She’s been sitting for so long help!

I have an old 2004 Ford Escape that’s been sitting for the majority of the last nine ish (9) years and I need to get her up and running again! She was driven for a few months three (3) years ago and a few times to move it around to different parking spots but other than that it’s been sitting. She has a new battery and has been started every now and then to get any dust from the vents and to just keep her started. What are the biggest things I need to get her road ready? I know it’s a long list but what are the most important! Thank you!

If it’s been started occasionally, like you stated, you might not be in for that much trouble. Inspect the tires for dry rotting or just old age in general. Actually, if the tires have been on there for the last 9 years and you intend to begin actually using the car now, just buy new tires. I’d recommend changing all fluids. Oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid. I’d probably go ahead and change the belts. I’d change the coolant hoses if I planned to use the car for long-ish trips. I’d recommend keeping the trips fairly short for a while. That way you can address any problems that might come up.


Good ideas by SYJ above. Beyond that I’d worry about the nature of the gasoline in the tank. It might be ok to just run the car with it, and keep adding fresh gas until all the old gas is gone; but the risk to that approach is expensive to diagnose and repair clogs and other damage to components in the fuel system. If presented w/that situation myself I’d probably hire a shop to drain and flush the tank and all the fuel lines up to the fuel rail, including the return line back to the tank. Then install a new fuel filter, and fill the tank with fresh gasoline After driving 50 miles I’d replace the fuel filter again.

Agreed with the two above, although on the gas I’d just drain the tank. Even if the gas in the return line is varnished, that’s not very much gas and it’s not going to do any harm when you mix it with a whole tank of fresh gas.

If you can, find 100% ethanol-free gasoline(E0). It would have been best to have E0 for an infrequently run vehicle 9 years ago. Presently, lists 14,040 sources of E0 in U.S. & Canada.

Thank y’all so much! I do have an update! Her Alternator seems to have been draining the battery the entire 6 months that’s the battery has been in there! More issues to be found!

Are you sure? The battery will discharge after 6 months of storage even with a good alternator, the battery needs to be recharged with a battery charger during periods of storage.

A shorted alternator can discharge the battery in a few hours, this can be tested/verified with a battery draw test.

Use a battery tender if you are not going to use your car for more than a month.

Okay so maybe not the alternator? I’m not sure my father was teaching me about cars before he got sick so I’ve been learning what I can so I’m sorry for any incompetence. I can’t get any power to the car unless I first jump it. No lights no sounds nothing. Then I jump it and it starts and runs while I have it on and hooked up to the “charger”. If I turn the headlights on it dies and I have to start the process again of hooking it up and everything. I drove it for less then five minutes to turn it around in my carport and it didn’t seem to have any issues but my father is convinced it’s the alternator. Which is no easy task to remove - he insists on taking it out- which all the rest from this fifteen (15) year old car. Does it sound like an alternator issue or a battery issue? Regardless I’m probably going to have to to it to a garage and have them diagnose and replace.