2.2.23 Car Talk Column: Car off-road during Covid, owner's motivation?

Interesting column this week. Reader says their car has been in a field sitting unused during Covid, and now wants to return it to the road. Wondering if the Car Talk staff know the reader’s motivation for taking the car off the road during Covid?

That was a letter to the Cartalk column . So how would the staff know why the person parked the vehicle .

Motivation is hard to tell but it may have been coincidental. Probably looked for a car mask but could only get a bra.

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I’m wondering if the motivation is that owner didn’t want to risk going into a possibly Covid-infested DMV indoor office during Covid, so decided to just put the car out to pasture for the time being. Use another car, etc. Now Covid is at least a little more under control, so owner wanting to use the car again. .

There was a lot less driving and less demand for gasoline during covid especially before vaccines: more vehicles sitting unused.

At the same time, an uptick in speeding and reckless driving. One more reason to stay home!

Yes, another possible motivation might have been the owner was told by employer to work from home, so didn’t need that car. Now employer may be wanting everybody to come back to office.

I am curious. It would be interesting for the staff to reach out to the individual. Number one question from me—why a field. Literally putting a car out to pasture.

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The letter stated the car was parked on a “back lot three years ago”; George put the car in a pasture.
Many people reduce their use of vehicles when Covid began, they only needed one car.

No internet service down on the farm? Why not renew the registration online?

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Does anyone really care what this anonymous persons motivation was. I surely don’t. They had their reasons, end of story.


The engine hasn’t been started in three years. Ray’s reply was that if the mechanic wanted to be ultra-safe, he could remove the spark plugs, add a squirt of oil and rotate the engine by hand. Next replace the battery, start the engine and road test. Last, perform a mechanical inspection.

On this message board people are told that if the car has been parked for more than a year, the fuel tank should be drained, and fuel filter replaced. Replace filters all rubber parts, hoses and belts. Replace all fluids including brake fluid and brake hoses. Then for a 3-hour labor bonus, a compression test. Sounds like a $5000 visit to the shop.

If it were mine, sitting for 2-3 years, I would disable the ignition system and turn the engine over on the starter motor for maybe 10 seconds and repeat this a couple or few times. Purposes: to get the oil circulating, also to get fuel and fuel pressure up to the engine (the key dance.)

Then hook up the ignition, start it up, and drive gently, testing the brakes a few times, and then drive for a few miles, letting it warm up fully and using the brakes increasingly hard if they have been working OK.

COVID19 hit, and the vehicles owner was, like most of us, stuck at home for a spell. Work was transferred to home, and home delivery of all aspects of life became the norm. As such, vehicle owner (henceforth VO,) put his car in the field so VO’s dog (henceforth VOD,) could use it to round up the cattle each day.
While this is a great plan, and good use of the Vehicle Owners Car (henceforth VOC,) during the aforementioned downtime, VO forgot that VOD was not licensed, and thus VOD refused to drive VOC for fear of being caught and sent to the pound.
Distraught by this, and with license offices being closed, VO had to sell all of his cattle, but at a cost that was much less that what pre-COVD cattle market was, so VO lost a lot of money. VO also tried to sell VOC and VOD, but no one else was driving, and no one was interested in purchasing an unlicensed VOD. This extra stress caused VO to fall into poor health and while VO survived COVID, VO barely survived the disrespectful VOD not wanting to drive the VO’s now POC VOC.
So you see, @George_San_Jose1 (henceforth OP,) VO’s motivation was not to park the car for 3 years- that was an unintended consequence of VO’s VOD not driving VOC, and the impending lack of cattle.
on the bright side, my burgers last night were delicious.

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Privately Owed Cattle?
Now VO has flu in VO’s, VOCC—VO Chicken Coop.

Why does a chicken coop have two doors?

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Emergency exit

No, if it had four doors, it would be a sedan🤪