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Car storage

I will be taking a 1998 subaru outback sport with 138,000 miles off the road and parking it in my garage. Two questions: (1) It is due for an oil change, should I change the oil before I take it off the road? and (2) How often should I start the car and how long should I let it run? (3) Should I add fuel stabilizer to the gas, and how exactly is this done? (4) The car has half a tank of gas, should it be filled? (5) Does the battery need to be disconnected, and what would happen if it isnt?

How long will the car be in storage??

Should we ignore questions 3-5?

Car will be in storage for one year

(1) It is due for an oil change, should I change the oil before I take it off the road? Yes, change it now
(2) How often should I start the car and how long should I let it run? I’d put a battery tender on it and leave it sit
(3) Should I add fuel stabilizer to the gas, and how exactly is this done? Yes, I’d put a double dose of Stabil in it, then fill it up, then drive it around for 10 miles or so to get it thoroughly distributed in the fuel system
(4) The car has half a tank of gas, should it be filled? Yes, see (3)
(5) Does the battery need to be disconnected, and what would happen if it isnt? I’d put a battery tender on it, leaving the battery connected.

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thank you so much for your response. What exactly is a battery tender?

A battery tender is a ‘smart’ battery charger that can be left plugged in for as long as you store your car. It maintains the proper level of charge, and does not overcharge the battery. They’re about $50-$60 from Amazon, etc.

Here’s the Harbor Freight version of the battery tender. Just hook it up, plug it in and leave it alone. I’ve been using these on my motorcycle and lawn mower batteries during the off seasons for several years.

Thank you so much for the link.

How exactly is it hooked up?

There are red (positive) and black (negative) spring clamps on the battery tender. There are also red and black terminals on your car battery. The red clamp is clamped firmly onto the red battery post of your car and the black clamp is clamped on the black post of the battery. Then plug the tender in to a wall outlet. Don’t plug it in first and to remove, unplug it first then take the spring clamps off. There should be directions with it.

Thank you again. One hopefully final question, wood the hood of the car have to remain propped up in the fully open position while the battery tender is connected.
Also, with reference to the use of fuel stabilizer, I would add the fuel stabilizer to my half empty tank, then fill up the tank, then drive about 10 miles to circulate the stabilizer, and then park the car in my garage?

Nope, the wires can fit through a fully-closed hood.
And yes, that’s how I’d do it with the stabilizer, etc.

If you can find a way to route the electrical cord out the grill or some place, then the hood could be closed. But you don’t want to slam the hood down on the cord and pinch it. Put the stabil in at the gas station-might need a funnel to get it into the tank. Then fill the tank. The idea is to mix the stabil in with the gas without haaving to high a mixture if you put it in before.

Pump your tires up to the limit pressure on the sidewall…Clean the car both inside and out. I use moth-balls to discourage rodents (works for me) but be warned, when you came back, it takes a few days to clear the moth-ball smell from the car…

Also make sure the clamps connecting the battery tender to the battery aren’t in the way when you close the hood.

How old is the battery right now?
If it’s more than a few years old, it might just be better to remove the battery and buy a new one when you bring the car out of storage. This will also prevent anyone from driving off with the car.

I’d leave the hood open if at all possible just to let the gasses from the battery escape in case of a spark. If there’s a light associated with the open hood just remove the bulb and put it in the glove compartment until you’re ready to use the car again. I’d add the stabilizer right before pumping the gas into the car so it mixes well, then drive the car to get the stabilizer throughout the fuel system. If you can buy ethanol free gas in your area it might be better for long term storage. If you post your email address I can forward a copy of the Harbor Freight ad in an email that has a coupon where you can buy the charger for $5.99.

How often should I start the car and how long should I let it run?

Not at all. Make sure you have fresh gas in there now and plan on a new battery or plan on keeping the current battery charged.

 I suggest you contact you insurance company.  You may get a discount since no one will be driving the car.  You should be able to cancel the collusion insurance.  That is usually the most expensive part.

Thank you to everyone for their help. One last, hopefully, question. There is a little less than half a tank of gas in the car, put in within the last week. Is it sufficient to add the stablizer and then add gasoline? I dont have to drain the gas that is in there now, do I?

No, it’s less than a month old, should be no problem. Like I mentioned earlier, I would use a double-dose of the Stabil (brand name) gas treatment. They recommend that dose for up to a year storage, I think.

Are you certain you’ll be getting it out of storage after about a year? You don’t want it to sit any longer.