1997 Honda Civic - Reactivation?

My elderly parents have a 1997 Honda Civi with 10K miles on it. This car has not been driven in the last 3+ years and has been in a Los Angeles family garage all this time. It did not have mechanical problems before. My parents like to give this car to my son, who goes to college in St. Louis, Missori. We like to drive it from LA to St. Louis and leave it in St. Louis for him for use around school. The car body is perfect, no rust. No prior mechanical problems. Most of the miles were accumulated from short neighbourhood errand running and 1000 - 2000 miles of highway miles. I live in Cleveland, OH, will travel to LA and like to be able to make sure this car is road ready before embarking on the trip from LA to St. Louis. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Your first concern is going to be the condition of the gasoline. After 3+ years the gas has gone bad and engine won’t start with bad gas. So you may be looking at draining the gas tank so the old stale gas can be replaced with fresh gas. Once you get the engine running, you’ll want to get the car inspected to make sure everything is a go for this long trip.


I don’t have a trustworthy neibourhood mechanic since I don’t live in LA. should I go to Honda dealership for checkup?

If you don’t know any local mechanics the Honda dealer is probably your best option.

In addition to the old gasoline I suggest spending the money to have the timing belt replaced. Regardless of mileage the belt is still 12 years old, and if it breaks the engine will suffer expensive internal damage.

The brake system also needs to be looked at carefully. You will have to spend some money getting things checked out, but if you take the time to do it before you try to drive the car you’ll be much better off in the long run.

A '97 Civic with low miles is potentially a great car, but after sitting for 3 years it needs a little maintenance and inspection.