My daughter is leaving in a couple of weeks to study abroad in Ghana for the fall semester. She drives a 2003 Accord. Her insurance company will let her reduce her coverage to just comprehensive if the car is just parked and sits in our driveway. My question is, is it OK to let the car sit for five months, or should I periodically take it out to spin the tires and run a little gas through it?
Yes, drive it, at lease once weekly, to get it up to operating temperature.
It would be better to drive the car but just be very careful. It’s best to get the vehicle up to operating temperature. Don’t drive it down the block and come back. That’s worse than letting it sit.
I agree with the two previous posts, but I want to add that “Comprehensive” coverage (also known as Non-collision coverage) is likely not sufficient if you are going to take the car out for that 20 minute drive once every week or two.
In most states, you need to have liability insurance if a car is driven on public roads, so I strongly suggest that you discuss this issue with your insurance agent.
I agree with VDC - if you drive it, get in an accident, and don’t have state-required minimum insurance, you could be in trouble.
Add “stabil” or another fuel stabilizer to the gas as per the instructions on the label. Run the car for about 10 mins. to get the stabilized gas up and into the motor. Have the oil changed and park the car. You can leave it for 5 months without driving it with minimal problems. The battery should be charged up monthly which you can do easily if you have a battery charger. There is a special type of charger called a battery tender that can be hook up to the battery the whole time.
Taking the car out for a drive once a month is fine, but not necessary. If the car is not fully insured the monthly drive isn’t worth the risk. Five months isn’t that long.
No, he/she WILL be in big trouble!
That’s the simpler solution. The Stabil web site says it’ll preserve fresh gas for up to 12 months, used as directed, and 24 months with a double dose. Me, I’d put in the double dose for the 5 months, then do as you say.
You have two options.
You can add fuel stabilizer to the tank (fill with gas afterwards), connect a Battery Tender (not a charger) to keep the battery from going flat, and leave the car alone until your daughter comes back. If you choose this option, DO NOT set the parking brake. Block the wheels instead, to keep the car from moving.
The other option is to drive the car for 20-30 minutes every two to three weeks. You have to drive it long enough for everything to get warmed up. A short highway drive now and then would be good, too. This would be best for the car, but don’t do it if the car isn’t insured to be on the road.
I’d add fuel stabilizer no matter what you decide to do.
It would likely be OK just leaving it sit. It would be OK except for the battery if you just add fuel stabilizer and let it sit. The best bet would be to remove the battery, storing it some place away from the car after using the stabilizer and putting the batter on a battery tender (special battery charger designed for storage.)
Removing the battery makes it harder for anyone to steal since few thieves carry extra batteries with them.