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Keep Your Car’s Spare Parts Safe from Damage and Deterioration

March 13, 2024


Having spare car parts on hand can be incredibly useful for small repairs and maintenance. However, without proper care, these parts can become damaged over time. Protecting spare parts is essential to ensure they remain functional when needed.

Having spare car parts on hand can be incredibly useful for small repairs and maintenance. However, without proper care, these parts can become damaged over time. Protecting spare parts is essential to ensure they remain functional when needed.

Spare auto parts represent an investment of time and money. Allowing them to degrade means you’ll have to buy replacements sooner. Proper storage and maintenance keeps parts in good condition so they’re ready for installation when required. This saves you the hassle and expense of buying the same components again.

This article will explore tips and best practices for shielding spare car parts from damage. Proper precautions help prevent rust, corrosion, cracking, warping, and other faults. We’ll cover storage methods, materials, and techniques to maintain function and extend shelf life. Following these guidelines allows you to keep spare parts protected and working just like new.

Common Spare Parts to Keep

It’s a good idea for car owners to have certain spare parts on hand in case of emergency repairs or routine maintenance. Here are some of the most common spare parts to keep:

  • Tires – Have at least one spare tire that is properly inflated and matches the other tires on your vehicle. Make sure the tread depth is good. Rotate your spare into the rotation every now and then to keep it fresh.
  • Batteries – Keep a spare car battery that is properly charged. Batteries typically last 3-5 years.
  • Fuses – Have an assortment of spare fuses for each fuse location. Check your owner’s manual for the fuse types and amperages your car needs.
  • Bulbs – Keep spare headlight, brake light, turn signal, and interior bulbs. LED bulbs last longer but still good to have spares.
  • Belts – Have spare drive belts, serpentine belts, and timing belts. Know when your belts need to be replaced.
  • Filters – Stock up on extra oil, air, and fuel filters. Change them at recommended intervals.
  • Fluids – Have extra motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant on hand.
  • Spark plugs – Keep extra spark plugs and know when to change them. Use the type recommended in your owner’s manual.

Having these common spare parts ready in your garage, trunk, or car kit can prevent a minor issue from becoming major. It allows you to take care of small repairs yourself and avoids tow truck fees or being stranded. Rotate stock as parts wear out or expire.

Also, Read : Why Regular Vehicle Servicing Is Very Important?

Storage Tips

Proper storage of spare parts is crucial to keeping them in good condition until needed. Consider the following tips:

Location – Store parts in a clean, dry area protected from weather and pests. An insulated garage or basement is ideal. Avoid locations with extreme temperature fluctuations.

Containers – Use containers designed for storage like plastic bins, metal shelves, or cabinets. Make sure containers have lids to keep out dust and moisture. Seal parts in plastic bags or wrap in protective material.

Climate Control – Control humidity to prevent condensation and mold. Use a dehumidifier if needed. Keep temperatures moderate to avoid damage from heat or cold.

Organizing – Group similar parts together and label bins clearly for easy identification. Keep an inventory list updated. Storing systematically also aids rotation of older stock.

Inventory – Maintain a detailed list of all stored parts including part name, number, quantity, storage location, and purchase/replacement date. Update when removing or adding items. Conduct periodic inventory checks.

Proper storage helps keep spare parts clean, dry, organized, and protected. Invest time upfront to store intelligently based on part type, usage frequency, and environmental conditions. Maintaining tidy, methodical storage saves headaches later when trying to locate needed parts.

Preventing Damage

When keeping spare car parts, it’s important to take steps to prevent damage from various environmental factors. This will help ensure the parts stay in good condition until ready for use.

Moisture

Moisture can cause rust and corrosion on metal parts. Store spare parts in a dry location, avoiding anywhere with leaks, condensation issues, or excess humidity. Use moisture-absorbing products like silica gel packets. Wrap parts in plastic or waterproof covering for extra protection.

Dust/Dirt

Dust and dirt can clog up and jam moving parts or mechanisms. Keep parts in sealed plastic bags or storage bins. Wipe down parts before putting into storage to remove grime. Store in enclosed cabinets rather than open shelves.

Pests

Rodents like mice or rats can chew through wires or tubing. Insects can nest inside parts. Keep areas clean and free of clutter. Use tightly sealed containers. Inspect regularly for any signs of pests. Set traps if needed.

Temperature

Extreme heat or cold can damage many components. Maintain storage areas at moderate, consistent temperatures. Avoid attics, garages, and sheds with wide temperature swings.

Sunlight

UV radiation from sunlight can degrade rubber, plastics, and paints. Keep parts out of direct light. Use opaque, UV-resistant containers. Store indoors rather than a garage or shed.

Taking steps to control these environmental factors will help keep spare parts in good, useable condition over time. Protect parts from moisture, dirt, pests, temperature extremes, and sunlight for best results.

Rust Protection

One of the biggest threats to spare car parts is rust formation. Rust can degrade metal components and even render them unusable if left unchecked. There are several effective ways to protect spare parts from rust:

  • Use Protective Wraps: Wrap spare parts in materials like vinyl or corrosion inhibiting paper to create a protective barrier. The wrap prevents oxygen and moisture from reaching the metal surface. Plastic bags or shrink wrap also work well.
  • Oil and Lubricants: Wiping down metal components with a light oil or lubricant leaves a protective coating that repels moisture. Re-apply oil periodically to maintain protection. Avoid lubricants that can attract dirt.
  • Corrosion Inhibiting Coatings: Special waxes and sprays form an invisible layer that displaces moisture. These coatings provide long-term rust protection and are easy to apply. Re-coat as needed to repair any damage.
  • Desiccant Packs: Secure desiccant packs near spare parts to actively absorb environmental moisture before it can cause rust. Replace desiccant packs per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Controlled Storage Conditions: Storing spare parts in a humidity and temperature controlled environment dramatically slows rust formation. Keep storage areas clean and dry.

With active rust protection measures, spare parts can be stored long-term without any rust damage, keeping them in peak condition until needed. Be sure to inspect parts and re-apply protections periodically. Catching issues early maximizes part lifespan.

Battery Care

Proper care of your car’s battery is essential for ensuring it lasts as long as possible. An unused battery that sits in a car for extended periods will slowly discharge over time. It’s important to periodically charge and maintain the battery even if the vehicle is not being driven regularly.

When storing the battery outside of the vehicle, ideal conditions are a cool, dry place. Temperatures above 90°F can accelerate self-discharge of a battery. High humidity can lead to battery corrosion over time as well. The battery should be cleaned periodically with a wire brush to remove any buildup of corrosion on the terminals. A light coating of dielectric grease or petroleum jelly can help prevent corrosion as well.

Batteries self-discharge over time due to internal chemical reactions even when not in use. Most car batteries will discharge 3-5% per month when stored. Every 4-6 weeks, the battery should be charged back to full to prevent sulfation. This helps maximize the battery’s lifespan and ensures it has adequate cranking power when needed again.

Only use a compatible trickle charger or smart battery charger when maintaining a stored battery. Overcharging with a fast charger not designed for maintenance can damage the battery. Always disconnect the battery terminals before charging. Proper storage and maintenance will help a quality lead acid battery last 3-5 years or longer before needing replacement.

Fluid Storage

Proper storage of automotive fluids is critical to keep them contaminant-free and ready to use when needed. Choose containers made of HDPE or other approved plastics – never use glass which can break. Make sure lids seal tightly to prevent evaporation and secure them tightly to avoid spills. Store fluids away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures which can degrade them.

Gasoline, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid give off strong fumes, so store them in a detached garage or outdoor shed if possible. Indoor storage should be in a sealed cabinet or container, and never in living areas. Arrange containers so full ones are used first before opening a new container.

Avoid cross-contaminating fluids by using separate funnels and spouts. Wipe containers clean before opening and pouring. Do not return leftover fluids to the original container once dispensed, as they may have become contaminated. Clearly label containers with the fluid name, year, and mileage when opened. Replace stale fluids per manufacturer recommendations.

Take household hazardous waste precautions when disposing of used automotive fluids, or recycle them properly. With some care taken to store automotive fluids tightly sealed in approved containers, they will retain integrity and avoid contamination until ready for use.

Organizing Parts

Keeping your spare parts organized can save you time and frustration when you need to find a specific component. Here are some tips for organizing your automotive spare parts inventory:

  • Label everything clearly – Use a label maker or permanent marker to identify each part. Include details like the part name, make/model/year of the vehicle, and any other specifications. Labels prevent mix-ups.
  • Log parts in an inventory – Maintain a list of all your spare parts. Note where each one is stored. Update when parts are used up or added. An inventory helps track what you have and where it is.
  • Group related parts together – Store parts from the same system together, like all engine parts in one area, suspension parts in another, etc. This makes it easier to find what you need.
  • Consider accessibility – Place commonly needed parts in easy to reach spots. Put lesser used items in higher, harder to access places. Frequently changed parts like batteries and fluids belong at eye level.
  • Organize by type/size – Sort hardware like nuts, bolts, hoses, filters etc in separate labeled bins or drawers. Arrange parts from large to small so it’s easy to find the right size.

Staying organized from the start makes your parts storage system sustainable. It also minimizes buying duplicates of items you already have but can’t find. Proper organization saves time and money in the long run.

Also, Read : Ultimate Guide to Understanding Auto Warranties and Vehicle Service Contract

When to Replace

Replacing car parts before they fail is an important part of preventative maintenance. However, knowing when parts are due for replacement can be tricky. Here are some tips on determining when common spare parts have reached the end of their usable life:

  • Timing belts – Replace per the manufacturer’s recommended interval, usually between 60,000-100,000 miles. Replacing a worn timing belt before it breaks prevents extensive engine damage.
  • Brake pads – Inspect brake pad thickness regularly. Most pads have wear indicators that produce a squealing sound when the pads reach 4-5 mm thickness. Pads worn too thin can damage brake rotors.
  • Wiper blades – If wiper blades start leaving streaks and unwiped areas on the windshield, they need replacing. Hard, cracked, or brittle rubber is also a sign of worn wipers.
  • Air and oil filters – Replace at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended interval, generally every 6 months or 5,000-10,000 miles. Dirty filters reduce engine performance.
  • Fluids – Motor oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid etc degrade over time. Replace fluids per the maintenance schedule or if you notice darkened color, reduced viscosity, or contaminants.
  • Suspension components – Ball joints, control arm bushings, shocks/struts deteriorate with age and mileage. Listen for knocking sounds and inspect for leaking fluid or excessive play indicating worn parts.

Regularly inspecting parts for signs of wear and sticking to replacement intervals will extend the life of your vehicle and prevent breakdowns. Trust manufacturer specifications for optimal timing.

Disposal of Old Parts

Properly disposing of old car parts is important for environmental and safety reasons. There are a few options for disposing old auto parts depending on what they are:

Fluids: Used motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, etc. should always be recycled properly. Most auto parts stores and some municipal household hazardous waste facilities accept used fluids for recycling. Never dump automotive fluids down the drain or on the ground as they contain toxic chemicals.

Batteries: Old car batteries contain lead and acid that can contaminate groundwater if not disposed of properly. Many states prohibit tossing old batteries in the trash. Auto part retailers and municipal hazardous waste facilities often accept old batteries for recycling. You may also be able to trade in your old battery for a discount on a new one.

Metal Parts: Steel parts like mufflers, catalytic converters, rotors, and drivetrain components can be recycled for scrap metal. Many metal recycling centers accept automotive scrap metal. If the parts still have life left, consider selling or donating them instead.

Plastic/Rubber Parts: Items like hoses, belts, bumpers, etc. may be recyclable depending on your local facilities. Some auto parts stores take back certain plastic and rubber components. If not recyclable, dispose of these materials in your regular trash.

Electronics: Any components with circuit boards, wiring or sensors (like oxygen sensors or ABS modules) require special e-waste disposal. Drop these off at an e-waste recycling center or hazardous waste collection event.

Proper disposal keeps hazardous auto part waste out of landfills and the environment. Check local regulations before throwing old car parts away. Recycling, reselling or donating auto parts is better for the planet whenever possible.

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