Reviving a car that’s been sitting for 3-4 years

Hi, I’m 17 and my dad is giving me his 2003 BMW 325i. It’s been sitting for 3-4 years and I am wondering what I can personally do to get it running so I can save a bit of money. It was in good working condition when it was last driven and the battery was replaced right before it was parked. What do I need to replace/check/get fixed in order to safely start it again.

The battery is shot.

Sitting too long.

Get a new battery and install it.

Check all the fluids.

Before starting the engine, turn the ignition switch on so the dash lights come on for two seconds, and turn the ignition off.

Repeat this a half dozen times and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts and runs, check for leaks under the car.

Then bring it to a shop to get it serviced.


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The gas in the tank has likely gone bad. Take a sniff or have someone knowledgeable sniff. If it is full, you might want to have it drained and replaced with fresh before even trying to start it. If there is only a small amount in, Adding as much fresh gas as you can should dilute it enough so it will run.


Do I have to worry about any build up or rust in the tank

I believe that is a plastic fuel tank, take a look under the car.

There will be varnish from the fuel but likely a plastic tank so no rust. Some fuel injector cleaner in each tank of fuel for the first 2 or 3 should clean that out.

Plan on a fuel filter change if the car has one. Plan on a brake fluid and coolant change, too