Starting a Car That Has Been Sitting for Years

April 12, 2018 @ 1:19 pm
Car that has been sitting

Starting a Car That Has Been Sitting for Years

Do you have a car that has been sitting in the garage or somewhere on your property? Are you considering buying a car that hasn’t moved in years? First things first! Do not attempt to start a car that has been sitting that long, as it could cause a lot of damage. Before starting a car that has been dormant for a long time, there are a few important things you have to do.

Steps to take before starting a dormant vehicle

Before you put the key in the ignition and try to start a car that hasn’t been turned on in years, make sure you: 

  • Replace the engine oil with fresh, new oil
  • Change out the oil filter for a new one
  • Remove and replace the transmission fluid
  • Install a new battery
  • Flush the radiator and replace coolants
  • Replace the brake fluid
  • Add new power steering fluid
  • Pump out the old gas and replace it with fresh gas

After you’ve done all that, make sure you check under the hood, and carefully inspect all the wiring. Rodents often make their home in abandoned cars and chew through the wiring, which can be made worse when you turn the key in the ignition. You should also check for dirt and debris around the radiator, as too much grit can affect the lubrication of the system.

If the car has been sitting for years, chances are high that the fuel pump will need to be replaced, also. The drive belts must also be carefully checked for cracks because they do tend to dry out when they’ve been sitting. When you inspect these things, it’s best to err on the side of caution and replace anything that doesn’t look great. 

Then, you can check underneath the car for any possible gas, oil or transmission fluid leaks. The oil pan gaskets, transmission lines and gaskets should also be thoroughly inspected for any leaks, as gaskets can dry out and crack after sitting for years. If you’re worried the transmission pans or gas tank have holes or are rusting, you should obviously replace those, as well. 

Gas is only good for about 3 months, so always add new gas if the tank is in good shape. Once you have worked through these steps and replaced everything of concern, it is time to put that key in the ignition!

Start your engines

This may seem like work that will take considerable time and money, but if you are determined to get a car started after years of sitting, these are necessary steps. If you follow all the steps outlined above, chances are good that you will be able to get that car back on the road. Each step is crucial, however, so make sure to check all of the vehicle’s systems!