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Idle car

my car with 49,000 sits idle for six months in a garage and starts right up when I get back and runs fine. My question is, should I have an oil flush done after sitting so long? The car is a 2004 RX330 that I bought new.

I would drain and replace the oil just before storage. You should change oil once per year since your mileage is so low and that is a good time to do it.

An oil flush?
An oil change?

First, you need to tell us the following:

When you do drive that car, what are your driving patterns?
(In other words, is it used for only short-trip local driving, or is it used mostly for highway drives, or a mixture of the two?)

Are you changing the oil on the basis of odometer mileage or on the basis of elapsed time?
(Apparently the car is driven less than 5k miles per year, so I hope that you are not basing your oil change schedule solely on odometer mileage)


No. But, I would change the oil with a high-quality oil before putting it up for it’s 6-month slumber each year. Even if you don’t drive it more than 3,000 miles while driving it for the 6 months. Regular oil changes will keep the oil passages clean and clear, and, since your having no problems with oil circulation now, a flush could do more harm than good. The harsh cleaners in a flush can cause oil leaks in seals that were not leaking before. The clean oil from the changes will clean out the oil passages if there is any dirt and debris in them. A good quality oil has plenty of detergents in it.

I thank you guys for your info, you’ve answered my question. Now if I could only keep the mice out.

I absolutely agree with everyone that you should store the car with fresh oil every year, as well as gas stabilizer. And I absolutely agree that chemical flushes should not be used on a vehicle that’s running properly. IMHO they’re for solving problems only, and should not be necessary in a properly maintained engine.

But I’ll add that you need to be sensitive to other issues as well. Be sure to test the brakes when you take it out of storage before going on any drives of any length, and be sure to inspect the tires for pressure and cracking of the sidewalls. Also, check the coolant hoses for cracking. You should be able to squeeze the hoses and not see any cracks. The serpentine belt should also be checked for cracking when it comes out of storage. And the levels of all fluids should be checked. Elastomers in the seals, belts, and tires deteriorate with age, and the things I’ve mentioned all contain elastomers. Some can even develop problems just from lack of use, like the seal in a brake piston or a crank or cam seal deteriorating from just sitting and not being routinely lubed. And you should change your fluids and inspect more carefully all of your elastomers once every 5 years whether they appear to need it or not.

I’m sure others here will add things I haven’t thought of, but the point is that you should use time elapsed to do preventative maintenance rather than miles driven, and you should “preflight” your car when taking it out of storage just like a pilot does with his aircraft.

To keep the mice out, use something like this.


Just to be clear, change the oil before storage, but do drive it a little with the fresh oil so that it gets circulated throughout the engine. Check all your other fluids as well and get any of them changed if they are near their due date or look deteriorated. If your brake fluid is dark brown, it should be flushed. All fresh fluids should get a chance to circulate before storage.

To solve your mouse problem try this. When you put the car up for that extended rest, open a box of moth balls and divide them into 4 old plastic containers. Then put one as far under the dash…by the brake pedal as you can. then one on the passenger side floor, one on the back floor and one in the trunk. If you also think they are gnawing on things under the hood , I’d put a full box under the hood as well. That box you can just punch a few holes in the top.
The odor from the moth balls will keep the mice out, but you may have to air out the car for a few hours when you bring the car out off storage.
Be sure to put them in plastic containers before putting them on the carpet or you will have the smell linger for weeks if you place them directly on the carpet.
While you are placing the dishes under the dash area have the hood open and parked in good light. While under there I’d check that no rubber plugs above the pedals have been lost. Replacing a lost one may solve your problem.