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Long Time Car Storage Tips



  • roy22roy22 Posts: 1
    I've been unemployed for the last 4 months and haven't been driving my care more than once every week. This morning the car wouldn't start! It's an 04 350z with almost 60k in miles. I haven't gotten the car serviced so I'm hoping it's just the spark plugs or something but to be honest...I don't know what the heck I'm am doing. The starter is working and it almost catches. Now I can't even get to an interview and I'm screwed! Anyone have any ideas?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Hard to know without reading the computer for a trouble code.

    However, if it "almost catches" maybe you just flooded it. Have you tried starting it with the gas pedal floored (and keep it there). If no go, maybe something like a crankshaft positioning sensor has gone south. Maybe an extra hot boost from AAA would help get it running.

    With modern cars, there's not much you can do on a no-start except flatbed it in.


  • robian1robian1 Posts: 2
    I've seen many tips on winter auto storage but I was hoping someone could advise on summer storage. I'll be living in AZ next year but I'll be away from home for around 6 to 8 weeks in the summer. By then, I'll be hoping to own a new BMW or Infinity.

    The car will be in a garage but it will probably be very warm. Are there any special provisions I should make for summer storage besides cleaning, topping off fuel and adding stabilizer and a fresh oil change? Does the battery need to be removed or maybe rubber seals greased? Should I over inflate tires? Is there anything else that should be done?
    Thanks for any suggestions.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    8 weeks? Nah, I don't see this as being a problem. I suppose, if it wasn't too much trouble, that it might be good to disconnect the battery and store it in a cooler place but even that seems a bit fastidious given the short time frame. Howevere, removing the battery might prevent total discharge.

    I trust you have a "radio code" handy if your battery runs down, presuming you have that type of radio.


  • robian1robian1 Posts: 2
    Thanks, it's good to know that an 8 week storage shouldn't be a problem. Confessing ignorance here, but what is a "radio code"?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Some manufacturers, have a radio that if it looses power, when it powers up it is locked with an 'error'. You have to unlock it with the radio code. That is to thwart thieves who would want to steal your radios and sell them, makes them kind of useless.

    The security code is set by the manufacturer, and when you buy the car you get the code.

    8 weeks is really nothing, as long as the car is in good maintenance with a decent battery. I've had situations where we were moving, and I've left vehicles for months on end a couple of occassions. I have a vehicle now which sits usually about a month at a time. I usually start up and drive around once a month.
  • Ok, my brother parked his 91' firebird - give or take - some five years ago. It was driven into the car port and shut off - no extra measures taken. He has finally decided to give it to me, I know the rear tranny seal needs to be replaced, but my first question is how do I make sure that I don't mess anything up when I first crank it up after this long - will the oil level show true if there is even any left in it? Does oil dry up after that long? I have no idea here . . . . My first agenda is to get it cranked and make sure the motor will be ok before I send it to the shop. Once at the shop, I know I need to have that seal replaced and plan to have a full tune up done, down to gaskets and hoses and fluids.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I'm no expert on this, but I'll be surprised if it will start. Your battery will be discharged to nothing and probably bad, and the fuel will be a mess...and probably your biggest problem and hardest to correct.

    - I think I'd do an oil change before trying to start, and then assume you get the vehicle started at some point.....change it again shortly thereafter.
    - I wouldn't even mess with the old battery, I'd just replace it or put in a known good battery from another vehicle.
    - I'd think serously about dropping the gas tank, getting all the old gas out, flushing it out, then putting it back in and flushing the fuel lines via the fuel pump.
    - I'd take the plugs out, and try turning the engine over by hand (or with the starter), to get a couple revolutions on it and make sure it isn't frozen.

    Good luck with your 'gift' :D
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Great advice from kiawah...I'd even up the ante and REQUIRE that you do most of what he says.

    Do NOT attempt to jump start an old dead battery. It could blow up in your face (literally).

    And draining the gas is essential. It has changed chemically and will screw everything up.

    Yes, a nasty job but way less expensive than cleaning out your entire fuel system 5 times.

    And after you get it running, you'll need to drain the flush the brake system, change the oil and filter and tune it up, also new air and fuel filter.

    The various seals might leak, but they might also swell up again and stop leaking. You'll have to assess this after running the car around for a while.

    I presume the tires are toast as well.

    Work slowly, be safe. Remember, you only mess up a job when you don't give yourself enough time. It's sat for years, so if you don't get it going in a day, wait another day, or as long as you need.


  • here is a list of car storage facilities from around the world. most are located in the U.S. and GB.

    If anyone has any good articles or tips to post please let me know.

  • The car has 88000 original miles on it. I need to start this car and am not sure how to go about it. It was parked in Florida (east coast 15 miles inland from the ocean) since Sept of 08...just had it hauled to central Illinois. The battery was disconnected but that's all that was done when it was parked, I'm sure that it had less than a quarter tank of gas in it. What do I need to do before starting the car? I am not really mechanically inclined but can do simple things like changing oil etc. Was told it would be ok if I added fuel treatment and fresh gas and just tried to start it. I don't wanna hurt the car by doing something wrong. I don't have any one nearby to help me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404 advice to start up a car with 15 month old gasoline in it, especially a Jaguar V-12. That gas will have to be drained out.

    Then you will need a new battery. Charging a battery that dead is DANGEROUS.

    I'd also consider removing the spark plugs, squirting a little oil (just a teaspoon) into each cylinder and then, depending on how the plugs look, re-using them or installing new ones.

    I would start cranking the engine with the ignition coil grounded but you may wish to check with a Jaguar expert to see if this is safe for the ignition system. You don't want to fry one of those V-12 black boxes! I'm suggesting this so that the engine can build up some oil pressure before it starts.

    Howver, with all the gas drained out, it's probably not going to start right up anyway, so maybe you're okay there.

    Once the engine starts, don't RACE it--just let it idle for 15 minutes or so, then drain out the old oil, and install fresh oil and filter.

    Once it it running okay and you have clean oil in there, you can check the tires for cracks and flat spots, and carefully check the brakes to make sure there is no seizure of the calipers or the emergency brakes.

    For a test drive, I suggest the 1-5-50 rule, which is:

    drive 1 mile, stop and check for leaks top and bottom

    drive 5 miles, do the same

    drive 50 miles---if she runs well, doesn't leak, pull, steam, scream, buck or protest----you are good to go.

    Other optional items, depending on a visual inspection would be to flush the coolant and the brake fluid.

    ALSO ---these engine are PRONE TO FIRES-----so when you begin the resuscitation process, have a fire extinguisher handy and be on careful watch for fuel line leaks in the engine compartment.


  • Thank you for the advice... pretty sure I can handle most of that by myself. Will probably have to find someone to check the brakes but hopefully that won't be too difficult. I do have a different battery for the car as I figured after sitting all that time the old one wouldn't be much good.
    I will check with Jaguar about the ignition coil...not sure where it's at anyway.
    I know that the tires are cracks or flat spots...the friend that hauled it here for me checked them out.
    The car isn't much but it has a great history and I don't wanna do any damage to it so thanks for the advice about the fire extinguisher.
  • aztec04aztec04 Posts: 1
    I have to store my toyota camry for a little over two months. Can it go that long without being driven? Also, is it true rats can move into the engine if it is left undriven in a garage for that long?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    For only two months, there's really nothing you have to do. I don't think I'd leave a battery tender attached to any car if no one is going to look in on it---if someone is going to look in, then hook up a battery tender and start the car once in a while. Some might suggest a fuel stabilizer, which is okay, but again, for two months probably over-kill. But it's cheap and easy.

    As for rodents, that really depends on your local situation. I think it's better to protect the garage in general with poison or traps than try to protect the car itself.


  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 792
    If you can, overinflate your tires - up to 50 psi. That will slow down the flat spot that will be created.

    Better yet, put it up on jack stands.
  • wpatterswpatters Posts: 54
    I have an old Audi 100 with v6 that overheated and when finally go it home I put a cover over it and has not been touched for the past year...finances bad to work on it. I know it needs a radiator and maybe a new headgasket...but it started when I last drove it.
    What should I do before trying to fire it up? Drain the gas? Pull the plugs and oil the pistons etc.. Is there anything than can be added to the gas versus draining the tank? That seems like a big problem. I can do the plugs and even replace the radiator. Just do not want to have to pull the tank. Any advice on that would be great.
    Also what is the best way to tell if a head gasket got tweaked?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    You probably have to drain the's not gasoline anymore.

    If you pull the dipstick and its got a milky white residue, then your engine bearings have been lying in coolant for a year, and that's *real* bad.

    But, to your main question:

    Best way to test the head gasket is to get the engine running for a while, at least until it heats up, then shut 'er down, pressurize the cooling system with a pump, then pull the spark plugs and see if there is coolant on them (keep the system pressurized)---you may also use a bore-scope to inspect the tops of the pistons for signs of coolant. Of course, in some cases (but not all) you will see coolant in the oil, which turns the oil a milky gray on the dipstick.


  • wpatterswpatters Posts: 54
    Thanks for the there is nothing on the market to fix the gas....I would think they would have something invented for just that problem.

  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 792
    Unfortunately, you can't repeal the Laws of Physics! (or in this case, the Laws of Chemistry!)
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