Q: How to start a car that's been sitting around & tips for long-term storage

asked by on

I have a vehicle that has been sitting for a few weeks. What should I do before starting it up? What can I do to prepare a car for future prolonged storage?

It’s always a good idea to do a walk-around inspection of your vehicle before starting it, especially if it’s been sitting for some time. Items to check are tire pressure and oil levels. Look also under the hood to be sure some critter didn’t make your engine bay its new home.

If those all check out, the last thing to check is the battery. Occasionally a car alarm or a car computer can drain the battery over an extended period of time. One sure way to see if your battery is good or bad is to start up the car. If it starts up, great! Let it warm up for a few minutes and listen for any abnormal noises.

In the future, if you plan on leaving your car parked for an extended period of time, I recommend taking the following steps:

  • Keep it in a covered garage to avoid heat damage to the paint and tires. If that isn’t an option, a car cover provides some protection as well.

  • Keep the gas tank full to prevent moisture from building up in the tank.

  • Have an inexpensive appliance known as a “trickle charger” connected to your battery to guarantee that your car will start when you’re ready to resume driving it.

If your vehicle has sat for one year or more, I would recommend having a qualified mechanic perform a full inspection to ensure your car is ready for the road.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. How to start a car that's been sitting around & tips for long-term storage

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: What does the Service Airbag message mean?

The Service Airbag message can appear on the driver information center (DIC). The DIC displays this alert when there is an issue with the airbag system. You should have the airbag system fixed as soon as possible.

Q: Q: Car keeps dying

Hello. We will be happy to assist you. To find the cause of your drain a parasitic draw test must be performed. A parasitic draw test is performed by disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery and hooking a multimeter...

Q: Where are the LATCH lower anchors?

Your rear seats have four lower anchors that can be used with any LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child restraint system. The lower anchors are located on each side of the rear outboard seats, where the seat cushion...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.