Minimum Driving - Mostly Stored Vehicle

I have a relative who will be gone for a year and would like a place to keep is 1999 Chevy S10 pickup. I am happy to do that for him and he is happy to let me drive it on those rare occasions that I need the hauling ability of an S10 (carry a couch, stuff like that). But those events will be rare.

So the question is if a vehicle like that is going to mostly just sit there, what is the minimum amount of driving that should be done. In this case the vehicle will be stored away from my home, so “just drive it once weekly” is really inconvenient for me. I’m really after the absolute minimum amount that needs to be driven here. It is 20 miles one way to the barn where this thing will be stored. The barn has electricity so I can keep the battery charged and I could keep a warming blanket on the engine for winter temp considerations.

And other advice is welcome as well.


@cdaquila -me thinks spam

OP, please remove that last paragraph…

Once a month is enough, if you drive it for 10-20 miles. But you would need a trickle charger connected to the battery, as it could be discharged in a week or three with no use.

Have the owner have the oil changed just before you get it, and fill the tank. Add some gas stabilizer to the tank. And remind the owner to have the oil changed again after the year is up, irregardless of mileage.

I removed the link to the other forum, along with the spam flag. I’m not going to immediately assume it’s a plug.

What I would do is:

Add Sta-Bil gas treatment
Get a Battery Tender trickle charger for the battery
Don’t put a blanket on the engine because mice will nest in it during winter and chew up engine wiring
Put a plastic bag over the air intake so mice don’t nest inside air cleaner
Put another plastic bag over tailpipe so mice don’t nest in muffler
Remember to remove plastic bags before starting

If you do that, you can leave the truck sitting for maybe six months at a time.

How about this . . .

One weekend a month, head over to the barn and swap vehicles

Leave your car in the barn, and use the S10 to drive around, do chores, etc.

20 minutes is not that far, and when the time comes, maybe he’ll do you a favor and take care of your car while you’re gone

I’d just store it and not drive it. I’ve stored vehicles for over a year and hadn’t had a problem.

Here’s what I would do.

Fill the gas tank along with a fuel stabilizer. Park the vehicle and remove the battery. Take some stainless steel pot scrubbers and stuff these into intake before the air filter and in the tail pipe.These will keep critters out but still allow air into the engine to prevent condensation. Take some dyer sheets and lay them inside the interior. These prevent critters from entering the vehicle. Then place a note on the steering wheel to remind you to remove the pot scrubbers before putting the vehicle back into service.


Dryer sheets? does that work?

Also figure out how to keep mice out of the heater. You might have to install metal window screen over any air intake. Use wire - not rope or tape, which they will chew - to secure it.

I’m with Tester. Just leave it alone for a year. Fill the tank with non-oxy gas and stabil, dryer sheets, battery tender, steel wool in the tailpipe, etc. Rodents are the biggest issue and if you have power, I’d try one or two of those electronic rodent repulsers, plus a bunch of other rodent stuff like Decon and glue pads. Then leave a note on the steering wheel explaining the steel wool in the tail pipe in case you are not around when its time to claim the truck. Just covering all the bases.

Thanks for all the helpful comments. A related question. If a car is going to mostly (or completely) sit for around a year, is there an advantage to synthetic oil over ‘the real stuff’?




There’s no absolute requirement that it has to be driven at all. Since you are doing a favor, it’s up to you how often you want to drive it. Once a week would be better than once a month, and once a month would be better than once a year. But even if it is never driven a single time, whatever adverse effects that may cause can be fixed.

No one has mentioned tires - and once a month driving is on the edge of a permanent flat spot.

So if the truck is going to be stored, lift the truck off the tires - OR - drive it once a month - OR - move it periodically (a foot will do).

The only other drawback to not running it that I have run into is that the valve lifters can drain down. It can take a few minutes of rough running to get them pumped up again.

If anyone has greater experience with electronic rodent repellers and can recommend a different brand, I would appreciate it. I certainly have no financial interest in Steren. It’s just the only one I have personally used at length.

I live in Mexico in scorpion country. I buy Steren ultrasound devices. They look like little speakers, approximately 4 inches on a side. My house takes 8 of them. One in each room, and one by the outside doors. Few scorpions; almost no mice or rats, and they kill lizards. I think less than $30 each. I have seen them listed on-line. I buy them at Aurrera, a subsidiary of Wal-mart Mexico.

Those cute, little things they sell at Home Depot are too low powered to be of any use.

I just checked two of mine, with my watt meter, and both indicated 0.3 watts in operation. One I checked was the one which killed one lizard and stunned the other one so I could whack him with a boot.

I would recommend one inside the cabin and one in the engine compartment to be sure.

Add a note to the note on the steering wheel to unplug the things before moving the car, and take the one under the hood out first so it isn’t melted by engine heat.

Don’t use them anywhere that pets that might be harmed by them live, of course.

If you choose an option with driving involved, make sure the insurance is in force.

You mean they actually kill things. like lizards? How do they do that. I’ve got a couple of the Victor ones in my garage and have no idea if they work or not. I’ve never seen anything though and I have the glue pads down too and have never gotten anything. My doors are pretty tight but I do worry when it starts to get cold out and the doors get opened a lot. Those little suckers will sit and wait for the door to open. Man scorpions would not be fun.