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Removing my car from storage

I’m active duty Air Force returning from an overseas tour. My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder has been in storage since 2007. It has about 50K miles on it. The storgae facility checks all fluids, lights, guages, tire pressure, AC/heat, coolant, starts and moves my vehicle once a month. What do I need to do to it before I put it on the road?

Change the oil and flush the coolant with a new thermostat and radiator cap (cheap insurance). I’d also consider changing the transmission fluid with a pan drop and filter change. Possibly even a gear fluid change. And a fresh tank of gas. The tires should be OK if they did move the car around. Then, drive and enjoy!

Oops, forgot to add: Change the brake fluid.

Change the oil, the coolant, and thoroughly examine the tires for cracks and signs of aging. Then drive it on regular roads, not freeways, at times when there are very few other vehicles and see if things are working OK. I’ll bet it’s ok. The gas is probably pretty bad, so if it runs poorly, keep going and fill the tank with fresh gas. After 100 miles it should be fine. Welcome home.

First thanks for serving.

That is a long storage. Normally I would have suggested not even starting it, but since it was over two years, starting it and driving it from time to time was a good idea. OK Like the others, it is time for regular service. Radiator, battery, maybe tyres, all may need work. Even when not driven the may suffer. Those tyres are now how old?? I suspect they are due for replacement. Tread may be great, but the tyre may have suffered from age and/or ozone and need replacement for safe operation.

In addition to the recommendations of other readers here, I would take out the owner's manual and read the section on maintenance.  Make sure that all the maintenance items listed (miles or time) have been done.  

 It sound not be a problem, so don't worry.

How long it was driven for would be key to knowing. If all they done was start it up, move it a few feet, it would be worse on the car than not touching it at all.
I also question the gas in it, the car’s been in storage for 4 years now, and the gas probably wasn’t filled up any.

Yeah, 4 year old gas could be a problem…I have never heard of a storage facility like the one you describe…Do they replace dead batteries or just jump them? I mean, this is the Government, right? Do people actually get paid to do this?

Your pathfinder should be good to go…Change all the fluids when you get a chance. Was it parked outside? Where?

Everyone posted great ideas. One not posted was completely check the brakes for rust and good rubber on the brake hoses. That stuff ages even in fairly dry climates. Your timing belt has also aged but is not yet critical, something to think about.

Thanks for all of the great posts. I’ll be back stateside and getting my car out of storage in about 3 weeks. I’ll have the 60K mile maintenance service done (wonder how much that’ll cost me?) since that covers just about everything suggested here. My new problem is that the service center is about 20 miles from the vehicle processing center where I will pick my vehicle up. Is that too far to drive it initially after 4 years of storage? Again, thanks for all of the great suggestion!

You have a choice. Have it towed in, and pick it up after servicing, or gamble. It’s a question of your personality type.

I wouldn’t be worried about driving it 20 miles, just check all the fluids and brake operation prior to driving it to make sure everything is OK. One of my cars spends 98% of it’s time sitting in the garage (1997 with 32K miles), sometimes for months at a time, because it’s main use is long highway trips. Nearly every time I drive it it’s on a trip of 500+ miles and has usually been sitting at least a few months and sometimes 6-12 months. I don’t think you have anything to get uptight about. I agree an oil change is probably in order since the car was only being started and run short periods of time and probably never reaching full operating temperature which could have caused some condensation in the oil.