Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Car that is garaged, undriven, except summer

My 1998 Taurus sits undriven in a garage in Maine except in the summer, when I drive it for 2 months. What should I do to keep it in good working order over the cold winter?

Add a fuel stablizer to the gas tank and fill the tank. Then either disconnect or remove the battery. To keep critters out of the vehicle, spread dryer sheets throughout the interior of the vehicle. Take some stainless steel pot scrubbers and stuff some in the tail pipe and some in the air filter box before the air filter. Put a note on the steering wheel to remind you remove the pot scrubbers when you put vehicle back into service.


I would add pump the tires up to 45 psi or so, the battery can stay in but disconnect it and connect a “battery tender” to maintain it. Clean the car inside and out. Wax the exterior. Change the oil if it has over 2000 miles on it. The fuel stabilizer Tester noted is most important…Drive the car a few miles after you install it so it gets up the the injectors. I add a little “Top Oil” too so there is instant upper cylinder lubrication when you start it next year…At start-up, be sure to check ALL the fluids, the tires, and test the brakes before you hit the road…

If you use a battery tender or maintainer, not a charger, then there is no need to disconnect or remove the battery. I park a car for about half of the year over winter and run it over the summer. That is 6 months, not two but I do use a tender/maintainer to keep the battery charge up to prevent battery sulfation. A float charger would work also. A tender/maintainer or float charger can be left energized on the battery indefinitely but don’t do that with a regular battery charger. Work smarter, not harder and don’t bother to disconnect or remove your battery. There is no reason to do so if you use a tender/maintainer or float charger. I would not be against using a gasoline stabilizer but I don’t bother with it. Fuel systems are sealed now when the engine is not running so the volatile portion of gasoline can not evaporate which is what is needed for starting.

There is no need to periodically drive the car. When you park the car in a dry, ventilated garage, deterioration stops. How do I know this? I have a car over 20 years old that I bought new and still drive over the summer and park over winters. If not for a few parking lot door dings, the car would look almost like new and does run and drive like new. Cars do not need to be exercised if parked inside a dry, ventilated place.

I don’t raise the tire pressure either. That is more unneeded work that is easy for a person sitting in a chair to recommend. It is good, however, to look at each tire for obvious slow leaks before proceeding after an extended parking time and if no low tires, considering that radials must be given a little visual tolerance, check tire pressures soon after pressing your parked car back into service.

I Too Have Done This With A Vehicle For The Past 14 Years, Since It Was New, But Mine Sits Outside.

It is so cold in the winter that I figure most reactions slow way down. Some days here you can see molecules stop moving ! I charge the battery in the vehicle a couple of times with just a few amp charger while it sits. The 72-month Wal-Mart battery was installed in June, 2003 and still works just fine. I’m going to replace it because it’s almost 2 years past its life expectancy.

I don’t put fuel stabilizer in, but I keep the oil clean, especially at storage time. Putting a coat of wax on is a fall ritual and helps clean and preserve the finish. I air up the tires in the spring when the minivan comes out of hibernation and gets ready for the soccer, baskeball, and golf circuit.

I would recommend that if you ever start a stored vehicle, during the storage period, run it long enough to completely burn off any steam and moisture in the engine and exhaust system that develops as a natural by-product of combustion in an internal combustion engine. You’ve seen water dripping from car exhaust pipes. Never start it, run it a couple of minutes, and then shut it down to sit for an extended period.

With the scare of all that ethanol in gasoline and the damage it does, Stabil gas treatment for ethanol gas would probably be OK in the gas tank, too.


Cat-cracked gasoline does not evaporate, it degrades, decomposes and reverts back to the tar from which it was made…Use the stabilizer…

Over 8 months time, most tires will loose enough air pressure (especially in sub-zero temperatures) so they can become very underinflated and damage the sidewall. That’s the reason to pump them up hard. It only takes a few minutes to do these things and it can save you hundreds of dollars…

I’d visit the car once a week and drive it around the block a few times. That’s pretty much it. Come spring, change the oil and check the tire pressure for each tire.
Entropy isn’t going to let the air out of your tires, but you will lost some pressure unless you drive the car. By driving the car, you heat up the air in the tires a little and get them atoms shooting around again. And you change the spot on each tire that contacts the ground each time you park the car.
This isn’t a collection car, it’s a fairly reliable old Ford. Just make sure you keep up the schedule for the other fluid changes, and never flush this car’s radiator with anything but plain water.

Anything kizwiki posts can be safely disregarded…

They are not going to drive up from Florida to drive the car every week…They are going to cancel the insurance and store it for the 10 month Maine winter…