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Storing a car

I have 2005 Nissan Altima and I will be leaving the country for an undetermined time. What is the minimum amount of days that I can leave the car garaged and idle? How often does the car need to be started or driven to not damage tires, engine, etc.?

We’ve had many posts on this before, and as long as the battery does not drain, your car can stay stored in a garage for quite a long time without any deterioration.

If you are going away for 3 months or more, I would fill the gas tank and add some fuel stabilizer. Also, a battery “minder” will keep the battery charged up. The tires many lose some air, but it would take a very long time for them to lose significant amount of air.

Leave one window open just a crack to keep the interior from smelling stale when yoyu get back; vacuum out the interior before you go. Cover the engine air intake and exhaust pipe with some plastic film to keep out insects and possible rodents.

An oil and filter change would be beneficial as well.

Remember, many slow selling cars sit on dealer lots for up to a year without anything done to them other than keeping the battery charged up and a wash.

Have a good trip!

You can safely leave a car for a few months with minimal preparation. Some fuel stabilizer and a full gas tank are essential. I’d inflate the tires a few psi above normal.

Indoor storage really helps, no matter how long you are away.

Assuming the battery is OK now, it should be fine for a month or two. If you think you’ll be gone longer either disconnect the battery or buy a Battery Tender.

If you want someone to drive the car, once every three or four weeks would be good, but it has to be driven for a half hour or so, to get everything warmed up. Around the block doesn’t work, and the car would be better sitting than driven short distances or only a few minutes.

If you’re talking about being away for a LONG time, like a year or more, storage becomes more difficult, but a few months is not really a big deal.

Anything over a month, disconnect the battery. Over 6 months, add fuel stabilizer. Over 2 years, sell the car and buy another one when you get back…Pump the tires up to their maximum allowable pressure. Clean everything. Leaving a car at rest is much better than depending on others to drive it once a month…

I like to add two things that are not on most list:

  • Cancel the collision insurance (but not the comprehensive insurance). You can usually save a lot of money with no risk, since non-collusion risks are covered under the comprehensive. Talk to your insurance agent as your policy may vary from others.

  • Disconnect and remove the battery. The battery will better off in your basement than outside of in a garage, and it will make it much more difficult for someone who might want to steal your car. Check to make sure you have any codes needed to reactivate things when you reconnect the battery.

    Generally the car will be better off not being driven than having someone come in and drive it. while you are away.