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

Car about to rest for 18 months

I am going on a international assignment and have to leave my 2010 Lexus RX 350 not driven for 18 months.

I have had a very hard time selling the car for about one month, and maybe because I paid too much on it (had for one year), I am looking at losing a lot of money if I sell it now.

Alternatively, I am considering parking the car at my friend’s place (no garage, no insurance, no registration etc), and I am asking for a favor to drive the car once a month in the subdivision for about 10 minutes and leave it on for 30 minutes or so.

Should I do something additionally or differently? What kind of damages should I be expecting after 18 months?

Please help me!

Fuel stabilizer in the gas.
Cover the tires to protect against UV damage and sun shades front and rear windows.
Solar trickle charger to keep the battery up.

My 79 is parked 9 moths of every year and driven…maybe…twice in between. The oil change might get done once every two years and it will soon be two years since the last gas was put in.
Right now, today , it will fire right up and off to Home Depot or furniture store we go.
Tire covers was one big thing I missed a few years back and then it hit me…after the left front blew…PARKED !

Good ideas above. Here’s something else to consider. The tires can develop flat spots. Maybe ask your friend to move it once a month so the tires aren’t resting on the same spot the duration.

I would hook up a smart battery maintainer, use a double dose of fuel stabilizer when filling the tank, and cover the car with a good car cover.

Driving it around the complex is a waste of time and gas.

Definitely Cover the tires and car, put it up on blocks or stands so tires don’t touch the ground and run stabilizer through the motor and fog the motor and remove the battery. Also, make sure you take some pest control measures as well. Personally, I would make sure you run synthetic oil if you haven’t already as well. Personally too, I would
Rent a storage facility and store it inside. There is no sense in letting a car sit un used for 18 months and not have it pristine when your use again. Any problems or damage or wear you incur makes storing it “not worthwhile”. With all due respect, don’t do things like not insuring it for damage during storage. You want the car to hold it’s value and it may not if you have to pay for any storage damage. It’s expensive owning cars whether you use them or not if you want them to maintain their value.

Insurance is probably not necessary…Disconnect the battery. It will need to be charged for an hour or so every 2 months one way or another…Clean the interior. Wash and wax the exterior. A quality cover is a good idea…Be sure it fits properly so it can’t flap in the wind…

Are you making payments on this car??

So would drive it once a month in the community make any difference? I am making car payments and dont really want to get insurance.

It’s better off left undriven…If your are making payments, the finance company will not allow you to drop the insurance, they will demand that full coverage insurance be maintained…

Sell the car and take the hit NOW instead of spreading out the pain over the next 2 years…Your Luxury Car has become a Money Pit…

You might try this…Take the vehicle to a Lexus dealer and try to trade it down for a car you can OWN outright…Then store or sell this car…That way you get out of this with no cash out of your pocket. But this will still be a very expensive lesson…Or you could just walk away from it but you will destroy your credit rating and they will hound you for years…

I have to disagree with those that say that driving it around for a short trip once a month is not needed.
In 18 months, the bearings may sieze up on a wheel, a ball joint may freezer up or a tie rod end.
any moving part on the suspension system could become rusted enough to freeze up.
Then the brake disc’s will be total rust and the calipers may sieze up. Or the caliper slides will freeze.

I’d ask my friend to take it for a short drive around the subdivision being sure to make laft and right turns…not just one way, and a lot of braking along the way. At least everything will get a chance to see a little grease once a month.
Also I’d take it in for a lube job before parking it…if there are any lube points to be found.
Stable in the gas would be good and a cover and sun shields too, along with a trickle charger.


No insurance and no registration AND you’d ask them to drive it around a little bit?!
At b est, no cops see it being driven. At worst, your buddy is caught driving an unregistered, uninsured vehicle and promptly thrown in jail while the car goes to the impound lot…

If the tires are the original tires, who cares if they develop a flat spot, it’ll be time to change them when you get back, anyways.

Personally I would try to sell it to CARMAX or the dealer I bought it from and take the hit. At least you would not have insurance and registration expenses. Also you will not have to worry about hail damage or vandals or someone stealing the wheels.

could you rent it to some one? or loan it?

You need to keep insurance and update the registration. Hail damage, theft, tree falls on it, stolen and someone kills someone with it, fire, etc. Don’t make your friend responsible for an uninsured car for heaven’s sake and you can still be liable. I stored my BILs car while they were in Norway and I was nervous as heck that something would happen to it under my watch. Also, no garage which means it’ll be outside. Many many places will not allow an unregistered car just parked forever. I’d agree anyway its not a bad idea to run it around once in a while. Keeping the battery charged, the tires up, and the rodents out are the main concerns, plus the neighbors.

and maybe because I paid too much on it (had for one year), I am looking at losing a lot of money if I sell it now.

First off, sunk costs are sunk costs. What you paid for the car, at this point, is irrelevant, and is the source of a lot of fiscally unsound decisions. If it was the other way around, you wouldn’t be saying, “I don’t really care what I get for the car, because I got it for free,” would you?

Now, with that out of the way…my problem with your “I’m gonna drop insurance, store it rent-free at my buddy’s house, and have him illegally drive it around from time to time…” is that you’re imposing heavily on your friendship. Assuming he’s still your friend after, you’ll owe him something big, that will have some (possibly huge) cost.

OTOH, if you say, “Hey, I’m leaving town…here’s a free car to use!” You’re doing HIM a favor. You can work out the insurance cost split somehow.

(Of course, you really should just sell the darn thing and resign yourself to losing money…you lost that money when you paid too much, not when you sell it for FMV.)

You really can’t expect him yo drive it without insurance, but you should talk to your insurance agent. It might cost much for liability only if it is going to be driven that little. As for leaving it parked in the open without other kinds of insurance, that depends on what you’re comfortable with. It wouldn’t bother me that much, as long as the place I was parking it was in a decent neighborhood and not too obvious.

If you do sell it, you should be able to buy something similar for the money you get. You lose the sales tax and any licensing fees when you buy the replacement, but if you’re lucky that money will have been sensibly invested and grown a bit in 18 months. Now, just for curiosity, how did you pay too much for it? Do you mean you didn’t get a good deal on a Lexus RX, or that you should have been buying something cheaper, like a Highlander or Venza, maybe, or an Acura RDX? Selling the RX lets you make a better choice next time, and lets you work harder at getting a good price, though you will have paid dearly for this lesson in car buying. It’s very easy to get sold on the sizzle, when the steak is pretty much the same. In the case of the RX, it’s one of the many cars/crossovers loosely related to the Camry. As are the Highlander and Venza (it’s closest).

Cars don’t do well sitting outside for extended periods. Store them inside, out if the elements and they can have an indefinite storage life. That’s why I would sell the car regardless unless you can"sublet" to your friend and let him use it as his car. Unlike wives and girl friends, just move on if you have to spend a year and half apart, unused. You insurance an unused car with your home policy and you are making a mistake if either your friend or you don’t have it insured…

Couldn’t you find someone like a farmer that has room in a machine shed or big pole barn that could store it out of the elements. This would lessen the effects of parts rusting/ seizing up, and there could be little chance of any body damage if it was parked in a corner…away from his normal traffic thru the barn.
1.Put a cover on it, and a bottle of stable in the gas tank.
2. leave an open box of mothballs in a plastic bucket(rodents hate mothballs) on the front floor. 3. Have the guy keep a trickle charger on it, and start it once a month for 30 minutes.
4. Have him add mothballs when needed.

No insurance & registration.


I’m going to go against the grain and suggest you keep the car. Keep it insured and registered, but you might call your finance company to find out the minimum required coverage and lower your coverage to that level.

Yes, sunk costs are sunk costs, but if you want a comparable car, you’re going to take a hit now when you sell it and take another hit when you buy a new one when you come back.

If you store the car correctly, when you get back, you’ll have a good car that can be driven right away and you’ll be 18 months closer to paying it off.

Correct me but, you will be making payments for 18 months on a car you don’t use ? There is no way you will not be in a loose/loose situation. Sell the car ASAP and pay off your loan. Then, save money over that time and buy a more suitable car in your price range. Maybe it’s just me, but I would never continue paying out money. That boggles my little mind ;)))), which is easy to do.

@dagosa, I think the OP owes more than the car is worth, so if he sells it now, he would still have to make make car payments while he is out of the country, yet he would have no car to drive when he comes home.

I’m afraid there is no way to win in this scenario, and all the choices are the lesser of evils.