99 Corolla - undriven for 1-2yrs - how would you "revive" it?


I was given a 1999 Corolla with 60,000 miles. It has a 5-spd manual transmission and a 4-cyl, 1.8L engine. It has been kept outside in Maryland undriven for at least 1 year (maybe 2) w/o any storage prep. Right now the battery is dead. I’m taking it to a mechanic to be “revived”. I’ve been gathering info on what to have checked/replaced etc.

So far:

1) change oil/filter

2) siphon old gas/add new gas & fuel system cleaner

3) replace belts & hoses

4) check(replace?) fluids:

coolant/transmission/power st/transmission

5) charge battery

6) check tires

before starting:

7) remove spark-plug wires, squirt some oil into each cylinder and crank engine 20-30 secs to get the oil circulating thru engine

test drive:

8 ) test breaks

9) test clutch

10) test wipers

11) test electrics

12) test radio Cool

Is there anything else that you would do if this were your car? How much do you think all this checking and replacing should cost?

I would sincerely appreciate any advise/comments. I don’t have any mechanical know-how but I also don’t want to be taken in due to inexperience.



While #5 is being done, do #4 (check only), 6 and 7.

Once it’s running you can assess the rest. I would not bother with 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 right away. Drive carefully, using the brakes frequently at low speeds and once you are sure they work increase speed and use them harder. They will be rusty but this will clear off.


Toyota requires you to change oil every 6 months OR 5K miles whatever comes first. This is because the anti-corrosion properties of the additives in the oil wear out over time and why synthetic oil like Mobil 1 is actually the best available and has a longer change intervel.
So, #1 and #2 is quite important, #3 - inspect the belts by turning them inside out and looking for cracks in the rubber, inspect the hoses by looking for bulbous places where they have swelled up and are getting ready to break.

#10 change the wiper blades, being able to see when it rains is essential.

These type of preventitive maintenance items are generally a good investment if you want to drive your car worry and problem free . . .

Inspect the brakes, thickness of brake pad and shoe lining, are the rotors or drums glazed or shiny, are there hard spots in the drums or rotors . . .


Get an estimate from a dealer and a couple of independant shops that specialize in Toyotas.

Get a parts list togther, and check with the dealer and with a NAPA parts store for comparative pricing on parts. You CAN bring the parts with you and just shop for competent labor to do the work.

Also, today, the dealers have special machines that did not exist several years ago. For example, I bought a 1999 Sienna with over 190K miles on it. It had been regularly serviced by the previous owner, but I hired one of the Toyota mechanics to flush out the engine oil and change it with the filter, the engine coolant system and replace the coolant, the automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid system and check the air conditioning system for leaks. The power steering system was VERY dirty, and required more than one flush to get it clean. The auto trans needed a new filter and the fluid was due for a flush.

Now with 209K miles on it, it still runs like NEW. this is NOT unusual for a Toyota that is taken care of!