I have a parking spot for my car, but it is weedy gravel. I've been warned that storing a car on grass is very bad because transpiration from the grass will rust out the car's underbody. Presumably this warning would also apply to my parking spot. I laid a tarp over the gravel, but since this allows pooled water to evaporate, it may not be much better. I did poke some holes in the tarp to allow some of the deeper pools to drain, but I hit the point of diminishing returns rather quickly.

For those of us without a paved surface, what is the best way to store a car? Is it worth it to build an inclined surface so that water will run off? It would seem to be relatively easy to do this with a big sheet of plywood and some 2x4s.


Is gravel itself a good place to store a car? It seems like some of the same problems presented by grass would be present — water would be evaporating up out of the soil, albeit at a slower rate.

  • Weed the gravel? Seems like the obvious solution to me. Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 20:50
  • 2
    I'm thinking that gravel itself is probably not so great, since it still allows rainwater absorbed into the soil below it to evaporate up.
    – intuited
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 4:13
  • Its hard to beat concrete.
    – Moab
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 22:24
  • It needs air flow ,this will move the moister. Grass growes and stops the air flow .Grass is 70% water.
    – user33283
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


How serious are you about this?

Some pressure treated 2" x 12" planks under the tires will protect them from ground rot.

Sun will age your paint job and rubber. You'd be doing your car a favor to put some kind of cover over it that will shade the car and deflect rain. I have seen canvas "garages" for $200 that would do the trick, although keeping air flowing through is important for moderating temperature and humidity. One option is to put the legs of such a garage on concrete blocks, to let air flow underneath and to serve as an anchor. Still, if you live in a windy area, it may not stay put.

Once you're sending the rain to the edges, you can build a simple french drain around the perimeter. Dig a shallow trench at the perimeter of the garage, with a constant slope to one corner. Continue the trench away from the site to a convenient spot (the street, a dry well, etc.). Fill the trench with coarse gravel / drain rock. Optionally put a layer of landscape fabric over the gravel to keep out fines, and then a thin layer of small gravel over that to make things look nice & keep the fabric in place.

Now lay down some heavy plastic over the parking area. This will block moisture from coming up from the soil. A layer of gravel over the plastic will keep it in place and spread the weight of the car out.

Note that if you just lay down plastic without the other steps, it will probably just end up holding puddles of rainwater, so you won't accomplish much.


Gravel would be better than parking on dirt, mud, straight grass, or anything with a lot of water in it. However its not ideal.

The problem is exactly as you state - water rises and slowly damages your price-and-joy. This may not be an issue if you trade up yearly, but personally my two cars are 26 and 42 years old.

In order of best to worst

  • Inside a garage, dry stored, with concrete or wooden floor
  • Inside a garage, dry stored, with dry dirt floor
  • Under a carport, with concrete/wood floor > dry dirt
  • Outside, on concrete or tarmac
  • Outside, on gravel
  • Outside on dry dirt
  • Outside on grass - better in summer than winter, can get stuck in winter
  • Outside on sand <-- parked vehicles can sink into sand, especially at the beach.
  • Outside on mud
  • Outside on water

Car covers will help but are only a minor improvement. Secure locked garages are perfect. Parking up a dirty (muddy) vehicle also contributes to moisture problems. 4WD should be washed off underneath to remove moisture-holding mud from all chassis nooks.

Off street parking is preferred over on-street parking because of insurance and vulnerability - your car parked on your property is better than out on the roadway.

Answer If you care about your car, a garage is best. Can you rent garage space nearby? Can you build a garage on your property? Can you lease/buy a shipping container as a car garage?

If you do make a parking platform, do use marine-grade timber else it will rot or mush out quickly. Use galvanised nails/screws, and consider where the tyres/tires will be, to reduce puncture risks. Also consider drainage direction, and where water will go.

Depending on budget, I'd go with laying a concrete platform instead of building a wooden one. As money permits you can erect a roof and walls on the weather side/s.


I would be hesitant to make a raised platform using wood. Keep in mind even a very light car is around 3000 lbs, the last thing you really want to do is park your car and have the front wheels go right through that platform.

The wood wouldn't be a bad idea to help kill the weeds (though weed killer would have worked pretty well also).

I'm in the same boat at the moment actually. My plan being to get some sand to lay down over the grass, which will smother it and absorb a lot of the water before it gets to the soil, then once that has sat for a week or so, shovel out a spot's worth of gravel/shale.

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