Care for a hibernating car

what is the proper way to manage a car that is out to pasture for a while. i am baby sitting my son’s 97 subaru legacy while he spends a year in russia. i have been keeping the battery charged but otherwise have not run it, since it is not registered. my understanding is that short trips do it no good were we to run it, it would benefit only from longer trips that really warm it up for a period of time. is it ok to leave it parked?

If the car is on your property, it is easy to keep the battery charged. However, your son should have kept the registration and insurance up so you can give it a workout (10-15 miles) every 2-3 weeks or so. We just had a post on this for a military man going to Iraq. As a minimum, put gas stabilizer in the tank, If parked inside, open a window a crack to ventilate the car. Clean the inside and outside. Check coolant for strength, change the oil & filter if you can. Agree that short trips only do not benefit the car.

I own 2 older cars that I put away for the winter (at least 6 months a year). I always put them up on jack stands so the tired don’t develop flat spots. I give them a fresh oil change before putting them up, make sure all the fluid levels are proper, put stabil in the gas tank (make sure you run it for about 10 minutes so it can work through the system), and lastly disconnect the negative (black) battery cable. That should be it. There’s no real need to run it. It should start just fine when you need it. And since the battery is detached, it should still be full but you may need to top it off with a quick charge.

I have a similar problem. My son’s 1993 Toyota Camry is sitting in front of my house. I warm it up for 15-20 minutes every few weeks, but I only drive it occasionally (maybe once a month) around the neighborhood (at most 5 minutes). Is this a problem?

Twenty minutes of warmup is certainly enough to drive off any water vapour and dissolved gasoline in the crankcase. The 5 minutes aroud the neighbouhood can’t hurt as long as you do it after that warmup. Whatever you do, don’t apply the parking brake, those things have habit of corrroding or freezing, but you should apply and release it to keep it freed up. All other things as mentioned above apply, but you do not need to disconnect the battery of course. Your best bet is to take it shopping with your wife occasionally.