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Car sitting idle for 6 months - Check Engine light - HELP

I have a Holden Commodore VE Wagon. (Australian Car) so I can’t select the make/model.

The car has been sitting idle for about 6 months as I’m trying to sell it and have had it sitting on public land. I’ve finally got someone going to come and look at it tomorrow, so I went and checked it today and the check engine light has come on.

I took it for a little 5 minute drive around a few blocks but it didn’t seem to help.

I’m not normally a “car guy” so if you have a solution, please let me know in layman’s terms. :slight_smile:

I don’t want the engine light on when the guy comes and looks at it, so I’ve only got a day and I don’t have time to take it to a mechanic. Can anyone give me some advice for getting that light off? It all seems to run alright. It idled a bit rough the first time I turned it on, but it’s fine now.

Any ideas?


Can you imagine if the buyer discover that you tampered with the CEL. Its a lawsuit waiting to happen. Get it fixed!


Assuming the problem was with rough idle and is ok now, the CE light will stay on until you go thru a “drive cycle” which varies with make and model, but usually involves an extensive list of stops, starts, miles driven, gear shifts…

You can reset it by disconnecting the battery for a few minutes also. Auto parts stores can read the code, which will give you additional info on the problem, and reset it. (at least they will do that in the US)

But if the problem is still present, the CE light will come back on in a few miles, so if you do reset it, drive it a bit to see if the light comes back on.


yeah, you’re gonna have to get it looked at it you want to be honest about it.

On the plus side- get the code read and post back here, and we may be able to help you figure it out. Sitting for 6 months, this could be a case of a rodent eating some important wires. :confused:

Thanks for your responses. I’ll be upfront with the buyer about it. I’m not going to tamper with the light - I’m looking for ways to fix it. Could it be something like the gas going bad or anything like that?

Bad gas can cause misfires.


6 months is on the edge of being bad (gas) but it is probably OK. How full is the tank? perhaps filling it with new gas will help.

the best thing you can do is to take it someplace and have it scanned. They will tell you if it needs to be reset or if something wrong. If something is wrong, than either fix it or be honest with the buyer and let him know that the car has this issue.

If I were the buyer and I saw an unknown CE light, I’d walk away. You need to fix it or provide more info.

I’ve taken the car to a mechanic, they’ve said it’s probably just something small and they can reset it but they’re going to take a look and let me know later today.
The tank is about 1/3 to 1/2 full.

I wish someone would steal the damn thing! It’s insured for about 7 grand more than I’m going to be able to sell it for.

It difficult to say without knowing what the computer’s diagnostic codes are. If you feel really lucky, you could try replacing the gas cap, and if that doesn’t work, replace the evap purge valve. Just wild guesses, but those are both common evap system problems that turn the check engine light on, at least from the posts we get here. Both are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix. I’m not recommending this course of action mind you, you’ll get better results by doing it the normal way. Diagnose, then repair.

I read a novel recently, set in the 50s, about a car race that goes much of the way around Australia. Seems sort of a long drive … lol … best of luck, & g’day mate!

G’day George,

As mentioned I’m not mechanically oriented… I have no idea what an evap purge valve is… or even if it’s at the front or back of the car. As mentioned I’ve got it at a mechanic having a look at it now and they’ll let me know.

From what I know it’s a pretty long drive, but I’m stranded on that little island to the south that claims to be part of the country. I love it here though, great place to live!