Long-term parking

I am going away for 3 or 4 months and will be leaving my car in a parking garage for that period. When I asked my mechanic what I should do to the car (disconnect anything? have someone start it up once a week and let it run for a few minutes? etc?) he said “nothing, don’t do a thing”. I just wondered if others of you agree with him or if you think there are better ways to handle this. I’d be happy to hear your reasoning, too. Thanks.

I agree with your mechanic. It will be fine. You could put some Stabil in the gas tank and fill it up before parking, but even that should not be necessary for less than 6 months.

If it’s a relatively new car with electronics that draw current even with the car shut off, you might want to consider disconnecting the battery. Otherwise be prepared to have somebody help you jump-start it when you return.

You might also disconnect the battery to make sure it doesn’t drawn down from parasitic draw.


I would err on the side of caution. Put Stabil in the gas tank and run the car long enough to distribute the Stabil throughout the fuel system. Get a full tank of gas to prevent condensation in the fuel tank. I would also disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent parasitic drain on the battery.

Ed B.

I guess I should mention that the car is pretty old, a 1991 Camry.

I think that Stabil or a like product is not needed at all unless you only have some fumes left in the tank. I would probably disconnect the battery, but even if you don’t everything should be OK, unless like Tester said you have some parisitic draw. Be sure you don’t have say a cell phone charger plugged in, even without the phone, the little red light can drain the battery over time.

Disconnecting the battery may be a good idea, but be prepared to ask someonefor a jump start (or use a portable starter) in any case. A down time of 3-4 months does not merit gas stabilizer. Do not put anything in your tank except gasoline.

Since it is a 91, it should be safe to disconnect the battery. In fact I would remove the battery. A car without a battery is a lot harder to steal.

Note: Contact your insurance company. You should be able to cancel some parts of the insurance on that car, the expensive parts. No use paying for collision insurance when the only person driving it would be a thief.

“I think that Stabil or a like product is not needed at all unless you only have some fumes left in the tank.”

Not exactly. The problem of fuel evaporating is NOT addressed by the stabilization products. Nothing you add (other than more fuel) would change that. The problem those products address is polymerization. As gasoline sits, a process occurs that combines small size molecules to form larger ones. This I this is called polymerization and is how rubber if made. Those products combine with the products in the fuel that “help” speed up the process. So if you have two tanks, one almost empty and one almost full, after some time you will end up with one small tank of worthless fuel and full tank of worthless fuel.