Tips for keeping your car safe, secure & in good condition
If you don’t have a garage or need more space for car storage, shipping containers can be a fantastic solution. Using shipping containers for car storage allows you to keep your vehicle(s) on your own property – assuming you have the space and local zoning laws permit it – but is much easier and often more secure than building an entirely new standalone structure like a storage shed or garage.
To keep your car secure and in good condition while in storage, you’ll need to take a few important steps. First, however, check out some of the reasons shipping containers may be a good solution for your car storage needs.
Benefits of shipping containers for car storage
- Cost efficiency:Shipping containers typically cost less than a storage facility, especially if you’ll be storing your vehicle for an extended period of time.
- Security: Made from strong Cor-Ten steel, shipping containers are highly secure and offer the ability to lock the container from the outside to provide additional security. Learn more about shipping container security.
- Mobility:Unlike a garage or shed, containers can be easily transported to another location on a tilt-body truck.
- Durability: Shipping containers are manufactured from high grade, wind and watertight Cor-Ten Steel. Shipping containers are built to withstand the harshest weather conditions, making them an ideal option for protecting your car from the elements.
- Versatility: With various lengths, heights, and features (double door, open side, etc.), there are plenty of options to fit your needs, no matter what type of vehicle or how many vehicles you plan to store.
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Choosing a shipping container for your car storage needs
Before you consider the specific logistics of storing your car(s) in a shipping container, you’ll want to think through what type of container would best serve your needs. Consider the following factors:
The most common car shipping containers are 8ft 6 in. high and 8ft wide. Most shipping containers come in two sizes, including 20ft and 40ft. containers. A 20ft. container allows one or two cars to be stored and a 40ft long container is suitable for larger vehicles including SUVs, trucks or vans, or can accommodate two to four mid-size vehicles.
Either new or used containers can be used effectively for car storage, with the latter typically being much more cost-effective. You will, however, need to be careful to assess the condition of the container if purchasing used. Container conditions range from “cargo-worthy” to “as-is,” but for car storage, it’s best to look for a container that is at least listed as water and wind tight, which means no holes in the container or floors.
If aesthetics are particularly important to you, we recommend a new/one-trip shipping container. While this will cost you more, it will be free of dents and rust and last longer.
A closed container with double doors on one end or both ends is considered to be the most secure container storage option. A container with double doors on both ends – also called a tunnel container – gives you more flexibility as it allows you to drive the car in one end and out the other.
Another option is an open side container, although this does not offer the same level of weather protection or security as closed containers, making them less suitable for long-term storage, particularly in climates with extreme weather. That said, they still provide a degree of shielding from direct sunlight, rain, and debris and have better ventilation than fully enclosed containers, which can help prevent moisture buildup and reduce the risk of mold.
Keep in mind you will likely need a sturdy ramp to get the car into and out of the container regardless of which type you choose.
Need help choosing a container? Container Sales Group is here to help. Our team of experts is happy to advise on the best container for your needs and help you through the buying process. Contact us today to get started.
How to keep your car in good condition while in container storage
Despite all the benefits outlined above, using shipping containers for car storage can be controversial because – when done incorrectly and without proper planning – these containers can be prone to condensation and moisture build-up.
But consider this: nearly all major businesses around the world that transport goods rely on shipping containers at some point or another. If these goods were likely to be damaged in any way during the shipping process or while in storage, shipping containers wouldn’t be as pervasive as they are today.
Organizations and individuals rely on shipping containers for all different uses in large part because they are built specifically to keep their contents safe and secure in all types of environments, from sea transport to building homes and businesses. This toughness is part of what makes shipping containers such a fantastic solution for car storage when done correctly. Here are a few important considerations for keeping your car safe and in good conditions:
Preventing mold, rust, and other moisture-caused issues:
First and foremost, be sure to consider the climate. In any climate with extreme weather (high heat, freezing temps, storms, and quick temperature fluctuations), moisture issues are heightened, and the lack of proper preparation can result in damage to the car’s interior and components. The following methods can help minimize moisture to prevent issues like rust and mold when storing your car in a shipping container:
- Ventilation: Customizing your shipping container with ventilation is the simplest and most cost-effective way to control moisture and condensation. Not only does this improve circulation, but it helps equalize temperature to reduce buildup of condensation. Most containers already come with a few small vents, but they often don’t create enough air flow to fully ventilate the container. Many people add additional vents to move more air into the container.
- Solar fans: Looking to take ventilation to the next level? Consider buying a solar fan for your shipping container. These fans help remove hot air faster than typical ventilation alone and further protects against mold, mildew, rust, and other moisture issues.
- Insulation: While the steel material used to build shipping containers makes them particularly durable and sturdy, it is also extremely sensitive to temperature changes that contribute to condensation. Using insulating materials like supaloft, spray foam, and therma fleece can help keep the temperature warmer than the dew point to minimize condensation.
- Dehumidifier: If you can run electricity to your storage container, adding a dehumidifier can make a world of difference, and they are generally affordable and easy to set up.
- Desiccants: You may think of desiccants in the form of the small packets that sometimes come in consumer goods like food, apparel, and electronics. But desiccants can also solve much larger (literally) issues with moisture, and in the case of storing your car in a shipping container, they can be especially helpful and cost-effective. Use them in bags on the floor or as paint on the roof interior and walls of your shipping container. You can even purchase a spray applicator to apply the desiccants directly to your shipping container walls.
Keeping pests out
From chewing through brake lines to tearing apart upholstery, pests such as mice, chipmunks, and rats can pose major threats to your vehicle if your car storage is not properly equipped to keep them out. Here are a few methods to help keep them away:
- Inspect the container thoroughly for holes and seal as needed.
- Always keep the car storage area clean, removing food particles, dirt and debris.
- Use pest repellent products.
- Set traps as a safety precaution.
- Elevate the container slightly above ground level on sturdy blocks or platforms to prevent pests from easily crawling into the container.
Securing your shipping container to keep your car safe
When it comes to security, storing your car in a shipping container isn’t much different than using a garage or shed. To start, you’ll definitely want to invest in a heavy duty lock, such as a padlock or disc lock.
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For an added layer of security, consider investing in a security, alarm, or video surveillance system.
Finally, be sure to check your local regulations
Before you pull the trigger on a shipping container storage solution for your vehicle, be sure to check your local regulations and zoning laws to ensure you are compliant.
Ready to start shopping for shipping containers for your car storage needs? Learn how to buy a shipping container or speak with an expert.
Container Sales Group provides expert, one-on-one support to help you find the right container for your needs. We also buy shipping containers direct from the steamship lines to offer the highest quality container at the most competitive prices.
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Should cars be stored in shipping containers?
With the right preparation and security measures, cars can be safely and cost-efficiently stored in shipping containers. Keep in mind that you will also need to find a sturdy ramp that will allow you to safely drive the car into the container.
Can I use a shipping container as a garage?
Shipping containers can be a fantastic alternative to a traditional garage due to their durability, security, cost-efficiency and more. Be sure to purchase a shipping container size that aligns with your garage needs. Learn more about the benefits of shipping container garages →
How many cars fit in a shipping container?
A 20ft. container allows one or two cars to be stored and a 40ft long container is suitable for larger vehicles including SUVs, trucks or vans, or can accommodate two to four mid-size vehicles.
How do you transport a car in a shipping container?
Transporting your vehicle in a shipping container requires additional steps in comparison to simply using the container for car storage. The car will need to be strapped down during transit, and wheels should be blocked on all sides.