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2 Year dead, want to awaken the beast

I have a 95 Chevy Silverado truck. It has been sitting on a lot for 2 years, without ever being started and driven around. The truck looks fantastic, but I can only assume will need major internal checks and fixes as it is in Alaska.

What do I need to check and how to know when it will be ready to start back up? I know the battery is dead and will need to be replaced. I am assuming to check the oil, radiator too… but need to know what to look for, etc.


Just check the tyre pressure (and the tyres, look for cracks in the sidewalls) then do an oil change after you get it started and have driven it a few days. During those first few days, take it easy, be alert to problems, like brakes transmission etc. If you like have your mechanic take a look at it.

Since many maintenance items have schedules based on X miles or X months, whichever comes first, you can bet a few of those X months are now past due.

My first car was a 1977 Cadillac. I live in New England and it was garaged it’s whole life, but it sat for about 3 years between when the previous owner parked it and I got it.

To start it off I replaced the starter and changed the oil, everything was fine.

However, after about 100 miles I had a brake line fail.

So check your brake lines! After inspecting them visually if you think they’re fine, take it out on a quiet road and make a few low speed panic stabs at the pedal to figure out if any of them have non-visible flaws :slight_smile: It’s much better to have the line fail when you’re checking it then when you’re trying to stop at a light and rear end a car :-/

Remove the gas cap and take a whiff of the gas. If it smells like gas then you should be good to go. If however the odor is more of a rancid/varnishy smell, you may be forced to drain the stale gas from the tank and putting in fresh gas.


Tester added what I should have included. Sorry I missed that part.

My experience with buying a car that had been sitting for a couple of years:

I purchased a 1980 New Yorker (last of the big boats with a 360 V8) in 1995 from the retired grandfather of a guy I worked with. I took a battery with me, and checked the oil and fluids before trying to start it. The oil looked kind of dirty, but not pitch black, the radiator was full, but the color of the coolant looked a little weak and dirty. The car had a little less than 1/2 tank of gas, if I remember right. I connected the battery and turned the key—the car actually started within about 15 seconds of cranking. It blew out a lot of blue smoke, then ran fine. I drove it home. Within a week, I had to replace the alternator. The belts and a couple of hoses looked a little beat, so I replaced them too. I changed the oil and flushed the coolant the day after I bought it. The fuel filter clogged after a few months too, and the car needed a brake job–pads were worn out. As I recall, I had to replace the radiator too–perhaps setting for so long with old coolant rotted it out. The transmission apparently had some internal seal that had dried out, because the car wouldn’t go into reverse on cold days until it warmed up. Eventually after a year or so of living with this, the problem went away. The car had a few quirks for the time I owned it–about 4 years, but overall was one of the most reliable cars I’d ever owned. The A/C even worked fine after being recharged. The only time it ever needed any serious work was when the timing chain jumped at around 185,000 miles. And it only did so after a long trip, when I parked in front of my girlfriend’s house. So it got bonus points for never leaving me stranded. I purchased it for $275 and sold it for $100 when I was done with it.

While this is more of a subjective account of one car, I’d say if you give the truck some TLC, it should be just fine. Your truck being in Alaska might be a good thing—rust and other decay processes progress faster in climates that are warm at least part of the year. If the truck was cold all the time, as long as nothing froze, it may be very well preserved.