Car Storage

My 76 year old neighbor has a 200 Olds that has about 12,000 miles on it. In recent years he did not drive it much. It has not moved since its last oil change about 9 months ago. However he starts the engine once a month a lets it idle for about 20 minutes. He is taking a trip and asked me if he should change the oil now before the trip. Anybody have any input? I think heshould change the oil but I could give him a reason other than thats what I would do. Thanks

Letting an engine sit and idle takes a long time for it to come up to operating temperature. So there may be some gas in the oil. Pull the oil dipstick out and smell the oil on the dipstick. If it doesn’t smell like gas it’s good to go.


I agree w/ @Tester, as long as the oil level is ok and the oil on the dipstick isn’t degraded in appearance or odor, an oil change is probably not necessary. I’d recommend that all the fluid levels be checked though. And that the car be test driven a few times around town and at least once on the freeway for a few miles before making a long trip, and then again rechecking the fluid levels. Brake seals tend to degrade when they aren’t used. Take a look at the tires too as the rubber can degrade and crack over a period of years of little use.

Yep, he should take it for a 30 minute drive on the freeway, then check the oil, both gas and water will have boiled off one the car is thoroughly warmed up.

The oil does not need to be changed before the trip…Check the tires, clean the inside and outside of the glass…

I am more concerned about your neighbor than his car for the trip. Apparently, he does not drive a lot, unless he has another vehicle that he uses. Is he up to interstate driving if that is what the trip involves? How many miles are involved in the trip?
I am 70 and still drive about 20,000 miles a year. However, I made a trip a month ago from Indiana to Washington, D.C. and went by train. One reason was that we enjoy train travel, but we also didn’t want to fight D.C. traffic.

Also on the subject of old folks driving: My wife’s aunt stopped driving on the interstate when she could no longer keep up with the traffic. When she found it dangerous, she switched to the US highway system with spped limits as high as 55 MPH rather than the intersate system where the limit is 65 MPH. Eventually, even these roads became too much for her and she took herself off the road. She was lucky in that she had two children near enough that they could drive for her, and I commend her for knowing her limits and being rational enough to decide when she should give up driving. I don’t know your older friend, but it may be time for him to consider alterntives other than driving. I hope that I remember this when I get that old and can be as rational as our aunt was.