'91 Camaro Z28, Sat in driveway for year, what should I do?

Hey everyone,

I have a 1991 Camaro Z28. This is not our everyday car… I inherited it after my mother passed away. I rarely have occasion to drive it, and after moving to NH… found it needed a new exhaust in order to pass inspection.

Since then (about 1.5 yrs), the car has been started only a couple times and never driven more than around the block (maybe once). My Dad and I want to put some money into the car to get it running again. But, aside from the new exhaust… I’m not sure what we should do first.

I’m not handy with cars, so we want to make sure our dollar goes to the right things when we take it to the shop. Does anyone have suggestions on what type of service we should have done. I’m sure it needs an oil change, etc… but I don’t know what other kinds of issues might arise from having a car sit in disuse for so long (well… one thing, the battery is dead…, but that’s a no brainer). Is it really a matter of just taking it in and asking them to get it a good once-over and rack up a list of what needs to be fixed? I’m worried that that will spell gold-mine for the mechanic and he’ll end up milking us for everything he can think of.

Thanks for your help!

I would put a battery in it and change the oil, check the fluid levels, and use it for an around-town only car for a few weeks to see if anything acts up.

It is probably due to have ALL its fluids changed: brake fluid, antifreeze, transmission oil, rear end oil. However, you don’t have to do them all right now. Just plan on doing them some time soon.

Expect to need to replace some rubber parts: Wipers, belts, perhaps oil seals. Everything is 17 years old so the rubber is a little stiff. Sitting in one position for a year, it might not take any other shape any more. Don’t be surprised or alarmed if it drips a little oil.

Step 1: change the oil, perform a basica tune-up (new plugs, rotor, wires), flush and recore radiator, new fuel filter, new PCV valve, new air filter, check transmission fluid, change if it’s dark in color or smeell burnt. Check the belts and tires for signs of dry rot .Drive it around the block and see if the brakes are functioning correctly. Check the AC to see if it blows cold, if it doesn’t it’s leaking R12 and you may want covert it over to R134a.

Step 2 (optional) : grow a sweet mullet and procure a REO Speedwagon, Night Ranger or Winger tape.

That’s quite the laundry list you have there. Are you seriously suggesting they recore the radiator without even knowing what kind of state it’s in?

One year sitting is no big deal assuming it was in decent shape when it was parked. I have multiple cars sitting 6-8 months routinely. I wouldn’t change any of the fluids to start with. I’d replace the battery, check the fluids, air up the tires if necessary, do some test stops in the driveway to make sure the brake system doesn’t leak and head to the gas station for some fresh gas to mix with the stale stuff in the tank. Then drive it locally and see if anything crops up.

If you don’t want to do all that what the posters say, you can drop it off in my driveway. (grin)

Thanks for the advice… I appreciate it. Also forgot to mention, there are less than 50K miles on it. You all at least seem to agree in part… check the usual maintenance suspects and then get it started and go from there. I was worried there might be some larger things I would have to do to just get to that point. So, guess we’ll just have to see what happens when we fire it up!

Pump the tires up, check all the fluids. Install a fresh battery. How much GAS is in the tank?? Gas can degrade in a year, at least add 5 or 10 gallons of fresh fuel and start it up! if the oil looks dirty, change it or have it changed…have a shop give the car a complete “safety inspection.”

Absolutely, the gas. Do all of the above and get the old gas out and renew it. Since this car is rarely driven, put STABIL in the NEW gas that may be in the tank for the next year. I’ve “been there, done that” with my 79 chevy ( 70,000 miles )that I drive maybe twice a year, the gas is two years between fill-ups and old gas was ALL of it’s problems in the past. STABIL keeps it useable for the whole two tanks worth.

Well if you want to do it right, that’s what I would do. Just depends on how thorough the OP wants to be. I change the plugs, rotor, points, filters, and oil every spring on the TR6. It’s probably overkill, but Triumphs aren’t celebrated for their reliability. Plus it keeps me occupied for few hours.

Yeah, I see your point on most of it, it’s the replacing the rad part that got me. I haven’t been able to recore a rad, economically, for quite a few years. So few shops doing that anymore, it’s a throw away mentality plus the rads have mostly plastic tanks now anyway. I wouldn’t choose to do that proactively but would wait for some indication that it needed being done. The coolant is probably past its prime and it would benefit from a change. It’s just that, on unknown quantities, I want to be sure it doesn’t need major work before I invest anything into it. Once it proved to be OK, then I might start the pampering process…