Long-term storage ideas needed

A few months ago I was given a used car by a friend. Mechanically, you could call it a parts car, or a project car. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it at this point, but there’s a good chance I won’t even deal with it for another year or two. There’s some pretty loud clicking coming from the engine, previously diagnosed as lifter trouble, but there may be other things involved, even if that diagnosis was correct. I know that just leaving a car sit can be bad, so is there any benefit to starting it once a week and running it a few minutes? I’m worried that whatever mechanical problems the engine has could just be aggravated by running it, even for a short period.

I vote for leaving it alone until you can start on the project. If the lifter noise is bad…chances are that the camshaft is galling on the bottom of the lifters. If it is…you would just be adding metal bits to the oil and that oil will start wearing on all the bearings in the engine. Not a good thing.

Before you consider long-term-storage, you better make sure the vehicle is worth the cost.


Until you have the engine noises diagnosed and fixed, I would suggest that you NOT start it.

“I know that just leaving a car sit can be bad”

Who told you that?
Yes, if the car just sits for an extended period of time, the battery will likely go dead, and the tires will likely develop flat spots, but the engine and transmission will be just as good–or just as bad–when the engine is eventually restarted as when it was shut off for the last time.

Starting and running an engine for a few minutes does it no favors, and will actually dilute the motor oil with water and combustion byproducts. And, starting and running an engine that already has…issues…is just not a good idea.

Let it sit until you have the time and the financial resources to have the problems diagnosed and repaired.

I would see if a salvage yard would pay anything for it and then take the friend out to dinner. Of course you did not say what it is so I assume it is not a classic Mustang or Camaro.

It looks like the car is in poor enough condition that parking it in the back yard and ignoring it won’t make it any worse than it is right now. You might consider putting some Stabil in the gas tank, but i don’t know how you are going to mix it if you don’t fill the tank afterwards.

Thanks for all the replies. It looks like just leaving it alone is the best choice at this point. I’m not paying for storage, as it just sits in my driveway for now. It’s the same make and model as the car I drive, so perhaps it will be a “donor” car at some point.

Being as how you do not know how long it will sit, I would be tempted to dump the gas and use it while it is still good. Sure a battery tender would be nice, but if not it may be ok if disconnected.

How can anyone answer this thread without knowing the Make, Model, Mileage of the vehicle in question?? Some cars are worth preserving and some are just scrap metal…

One can only hope the OP does not live in an addition with strict Home Owners Association rules. Leaving a non operational vehicle outside for too long can result in fines or even city ordinance violations.

Well, @Caddyman the OP didn’t ask whether to do it, but how to do it. Apparently it’s worth keeping to them, regardless of make/model/mileage.