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Servicing a vehicle which has been garage stored and unused for several years

Way back in 1995 I purchased a brand new Lexus SC 400 coupe. I drove it for a few years and put about 23K miles on it. I then stored it in my garage hooked up to a battery manager. I would like to now put this vehicle back into service. I have brought it to the dealership several times over the past few years for routine oil changes and smog checks. I now want to bring it back to the dealer to have routine maintenance performed to get the vehicle back into perfect driving condition. I assume at a minimum I would have to replace all of the hoses since most likely they would be all dried up since I have not used the car for any appreciable time the past 3-4 years. Can you suggest what other items I should have the technician replace/repair and any ideas about how much all of this work should cost? I don’t know the first thing about cars, so your advice is very much appreciated. Thank you for your help with this!

Remove the gas cap and smell down the fill tube. Is there the odor of gas? Or is there more of a rancid odor? If it’s more of a rancid odor you’re going to have issues with the fuel system because of bad gas.


Do as Tester recommended, if you are lucky that is about it.

I would make one suggestion. Don’t bring it back to the dealer. Find a local INDEPENDENT Lexus knowledgeable mechanic. It will save you money at the cost of the fancy coffee in the waiting room.

Get the car insured, get plates on it, fire it up and take it out for a drive. Before leaving the garage take a quick look at the tires to make sure they aren’t any that have gone flat. First stop is a gas station to fill all the tires with air. If you can’t find the placard on the door with recommended pressures 30 lbs is fine for now. If the gas tank is at 1/2 or below fill up the gas tank with some fresh gas.

You’ve had the car service a couple of times over the storage period. I’d drive it for a couple of tanks of gas and then take it for a good check up. That way it will get what it needs, rather than the whole kitchen sink of stuff some of which will be a waste of your money. Have your cell phone and the number for your auto club, AAA or whoever, just in case.

When you do get it serviced likely all the fluids, trans, brakes, coolant, power steering, should all be changed. Some rubber parts hold up fine, but the condition of belts, hoses, and vacuum tubes can be evaluated. Filters don’t usually deteriorate, but a new air filter might be needed.

If you said you hand not touched or moved the car since 1998 then I’d go with taking it to a mechanic first. But you have had some services over the years, so take it out of the garage and see how it goes. Start slow and test the brakes on a couple of slow stops. They might be noisey but after a couple of stops they should work OK. Stay fairly close to home and keep the speeds at 45 to 50 for a few miles. If all seems ok then you can try an interstate. Give it a couple of tanks of gas before heading into city traffic or taking on long bridges until your confidence in the soundness of the car builds.

If it has a timing belt it should be replaced ASAP.

Ed B.