Leavin g car in garage for 9 mos/what to do?


I have a 2002 Subarus Outback Station Wagon that I"ll be leaving in my garage while I’m away for 9 months. I’ve heard all different kinds of advice about what to do to best preserve it, including:

1) disconnecting the battery

2) keeping the battery in and starting in for 10-15 minutes every couple weeks

folks also said to put a gas stabilizer in it and leave the tank about 1/2 full.

or should I just leave it there as is, leave my rentor in peace, and plan on just buying a new battery when I get back?

Thanks for any suggestions!!


Add fuel stabilizer to the gas and FILL the tank. Not overfull, just full. You want to minimize the amount of air in the tank.

Leave the battery in the car, but hook a Battery Tender to it. Not a charger, a Tender. If you don’t want to buy a Battery Tender, disconnect and remove the battery, but make SURE you have the security code for the radio before you disconnect the battery.

Inflate the tires to the max pressure listed on the sidewall, then go away and enjoy yourself. That’s all you have to do for storage less than a year.

There is no need to start the car periodically, and it’s actually better to let it sit than to start it and not drive it. If you prefer to have someone start the car, they should DRIVE it for 20-30 minutes every two to three weeks. Otherwise just let it sit in the garage.


Just disconnect the battery and take off on your trip. Do not put anything in your tank except gasoline and worry not about its level.

When you return you will need a fresh battery or else get a jump start. You’ll do just fine.


I would use the fuel stabilizer. It won’t hert and can only help. Disconnect the batery at both terminals and you will need a jump when you return. I would fill the tires with air as suggested above to help prevent developing flats on them. You could put the car on jack stand if this is a concern. If you live in a cold climate make sure your antifeeze is strong.


I concur with all McP has said.


I would put in fuel stabilizer, fill the tank, park it and forget it. That would be far better than having someone start it and idle it for 10 or 15 minutes every week or two. I’d remove the battery mostly so nobody is tempted to start it until you get home.

When I went overseas for a year+ I did essentially what I have just described. No problem on return.


I agree with most of this but would add the following:

  1. Park the vehicle with a recent oil change, within the last 1000 miles should be OK, well warmed to dry out the exhaust and to boil off any water contamination from the engine oil.

  2. Park the vehicle dry in a well ventilated garage to keep the brake rotors/drums and clutch if any, from rusting.

  3. Park with the parking brake unapplied.

  4. There is no need to periodically drive the vehicle if parked in a dry garage and otherwise as noted. If you live in a winter salt area, it would definitely be best to not drive to get the vehicle wet with road salt.

  5. Steel belted radial tires do not flat spot and I see no need to inflate to max according to my experience with parking cars for an extended period of time. It is easy to do, however and if it makes you feel better, then overinflate but don’t forget to reduce pressure to normal later. If there is a chance that someone might need to use the car then you might want it ready to go with minimal attention.


I agree with all the replies. Just make sure the engine runs for some small amount of time (like 2-3 minutes) after you add the fuel stabilizer. That will get the “stabilized fuel” up into the fuel lines and at the injectors. The stabilized fuel does no good simply sitting in the tank.


I will make two additional suggestions.

1. Remove the battery and store it someplace else.

Few car thieves carry around a spair battery.

2. Call your insurance agent and cancel those parts of your policy that will not be needed.

No need to pay for insurance you don’t need.


Thank you so much everyone!
This really helps.
I’ve changed my insurance, will get an oil change (where they can show me how to remove my battery and get the radio code!), fill up my tires, add stabilizer and drive around a bit, then park it and disconnent (and hide) the battery.
My renter will be thrilled, too.


The starting it for x minutes is not worth it. Your car does not properly get run during that time since your transmission and other parts are not turning.

My suggestion is do what my father who works abroad does with his 1990 4runner. Simply disconnect the battery and park it in the garage. He has done for periods of 3 months -9 months since 1996. I belive in 1996 his vehicle had about 150k miles. It now only has 163k miles and runs perfectly.

Letting someone drive it no matter how much you trust them allows for scrapes and parking tickets to incur. I had that happen with a close friend who “ran my car” but just ignored it since a relationship is worth far more than a car.

Enjoy your trip and don’t worry about the car.