Storing cars

I have a manual transmission car that I want to take off the road for a couple of years. What do I need to do to safely store the car so it will start in 2 years?

You don’t state the necessary vehicle identification (yr/make/model/engine size (gas or diesel?)/mileage) so some answers may not apply.

Add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. DRIVE the vehicle (to ensure the stabilizer has mixed with the gas) long enough until the stabilizer/gas has passed through the injectors)

Jack it up and block up (or set on the proper capacity sized jack-stands) the frame to elevate the tires off the floor

Leave the PARKING brake off (to prevent possible seizing)

Disconnect and remove the battery. Two years is too long to leave a trickle charger on it. If the battery is 5-6 years old it will be close to the time for replacement.

If storing in an open dusty environment, cover the air intake (tape a plastic bag over it) and vehicle. If inside, forget this.

You have a choice with the fluids and that is: (2 years) change ALL the fluids now or do it before starting the vehicle after the storage time.

Remove the wipers unless you plan on replacing them anyway (Again, storing inside or out?)

I’m sure the others here will add to the list.

Two years? The one problem I see in that is, fuel stabilizers only last sixteen months at the most. After that, the gas can start to break down. Better off selling it, than to face the problems that can arise from allowing a vehicle sit idle for two years.


I would consider selling it and putting the money in the bank for two years. Your car will loose value, you will need to store it, and insure it (comprehensive) for two years. As Tester noted, two years gets you to the outside limit of easy storage. You may get by with little trouble, but there is a good chance that you will have problems. Remember that tyres age even when they are not used as do belts and hoses. It will not be the same car in two years. Unless it is something very special, sell it now.

If you do decide to store it make sure you cancel collusion insurance, find a good save spot to store it, and for two years I would treat the fuel, then drain as much as possible and try to run it dry. You will not get it all out which is why you should treat it.

Yes there are people who have been lucky and just parked a car for three or more years and only had to charge up the battery when they returned, but don’t count on it, especially with a modern car.

I agree tester, although I’d be surprised it would last that long. I know it dies last almost 1 year because that is how long my Tahoe sat with the stabilizer in it.

I put it back on the road two days ago and have no issues.

Aside from selling like you fellows mentioned would be to have someone run the vehicle around for an hour once a month to keep the seals and battery up and after the first year add more stabilizer.

The owner could also drain the tank and run the fuel system dry.