Starting Stored Car

I have been given a car [1980 MGB] which has not run in three years. Besides replacing the battery what else do I need to do? I was told putting stabilizer in the gas tank and putting in more gas is all, besides the battery, that I have to do. Any other suggestions?

Putting stabilizer in the gas now won’t do any good. Hope and pray that whoever drove the car last put stabilizer in the gas BEFORE it was parked for three years. I would recommend draining ALL of the old gasoline out before you even think about trying to start this car.

Was the car parked inside or outside? Inside would be much better. The brakes need to be checked carefully before you go blasting off down the road. Don’t assume they work. If the parking brake is on it may be rusted fast. The tires are going to be questionable, too. Was air pressure maintained, or have they gone flat?

As far as the engine goes, I’d remove the spark plugs and squirt a small amount of motor oil in each cylinder, then turn the engine over a few times to spread the oil on the cylinder walls before putting the spark plugs back in. Turning the engine over without letting it start will also help build up a bit of oil pressure before the engine starts.

I’d recommend replacing all vehicle fluids very shortly after you get the car running, and keeping on eye on all the rubber components (bets, tires, hoses).

Good luck with your new toy.

Many thanks - I will certainly take your advice. The car is in a garage so at least part of the problem seems OK. I will post again as soon as I either fail or get the car started. Again - many thanks.

If you successfully start the car, be prepared for a money drain if you plan on using it for anything more than a show piece. Don’t travel too far from home until you’ve driven it for sometime daily. Bros. MG spent more time in the repair shop than his own garage it seemed. He would probably give his away if pressed as well.
Good luck.

Excellent posts by others.

I’d like to add to spend the time to thoroughly go over and test the brake system. Once you get this running you’re going to want to be able to stop it, and seals and other components of the brake system are also subject to deterioration and corrosion.

Like Mac said, 3 years is no big deal… Did the tires go flat? better replace those that did… Todays gasoline is unstable and degrades into some pretty nasty stuff. I would siphon out all the old gasoline and replace it with fresh gas. Smog laws forced MG to stop selling cars in the U.S. A 1980 model will be a smog-test nightmare…Even when they ran right, they didn’t run right…Good Luck…

Many thanks to all of you for your replies to my question. I am beginning to implement your suggestions and will let you all know what happens. Unfortunately, I am a bit pressed for time right now so it will be a bit slow.


These things always take time. Have fun and good luck with your B.