Car sitting for months

01-22-2005, 01:51 PM
Hello again, I was wondering what can happen to a car that's been sitting for two months or so. And what procedures need to be taken before I start it up again.

01-22-2005, 02:48 PM
Well, i can only speak from experiance on a couple things that i know.

My bro had a lincoln continental that was sitting for over 4 months.. The cars air shocks went (infamous for this problem). Anyway, all the gas evaporated. So your gonna need gas-maybe..

The battery died, but all you need is a jump to get the car started, and drive the car for atleast an hour-or leave it running, for the alternator to give the battery a decent charge so the car can start up. Over time (week of driving) the alt will give the batt a full charge.

OIL... I was told, i don't know how true this is, but a friend told me that the oil naturally gums up-gets real thick, and it wont circulate to well in the engine until it's really hot. He suggested changing the oil RIGHT after the engine has heated up.

Thats all i know about that, btw, your tires will lose some psi if left undriven...not much..

01-23-2005, 12:47 PM
If you know your car is going to be stored for a while, you can virtually eliminate problems by doing just a bit of preparation.

Fill the gas tank to the top. This prevents condensation from leaving water in the gas and rusting the inside of the tank.

Disconnect the negative terminal of the battery.

If its stored in a really damp and humid place, (a bad idea) the cylinder walls can rust a bit, so use some engine storage spray (Marinas and boating stores have this) and follow the directions on the can. This leaves a film of oil on the culinder walls and valves to prevent rust.

It's always best to change the engine oil and filter before strage, too.

01-23-2005, 02:15 PM
Hello again, I was wondering what can happen to a car that's been sitting for two months or so. And what procedures need to be taken before I start it up again.

Two months or so isn't much of an issue assuming it had oil etc. in it.
If you are worried about the lubrication, remove you plugs and crank it until you get oil pressure. Then put the plugs in it and run it.
Even if you don't do that, just start it and let it run at low rpms for a few minutes and you should be fine. It's not a good idea to let them set like this a lot, but I wouldn't worry about it.

On our race cars that set for 3 or 4 months each year, we simply fog the carb or air intake with WD-40 while cranking with no spark. This protects the upper cylinders and valve seats from rust.

SR Racing

01-23-2005, 02:33 PM
I wouldn't worry about it if it was just two months or so. After a year I suggest re-priming the oil pump by pulling the distributor and using a priming tool. When it sits too long the film of oil that was left on everything has drained back into the pan. Running the pump a little bit fills the bearings with oil before it turns. sracing's suggesting of pulling the plugs is a good suggestion since it removes the compression from putting stress on the bearings while its turning, but the fact is that its still turning without oil pressure. His suggestion is also particularly good since its only been sitting a couple months and there should be enough oil left in the bearings to be fine.

Before you do anything, I suggest changing the oil. The oil that sits in the pan can get condensation and the acids left behind from the last time it was run can get worse when the engine doesn't run. (the heat from running the engine evaporates out most of that junk). There is no reason to circulate that stale oil through the engine, especially when it only costs $20 to change it.

I disagree with sracing on one thing, though... The cam relies on thrown oil to lubricate the cam lobes. Idling the engine won't throw oil on the lobes and they can score instantly and then its over... time for a new cam, lifters and other components.

What kind of car is it? It will make a big difference if its an OHC, in-block roller cam, or if it even has a distributor to pull out for the oil priming :)

01-28-2005, 10:54 AM
I let my car sit for four months last summer. All I did was fill the tank all the way, give it a good wash, and disconnect the battery.

When I came back after the four months, I just hooked up the battery she started right up. The brakes were VERY rusty, but I don't think there's anything you can do about that.

I noticed, after driving for a few days and the rust was gone, that the car pulled to the right some, which lead me to believe the I needed aligment work. I also noticed a shake in the steering wheel, which I thought was probably either a little rust still on the rotors, or warped rotors. I continued to drive, thinking maybe these would go away.

After a few months, my old tires were worn down to the point of replacement(just due to normal driving). But when I replaced the old tires, the pull to the right disappeared, and the shake from the brakes is all but gone! The tires had just been balanced before I parked it for four months, so I don't think balancing them afterwards would have made a difference.

I'm thinking putting the car on jacks, just enough to take some weight off the tires might have prevented it.

01-31-2005, 08:53 PM
I have a 71 mustang that Ive been storing for about 5 months every year. It has the original engine with the only real work done to it is a new timing chain/gears and the valve guide booties.

All I do is fill the tank, add gas stablizer, drive it home, give it a good wash. I park it over a sheet of plastic because its on a concrete floor. I run the engine and pour engine oil in the carb till it smokes will out the exhaust. (I know this sounds sever and you can just use a fogging oil but I got this tip from a car collector who stated it will also protect the exhaust which the car still has the same exhaust that was put on in 1985)

Afterwards I disconnect the battery, put some mothballs around the vents and on the floor by the heater (damm mice) I also jack the car up, not so the wheels are hanging off the ground but to that the main load is off the springs.

I leave the windows, doors and trunk cracked open so the gaskets do not remain compressed and will retain their springyness.

I used to loosen the fan belts too but its not worth the trouble, for the cost of a belt Ill just change them sooner.

These tips have kept my stang it great shape. My friend has a very similiar mustang with similiar window and door seals which he just parks and forgets and my windows/doors seal much better than his now. His have alot of hiss and whistle to them.

~ Phil

02-01-2005, 02:55 PM
Umm, Cars explode if you spontaneously explode if you store them for more than a month. :)

At my work, we just pulled in a 1969 Camaro Z28 with the 302 motor (for trans am racing) One owner car, all paperwork, purchased in 69, drove till 75 then stored until a couple of months ago. 40k original miles.... =)

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