How to Store a Diesel Truckby Joshua Smyth
If you won't be using your diesel truck for a while, but prefer to hold onto it, you would need to store it. Just parking it for a year or two, though, is a recipe for wear and tear. To ensure your truck is preserved, you need to store it properly. This demands some preparatory work, both to find an appropriate storage space and to prepare the vehicle itself. Diesel trucks don't present any particular challenges when it comes to storage; the procedures you would use for a car will work equally well for a diesel truck.
Find a space to store your truck. If you have a space in your home garage, this is ideal. If not, look around for rental spaces with the characteristics of a garage: an electrical outlet, a concrete pad, and easy access. Larger storage units at self-storage businesses will generally work well for this.
Prepare the space. Sweep it as clean as possible and then lay down a large plastic drop sheet or piece of vapor barrier.
Change all the truck's engine fluids. This means coolant, engine oil, which diesels still have to lubricate some parts that aren't lubricated by the oil in the fuel, brake fluid, transmission fluid and wiper fluid. If you aren't comfortable changing these yourself, bring the truck to a mechanic.
Top up the gas tank with diesel and fuel-system stabilizer. Having a full tank will prevent the fuel system from rusting while the truck is in storage, and push water out of the fuel lines. Fuel stabilizer is an additive that you can pour into your tank that will help preserve the fuel as it sits in storage. Follow the directions on the package; you will generally have to run the engine for a short while after pouring the stabilizer into the tank.
Clean the truck very thoroughly, both inside and outside. Dust, vacuum, and wash the interior, and scrub all dirt from the exterior. Be careful to thoroughly dry the truck after cleaning. Done well, this will protect your truck from mold and mildew.
Apply a thick coat of wax to every exterior painted surface. You'll need a few soft cloths to rub the wax onto the truck. Include areas you might normally skip, such as the door jambs and the underside of the hood. If you have chrome fittings, polish them as well.
Park the truck overtop of your plastic sheeting in your storage area.
Put your truck up on jack stands. To do this, use a pump jack to lift up each corner successively, then slip a jack stand underneath the frame to support the corner once the pump is removed. Getting the truck off the ground in this way will protect the suspension and avoid wearing the tires down unevenly.
Consult your manual to locate the wiring harness for your fuel pump. Start the truck, then unplug the harness; this will cause the engine to die as the fuel pump loses pressure, and will ensure that there is no pressure left in the pump itself.
Shove steel wool into the exhaust pipe and any other orifices on your truck. This will keep rodents out of your truck and its engine.
Put the truck in neutral and release the parking brake, which could otherwise fuse in place over a long storage.
Disconnect and remove the battery from the engine compartment, then shut the hood.
Pull up the edges of the tarp and wrap them around the bottom half of the truck. This will protect it from moisture diffusing from the floor. Tape the sheeting in place or tuck it in the truck's doors.
Cover the top half of the truck with a cover made of breathable fabric. You may be able to buy one fitted to your truck; otherwise look for a thick and permeable blanket. Your truck is now ready for storage.
Joshua Smyth started writing in 2003 and is based in St. John's, Newfoundland. He has written for the award-winning "Cord Weekly" and for "Blueprint Magazine" in Waterloo, Ontario, where he spent a year as editor-in-chief. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.