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Motor Mouth articles 2011

Is there a car in your garage?

A full garage – but no sign of the car

WHAT do you keep in your garage? Chances are it’s not your car.

Most people fortunate enough to actually have a garage are more likely to use it as a glorified garden shed or an overspill area for storing household stuff.

The car – one of the most valuable assets we own and, apart from our home, probably the most expensive thing we have ever bought – is more likely to live in the drive or out in the street.

A survey carried out among 3,000 people by Manheim Auctions showed that 55% of motorists do not keep their car in their garage.

In fact, only 21% use the garage solely for their car, while a fortunate 25% have enough space to keep their car and a load of peripheral clutter in there.

Top of the list of garage contents is the lawnmower. Other items include DIY tools, bikes, ladders, golf clubs, tent, barbecue, garden equipment, drink and even guinea pigs.

“Where you park your car may seem like a trivial subject, but keeping it in a garage may pay off in the long run,” says Craig Mailey, marketing director of Manheim Auctions. “If a car is stored in a dry, cool garage every night, it is more likely to have a higher resale value because it’s been protected from the elements and risk of accidental damage.

“Paint weathers so keeping it inside a garage will help to protect it and if a car is parked outside there’s always the danger that it will be exposed to accidental knocks and scrapes by other drivers or passers-by.”

He adds: “In the 1970s it was the norm to use the garage to provide essential respite care for fragile cars. The modern car may be more robust but don’t neglect what is likely to be your most valuable asset.”

Nowadays I am fortunate enough to have a garage large enough to comfortably accommodate the car and the clutter – tools, garden stuff, dust, spiders.

But in a previous house, built in the 1930s and with a matching garage that would never have taken anything wider than an Austin Seven, the contents, at various times, included a range of livestock – furred, finned or feathered – as well as mushroom compost, sprouting vegetables and a spare fridge.

The car sat in the drive and exuded envy.

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