CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Spare car in garage

I have a 1998 Toyota 4-runner that I would like to leave at my second house in North Carolina. I of course live most of the year in Florida. The car has a 2.7 liter, four cylinder engine and around 173k miles, but is running ok. It burns some oil etc. How would the vehicle be affected by not being started more than once every 1-2 months (other than when I am there)?

My father has a 1990 4runner with 150k miles. It is only runs 2-3 times per year for 2-3 week periods and otherwise sits. It has not had a single mechanical problem and has been doing this since 1997.

One thing you’d want to do is physically remove the battery everytime you’re done driving it. This will help prevent someone from driving off with it.

If it sits for several months in one place you will eventually get flat spots on the tires. Consider having a trusted neighbor take it out for a spin every couple of weeks. Run it for 15 to 20 minutes and that should cure any of the other idle car issues.

Running it once every 1-2 months is all it needs. Other than theft prevention, you need take no extra precautions or preventative measures.

If you’re a little paranoid, you could disconnect the ground on the battery…

Flat spots are possible, but with modern tyres it is a very minor or non-existent problem.

My temporary vehicle is a 79 chevy short stepside with a grand total mileage of 69,861 on it. While it waits patiently in the back yard to haul a board or two I always put STA-BIL in the tanks and I have a solar battery trickle charger laying on the dash plugged to the cig lighter to keep up the battery. Works evey time.