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Car has been sitting for 8 years

I’m being given a car that has been sitting for 8 years. It ran fine when it was parked. What should I do in order to start it after all this time?

I’m not being rude, but after any vehicle that has been sitting and NOT periodically driven during that length of time will need everything looked at and and changed.

It’s a very long list.

This car (a Cimarron?) had better be very special to you, you’ll be spending quite a bit of money to get it running. It needs to be towed to a shop and have all fluids changed, fuel system drained, cleaned and checked, etc.

Exactly what year is this thing? A Cimarron is the Cadillac equivalent of a Chevy Citation; with the addition of fake wood and fancier badges of course.

Do it Daivd Rock style.

Drain the gas tank, put a new battery in it, refill it with fresh gas, fill the carb up with lots of gas, and crank and pump the gas until it starts.

If it doesn’t start, take your battery out, siphon out the fresh gas and have it towed off…It’s just not worth the effort…

Just to try to start it, you will need to empty the fuel tank, put fresh gas in it, install a new battery, and try to start it. Be sure to check the oil level before turning the key, of course. If it starts and runs, see if it will move. If it will, make sure the brakes work. You may then try driving it to a shop for an undercar inspection to find out about the probability of corrosion problems and dry-rotted bushings. Expect to have to replace most or all of the brake system as well. The mechanic can then evaluate the overall condition of the car and give you an idea if it can be made into a viable driver. If you do start driving it, monitor all fluid levels vigilantly. Leaks and oil burning are very likely after such a long time of inactivity for a car. Eight years is a long time for a car to sit and deteriorate. You will have your work cut out for you with this glorified Chevy Cavalier.

The Cimarron is actually a J-body, so it’s a rebadged Cavalier. The Citation was an X-body. The Citation was probably worse.

Even worse I’m afraid, it’s the equivalent of a 1st gen Chevy Cavalier. My boss bought one in 1981 or 1982 when it first came out.

Ed B.

Drain the tank, drain/refill the oil, cross your finger, pray, and put some fresh fuel in.

Turn the key. If it does not start after a while call the junkyard.

I think more people cruise this list than listen to the show!

The car belonged to a friend (now deceased) who received it from her mother (also now deceased). It’s mine if I want it. It ran fine when it was parked. I’m thinking fresh gas and oil, make sure the fluid levels are good, and see if it starts. If it does, I’ll drive it around gently.

I agree, no value. In fact, an insane neighbor slashed the tires on it.

Funky old car. I’ll see if it’ll start. If anyone else has any thoughts or ideas, I’d enjoy reading them.


What state are you in?

Hey hey…the Cavalier in 2004 was a damn fine car! Shameful comparing it to the awful Cimaron, Cinamon or what ever the name is…The cav is prettier too. Just my op since my Cav is getting slammed here in comparisons.

If the car is in decent shape appearance wise and you can do the dinking around with it yourself then it’s certainly worth a shot for a free car.

The battery, engine oil/filter, and fuel system will be your immediate concerns. Get as much of the old gas out as possible and there’s a strong possibility that you may have to go into the carburetor.

Once up and running then you can chip away at the other stuff as needed.

When my wife’s father died, the oil Pontiac was in the back yard, and had been there for about 18 years as far as I could determine. I understand it was jumped, and started and was driven to its new home.

I too have seen cases like Joseph’s above.

Though I still don’t understand why some cars, with the old carburetors, have fuel that turns to an aged-rock-hard-varnish, while others start right up after the stale fuel has been flushed out.

I’ve had cars sitting alot longer than that, and it depends on if it was a dry area, if there’s moisture attacking any road salt if you’re in a rust-belt region. Every case is different, with no rhyme or reason!

Are you mechanically inclined? If not, have it towed to a mechanic and have it evaluated for safety and revival. If you are prepared to wrench around with this freebie . . . first thing I would do is change the oil/filter and gasoline. Pull the spark plugs and squirt motor oil in the cylinder before the oil change . . . a few good squirts will be ok. Get a wrench and turn the crankshaft pulley a few times . . . all this time your oil is draining and so is the gas from the tank. Clean and re-gap the plugs and reinstall them. Put on the new filter and re-fill with oil. Put in 5 fresh gallons of gasoline. Get a battery (from another vehicle or buy a replacement) and charge it, then crank the engine. If you get it running, post back. There’s a lot of safety issues you should address before driving it. Rocketman

Thanks, Rocket. Yes, I am mechanically more than inclined. And perhaps certifiably insane for even toying with this car. I love quirky old cars. According to Wikipedia, only about 6,500 Cavaliers got the Cadillac badge. And this one has RED pleather seats.

The car has been in a yard, mostly in shade, near Oakland, California. Mild weather and no salt. Car came from Oregon, I believe.

Even if I can get it running, there’s a huge registration issue because there’s no title and anyone who might have any claim to it is deceased and the car is from out of state.

Am I insane?

EVERYONE: Thank you for your interest!