Best things to do for a car sitting

So no problem leaving it there? Then pull the coil wire and walk away.

I would put fuel stabilizer in the tank and if the oil looks dirty I would change it; Changing the oil every 3 months on a car that is not driven is overkill in my opinion, I wouldn’t worry about it again for 2 years. I would remove the battery and store it in the basement.

A guy down the street is an “anal retentionist”. He had inherited a 1973 Volvo from his aunt, and since he seldom drives, it sat in his driveway for over 20 years. He renewed the plates yearly so we could not phone the police and report an “abandoned vehicle”. It ended up as an unsightly heap of rust and was finally sold for scrap.

He has a double garage, but right now he has a 1976 VW Rabbit, inherited from his late father, sitting in it. At least it’s hidden from view. I gently tried to tell him that cars deteriorate just sitting there, but he thinks it will be worth a fortune as a classic. He even put synthetic oil in the crankcase.

His front yard looks OK since he has a landscaper come in and keep the place tidy. He has a number of allergies and can’t work outside.

Forget the tarp…get a car cover.

A tarp will flap in the wind no matter how tight you snug it down. That flapping will wear the paint right off some spots pretty quick.

I don’t know what your dads condition is, but if possible a better choice would be to make a deal with dad that he only drives with you riding along.
Even if it’s just around the neighborhood, at least it will make him feel a little less “old and inept”. You with one hand on the e-brake lever and ready to turn the key off if need be and grab the wheel.
If the neighborhood is too busy…agree to take him out on the back roads and let him drive a bit.

It has to be a useless feeling, not being able to do something that he’s done for a half century.


Any chance that the dad would agree to a donation or charity that has special meaning to him? Maybe something that ties into whatever feelings he has for the car?
As others have said, basic transportation can change a person’s life. Maybe the dad would be willing to help veterans or church or families of kids with cancer or something else?

No chance of donating it, DAD doesn’t give stuff up, see’s a future in it or something. Dad also can’t be behind the wheel, as zero reaction time and is in decling health at 97 years old. So if I get the fuel oil stuff should I be okay?

No, there are many other ways a sitting car can deteriorate. The tires, the battery, any rubber part, the oil, all trouble. You may be OK for a year, maybe two, but after that, it’s on that downward slide towards the junk yard.

My guess is that unless passes soon that is where the car is headed as he just won’t give it up and feels there is no reason to sell, so we do our best to keep it in as good as shape as possible.

The car isn’t worth much. KBB shows it’s worth around $1100 (tops) if you sell it privately and half of that if you trade it in.

Given your father won’t sell it, just let it sit. Other than a strong dose of fuel stabilizer, I wouldn’t invest money in keeping it running, as it may not be worth it.

it already a 20 year old car now.

I’d just put some fuel stabilizer in it, and change the oil twice a year.

Start it at least twice a month and if possible drive it a short distance…even up and down the driveway will help. Use the brakes enough to get the rust off, and be sure to engage the parking brake a few times to keep the cables free.

If it’s in a garage that would help and getting a trickle charger or battery maintainer will help.

Tires and other rubber parts will deteriorate no matter what you do just because of it’s age.


In it’s condition I would value it at around $300-400 tops at best. It runs and would get you around town okay but would not take it up on the interstate…

Given that, I’d go the Stabil (2X dose, that’s what they recommend for long term storage), fill it up with a name brand gas (might help a little, who knows?), park it, pull and store the battery, and you’re done. Cancel the insurance, but I might keep it registered to simplify transfer later on, if it’s not big $$.

Planning on reupping plates, insurance was canceled months ago. Why pull the battery?

Because the car’s electronics (If there is any) plus radio, plus old wiring, will discharge the battery slowly, it will last a few weeks perhaps. It will last longer off the car.

Or put a trickle charger on it in the car, a cheap 1 amp one would do.

As someone said, at least drive it up and down the driveway a few times a month, but that will not be enough to recharge the battery, so you need that charger.

I’d pull the battery both to preserve it, and to guarantee nobody drives the car.

A semi-hoarder eh ?
I save a lot of stuff too.
Because it’s not bad enough to be trash…it’s good enough to be used again by someone, somewhere.
If only I could turn some of it into cash …I WOULD indeed part with it.
Some I give to Goodwill, Some to Boys And Girls Club.

I still think dad might just react to the cash for some of his stuff…not just dumping it and giving it away.

Cash didn’t work, Was shown $600 and said no thankyou, not interested in selling…

In California you can register the car as “Non-operate” instead of renewing the tags. It costs $20, once, and it’s good forever. When you go to sell it there are no penalties for failure to renew registration. You can drop the insurance completely. In “non-op” status you can not drive it on the street at all. If you can do something like that, I strongly encourage you to do it. Even if you are just waiting for the right moment to get rid of the car, it’s much easier to sell if it’s in “non-op” status than if the registration is lapsed and there are penalties to get it up to date. I’ve seen vehicles that sat for years expired that cost in excess of $500 to re-register.

Here in Indy it’s only $43 to register car’s plate and that way in case of an emergency we have a car that would get us to point B if needed.

Agree with the others but I would not let the plates expire and keep insurance on it-at least liability and comprehensive. Not only will expired plate cause a problem when it is time to sell, there are different city ordinances concerning cars with expired plates. You don’t have to mount the plates but at least keep them up.