Looking for a savvy way to store your car, motorcycle, or boat, especially when outdoor space is tight? Well, a shipping container might just be the answer you’re looking for! These robust, multi-functional units aren’t just for transporting goods, they’re perfect for vehicle storage too!

What’s more, they can even provide an impromptu garage or maintenance station when needed. This article is your comprehensive guide, from picking the right container, preparing it, storing your vehicle safely, and even some nifty customization ideas.

So, let’s kick things off and see how a shipping container can become your next storage solution!

Shipping Container For Car Storage: A Buying Guide

Understanding Shipping Containers for Car Storage

Let’s talk about the different types of shipping containers that you can use to store your cars. The most common ones are the standard ones, which you’ve probably seen around. There’s also the high cube type that’s a bit taller – perfect for storing oversized vehicles. If you need climate control, consider mustering up a refrigerated container. There’s also a flat rack container for those super-sized vehicles, and then there’s ones with open tops or sides – these are great for easy loading and unloading. 

Dimensions and Sizes 

Got your eye on a type? Now, it’s time to talk sizes. Shipping containers commonly come in 20 and 40 feet long sizes. But if you need something smaller or larger, there are 10-foot and 45-foot options too. Most of these bad boys are around 8 feet wide, which is pretty standard. 

What size will work for you depends largely on what kind of ride you’re planning to store. Got a small car or maybe a motorcycle? A 10- or 20-foot container should have you covered. If you’re storing something bigger like an RV or a boat, you’d probably need a 40- or 45-foot container. By the way, the width becomes super important if you’re storing wider vehicles or if you have the need to store multiple cars side by side.

Container SizeDimensions (feet)Suitable For
20ft20′ long x 8′ wide x 8’6″ highSmall cars, motorcycles
40ft40′ long x 8′ wide x 8’6″ highRVs, boats, multiple vehicles

Benefits of Using Shipping Containers for Car Storage

As a solution for vehicle storage, shipping containers are proving to be a real game changer. They are incredibly sturdy and are built to withstand tough weather conditions, which makes them perfect for protecting your prized vehicles from potential damage or theft. So, let’s break down precisely why they’re such a good choice.

Security Features

When it comes to stashing your precious vehicles, you can’t compromise on security. That’s where shipping containers shine. They’re super tough, can cope with brutal weather, and offer excellent protection for your car. 

Lockable Doors: Most containers sport robust doors that can be locked. You can use a standard padlock, a combination lock, or even heavy-duty bolts. For even more peace of mind, consider an aftermarket lockbox. It’s like a superhero shield for your locks, scaring off would-be thieves. 

Rust-Resistant Coating: Many containers come pre-painted with a rust-resistant coating, helping fend off corrosion and weather damage. Just remember, your container needs some TLC to stay in perfect condition. Regular check-ups are a must! 

Lighting: A well-lit storage repels troublemakers. If your container isn’t already lit-up, consider installing LED or motion-sensor lights. And why not take it a step further with security cameras? Just remember, modifying a container isn’t a DIY project. Get a pro in! 

Sturdy Construction: Shipping containers are built from super tough Cor-ten steel. So, even without any tweaks, your container is a secure vault for your vehicles. It can take a beating without giving in. 

All said, shipping containers are not just a secure, but a versatile option for your vehicle storage needs. Plus, you can tailor yours to suit your style and preferences with tons of cool add-ons.


If you’re looking at storing your car but also want to save some money, you might want to consider using shipping containers. Sure, the upfront cost might seem a bit steep, but when you look at it as a long-term investment, it’s a total money-saver. You’re basically getting a highly durable, easily portable, and super functional storage solution.

The cherry on top?

You can totally customize it to meet your needs, and that’s a big win. Plus, if you ever think of selling it, shipping containers hold their worth pretty well. So financially, it’s a no-brainer for your car storage situation.

Convenience and Versatility

You’ll love the convenience and versatility of using a shipping container for vehicle storage. Unlike traditional storage facilities, there are no strict operating hours. Access your prized vehicle anytime you please, right on your own property. As for versatility, shipping containers can comfortably stash not just your cars, but also motorcycles, boats, or RVs. They can also be easily customized to meet specific storage needs. Add shelving for equipment, turn one side into a workspace, the possibilities are nearly endless. And if you ever need to move, the container can go with you, making them a more flexible option.

Assessing Space and Property Requirements and Permits

Getting a shipping container ready for car storage on your property involves some key steps. First off, it’s important to look into the zoning laws in your area to make sure that storage containers are permitted. You’ll also need to ensure your property is big enough to fit the container while still following local guidelines about setbacks and total lot coverage. Also, consider how the container might affect vehicle traffic and access to your property. 

The permits you’ll need can change a lot depending on where you live. In some places, you may just need a temporary use permit, while others might require more extensive building permits. It’s really important to chat with your local planning department early on to fully understand what you’ll need to do, and start preparing any applications you’ll need to submit. By thinking ahead, you can avoid any legal issues down the line and make sure your car storage solution is totally on the up-and-up.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Shipping Container

Navigating the decision between buying a new and used shipping container for car storage is no easy feat. If you’re leaning towards new containers, you’re signing up for a sparkling clean and damage-free environment for your automobile, but it may be a bit heavy on the pocketbook. On the flip side, used containers can help you save a bit of money, even though you might have to be okay with a dash of wear and tear.

  • New Containers: These are the bee’s knees in terms of storage conditions – perfect and pristine, but they might have your wallet screaming for mercy.
  • Used Containers: They’re easier on the wallet, but you might have to turn a blind eye to a scratch here and a dent there.

Remember, it’s not a decoration piece; the real crux is the condition of the container. Give a close look for any signs of corrosion, leaks, or structural faults before you swipe that credit card. In the end, it’s gotta guard your sexy set of wheels from crazy weather and any rogue with a pair of bolt cutters.  

  • Corrosion: Keep your eyes peeled for any rust or other signs of corrosion.
  • Leaks: Make sure that a mini-pond doesn’t form inside when it rains, and those doors need to seal like a charm.
  • Structural Defects: Look out for any dents or other flaws that might make your container less of a guardian and more of a liability.

Before you dive headfirst into this, just take a moment to consider your funds and the price tag on the container. Container costs can swing wildly depending on their size, condition, and whether it’s a newborn or a seasoned campaigner. Don’t forget to keep your budget in mind when hunting for the perfect container, but also remember not to scrimp too much. After all, you’d want the container’s protection for your vehicle to be top-notch.  

  • Pricing: Do your homework, compare those prices, and snatch up the best deal.
  • Budget: Keep an eye on your spending limit, but never risk the safety of your vehicle for a few bucks.

Essential Features for Car Storage Containers

Let’s get into the essential features for car storage in shipping containers: 

Insulation and Ventilation 

Insulation is a must-have for any shipping container you’re considering for car storage. It’s going to help control the temperature and combat any potential condensation inside your container, which can cause rust in the long run. On the other hand, a well-ventilated shipping container can keep your vehicle breathing fresh by reducing the build-up of harmful gases and creating a reservoir for good air circulation. 

Ramps and Access Points 

You’d want to ensure that the container you pick has a strong, reliable ramp. This would make the process of getting your vehicle in and out of the container a breeze. Plus, having more access points in your container isn’t a bad idea. They could offer you better maneuverability and provide an extra gateway for routine maintenance tasks. It’s all about making the process as straightforward as possible. 

Flooring and Load Support 

Finally, but vitally, let’s talk about the container’s floor. Its ability to hold the weight of a car is key. If you really want to maximize safety, consider some sort of reinforced or grip-enhanced flooring. It’ll add an extra layer of load support and security by making your container floor robust and strong.

Steps for Preparing and Storing Your Car

Prior to tucking away your ride in its shipping container home, you must initiate certain measures to ensure it remains in optimal shape while in storage. Particularly, warding off rust and condensation takes center stage. You’ll want to make sure that your container is properly insulated and ventilated; it’s a sure-fire way to keep moisture at bay and effectively reduce the chances of your car acquiring rust. Don’t underestimate the power of a decent car cover either – if it’s waterproof and breathable, even better. This will serve as an additional shield against condensation. 

An equally critical step is ensuring your vehicle’s steadfastness within the container. Wheel chocks come in handy – these are typically made from rubber, urethane, or aluminium and can significantly enhance grip and stability. Also, consider tie-down straps or other dependable fastening systems as a means to secure your vehicle. These should be fastened onto the frame or axles of the vehicle and secured to the anchor points within the container.

Making the Purchase

Ready for the big purchase? Don’t rush yourself – take a moment to really dig deep into each seller’s offerings before you make your choice. Decent sellers are going to be upfront with you about their containers.

They’ll tell you whether they’re brand spanking new, been on one voyage, or have a few miles on them. If you’re thinking about going second-hand, ensure you cast a keen shopkeeper’s eye over it. Look for things like rust, dings and how worn it looks. Dealers with a wide range of containers will give you more options to choose from, making it easier to find one that fits your budget. 

Also, you’ve got to figure out if the container’s modifications and customizations hit the mark. Do they have the insulation, ramps, doors and specific flooring you need? Most importantly, have these changes been made by a pro to ensure they last? Check whether the seller offers to make these modifications, or if you’ll need to find someone else to do it after you’ve bought the container. Either way, make sure you’re clear on the costs involved. 

A piece of advice? The cheapest option isn’t always the best one. You might find that spending that little bit extra on a container in great shape or that comes with ready-made modifications could end up saving you a penny or two in future maintenance or adjustments.

Long-Term Maintenance and Upkeep

Keeping your shipping container in optimal condition is vital not just for the longevity of the container, but also for the safety of your precious vehicles. So, here’s what you need to keep an eye out for: 

  • Rust and Damage Control: Over time, weather can really put your container through the wringer which could lead to rust. Regularly check your container for any signs of rust or damage. Small patches of rust can easily be scrubbed off with a wire brush and coated with rustproof paint. However, if the rust has spread or the structure is damaged, it’s a bit more serious and you’ll probably need some professional help.
  • Ventilation and Insulation: Ventilation is your best friend when it comes to stopping moisture, which could lead to rust or have a negative impact on your car. Make sure your ventilation isn’t blocked and you’ve got good circulation going. The insulation is another focus area: make sure it’s helping maintain a nice, stable temperature inside, creating the ideal conditions for your car.
  • Cleaning and Dehumidifying: Keeping your shipping container and ride squeaky clean has to be a part of your usual chores. Use a dehumidifier too for nipping any excess moisture in the bud, as that could lead to mold and mildew.
  • Securing your Fort: If you’ve set up security systems like cameras or alarms, you should be routinely checking these. Ensure your cameras are in working order, your alarms are fully functioning and your locks are robust.
  • Take Care of Auxiliaries: If you use ramps, lifts, or other mechanical stuff inside the container, make sure they are greased up and working smoothly. Remember to check any lighting or utilities you’ve installed too.

Remember, being proactive with routine checks and maintenance is a lot easier and cheaper in the long run than having to repair stuff down the line. By looking after your shipping container, you’re also giving your vehicle the VIP treatment it deserves.

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