Starting an Old Car

I have to pick up a '99 Windstar in Florida. It hasn’t been started or moved in 6 months. Any tips on getting it started. I’ll be selling it immediately. Charlie

Charlie, I am the one with the wet floor board. So, you may not gain much from this. I suggest you have battery cables with you. A good battery. Make sure all your fluid levels are full. Check the tire pressure ASAP. Once you turn on the ignition, allow a minute or so for the gas to move through the system ~ pedal to the floor ~ release and then down, about half way ~ try to start ~ if that doesn’t work ~ take the top off the carburetor and wiggle it some. Hope this helps.

Sandra, you’re living in the past! No carburetor on this vehicle so no need for messing with the gas pedal.

Charlie: Check under the hood for signs of critters, including inside the air cleaner box. Check all fluids, belts, and hoses. Fill the tires (they may be flat-spotted from sitting so long, and may need to be replaced but probably not). Charge or replace the battery and crank it briefly to get the oil flowing. Even better would be to pull the spark plugs and pour in about a teaspoon of motor oil into the cylinders, but this is going to be a PITA for the rear cylinder bank. Then see if it starts.

Where or how far are you driving it? It might be worth the $$ to have it transported on a rollback to the next owner AS IS . . . limit your liability and the purchaser will know what he’s buying. At best it sounds like you’re just looking to start it and drive it to the point of sale . . . this may cause damage to the vehicle (which you don’t seem to care about so long as you can sell it) and which may be a liabilty issue for you later down the road. Rocketman

I don’t think she’s living in the past, just to preoccupied with her wet floor!

Check the battery, six months is a long time if it was not properly prepared. The rest of the stuff should be OK, but should be checked soon.

Dear Roadrunner,

Thanks. The things I suggested were taught to me by my father, in the ole’ days when all vehicles had carburetors.

My son has one of the 1st Prius Hybrids and it still getting great mileage. Do they not have a carburetor?

NYBo suggestion of putting a tsp. of oil into each of the cylinders sounds like a critical thing that should be done.



Carburetors have all but dissappeared. ODB-II systems don’t work with them. Only EFI from now on until gasoline is phased out.

Dear BustedKnuckles,

Thanks. I used to listen to Car Talk every Sunday with a friend who had listened to their show on Saturday (unknown to me for a short time). He had me convinced how very knowledgeable he was. When I learned what he was doing, we both got a kick out of it. I am learning so much from all the posts and am very grateful for folks who are willing to share.

Sandra- stay on this forum and you’ll learn a lot. I’m a mechanic and to me it’s a wasted day if I don’t learn at least two things a day: one at work and one pearl of wisdom from this board.

Take some jummper cables. I would change the oil and filter before starting since it has sat for 6 mo (water in the oil). I would take some fresh fuel because you might have condensation in your tank. I would check the tires. Check all your fluids. Other than that you should be good. By the way I think a 99 has EFI don’t quote me, but listen for the fuel pump to kick in when you take the key to run. Good luck.

Thanks to all of you for your tips. Looks like the battery is the main concern but the other tips I hadn’t even thought about. I feel better now that I have a good idea of what to do. Charlie

Good luck Charlie!