Leaving the country

Will my 1996 Jeep Cherokee be O K if I leave it parked for a year? Can this do damage to

the car? It may be left outside .

I do not want to sell this car but I need to be gone for a year outside the country.


We have a car parked under our sun roof while our son is in UAE.

The first thing, and I am sure of this, is you need fuel stablizer in the gas tank, period. You can buy it at the usual suspect car part places. Fill the tank nearly full so it doesn’t condense.

The second thing on the list is the battery. Some put on a special small charger which automatically charges it when needed. Others just write off the battery and plan on buying a new one when they come back.

My son’s car actually for unknown reasons leaked acid in the car. Not knowing why, I can only say if that is a true risk take the battery out of the car and store it in an acid safe place.

Third is going to be tires. Sun tends not to be good on rubber tires. In retirement parks in McAllen where I live when I am in the States, people put a variety of covers over tires, from plastic fabric, to pieces of paneling, whatever your neighbors will tolerate, when they go north for the summer. Some put car covers over the car. No one method used.

Thanks for the information !I am going to consider all of the above ! My thought of
paying to park it underground may be worth a monthly cost.

Even properly stored older cars (yours is 15 years old now) don’t do as well as newer ones. All the hoses get older, rust gets rustier, and things like the alternator can seize up and need repairing when you put it back on the road. Often the 1 year away becomes 2 years and the car sits even longer.

Your chances of getting it back on the road with just a few repairs after 1 year is pretty good if you put it in storage properly (as covered by irlandes). But if it sit 18 months and longer then issues get more complicated and more expensive.

Best option is sell it. But if you like it so much, store it and good luck.

My son’s car actually for unknown reasons leaked acid in the car. Not knowing why, I can only say if that is a true risk take the battery out of the car and store it in an acid safe place.

I recommend removing the battery because you can store it somewhere with less temperature extremes and you can store it somewhere away from the car.  After all most thieves don't caller a set of batteries with them.  

 One year is not all that long.  The basics that have already been noted are likely enough.  

Specific areas however have local problems like sand blowing around or insects and/or animals. 

Extreme cold or over charging are two possibilities. 

Good luck

I store vehicles outside for longer periods in Minnesota.

As mentioned add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and fill the gas tank.

Park the vehicle and remove the battery and store it in a cool/dry place. It may require replacement if a battery maintainer isn’t used.

Take some stainless steel pot scrubbers and stuff this into the exhaust pipe and into the air box after removing the air filter. This will keep critters out of the engine but yet allow air into the engine to prevent condensation. Place a note on the steering wheel to remind you of this so the stainless steel scrubbers are removed and the air filter is reinstalled.

Take some dryer sheets and place them all over the interior of the vehicle. This will also keep critters out. Plus you’ll have a nice spring fresh scent in the vehicle when you go to use it again.

And that’s it!


Sometimes the “lost” ticket beats the monthly cost.

I used this to store a car over the winter underground in Seacoast NH during a semester abroad back in college. Lost ticket price was $20 according city ordinance and amazing still is after 15+ yrs.

Pump the tires up to 40 PSI or so…

Many thanks for the input on my Jeep ! Since I live in So California the weather is not
a big problem.
I will store it and hope for the best . My daughter may drive it on occasions which would

Another thing to do would be to wash and wax the car before parking it.
Since you are in Cali, the sun and salt water (if you’re near the sea) will do a number on the paint, but less so if you give it a fresh coat of wax.

Plus, after several months of not being touched, a shiny car won’t attract nearly as much attention from thieves as a car that is starting to look grimy.

Make sure you take any valuables out of it, too.


Good idea ! Yes, it will be near the beach so the salt water is a factor. The good news is
my daughter will be seeing it each day parked on the street. I love this car so it will all
be worth it !

They’ll let you park it on the street for a year without towing it? Are you sure? I think I’d find a back yard or something and do all that was mentioned but put a car cover on it for bird droppings and so on. And don’t let your daughter drive it then.

Oh yeah, and your plates will be expired too. Expired plates on steet would mean towing to impound and selling at auction around here.