A dormant cadillac


My aunt has recently decided to get rid of an inherited automobile, which I am trying to decide whether to take or not. It has been sitting in a garage for over a year and has not been started nor driven in quite some time. It is a 1997 Cadillac DeVille, 32 valve, V8, MINT condition with only 28K miles on it!! I am told that the car is practically ruined because it has been sitting so long. Aside from a new battery, what will this car most likely need to get up and running again? Any advice before I have it towed to a mechanic?

A year is not that long and IMHO is nowhere near “ruined” or even slightly damaged.
If it were mine, I would add some fresh gas, an additive like SeaFoam or Berryman B-12 to the fuel tank, a new battery, and see if it starts right then and there without towing it anywhere. You may not need a mechanic on this one at all.
It may run a bit ragged at first but should clear itself up pretty quickly.

Sounds like a peach of car to me with only 28k miles, garaged, and only sitting for a year or over. Go for it I say.

“I am told that the car is practically ruined because it has been sitting so long.”

Well if it had been five or ten years maybe. At one year, you might be able to hop in and drive off.

I would not be surprised if the battery needs a re-charge or if it was marginal before it may need to be replaced. The gas is old, but not old enough to worry too much about. If you get it started you should be fine.

I would change the oil and do some basic maintenance on it. Remember that most maintenance has both a minimum miles and time. So while it may have only been 2,000 miles since the last oil change, time would mean it needs it now. Take a look at the tyres, they may be old and may need replacement due to age (look for cracks in the sidewall for example.

I don’t know if this engine has a timing belt, but if it does then it likely will need to be replaced, again check age and miles.

There is no reason to run from this one.

Agree with previous posters. I would also very carefully check all the belts; they deteriorate with age as well as use. You will probably also need new windshield wiper blades. All said, it should not cost you much to get this car in top shape. Good Luck!

I agree with everyone else. I would drain or siphon out the gas tank, fill it with fresh gas and seafoam or something like it. Charge the battery, check the belts, hoses, tires. See if it starts. Sounds like a peach of a car, a real find.

It’s on it’s last legs.

You can drop it off in my driveway.

The age of the gasoline will determine how much work needs to be done. Modern gasoline can degrade fairly quickly, but if it’s less than 2 years old, I would siphon out as much as you can, add some fresh gas, a new battery, pump up the tires and it should fire up and be fine. You might check the air cleaner box for rodent nests, it’s a favorite spot…

That is a perfect vehicle. As other people have pointed out you should not have to do any thing except add some new gas. I would also put a container of HEET ( or similar) product in to remove the moisture from the tank. Definitely change the oil and the filter. Check Brakes, maybe have the brake oil drained and replaced. Grease the door hinges, locks, and the boot locking mechanism. Check accelerator make sure it is not very hard to press. May need to clean leaves or other junk out of cabin air filteration, watch for rodents and or snakes. In the worst case scenario, you might have to change belts but thats about it.
You get a safe comfortable boat of a car which will last you for a long time. The battery is hard to find on this vehicle, I dont think it is in the Hood, but below the passenger seat. Check the owner’s manual.
PS: Look around the hood carefully to see if any rats were chewing on wires etc.

You might also notice flat spots at the bottom of the tires from setting a year. Whatever the car requires for tire pressure should be checked. Specs are usually on one of the door pillars or I’ve also seen them in the glove box cover. Owner’s manual will tell you, also, along with types and weights of engine oil and tranny fluid, etc. Then put in an extra 6 lbs. of air over the recommended pressure. Then reduce that pressure to what the manufacturer recommends. This usually takes the flat spots out enough without bursting the tires. You may still feel the flat spots for a short while but they should go away in 100 miles or so. Advice to all. If you are storing a car for 3 months or more, jack the car up and set it on jack stands or solid blocks of wood. This keeps tires from developing those flat spots. Fresh oil & filter, check tires, put in a new battery (if the existing battery is over 4 years old, it’ll need replacement anyway), check under the hood for sure, put new, fresh fuel in with a bottle of HEET or other “dry gas”, start 'er up. Listen for funny sounds. Pump the brakes once or twice, while still ‘standing’, with foot on brakes, run the shifter slowly through each gear. That’ll get the tranny fluid working all the way through the tranny. Back it out of the garage, let run to close to operating temp. With a helper, try all of the lights and check that they all work. Shut everything down and shut the engine off. Wait a minute or so. Go around the car and take peeks underneath. Check for any leaks. The tranny’s oil pan seal doesn’t usually dry out in just a year, but just in case, check it out. No leaks? Check other fluid levels with engine shut off. Start it up again and check the tranny fluid level. It should be checked hot. Owner’s manual will tell you in what gear it should be in . Newer vehicles typically are checked in PARK but always apply the emergency brake whenever checking anything with the engine running. Don’t forget to check the windshield wiper fluid. If O.K., operate the windshield wiper fluid and check the wipers. You might need new blades, but then again, it was in a garage, so maybe not. Denatured alcohol rubbed the lenghth of the blades usually cleans 'em up. Regular household rubbing alcohol leaves a slight residue on the blades so denatured alcohol is preferred. A good, thorough cleaning inside and out, incl. the trunk, and you should be good to go in one-heck-of-a-deal vehicle! Sure, some people might be telling you that it’s “ruined”. Don’t get the vehicle and see which one of those people show up to buy it out from under you.

Modern tires don’t develop “flat spots” as long as they are inflated. A few tire brands might still use a nylon cap ply to help bond the belts, but any “flat spot” will quickly smooth out…Putting a car “up on blocks” is not necessary for storage periods shorter than 3 years…

I think that Caddyman might know a little bit about Cadillacs, eh? I stand corrected about setting a stored vehicle on blocks or stands. I, personally, still do it because I’m in the middle of the Rockies and my stored vehicles are usually outdoors. But that’s just my personal preference.