Can you really leave a car for 9 months "on blocks"?


I’m going overseas for 9 months and trying to figure out what to do with my great Subaru Outback (2000). Someone suggested I could drain all the fluids and leave it “on blocks” and it would be “like new” when I got back because, “Mostly when you leave cars for awhile and don’t run them the problem is condensed water getting in the

fluids, mainly in the oil & gas.” Is this true? Won’t the car have a lot of issues if it’s not driven for 9 months?


It would be better if someone you know could drive the car once a week for about an hour. Putting it on blocks is mainly so that the tires don’t get dry-rotted and start to crack, which wouldn’t be an issue if it can still be driven.


Nine months is nothing. No need for blocks or anything like that with radial tires. Fill the tank and use Stabil or Seafoam to keep the gas fresh. Change oil and make sure the fluids are up to par, put some clothes dryer sheets in the interior to discourage varmants, and a car cover is optional and may do more harm than good. Just depends whether you can store it in a garage or not. Last thing is you’ll need to pull the battery out and may have to just replace it when you get back. Should pop right off when you get back if there is no rodent damage but will take a little bit for the computer to relearn the engine settings.


I’d agree, change the oil and filter prior to layup.
Add gas stabilizer.

Only other item I might add is block off the intake and exhaust so vermin do not take up residence in the pipes, particularly the exhaust.
and hopefully they will not get in to the car and chew out the wiring.
apart from that, if you do the homework now, it should be no problem re-start on return.

Maybe fill it with gas so there is little volume for moisture laden air to gather in the tank.
If you wish, when you return, empty and refill, You can use teh old gas in the mower.

Alternatively have someone take it for a brisk 30 min drive every 2 weeks. Ideling on block is no good. Drive it properly or let it stopped.


use Stabil or Seafoam to keep the gas fresh.

Those are … Edited due to information from a higher authority. :slight_smile:


Nine months is not all that long. Filling the tank adding a gas stabilizer like Stabil, parking someplace safe and removing the battery, storing it someplace else (helps keep the battery alive and helps preventing someone from stealing the car.), canceling the collusion insurance, keep comprehensive, should be fine. I would not leave the parking brake on as they tend to rust on, but block one tyre to keep it from rolling. Pick somewhere safe to park it.

Someone suggested I could drain all the fluids

I would advice against this. Oil, coolant transmission fluid and brake fluid all work to protect your car, even when it is not driven. Removing them would increase the chance of damage. You might consider replacing one or more of those when you return if they are due for replacement. Remember that recommended maintenance requires replacement of fluids by miles or time.



9 months is a common stretch in Iraq or Afghanistan. My prayers are with you.

Generally when I am not driving a car for a while I will put the frame up on blocks and then support the suspension off the ground with blocks. This prevents the suspension from going bad from being extended and it keeps the tires off the ground.

Change the oils before you store the car and then again after you get back. Put a good trickle charger on the battery and it will be fine. You can use a gasoline stabilizer if you like, plenty of people do. I would store it inside, rent a storage garage if you can. When my brother was stationed on Attu we stored his Jeep in the garage for over a year. Talk to your insurance company and you can get a break on the insurance, storage only. Talk to your finance company too, let them know what is going on.

You don’t need people driving it around or starting it.

Critters can be a problem if you store it in a barn or outside. If this is a concern put some rat poison under the car. You can cover the tail pipe or whatever. Truth is, if rats want in bad enough they can chew in through almost anything.

What a buddy used to do was get a fifty five gallon drum. He cut the top off and replaced it with a piece of rubber slit in a cross. He filled it half up with water and put a piece of wood that could be used as a ramp. Then he hung some kind of bait over the top. Critters that got in went for the bait and drowned in the drum. It takes a lot of critters to fill half a drum. I don’t know how he got rid of them or how bad it smelled when he got back.

I never worried about critters. I always stored my cars and other people’s cars in “critter free” environments.

Be safe.


Seafoam got it’s name and was originally invented as a fuel stabilizer for boat engines when they were stored for the season. And in my opinion, Seafoam performs better as fuel stabilizer than Sta-Bil.



I’ll take your word on that.