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

Can sitting unused cause damage to a car?

A friend of mine recently offered me an incredibly good deal on an extra car he has (since he was provided with a company car). It has been sitting mostly unused for almost a year, only driven 4 or 5 times in the year. Does sitting unused cause potential long term issues for the car that could be costly in the long run?

In general no. Myonce brand new 2004 Subaru WRX build date was 14 months before I purchased it with 22 miles. It has been trouble free.

My father only uses his 4runner now with 150k only 2-4 weeks/year for the last 10 years. No issues.

If it sat for just a year and was driven four or five times (somewhat spaced out?) in that year, then everything should still be okay.
As with any car, you should get it checked out by a mechanic if you are unable to do so yourself.
If you want this friend to remain a friend, you probably shouldn’t buy a car from him/her.

1 year shouldn’t be a problem, have a mechanic check it out and get the tank filled with fresh gas ASAP.

The circumstances you describe are not cause for concern. If the car had sat for several years it would be different, but less than a year is nothing to worry about.

Lots of cars sit on dealers lots for a year, and they are fine.

I wouldn’t worry about this short length of time at all. Three years might be cause for a small amount of concern but a year with occasional startups is not a problem.

I was given my Father-in-Law’s 93 Caprice in 2002. It had been sitting for nearly 3 years and driven only 400 miles during the entire time.

The serpentine belt and coolant needed changing (both were original). I also had the oil/filter and trans fluid and filter changed. Since the car was already 9 years old, I changed the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, and the air and fuel filters. I’m still driving the car with no issues.

At the least I would have all the fluids changed, coolant, oil, trans, brakes for a fresh start.

Ed B.