Neglected beloved 4-Runner

Hi there, I have a 2005 Toyota 4Runner 2WD which I bought new in Athens Georgia. Me and my family dove about 100K miles with it all across the US and it was a bullet-proof and reliable vehicle. in 2011 we had to leave the US for a new job in Australia and I could not depart from my car since it was my first vehicle and I love it. After having been in the US for 7 years but being originally from Germany I had the car shipped to Germany where I could have it close to my family and drive it whenever I would be visiting home. I wanted to take it with me to Australia but it would have been prohibitively expensive …
My initial plan was to stay for about 2-3 year in Australia and then return to Europe or the US. Anyhow, We are living now already for 5 years in Australia.
Since in Germany the car does not fit in my parents car port and they have a VW Golf with way better gas milage I have the vehicle parked at a garage of a friend who is recharging the battery every time (every 1-1.5 years for 4weeks) I get to come home. For these occasions I have to register the car for a month and then park it again. In summary, the vehicle is only moved every 12-18 months for about 4 weeks.
My question is now, how bad are these spouts of hibernation for the car and what can I do to maintain it as well as possible? How much gas should I leave in the tank for its hibernation, should I put any greasing solution in/on? I love this vehicle and I don’t really want to sell it apart from the pressure of my family.

Time does make some car parts deteriorate. Tires get old, and things we call “rubber” do dry out and crack and get hard. Also, the gasoline goes bad. If you love the car and want to keep it, find a source of a chemical you can pour into the gas so it won’t deteriorate over time. Try any car parts store. I don’t know what it is called in Germany. Look at your tires carefully to see if they are cracking as the get older. Tires that are older than 7 years are probably too old.

Run the fuel system as down and add as much Trufuel without ethanhol. Better still, get some no ethanol aviation fuel and poor copious amounts or marine grade stanilizer in it. The best solution, sell the car and buy a newer model 4Runner. They are all great cars. You will like a newer one just as much when you return and let your old one give some one else some good use.

Use a stabilizer to keep the fuel from breaking down. If gas in Europe has ethanol (as we have in the US) then I’d use a “marine fuel stabilizer”. I’d also look for a way to ship the car to Australia. Sitting just isn’t good for the car, using it in Australia would be best.

If you can get somebody while you are away to start it up and drive it around the block once a week, that would help.

I hate to see that there are European countries that have stupidly added ethanol to their fuel. At least you have it in a garage away from the weather. I agree with GeorgeSanJose about getting someone to drive it every week or so.

Hi Guys, thanks so much for your help an great advise.
This 4Runner is my first car and the one I always wanted … needless to say there is some sentimental value.
Due to some family health issues it may be the case that I will have to move sooner back to Germany than I thought which leaves me in a very tricky situation with the car. So, in order to keep the car somewhat intact for the time being I should do the following;

  1. Ethanol free fuel (ethanol free aviation fuel) and add some fuel stabilizer preventing the full from breaking down
  2. Preserve rubber
    I will be back in Germany in 3 weeks and had to have new tires put on as a requisite to get it re-registered after a mandatory roadworthy testing.
    Is there anything you can recommend using for the preservation of rubber parts? Which rubber parts are most important to check / preserve?
    Also, with the gasoline, if I understand that correctly, ethanol free gas will still break down so I need the additive. Do I need to run the vehicle after adding it for a short while to make sure that the stabiliser is in the entire system?
    What about the other body parts, is there any need for a “Cosmolin” adequate? I’m sorry for the ignorance, I love this car and want to keep it as well as I can afford.
    Many Thanks for all your advise.

Sunlight and ozone are the chief enemies of rubber. There is no “preservative” that I know of, but covering the tires from direct sunlight and heat will keep them OK.

Many of my friends have RVs and they park them outside most of the year, and cover the tires.

Also, with the gasoline, if I understand that correctly, ethanol free gas will still break down so I need the additive. Do I need to run the vehicle after adding it for a short while to make sure that the stabiliser is in the entire system?


Trufuel and other comparables are expensive but have a life of over three years…yes, all gas want’s to go back to a different state and all need to be stabilized. But, it doesn’t last forever depending upon the climate. Warm is bad. Ethanhol is another problem separate the gasoline stabilization problem in that it at tracks moisture. There are some emzymes you can add also from marine supply places. These are the best source as marine engines are very expensive and the are always around water while carrying ethanhol lased gasoline.