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Long Time Car Storage Tips



  • 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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595 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.

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  • 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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    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.

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  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    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.

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  • 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: 856
    Unfortunately, you can't repeal the Laws of Physics! (or in this case, the Laws of Chemistry!)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Nope. You can buy a gas STABILIZER to keep good gas being good gas, but there's nothing to change rotten gas back to good gas. Sorry.

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  • I'm a newbie to this and hoping I can get some good advice re. winter storage. I recently bought an 08 Porsche Cayman S (still grinning!). In another month the snow flies here so I want to store it in my heated garage for 6 months. This is what I think I need to do:

    1. Fuel stabilizer and run it through for a bit to get it in the injectors.
    2. Disconnect battery and attach a battery tender
    3. Apply a tire protectant to the tires to prevent cracking
    4. Jack it up on stands
    5. Put a cover on it.


    Also, if I get a good clean day or two during the winter I wonder if I should take it out and drive it or is it better to leave it??

    Thanks all............Chuckie
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Definitely drive it on clean days and no, you don't have to put it on jackstands and probably shouldn't---hanging off the suspension isn't such a great idea.

    And tire protectant won't do any good either.

    Your *best* protection are a) your heated garage b) driving the car now and then and c) using the battery tender and d) the gas stabilizer.

    Also, if your garage is concrete, get a small fan and have it blow under the car, and crack the windows a tiny bit if you can do that.

    A light dust cover is okay, too.

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  • ok thanks a bunch.

    just so I understand about the stands, why do I read so much about getting the tires off the ground? is it just to prevent flat spots? and if so does rolling it back or forth once a week address that issue?

    in terms of a cover, just a light one or should I get one of the heavier duty weather resistent one?

    also, do you think an oil change related to storage is required or do I wait until spring and get one then (maintenance is only every 50K).

    thanks again
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    No, you want a light breathable cover for indoors not a weatherproof one.

    I don't think modern tires are prone to flat-spotting anymore, especially in a heated garage. If you are concerned, be sure they are properly inflated or put 4-5 extra pounds in there.

    I'd do the oil change when the car is put back into regular service, especially if you've just been starting it up or driving it short distances. But really if you want to let that go for a while, I don't see the harm.

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  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    You don't need to disconnect the battery. Just put a battery tender on it to keep it charged.

    I don't know where you live, but I'd be taking it out for a spin on a nice sunny day when the roads are dry. You didn't buy it to store in garage, you bought it to drive it!
  • so if I start it once a week I don;t need to disconnect battery? Just put a tender on it.

    I will drive it when I can but the issue is that the roads where i live are salted in the winter so even on a sunny day with no snow, there will be salt on the roads that gets up in the car.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If you are going to start it once a week, you won't even need a battery tender
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Don't disconnect your battery if you don't have to. That can create problems in the car's behavior, as the car's computers have adaptive memory stored in there. I don't think totally dry salt "dust" is going to hurt anything.

    Remember this---Porsches are not like some of those french poodle sports cars out there---Porsches are very tough automobiles.

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  • Alright, good advice. So in summary if I start it once a week, roll it forward or back a bit, and drive it once in a while even of around the block, I don't really have to do much. A good wash and wax, a light breathable dust cover, a few extra pounds in the tires, fill the tank and add some fuel stabilizer and that seems to be it. Then in the spring an oil and filter change.

    Thanks again!

    ps. I hope it a tough car, nearest Porsche dealership is 4 hours away so I'm hoping no issues and that normal service can be done by a private garage whose owner has been servicing porsches for many years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Well if the shop has kept up with new models he won't have a problem. You could always ask their advice about longterm storage, too. I think they'd tell you pretty much what we did. If you were planning on dead storage for one year or more, I'd have a different story for you.

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  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856
    "...... I don't think modern tires are prone to flat-spotting anymore, especially in a heated garage......"

    All tires flat spot. It's just a matter of load, inflation pressure and time.

    Overinflating the tires helps flat spotting, but that drives more oxygen through the internal structure of the tire and ages it faster. If the plan is to reuse the tires, it would be best to get them off the ground.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    A modern radial "might" flat spot, you are right, but this should quickly go away after a short term of driving. They spring back to shape whereas the older tires didn't.

    Essentially, my personal experience has been that this isn't an issue unless we were talking about long term storage with tires going cold and flat for years.

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  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856
    ".....They spring back to shape whereas the older tires didn't....."

    Sorry, but this is a matter of degree. While modern tires are less prone to flat spotting, they still will - and the amount will depend on the storage conditions. We can actually generate flatspots in the lab and watch as they disappear while running, but they do not disappear completely.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Interesting. I've never come across this condition but I'll be sure to pay closer attention next time I deal with a stored car (I do appraisals, so I do see cars going in and coming out of storage).

    I'm reluctant to suggest to people that they raise a car off the wheels for short term storage because modern cars can be damaged this way. There are good ways to lift a car for long, *long* term storage but this requires strategic support of various suspension points without actually lifting the tires off the ground completely.... a rather complicated process and I don't think necessary in this gentleman's case.

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  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 856
    I disagree. I think in this case (Porsche for 6 months), there are 2 reasons why he should get the weight off the tires:

    1) Tires with high speed ratings have nylon overlays (sometimes multiple layers) and of all the materials ever used in tires, nylon is the most prone to flat spotting.

    2) 6 months is on the other side of what I consider to be "short term". I think "short term" means 3 months or less. Just for reference, I've seen S and T rated tires (no nylon overlays) flat spot in 3 months under certain conditions.

    Given how expensive tires for Porsche's can be, I think he would be much further ahead taking the time to do it right.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    All opinions are welcome and valuable. All I'm saying is I've never seen this as a problem for short term storage. Besides, if he lifts it, then he probably won't start it or drive it, and I think starting and driving are more important to the overall health of the car.

    This might be an interesting compromise solution:

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I got kinda concerned about this question of flat spotting so I contacted Hi-Tec Automotive, who are well-known Porsche specialists (repair, restoration, race prep, customization) in no. California, and this is what they wrote back to me...

    "Only six months is not an issue; six years is another story. The tires still may flat spot some, but they will regain their original shape once the car is driven and the tires are heated up. Raising the psi for storage will help."

    They also suggested, if the car will undergo *repeated* spells of long term storage, the same basic Flat Spotters than I posted earlier.

    Hope this helps.

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  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    My wife and I have a home in the south and plan to keep a vehicle there throughout the year. The vehicle is a 4 cylinder 2006 Dodge Caravan with 75k miles. The van will sit for 3 to 5 months at a time without being used and will be stored in a carport. Does the battery need to be disconnected? Should I add fuel stabilizer to the gas? Any recommendations are most appreciated.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If it was mine, I'd through some fuel stabilizer in it, and hook up a trickle charger to it. That's what I do with my Harley during the winter months, never a problem.
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