Putting a car in storage for 5 years?

My son has informed us he is going to be traveling outside of the US for the next 5 years. He has an '04 Toyota Corolla, auto, 4 cyc and he is going to ship the car to me to put in storage for him.

I will add StaBil, but have read here that it will not protect the gas for such a long time. I need some advice.

After adding StaBil and running the motor enough to get it into the motor; should I then drain the gas tank? If I drain the tank what happens to the fuel pump? Does it “dry out” sitting that long in an empty tank?

In the carburator days I’d have “fogged” the motor to coat the pistons and valves etc. with protective oil, can you fog a fuel injected motor?

I can’t afford inside storage so I’ll clean and wax the paint and it will sit covered outside. I don’t think I can do much to save the tires and brakes. We’ll just have to see how they are coming out of storage.

What am I missing, and any advice?

“What am I missing, and any advice?”

Stop babysitting your son…Do both you and your son a favor and SELL THE CAR!! It won’t be worth squat in 5 years. ESPECIALLY being stored outside. It will become part of the ground it’s sitting on. Sell it.

Sell the car. Why does he want to save an 04 Corolla so badly? It won’t be worth your effort or the probable cost of repairs after 5 years.

The best thing you could do for your son and his car-is to cover it with a “Good” car cover-AND-then start it up and drive it to the store and back-full operating temp and total run time of 20 min, at least, every week. Anything else will result in everything degrading badly. Short of that-sell the car and invest the money in GOLD-by then the dollar will be worthless and GOLD will have doubled in value.

That is a difficult question. If it were me I would do the stabil, fogging and park the car on wood or cement blocks to keep the tires from contact with the ground. Let’s look at 5 years from now. The tires will probably be shot, the gas will be bad, so new tires and a gas flush I would do. Hopefully the fogging has prevented rusted cylinders, but then there is the doubt about vacuum lines, hoses etc. Covers are good to a point but they tend to trap moisture as well as prevent moisture contact. Trapped moisture can be worse than exposure to the elements.
I assume he loves this car, but you may want to consider selling the car and using the money in 2014 to buy another.

Thanks for the replies. My advice was to sell the car. He is a college grad lives in CA, I live in PA, and he has an internet consulting business he can conduct anywhere in the world. So he is giving up his CA apartment and traveling the world. He has tested this idea and been out of the US for about 8 of the last 12 months.

It is his car and his call what he does with it. I offered to help, if that is babysitting then guilty on that one. He goes his own way and if the car is trash in 5 years he is fine getting another one. I told him long term storage is a bad idea. No argument there.

If the car arrives in PA I’ll give it a go and see what we have left in 5 years, or 2 years, or whenever he decides he needs it.

Great job, Dad. It is pleasant to see that even intelligent, hard-working people like your son have ummm… less than optimal ideas concerning what to do with an average car.

NEVER fall in love with something that can’t love you back… Would he go through all this effort for a washing machine?? Is there any difference, really?? If he lives abroad for 5 years successfully, he is not coming back…

I’m the step dad so no genetic connection, but the young man is a genius. Graduated from Stamford, worked for 2 years for an investment banking firm and paid off all his student loans. Saved money to start his own business and makes more in a month than I get in a year of pension checks.

He isn’t in love with the car. His mind works in some kind of other dimension so whatever his logic comes up with there is some method to the maddness.

My guess is he will never come back to the US for more than brief visits or few months of giving lectures at schools the caliber of Stamford.

My main motivations are two fold, I hate to see a good car trashed. This way it won’t rot away forgotten in a locked storage unit. I saw this happen to a couple of company cars. Second, this may mean someday he’ll come home for a brief visit and his mother will get a chance to see him. The idea he is leaving “permanently” as he stated in an e-mail was particularly tough news for her on Mother’s day.

I guess that’s a slam. He is hard working, and perhaps he see’s selling it as more of a hassle than putting it in storage. Anyway, what he does may not make sense to me but it works for him.

“I guess that’s a slam.”

I guess that’s directed at me. It is more that I don’t understand why he would want to keep an appliance-type car that will just depreciate and be useless while you store it. He could take the money he gets for selling it and buy something wherever he ends up. Or save it. Or put a down payment on a flat. If you consider that a slam, then it is.