Car not being used


hi i have a chevrolet malibu thats going to be sitting around for a while

i want to know how long a car can sit without being used without affecting the car and if i should have someone drive it periodicaly

how often does it need to be used and for how long, it keep it in good working order?


Cars like to be driven. If possible I’d have somebody drive the car once a week for 30-60 minutes including highway speeds.

Could you give us some idea of how long?  A week or ten years?
  1. Protect from rodents and vandals.
  2. Disconnect battery. *
  3. Visit car wash and allow to dry before storage.
  4. Don?t use a car cover; it traps moisture.
  5. Don?t have someone drive it, unless they are going to drive it a good distance at least once a week. Long enough to get it fully warmed up plus.
  6. Fill the fuel tank
  7. Don?t leave the parking brake on. Leave it in gear or block the tyres.

If over one month

  1. Arrange for battery charging or a new battery on return. A charger made for this or a charger on a timer is good.
  2. Change the oil if it is due

If over three months

  1. Use fuel stabilizer when you fill the tank.
  2. Change oil anyway
  • It is best to remove the battery and bring it inside. Giving it a little charge every month and giving it a little charge every month is a great idea. Very few car thieves carry an assortment of batteries around with them so your car is a lot safer.


Just leave it be unless your going longer than a year.

The only precautions if storing more than 2 months is maybe disconnect the battery.

Having someone drive it around can lead to unpaid parking tickets and scuffs/dents. Personal experience on that one with a typically reliable family member.


i’m not sure how long it will have to be left… it will be inside a private garage so i’m not worried about thieves… i just wanted to know how long it could safely sit before it needed to be driven


Driving does little to help…One year is no problem. Disconnect the battery, pump up the tires and and add some “Stabil” to the gas tank. Longer than a year, you should consider selling it.


Up to about 6 months I’d just park it and not worry. Up to a year, disconnect the battery and add some stabilizer to the gas tank and top it off. Longer than that I’d remove the battery and set it up on a timed trickle charger. Change all the fluids for fresh when you get it out of storage, or before putting it in.

I have stored a car for 14 months and all I did was the fuel stabilizer and pulled the battery out. It was fine when I got back. Oh yeah, I put a car cover on it.


I’d add that you should seriously look around where you store it for signs of rodents. They can tear up wiring, build stinky nests in the seats and really ruin things. There are all sorts of home remedies to keep them out, like moth balls and pans of ammonia. Or a resident cat, outside the car. I’ve revived vehicles that have sat for years, and it’s surprisingly straightforward, but squirrels or mice can really make a mess.