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Putting a car in storage

One of my daughters is buying a new car and is" graciously" giving us back our old 1998 Toyota Camry with 130,000 miles. We live in western New York State where it’s winter 6 months a year .I’m thinking of keeping it for my youngest daughter who will be driving in 2 years. I can store it in the garage till then.
Do I need to drive it occasionally or can it just sleep for 2 years and if so do, I need to prepare it in any way?

You’d be better off to drive it at least 5-10 miles once o twice a week. If you don’t want the expense to keep the registration active, there are fairly good ways to store a car for long time periods. But when the time period is measured in years, those don’t work in terms of keeping the innards in good shape compared to driving it once a week or so.

When my seldom driven 1993 Caprice was still on the road, it had no issues even sitting for 3 to 5 weeks at a time. However I would drive it 25 or more miles on that day.

I took it off the road about a year and a half ago. I changed the oil and filled the gas tank first. I added Stabil to the gas tank. I start it once every couple of months and let it run for about 40 minutes to fully warm the engine and to evaporate any moisture in the engine and exhaust. I keep the battery charged with a Battery Tender.

A 98 Camry with 130k is just getting broken in.

Ed B.

For two years and giving a possibly more rusty car later, I would sell it and buy a used Corolla in two years. At our age dad, forget the hassle of two years maligning and worrying about a car that may fold when you finally give it to the next child. There are plenty of other good newer cars out there used in two years. Use the money to go on a cruise. It will be an albatross for two years. Life is too short. If the car was 5 to 7 years, maybe. Your car will be nearly twenty years old while your daughter is driving it…Dump it. Lots of parts age regardless of mileage including the body.

Run the gas down to 1/4 tank, add some stabilizer to the fuel, drive it a few more miles, park it. Change the oil and coolant. Pump the tires up to 40 PSI. Clean it inside and out. Wax it maybe…Disconnect the battery. Buy an inexpensive “Battery Minder” to maintain the battery or just charge it for an hour once every two months…Check the tires every 6 months. That’s about it…

Agree with dagosa. Sell it and save the cash for a future purchase. Cash is a lot easier to store and doesn’t rust.

I don’t know why but I still have one that gets about 200 miles a year on. I keep it in the garage except for when I have a project, charge the battery once a month, run it every couple of months, fill the tank with non-oxy gas and Stabil once a year, and the rest of the time it just collects dust. Plates are $35 and insurance is $200 a year, and once in a while comes in handy, but still it would be nice to have the extra stall.

I just took a motorcycle out of storage after about two years, and boy did I regret leaving it in storage that long. The carbs were gummed up (even though I used ethanol-free gas and a double dose of fuel stabilizer), the battery had to be replaced (even though it was plugged into a trickle charger - it just got too old), and getting it running right was a lot of work.

@Dr_Nacho, If I were you, the only way I’d keep the car is if I was able to drive it often enough to keep the fuel fresh. Otherwise, I’d sell it and replace it in two years. If you can, take the money you get for the car and put it into a CD or other investment or interest-bearing account. That way, the money will be there in two years when you need to buy a car.

P.S.- The motorcycle is running in tip top shape now. With an oil change, a new battery, new tires, some fresh fuel, some carb cleaner, and a trailer ride that finished jarring the floats free, all is well. However, there is fresh rust on the chain, so I’ll probably have to replace it sooner than I otherwise would.

My 79 chevy pickup ( 71k total miles ) is just fine sitting for the winter six months.
The biggest thing people forget on rarely driven cars is…

– Fuel Stabilizer. –

Once I figured that out, twenty years ago, all has remained well during the two years between fill ups.

Seems that everyone remembers the fuel stabilizer for the lawn and tool equipment, skidoos, boats and ATVs, but forget about the cars and trucks.
You may even be driving it once a month yet along about a year or so things don’t quit work like they used to, but notice when the last time you put gas was. More than six months, use stabilizer.

In the old days, storing cars with very basic components was not a big deal. Now, cars in the last 25 years, all have power windows, air conditioning and all the accompanying electronics that age just by time and some wide eyed mouse looking for a place to curl up for the winter. I am very reluctant to store recent generation cars especially when you wake it up and find one component that needs fixing and could run you the value of the car. It’s one thing to repair something you use day in and day out. I never want to have to dump money into a car after having not gotten any use out of it for two years. To me, it doesn’t make sense. Like @jemed says, “money doesn’t rust” .

I agree with the foks suggesting you just sell the car, and buy something newer when your daughter starts driving. First, gaskets, hoses and belts and seals don’t like just “sitting.” they’ll eventually dry up and start leaking. getting rid if it saves you the hassle of dealing with it on an infrequent basis. Another, and I think better, reason to dump the old car is safety. Let’s face it, a 1998 is NOT as safe as, say, a 2006 or 7 Toyota. Newer cars have better airbag and restraint systems, and they have better anti-lok and traction control systems. Something I’d think would be very important to a parent handing over a car to a young, “green” driver.

My vote is to dump it, and get your daughter a better car when she starts driving.

If it were mine I’d keep it registered, put all fresh fluids in it, clean it good inside & out and give it a good coat of wax, keep the gas tank full and with Sta-Bil gas stabilizer, keep the tires properly inflated, and drive it to work once or twice a week. I might even put a trickle charger on the battery. IMHO that’s the best way to keep a car running well while it’s being stored. It keeps all the parts (rubbery and not rubbery) that should be wet wet, and keeps things like brake pads, pistons, and such, from sitting in the same spot for two years, and discloses any problems that might pop up immediately so they can be dealt with right away.

Oh, and I’d drop the comprehensive coverage on it. Unless, of course, NY has different insurance requirements.

If you want to keep it, continue to drive it occasionally, like once a week commuting or for errands. If you do this, contact your insurer and change the primary driver to you and drop the mileage to below 5000 per year. Make sure they know it won’t be use for commuting.

OTOH, if you hav another car you want to keep miles low on, use the old Camry as your commuter and change the status of the newer car as I mentioned above.