Is it possible to restore a car that's been sitting for 10 years?

Hey, first post here. Neighbor has a 80’s Seville that has been parked outside for around 10 years. I was looking to get a project car to learn how to work on, would this car be a good idea or no? I have done oil changes before but have no real further knowledge other than what I can find on YouTube. Know there are probably some problems because of the amount of time it’s been sitting but just wanted to see if anyone had experience. Also, how much would an average cost be to get it running if no major issues?

you should start with a running vehicle. you would probably need to replace or clean the whole fuel system, all brake hoses and brake parts, any rubber hoses and fan belts. plus regular maintenance stuff just to start with. who knows if mice ate through the electrical wires.

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I have a car already, I was wondering if it’d be an absolute money pit as my neighbor would probably either just give it to me or sell it very cheap.

There is no way to even guess at a price . Besides parts for this thing will be hard to find .

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Would it be worth doing oil/gas and trying to start or no?

Try turning the engine over by hand at the crankshaft bolt before doing anything else.


First put a wrench on the crank pulley assuming you can easily get to it. See if the engine will turn, if it does not stop walk away. If it does turn fresh gas and an oil change might be worth a try. This project will be a time and money bandit.

also maybe find out what the original problem was for him to take it off the road. it could of been something major.

He’s old and doesn’t drive anymore.

Cold Start 1980 Cadillac Seville Sitting Since 1998 - YouTube This is the same car, I think all he had to do was oil/fuel

Have you even talked to him about this thing. I think that you will never get this thing to be worth the amount of money required to make road worthy .

It will need : Tires - battery - fuel lines cleaned - fuel tank cleaned - possible frozen brakes - fresh coolant - possible mold cleaning - Fines because it may have not been registered for years - several hoses replace from age - and the list goes on .

are you are looking at just getting it running or do you plan on putting it on the road? if it is the second I think it will get expensive real quick.

Just running

Just running ? Then what ? This makes no sense at all .

he said he wanted to learn how to work on it and only had done oil changes. maybe he wants to use this vehicle as practice before working on his own vehicles.

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Sounds like a fine idea for a play thing as long as the motor isn’t seized and rust is not an issue. I might think 5 grand would be my estimate on the high side, it probably wont. seem like it as it will nickle and dime you as you learn. Tires in addition to above.

It wouldn’t need to be road worthy just something to learn how to work on

if you have the time, money, tools and the patience…then wrench on and learn. learning is a good thing.


On my Sunday roll but it’s like that old saying if you gotta ask, probably not your cup of tea. Back in the 80’s GM cars had a lot of rust problems. I’d be willing to bet that the rust in the door panels, quarter panels, and maybe the floor board are pretty rusty after sitting out for years. Plus the interior has got to have some significant degradation if not rodents. Then again the transmissions were not all that grand either.

So by “restore” if you just mean washing it and getting it to start and run to drive it around the block a few times, maybe. But if you are talking about “restore” as in engine, trans, interior, body work, and besides to hire it all done since oil changes will be the least issue, probably better to just take a picture of it.


I often see 1980’s GM vehicles that have been brought back to life by average people, you don’t need $100,000 to get an old car running. Battery, brakes, tires, clean out the fuel system, things I did as poor teenager.

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