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Car Covers & Outdoor Storage

“Should I use a car cover?”

We are often asked if using a car cover is allowed when using outdoor car storage at our facility. The simple answer is yes! It’s your vehicle and you are welcome to use a cover. The correct answer is more complicated and follows a slightly different question: should you use a car cover?

Most people don’t realize that car covers are a kind of double edged sword. Yes, they offer some protection against rain and dust; and against the possibility of twigs, sticks or other debris scratching the paint during strong winds; however, normal vehicles in good condition are made to be outdoors. Car covers trap moisture in after a hard or frequent rain – not good for the paint or the rubber seals. Covers shift and rub during storms and windy days, causing wear in the paint where they make contact. Dust gets under the cover anyway. If you are not going to be visiting the car frequently to remove the cover, inspect for wear, have the car cleaned and securely replace the cover, it’s probably a good idea to leave the vehicle “naked” for storage.

Car Sun Shield

Car Sun Shield

Fit is important when considering a car cover. “One-size-fits-all” covers do not do well in outdoor storage situations because without a tight fit they shift and rub. Cheap covers degrade in a few months of sun, rain and wind. All covers, even custom sized covers, require bungees or tie downs to stay secure over time in outdoor weather conditions.

What do we recommend for outdoor storage of vehicles? Sun Shields, also known as sun reflectors or sun visors. The good news is that they are easy to install, last a long time and are inexpensive. Placed in the windshields of the vehicle, sun reflectors keep light out, prevent fading, prevent dashboard damage including cracking, and keep the temperature of the car down. Custom sun shields are available from many retailers. The advantage of a custom model is a tight fit for the maximum amount of light blocking for your particular vehicle.

At Gateway Storage, we recommend getting a quality wax job on the vehicle before storage, using sun shields in the front and rear windshields and disconnecting the battery for long term outdoor storage. Our facility surface of recycled compacted asphalt will cradle your tires instead of creating a flat spot as a concrete storage surface may do. Our yard staff maintains the facility, routinely cleaning debris and assisting with drainage and snow removal, to ensure your vehicle remains safely stored.

Every storage situation is different. If you plan to monitor your car and your cover frequently, it could be a good option to protect your car’s paint job. If not, consider leaving your vehicle naked and taking the above steps to ensure it stays looking new while in storage.

We offer storage and parking space for all sizes of vehicles at Gateway Storage. Request a quote today to learn more.

Your Car and Winter: Maintenance to Consider.

Winterizing your car can save you a lot of trouble, money, and help ensure your safety in the long run. Knowing where to start or how to properly and effectively winterize your vehicle can be a bit confusing, luckily the DMV has a few pointers on how to begin and what exactly to do.

Snow Covered Car

Snow Covered Car

When you’re looking to winterize your car you can begin by reading your owner’s manual and follow the recommended servicing schedule to keep your car well maintained. Have someone who’s car-savvy take a look at your car, that way you’ll know if you have to replace any type of filters, brakes or belts. The colder weather can change the way your car runs if not taken care of properly; making your car’s current problems much worse, a poorly running engine cannot perform at its best and can cause the burning of more gasoline.  Change your oil and air filters as often as your owner’s manual suggests, change these things more often if you drive more than the average mileage per day or take frequent trips. As the temperature drops, purchase a bottle of fuel deicer and put it in your gas tank to prevent freezing. Keeping your gas tank full the majority of the time always allows you keep moisture out and not need to run to the gas station in case of a weather emergency. Make sure the heater and front/rear defroster are working at their best, so you have clear visibility and comfort for both the driver and passenger. Have your battery checked; having a weak battery during winter weather can reduce the battery’s lifetime. If you aren’t too sure of how to go about checking the battery, your local mechanic or your local car care/parts store may be able to help.

Exhaust fumes can be harmful to your car and the environment, have your exhaust system checked to make sure it’s functioning properly and has no leaks or problems. The undercarriage of your car should also be inspected while on a lift to ensure nothing is damaged or could be damaged with the winter weather. Maintain your car’s cooling system by flushing and refilling it as recommended by your owner’s manual. Windshield wiper blades should be replaced regularly; there are many types of blades that you can purchase specifically for winter weather. Making sure you have windshield washer solvent can make your visibility much better.  Having extra solvent and carrying an ice scraper in your trunk can make cleaning your car windows much easier, especially if it begins to snow, hail or freeze.

Making sure you can see other drivers is important, but also ensuring other drivers can see you are as equally important. Inspect all exterior and interior lights and bulbs to make sure they are functioning correctly. Replace or fix any malfunctioning or damaged bulbs. If your headlights are clouded, you can purchase a kit at an auto store to clean them up or have a service auto shop do it for you. Ensure your tires are at their best performance during the winter months.

If you have worn tires replace them with new ones, worn tires can be a hassle during inclement weather and also make your engine work harder to keep the car going, thus using more gasoline than normal. Take a look at your car’s tire tread: if you aren’t sure whether they need replacing most tires have a tread bar that lets you know when to replace them. If your tires don’t have a tread bar you can always use the penny test, place a penny between the tread ribs on your tire. A “rib” refers to the raised portion of tread that spans the circumference of your tire; tire tread is composed of several ribs. Turn the penny so that Lincoln’s head points down into the tread. See if the top of his head disappears between the ribs. If it does, your tread is still above 2/32”, if you can see his entire head, it may be time to replace the tire because your tread is no longer deep enough (a tip from Bridgestone Tire).

Always check the air pressure in the tires, colder months can cause the air pressure to go down which will cause you to put air in your tires more frequently.  You should always have an emergency kit in your car, but during the winter months you may have to add things like gloves, boots, a small shovel, ice/sand, and anything else that you may think might be useful in an emergency situation.

The most important thing to remember during winter weather/inclement weather is drive with caution (keep a safe following distance, go a few miles under the speed limit, and avoid any distractions), add more time to your commute for any delays or accidents on the road, and be safe/careful with other drivers around you.

Going somewhere warm for the Winter? Lucky you! We can store your car for as low as $99/month in an assigned space inside our secure car storage facility. We have free monthly autopay and only require advance notice of one full calendar month to move out. Call us today!


Car Buying: New or Used, Consider this Advice

Having a new car is something almost everyone looks forward to but the purchase process can be a bit stressful. In the end, whether new or used, it’s a new car to you!

There are so many things you might want or need in a vehicle, you have to look around Buying a New Carand see what kind you want, what color, what type of features you want it to have whether you want leather seats, what type of transmission, just to name a few.

Before you begin car shopping, make a list of yourself for what you want your car to have; knowing exactly what you want can very helpful, such as a family sized car or a smaller car, what color you would like the exterior interior, a hybrid/eco-friendly car, even down to the smaller details of the auto. Of course, being more flexible with what you desire in a car can give you a wider range of cars available for sale in your area.

Decide what type of a car you’re going to want, a brand new or used car. A brand new car is great; in some cases it’s much more reliable than a used car and can last longer than a used car. There is nothing wrong with buying a used car; if you aren’t ready to make a big purchase, it can be less expensive than buying a brand new car.

An important thing to know if you aren’t purchasing your car with a check or cash, is what types of loan you can be approved for. You can save money on interest rates by going to your financial institution and getting pre-approved for an auto loan, whether you’re purchasing the car from a dealership or a private party. Normally the financial institution has lower rates than what a car dealership can offer you and being pre-approved will give you a bit more leverage to negotiate with a salesperson. If you’re trading in your current car for a new one, know the price before you go to the dealership. Getting a trade in value before you start shopping can let you know whether you’re getting more or less than what your current car is actually worth. (Kelly Blue Book) is a great website to get an estimated value over your current car or a used car you’re thinking about purchasing.

Car Dealerships:

Check different dealer locations (if you’re purchasing closer to Arlington chances are prices could be higher than purchasing in Stafford, Dale City or even Fredericksburg). Purchasing at a smaller dealership vs. a larger dealership can have its pros and cons. A smaller dealership pro: you can negotiate more but you have higher interest rates. A larger dealership pro: lower car prices, lower interest rates but less room to negotiate. If the vehicle you’re looking for is not terribly unique, try find identical models at two or more dealerships and compete each dealerships offer against the others.

Online Shopping:

The internet can be a great tool to make your car buying easier, rather than driving from location to location looking for cars you can search many dealerships. Many dealerships can offer you an “online special” or have a “price promise” that can get you a lower deal on your vehicle. If the dealership you’re shopping from doesn’t have any type of online deals going on, they possibly might have an information tab where you can submit to them your information and a salesperson will contact you either through phone or by email.

Car Buying Services:

USAA, Costco and other membership based groups have car buying services to negotiate a lower rate for you. Keep in mind the price may still be higher than what you could negotiate on your own.

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, you have to keep in mind several things. A few of those things can be how much your monthly payments will be, how much interest you’ll be paying over the years, and what benefits the dealership can offer you (such as free state inspections, promotions on car care packages, discounts on servicing your vehicle).

Think about where you’ll keep your newest purchase. Do you have a garage, will you park it in your driveway at home or will you have to park it on the street? Will you trade in your old car or keep it for a while to sell at private party value? Private party sales almost always net you more money than a trade in offer. For your old wheels, consider temporary outdoor storage or container storage until you find a buyer. Showing potential buyers your vehicle at home can be a safety concern. At a storage facility like Gateway Storage, you can meet your potential buyer onsite to complete paperwork or let your buyer take it for a test drive, instead of your home. If you want to keep your old vehicle in storage for a bit while you decide whether to sell it, you can remove the tags and reduce the insurance from liability to general to save money. You will not be able to drive the vehicle on the road without tags or liability insurance, but you can place it into storage at Gateway. Many storage facility require current tags or full insurance, so make sure to call ahead with these questions. If your old car is not running, you may want to store it for a few months while you decide whether to repair it and to what extent. Check your local requirements, as it may be illegal or against HOA regulations to leave wheels with expired tags in your driveway or on your neighborhood street. Tow-in vehicles are welcome at Gateway Storage.

After the Purchase:

The moment you drive your vehicle off the lot it depreciates in value up to 20%, which can be a strong negotiating factor in purchasing your car. You want your vehicle to hold as much value as it can from the moment you drove it off the lot, meaning take good care of your car. Keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance/ mechanical and cosmetic needs (both on the interior and exterior). Regularly change the oil (most auto servicers recommend ever 3k-5k depending on the oil you use), change the breaks and tires when needed as well, detail the interior to to keep it looking nice/clean, give it a good wax to keep it looking as good as the time you bought it. Purchasing a car can be an extremely exciting thing to do, just keep these tips in mind when you are looking around the car market.

Car Tips: Preparing your Car for a Road Trip

Have you thought about taking your car on a road trip lately? Maybe driving cross country or visiting landmarks along your coast? Planning a road trip can be stressful, especially if you don’t know where to start. One of the most important things you should do before you consider going on a road trip is giving your car a good checkup including checking fluid levels, checking the windshield wipers, and checking belts and hoses. If your car has recently had a checkup before your planned road trip then no need to worry!

A few key points regarding your vehicle before your trip:

  • Have your car serviced before a road trip just ensures you that your car has a greater chance of remaining reliable and efficient.
  • Double check your car battery, make sure the terminals are clean and the battery is functioning properly.
  • Take a look at your air filter, checking it and replacing it before a long road trip could get you better gas mileage.
  • Check the electrical functioning parts of your car such as the dashboard, interior lights, your daytime/bright lights, turning signals, brake lights, and your horn.
  • Inspect your tires before you hit the road, making sure there isn’t excessive wear and tear on the tires. Depending on what distance and the type of weather you will be traveling in, your tires will require having a good amount of tread on them.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire full of air, along with proper equipment to handle any type of roadside repairs (jack, lug nuts, wrenches, tire plug kit and jumper cables).

Now once you’re done making your car is in tip top shape to hit the road for an extended period, let’s make sure your gear is in order. One of the most important things to pack on a road trip is an emergency kit, which can include many things. More commonly it’s a first aid kit, flashlights, blankets, and water. Depending on who is traveling with you, you may need specialty items in your emergency kit.

Pack smart: don’t over pack if you’re only traveling for a few days and don’t pack unnecessary items. Over packing can weigh your car down, causing your trip to take longer therefore increasing your fuel economy (fuel economy is reduced with extra cargo). If you have an older car, your car manual can give you your vehicles total load capacity (including passengers and cargo). Allow enough time to consider your car’s storage areas most effectively. Many vehicles have extra storage in the doors, the sides of the trunk or when the seats are folded down. There are specialty car storage products to help you maximize space, such as mesh netting or storage bins, or storage containers that attach to the roof of the car. Try googling “interior car storage” to find a bounty of items to choose from.

Car Storage for Road Trip

Car Storage for Road Trip

If you have a newer car you can find the total load capacity printed on the driver’s door jam. If you’re taking a road trip for the very first time, take a GPS with you along with your map.  If you haven’t purchased a map within the last year or so, then your map could be outdated, newer maps can be purchased at most gas stations. If at any given moment you need to know your exact coordinates a GPS will be able to provide you with that information. Your GPS can also make it easier for you to find nearby gas stations, rest areas, restaurants, along with many other attractions. The GPS can help you avoid many congested areas, closed roads, and provide you with an alternate route. If you’re traveling with children include stops for rest areas, bathroom breaks and food; allow extra time so the kids can stretch and play before getting back into the car. Gather basic necessities for the trip such as garbage bags, baby wipes (diapers as well if traveling with smaller children), paper towels, an extra blanket per child, and snacks/ drinks for the road. Children tend to get bored very easily so be sure to pack some entertainment for them or better yet get the whole family involved by playing word games using signs on the road. Bring along their favorite music, a portable DVD player with movies, books, and some car games. If you are bringing along electronics make sure to also take along chargers, adaptors and any USB’s or batteries that you may need. One thing some drivers forget when they decide to take a road trip is that traffic is inevitable. Allow extra time for traffic, use your GPS or Google maps with traffic alerts to be informed. The main thing to remember when you’re road tripping is to be safe. Know the laws from where you’re driving and obey the laws. Safety should always be your main priority when driving.

Finally, depending on the length of time you will be gone, you may consider secure storage for your extra vehicles. This is a common scenario when relocating cross country. You may drive one vehicle and leave another behind to pick up at a later date. At Gateway Storage, we offer monthly vehicle storage options for outdoor car storage and storage in enclosed container units. Container units frequently offer additional storage behind and around the vehicle, which can be convenient when selling your home at the time of your move. Service member or individuals traveling for an extended period of time out of the country may take advantage of our low rates on container combo spaces: park a vehicle and rent a 20’ storage container for household items for the total monthly price of $285 (current rate, subject to change).

We hope you have enjoyed our tips for taking a road trip. Please contact us if we can be of service to you!

-Gateway Storage

Shrinkwrapping for Boat Storage?

It’s time to put your boat to bed for the winter! Should you shrinkwrap it or just use a cover? At Gateway Storage, we believe either method is acceptable for boat storage in our climate, but shrinkwrapping does provide the best protection. A shrinkwrapped boat protects the surfaces from weather, dust and salt from snow removal efforts. You can have your boat shrinkwrapped by a professional for $25-60 per foot depending on your boat and the vendor. A shrinkwrapped boat can be left on the trailer – the best solution for most of our customers. Boats can be stored on blocks at our facility, but it’s more hassle to place them back onto the trailer after winter is over. There is no extra charge to store a boat on a trailer or on blocks, since our spaces are priced on size, not on number of items stored.

When acquiring quotes for shrinkwrapping, make sure to ask if the per foot pricing includes all materials and insurance.

Sometimes we are asked if we think it’s worth a customer attempting a DIY Shrinkwrapping job. While we do have some very handy and capable customers, it’s critical to estimate the investment in the tools and materials you would need for this project upfront. A propane heat gun, the shrinkwrap itself, vents, strapping, vertical supports, tape, adhesive spray and protective gloves all add up.

A PWC shrinkwrapped for on trailer storage.

A PWC shrinkwrapped for on trailer storage.

Avoid Fairfax County Fines for Trailers

Fairfax County Parking Regulations and Fines

Did you know Fairfax County prohibits parking of commercial trailers in residential districts? Vehicles parked in violation are subject to a $100 fine for each violation. They may also be towed at the owner’s expense. The photos show a few examples of prohibited parking.

Safety Concerns Leads to Increase Ticketing

Parking restrictions are unavoidable in areas with dense populations and development. Parking trailer or tall, boxy vehicles on public streets may reduce visibility for both drivers and pedestrians and may lead to accidents. Street parking trailers or work vans in poorly lit cul-de-sac areas or office parks invites thieves who may be interested in tools or other materials kept inside.

Consider Storage for your Trailer or Work Trucks

To protect your business and your property, consider storing the trailer in a fenced, lighted and gated facility that allows unlimited access. At Gateway Storage, we cater to all sizes of businesses and offer affordable monthly storage rate. We do not require a long term commitment. Store your trailer or vehicle with us for one full calendar month or go for one year for a discount and locked in rate.

We offer affordable trailer storage for all sizes of utility, cargo and work trailers. We permit storage of ladder racks, scaffolding and other large materials and equipment.

Trailer prohibited from parking in residential areas.

Trailers prohibited from parking in residential areas.

Veterans Day: Thank You to All Who Have Served

Gateway Storage Center would like to extend our deepest and sincerest thanks and blessings to all the brave men and women who have served our country throughout the years, and for their families who supported them. We cannot show our appreciation enough for all the sacrifices you have made to give us all the liberties and freedoms we hold dear.

Being up the street from Quantico & Fort Belvoir and down the road from our nation’s capital and the surrounding military installations, we see first-hand the wonderful service of our Armed Forces. Often they come by our facility for our car storage or container storage services before being deployed overseas. We say thank you then and are saying thank you now for all that you do.

To all the veterans and those currently on Active Duty, thank you for your service and your sacrifice. We wish you all the best and hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday weekend with your families.

Happy Veterans Day!

Self Storage Containers – Get the facts!

Did you know that an average of 675 shipping

containers are lost at sea each year?

Shipping Containers for Self Storage

That’s a shame because lightly used sea containers make PERFECT self storage units!

Our environmentally friendly, recycled Self Storage Containers™ are available in two sizes (8′ x 20′ and 8′ x 40′) and available combined with outdoor space for parking vehicles, trucks, trailers, boats, RV’s or anything else on wheels! Each container was a one-time use unit and has been completely refurbished with paint, wooden floors and nice tight seals to keep the contents safe and dry.

Heavy duty locks available for rental on-site. Ask us about custom container and parking spaces for the largest of business storage needs.

Springfield Contractor Parking & Storage | Fairfax County, VA

You might be allowed to keep your horses, llamas, and honeybees on your residential property, but your commercial vehicles? Fairfax County says “no.” So where do you park your dump trucks, buses, tree cutting trucks, landscaping equipment, tractors, and everything else? Gateway Storage Center is your answer. Conveniently located just of I-95 in Lorton, VA, Gateway Storage has big wide spaces for your vehicles. You also get 24-hour access to your vehicles, in case your customers have any emergencies in the middle of the night.

Get the parking & storage combo package! 
In addition to offering contractor parking to local businesses, we also offer storage spaces to reduce your costs of having to drive from location to location to assemble your equipment and material. With gas prices still rising, Gateway Storage can provide you with a secure storage space and parking for your commercial vehicles, with employee controlled access and parking to help you reduce your bottom line associated with fuel costs. Fill your storage space with your tools, materials, and supplies and eliminate driving back and forth from parking to your warehouse to the job site. Save both time and money with the parking & storage combo package.

At Gateway Storage, we offer a variety of short term and long term small business storage and parking options convenient to Springfield, Arlington, Alexandria and other prime Fairfax County business locations. We can accommodate many sizes and types of commercial vehicles and our facility is professionally designed and maintained.

Give us a call today to discuss parking options for your commercial vehicles, and see why Gateway Storage is the contractor parking solution for you.


Landscaping & Lawn Care Contractor Storage & Parking – Winter is Coming!

Winter is coming! If it’s time to pack up some of your tools, supplies, equipment and materials and park trailers, trucks or vans until Spring, we have the affordable storage and parking solution to keep your company property safe, secure and accessible. Rent an 8′ x 20′ storage container for tools and equipment with up to 25′ of outdoor parking space for a trailer, pickup truck or other vehicle for as low as $277/month. Rent an adjacent 40′ parking space for only $150 more. You will have access to your trucks and equipment 24/7 through a tracked, gated system. Call us today for details or to meet with our manager. We’ll show you around and provide quote options to suit your particular business parking, storage and access needs.

703-339-0000 (Ext 1 rings directly to office)

We have options other facilities can’t match!
-Double ended access containers
-Custom configurations of parking and container storage
-Store out-of-use vehicles without tags/registration
-Remote control gate access with tracking
-Access tracking/reporting for your employees
-Extensive all night lighting
-Superior video surveillance
-Online account management and billpay, free autopay with email receipt
-Long term rental discounts

Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30am to 5:00pm, Weekend check-in also available by appointment. 703-339-0009 / Office