How frequently does stored car need to be run?

I’m frequently out of town for periods of one-several months. I have a trickle charger on the battery. I thought if my neighbor came over and drove it around the block once a month that would be enough, but just read that it should be every two weeks, for a half hour, to prevent, among other things, seals and gaskets drying, oil congealing, and rust forming. How often does it need to be run?

There is nothing magic about the 2 weeks, I found that a convenient stretch to let my son drive our cars when we were overseas, wihtout having to put the battery on a charger.

What IS important is getting it throroughly warmed up and making sure their is no condenstion in the exhaust or the crankcase, which would be the case if your neighbour drove it around the block. You could let it sit for a month, as long as it gets a good workout after that. I am often awy for a month at the time, and my wife takes the car out for a long errand and gets it upo to highway speed.

I park a car over the winter from November to April every year; have for many years. I do not drive the car and have none of the problems that you mention. The car is stored in a well-ventilated but unheated garage. If humidity is too high, the brake rotors, drums and clutch disk, if you have a clutch, will rust but that will scrub clean again with some driving when you get the vehicle going again.

Use a battery tender, not a charger; otherwise charge the battery once per month if your battery has a parisitic drain from the computer etc. My older car does not have this drain so I have no need to disconnect or charge the battery or drive the car during the storage period.

If you live in a winter salt area, that would be another reason to not drive the car; to avoid getting it salted up. Park the vehicle well warmed to dry the exhaust system.

If you are storing your vehicle outdoors, then I have no opinion on what you must do.

For storage of one to several months, I would recommend not driving it or running it at all. Running it for a short time, not allowing it to fully heat up and stay there for a while will be bad for the car not good. For that short of a time, it does not need to be run at all. Keeping the battery tended is a good idea. I would also suggest that you may be able to cancel all but comprehensive insurance while it is not being used and save quite a bit of money.

Agree with Joseph; for one month or more only, the battery tender will keep it charged and the rest of the car will be OK. Just make sure it gets a good workout. The main reason for driving a car regularly is to prevent the seals from drying out.

Seals do not dry out. We have a 12 year old car, a 22 year old car and a brand new 08 as well. Drying out of rotary seals for the engine, transmission and wheel bearings and engine and transmission gaskets are just urban legend stuff. I also have a 27 year old and a 21 year old motorcycle; both with all original seals with no leaks; both bikes bought new. I repeat, seals do not dry out during storage. If this was true, you would hear about that from motorcycle owners who must park for the winter.

Given your time periods I would not bother with having anyone drive it around.

My fathers 1990 Toyota 4runner w/140k miles has only been run 2-3 separate times per year for a couple weeks each time, otherwise sits with battery disconnected. This has been going on since 1996 and there is not a single stain of any fluid underneath the truck. It drives perfectly fine.

Do you use fuel stabilizer in the gas tank? That and the trickle charger should make once a month enough, especially if it is kept in a garage.

I would not bother having anyone run it or drive it at all. Keep the oil changed and the fuel tank full, and don’t worry about it. Really.

There are 2 schools of thought about seals drying out. It is true if you park a car, it will not start leaking fluids as it ages; I’ve been to enough car museums and shows. It’s when these year cars are started what happens to the seals.

True, seals are better than they used to be.

A long time ago I went to Europe for 5 months (summer) and stored my 6 cyl Chevy at my sister’s place in a hot, humid East Coast port. When I came back in Septmeber, we could not even turn the engine over with a new battery. The garage had to some oil in the spark plug holes and turn the engine over with a lever on the crakshaft pully. So, internal corrosion can raise havoc with you engine as well.

For lengthy storage without periodic startup, I would put some oil in each cylinder, just like I do my lawnmower. Put stabilizer in the gas, block off all openings, disconnect the battery and a numbe rof other things suggested in another post.