If you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle, it’s natural to worry about how to best protect it.

Vehicles are big investments, and even a dent or a scratch can potentially knock hundreds of dollars off a vehicle’s value. For many drivers, it’s easy to avoid accidental damage by storing their vehicle in a garage at home. But what about drivers who don’t have a garage to use? Are they putting their vehicle in danger by leaving it outside at night?

Fortunately, a garage is in no way necessary to keep a vehicle in great condition. In fact, studies show that a surprising number of people don’t even have garages these days!

One statistic shows that roughly 1 in 4 homes don’t even have a garage. Even more shockingly, another study suggests that only 15% of homeowners with two-car garages actually use them to store a vehicle. It’s clear that tons of people are able to take care of their vehicle just fine without a garage. There’s no reason why it should be any different for you.

That said, a car stored outside is going to be exposed to all kinds of weather. Extreme heat and cold, snow, rain, you name it. If you don’t own a garage, you’ll have to put in a little extra legwork to protect your vehicle. Here are two simple steps anyone can take to keep their vehicle safe:

First, get a cover for your vehicle. Harsh storms can harm your vehicle, and prolonged exposure to sunlight can diminish your car’s paint job. A cover for your vehicle won’t necessarily keep it safe from all harm, but it’ll protect your vehicle from the vast majority of it. You should also consider getting a sunshade for your windshield when you’re out on hot summer days. Not only can you protect your vehicle on the go, you’ll also be treated to a temperate interior on even scorching hot days. It’s a win-win!

Second, you’ll want to wash your vehicle frequently. Even an inactive vehicle can accumulate lots of gunk on its body when parked outside. If left unattended, dirt can lead to exterior damages and, at worst, rust. However, if you wash your vehicle frequently, you can sidestep this issue all together. If possible, also consider waxing your car to provide the most protection from the elements.

You don’t have to be a mechanic to keep your vehicle in excellent condition without a garage. That said, an expert’s advice can be invaluable as you learn to care for your vehicle. If you have any lingering concerns in the back of your mind, feel free to reach out to me for advice.