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JustYield

How Long Can You Leave A Car Unused

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As title - how long can you leave a car and expect it to start?

Other than disconnecting the battery what other things should you do? Modern cars I mean, garaged for periods up to 6 months in cold temperature (-15C min).

Thanks.

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for periods up to 6 months in cold temperature (-15C min).

Thanks.

Is there a dead person in the trunk? :(

Six months should be OK. If you leave the battery connected it could discharge in a few weeks, due to alarms etc..

New oil and check antifreeze before you lay it up at minus 15 degrees...

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I have a 1989 5 litre Merc. Put it on the drive over a year ago (probably year and a half, actually) to do work on it and never got round to it. Battery was taken out at the time and has been sitiing in the garage. Tricke-charged the battery for a week, put it in the car and started on the second turn of the key. Probably had some air in the fuel pipe or it would have started straight away.

Having said all that, I probably wouldn't advise leaving a car standing for that long as the fuel can go bad which can cause damage.

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I helped to lay up a friend's three year-old Focus for just over a year after she broke her leg and hip in a skiing accident. The most difficult part was clearing all the crud out of her garage in order to make room for it!

I took advice from various pros and knowledgeable amateurs, and in the end what we did was similar but not identical to the advice given on the classic car page linked above. This consisted of:

  • Putting the car on axle stands with the wheels removed and stored lying horizontally on the floor with tyres deflated (the tyres were nearly new and thus worth looking after);
  • Siphoned out the petrol.
  • Changing the oil, coolant and brake fluid. If your car is going to be stored long-term in very cold conditions, I'd be inclined to use a strong-ish antifreeze mixture.
  • Storing with all four windows a crack open to avoid condensation build-up.
  • Ensuring that we had the radio security code if needed as the result of the battery draining in storage.

We didn't bother maintaining the battery's charge: we just let it discharge and then charged it up again on recommissioning.

To recommission, we:

  • Took wheels to Kwik-Fit in another car, had rimseals checked (and in two cases, re-done) and tyres re-inflated.
  • Changed oil, coolant and brake fluid again, and replaced oil, air filters, sparkplugs and HT leads.
  • Charged up the battery and reconnected it.
  • Re-attached wheels and lowered the car off axle stands.
  • Put two jerrycans full of fresh petrol in it.
  • Started car (it started on the second or third turn without complaining), drove out of garage, idled for a few minutes, then stopped engine and checked all fluid levels.
  • Drove to petrol station and filled tank to brim.
  • Then drove to Kwik-Fit and had the wheel balancing and tracking done.

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I have no idea. So why I am replying I don't know.

However, I had a '98 BMW 328i that was left in storage for about 18 months, started with the first turn of the key (it did splutter a little). Obviously this was with recharged battery ... or is that what you meant?

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For long periods - make sure you leave in 1st gear (with the handbrake off - otherwise your brakes will be stuck).

The two main things that often go wrong is the battery and the tyres (flat spots). Overinflate the tyres to prevent the flatspots and park it on the carpet or other type of a cushion.

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Slightly off at a tangent but if you've never seen a V12 engine firing first on only one cylinder, then two:....

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I helped to lay up a friend's three year-old Focus for just over a year after she broke her leg and hip in a skiing accident. The most difficult part was clearing all the crud out of her garage in order to make room for it!

I took advice from various pros and knowledgeable amateurs, and in the end what we did was similar but not identical to the advice given on the classic car page linked above. This consisted of:

  • Putting the car on axle stands with the wheels removed and stored lying horizontally on the floor with tyres deflated (the tyres were nearly new and thus worth looking after);
  • Siphoned out the petrol.
  • Changing the oil, coolant and brake fluid. If your car is going to be stored long-term in very cold conditions, I'd be inclined to use a strong-ish antifreeze mixture.
  • Storing with all four windows a crack open to avoid condensation build-up.
  • Ensuring that we had the radio security code if needed as the result of the battery draining in storage.

We didn't bother maintaining the battery's charge: we just let it discharge and then charged it up again on recommissioning.

To recommission, we:

  • Took wheels to Kwik-Fit in another car, had rimseals checked (and in two cases, re-done) and tyres re-inflated.
  • Changed oil, coolant and brake fluid again, and replaced oil, air filters, sparkplugs and HT leads.
  • Charged up the battery and reconnected it.
  • Re-attached wheels and lowered the car off axle stands.
  • Put two jerrycans full of fresh petrol in it.
  • Started car (it started on the second or third turn without complaining), drove out of garage, idled for a few minutes, then stopped engine and checked all fluid levels.
  • Drove to petrol station and filled tank to brim.
  • Then drove to Kwik-Fit and had the wheel balancing and tracking done.

She could have just lent it to someone for a year for the costs involved (Fully insured of course) and a small fee for depreciation.

Seems far easier to me....

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Slightly off at a tangent but if you've never seen a V12 engine firing first on only one cylinder, then two:....

Not a V12! Deltic engine has three crankshafts, and no cylinder heads!

Always like a class 37! :huh:

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Also depends on where, and who is looking after it for you.

D'oh and I left my Volvo S40 with my parents when we came to Aus for 6 weeks a few years ago for Christmas. It was on their drive, but they had the keys and promised to drive it regularly etc - shouldn't have been a problem as they're Volvo nuts and had been wanting to play with it for ages...

When we got back, we found the battery utterly flat, the car covered in crud from the tree, the passenger side window an inch and a half open and a few inches or water in the car - and all the seats a couple of inches deep in mould.

Unamused doesn't even come close... especially when they had the balls to say that they *had* been taking it out for a drive etc!

(Edited to correct dreadful spelling!)

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I was stuck behind a Volvo yesterday, a small one. Contrary to their usual (well-deserved) image of bad driving and poor concentration this one was driven immaculately and they were very courteous to other road users. Clearly not all Volvo drivers are the same.

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....Siphoned out the petrol.....

This is worth doing if leaving a petrol engined vehicle for any time. My bike (Honda VFR 750) was at my dad's for two years while we were working abroad. I managed to start the engine a few times and run it up to working temp but when we finally came to put it back on the road the petrol had turned into a gel in the carbs. The dealer drained it and replaced with fresh fuel, no problem. They MOT'd it and the bike still runs perfectly years later (I sold it to a mate, now have GSXR) so no damage done.

My worry would be what this would cost on a modern fuel injected engine. The Honda bill was 500 notes (inc MOT and some work) plus the tyres had gone hard and it needed gentle riding for a thousand miles or so to soften up the compound (less of an issue with a car, but be careful - the braking distance is much longer)

The other issue would be letting the fuel injectors and pump run dry if you drain the tank. I would be concerned about seals drying out.

I could give you better advice about diesels - they are my area of knowledge (and older petrols), but I know enough to suggest that you try to find out some more about the issues I have mentioned (assuming its a petrol). That would be my only area of concern - all the other advice seems very sound to me.

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The consensus of the advice I received was that petrol additives congealing and clogging stuff up was a greater risk than that of fuel system components drying out. I can't think of any way of avoiding that risk, unless you fill the fuel system with some sort of lubricant for the period of the lay-up, then drain it and put petrol back in.

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I was stuck behind a Volvo yesterday, a small one. Contrary to their usual (well-deserved) image of bad driving and poor concentration this one was driven immaculately and they were very courteous to other road users. Clearly not all Volvo drivers are the same.

Are you sure it wasn't a Rolls Royce? huh.gif

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Laying up for a year? Drive it into the garage, leave it in first, no handbrake, disconnect the battery, close the garage door and walk away. It will be fine. If you have power in the garage it would be a better idea to leave the battery connected and have one of those trickle chargers plugged in.

When coming back to it:

- Check the tyres aren't flat. If there are flat spots, they'll knock out in 10 miles or so.

- Check there are no pools of fluid under it.

- If it is an old car, then pull the king lead off the distributor and crank it until the oil pressure light goes out, re-attach, then start. If it is a modern car, just start it and rely on the finer tolerances of a modern engine to protect the bits at the top which will be dry until oil gets to them.

- Let it idle up to temperature, check that none of the hoses have split and are pissing water

- Drive it, but test the brakes several times in a safe place

- Don't thrash the nuts off it until you've put a fresh tank of juice in it.

Edit - if it is really cold, plan on the battery being flat when you get back to the car. If it is easy to remove, then take it with you and keep it charged. If not, then make sure you have some decent jump leads in the boot....

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The consensus of the advice I received was that petrol additives congealing and clogging stuff up was a greater risk than that of fuel system components drying out. I can't think of any way of avoiding that risk, unless you fill the fuel system with some sort of lubricant for the period of the lay-up, then drain it and put petrol back in.

I don't think that the fuel system/engine is the problem.It's running gear mainly.DO NOT leave the handbrake on! A week or two is enough to seize it on.Brake discs/pads will deteriorate quite quickly.Tyres need to be revolved a quarter of a turn every now and again.

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  • 258 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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