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How to Maintain a car left inactive for 1 year

Going away for 1 year. Can you provide a suggested time-table to assist a friend in maintaining it in my absence? 2008 FX35, located in South Texas.

Just have him drive it one day a week and change the oil every 3-4 months, that will do it. He should drive it enough to empty and refill the tank with fresh fuel every 30-45 days. So 300-400 miles every 45 days. No special maintenance beyond that should be required. If it can be garage kept or at least covered that would be even better.

Your fried is going to have an easy job.

  • Get some fuel stabilizer and follow the instructions.

  • Park it in a safe place. Ideally in a garage, second best a carport. I don’t recommend a car cover as they can cause as much damage as the not having one.

  • Remove the battery and store it someplace else. It might be a good idea to hook it up to a battery tender or have someone charge it once a month. (removing the battery not only protects the battery, but it will make the car a lot harder to steal, few thieves carry spare batteries in assorted sizes.)

    There is no need to have someone drive it. Likely it will be better off if they don’t and if no one is going to drive it, you don’t need to have full insurance on it. Keep the comprehensive, that will protect you from storm damage thief and alike without paying for the expensive collusion coverage. Check with your agent.

    When you get back, check the insurance, tyre pressure and put the battery back in. You should be good to go.

    Don’t have someone drive it around the block or start it and let it idle while you are away. It would be better to do nothing.

    Now, I have a question. You have a one year old car and now it will sit for one year. You are paying a lot in depreciation and the cost of the money invested doing nothing. Have you considered selling it and then repurchasing a car when you return?

Thank you, Joseph,

  1. If I tell you my car will be stored in my carport inside a guarded complex with virtually 0% chance of theft, would you still recommend removal of the battery?
  2. I really appreciated your opinion on the car cover.
  3. The idea of selling it had not occurred to me; by time I return from my trip it will be paid for (Feb 2011). I wouldn’t think I could get what it’s worth these days. The thought of starting-over with a new car overwhelms me. But your point is well made! I’ll think it over.-Nancy