CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

An unused vehicle

A dear friend, who is 89 years old, broke her leg about six years ago. Her 1988 Ford F-250 truck has been parked in her garage in Denver, Colorado since then. She has come to the realization that she probably will not drive any more and is thinking of selling the truck. What kinds of problems might be expected from having the vehicle sit so long without running?

The battery and fuel system top the agenda with brake hydraulic problems running behind that. Being inside in a dry climate helps so the tires and things of that nature may still be good; assuming it was good when stored.

There’s also the issue of exactly how much is she asking for this truck, how many miles on it, and the general condition.

It could turn out to be a relatively minor amount of work or one thing after the other.

That ? is like calling a Doctor and saying it hurts when I lift my arm, what is wrong.

Who the heck knows. Until someone goes out and inspects the vehicle there are any number of things that maybe wrong with it. Or there may be absolutely nothing wrong with it.

My first suggestion would be go out and try to turn it on and get it running.

If it starts up take it to a mechanic, if it does not Start Ask a mechanic to come look at it.

The important thing is to get the truck started, get the engine running. Almost surely it will need a new battery. Then put air in all the tires and take it out for a spin. (I assume the truck is properly registered and insured.)

If all goes well so far, clean it out and place your For Sale sign. If, however, you cannot get the truck to start you may have to have it towed to a shop. Be aware that any repair bill might be comparable to your final selling price. Your alternative is to advertise the truck for sale as-is, and let the new buyer handle any problems.

Do NOT start it until you get the fuel system drained and flushed. It’s been too long.

Texases is correct…Six year old gasoline is bad news…The entire fuel system should be drained and flushed before any starting attempts are made…A 1988 3/4 ton Ford uses yesterdays engine and emissions technology, a relic…Market value is low…That year may be carbureted or injected…Find out which it is. Injected models would be worth a few bucks more…But still…It’s the old push-rod 10MPG engine…But don’t give up hope…There are more than a few people who DESIRE these old trucks for there load hauling ability and they can fix them themselves…