range of cars can still be a good option.

Some of the best car covers you can get online include:

Amazon Basics Silver Weatherproof Car Cover

Amazon Basics Silver Weatherproof Car Cover

Customer score

Based on over 3,970 reviews.

Although a basic product, this car cover is perfect for those who want to give their car an extra layer of protection. It’s excellent against ice, dust, rain, and heat, helping to keep your vehicle’s exterior and interior looking great. 

It uses a synthetic PE, PEVA, aluminium, and cotton material that’s perfect for various purposes, making it a great all-rounder. This cover fits most cars and can be as large as 5 meters in length. To keep everything secure, it uses an elastic band to stay in place and tightly fit against the car. 

Kayme 6 Layers Car Cover

Kayme 6 Layers Car Cover

Customer score

Based on over 479 reviews.

If you’re looking for a more robust and premium car cover for your vehicle, then this product is a great option. It utilises six different layers to give your car ultimate protection while still being breathable to prevent any moisture buildup under the cover. 

The cover is 100% waterproof, meaning that your car will stay dry no matter the weather. It’s also easy to put in place and utilises cleverly placed zips to make it easy to get your vehicle ready for use. This product also has a 10-year warranty and is suitable for most sized cars.

Portable Garage

If you don’t have a permanent garage at your home, you can always get a portable one instead. This is a big tent that uses a metal frame and waterproof covering to protect your car from the elements and keep it at a good temperature. 

These garages come in a wide range of sizes and quality, and prices can range a lot between £300 to £700. 

Getting a portable garage not only allows you to store your car safely but also gives you a place to keep your car-related items and a space to work on your car in the winter. These can be pitched on any surface, although they will need to be weighed to the ground if you cannot peg them to the ground. 

The downside of these products is that you’ll need a lot of space to put one up, which can take up a lot of room in your driveway. These can also be pretty time-consuming to put up and down, meaning that although they’re called portable, they’re more likely going to be a permanent fixture in your home. Plus, they may be great for keeping your car away from the elements, but it will still be susceptible to cold and humidity. 

Some of the best portable garages you can find online include:

vidaXL Garage Tent

vidaXL Garage Tent

Customer score

Based on over 8 reviews.

This portable garage is a good option for those that want to store their vehicle, as it uses a high-quality material to help keep your car safe from rain and dust. The PVC covers are used to make it almost impenetrable by adverse weather conditions, and anything you store in it will be protected. 

This product is great for storing cars and other household appliances like lawnmowers. The frames are made from rust-resistant steel, which is durable and will last a fairly long time.

Clarke Heavy Duty Carport

Clarke Heavy Duty Carport

Customer score

Based on over 137 reviews.

For those that have less space for a large portable garage and need something a bit more compact, then this heavy-duty carport from Clarke is a great option. 

It uses a heavy-duty fabric to ensure that it’s weather resistant and uses a string frame to ensure that it can handle strong winds without coming apart. The product isn’t suited for large or long vehicles but is perfect if you drive a city car or a smaller vehicle. Plus, its smaller size makes it great if you haven’t got much open space on your property.

Storing your car FAQ

Even if you have an excellent place to store your car that keeps it protected, it's a good idea not to leave it idle for long periods at a time. This is because prolonged disuse can cause engines and other parts to seize up. It can 

It's recommended to drive your car at least once every two weeks to ensure everything is okay and to give your battery a chance to recharge. 

The best way to store a car is to use a garage ideally. This is because it keeps it away from rain, snow, sunlight, and dust and keeps the car at a suitable temperature, preventing parts from freezing or overheating. 

To best protect your car, it's also recommended to cover it with a tarp or cover, even when in a garage, as this stops dust from building up around the car's body. 

If you're storing a car for a long time, it's also a good idea to have a full fuel tank, as leaving it empty can cause the components within your fuel system to rust.

If you need to store your car for a long time, keeping it in an enclosed space away from the elements is best to preserve the car. 

In addition, you should also change the oil in your car and fill it up with gas, as this stops the vehicle from rusting. That said, you should also put in fuel stabiliser into your fuel tank to help prevent the fuel from breaking down over time. 

If you can, it's also a good idea to get a friend to start the car every couple of weeks. This is to help preserve the battery, so it doesn't drain quicker than usual. You should also fully clean the interior, so that grim, bacteria or mould doesn't grow within your vehicle. 

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