Dear Car Talk,
I am leaving the country on research for about 2.5 years (maybe 3) and I would like to store my 2003 VW Beetle Turbo Sport. I have been told by many that it should be no problem. However, I was curious to know if the turbo engine would need any particular attention? What general care should I perform prior to leaving. I will be leaving the car in a heated storage unit so weather won’t be a problem.
Thank you so much for your help!!
Dear Car Talk,
Anything over 1 year is a problem, 3 years is a big problem, unless you have someone that’ll drive it enough to keep fresh gas in it. Do you?
Sell the car and put the money in the bank. When you come back buy another car. This will also save you the storage unit fees.
2.5 to 3 years is too long. The car will depreciate during this time and you’ll have problems trying to get it back on the road. Gasoline can’t be stored that long. One year is about the maximum.
I wouldn’t attempt to store a car more than a year to 18 months.
Properly stored in a safe dry enclosed place and properly treating the fuel for storage should keep the car in good shape. HOWEVER your car will suffer depreciation during that time and when you get back you car will be work no more than a car that had been used for that time. It also will have experienced some aging of parts. Rust corrosion and deterioration of rubber and other parts will continue even if the car is not driven.
If you really like that specific car and are sure you are going to like it as much in three years, then go ahead and store it properly. If not now would be a good time to sell it.
How do you treat gas for 3 years? 2 is the max on the Stabil web site.
Thank you all for your prompt replies!
In an ideal world, I would have gladly sold it. However, despite living in a college town, many prospective buyers simply could not drive stick. Selling to a dealership last minute would force me to loss around $2500 on what I could get for it…which even then is lower than its Bluebook value. In a worst case scenario then, if I had to store it for say 2.5 years…would breaking that up with 1-2 x/month driving be better than nothing? In that case, no fuel stabilizer, right? What about even less regular driving, say once every 3 months? I should note that I am less interested in depreciated value as I am about the car’s function. How do car collector’s manage to keep their pieces so long?
Always use fuel stabilizer in this kind of situation, it hurts nothing. Make sure you get a fresh tank of gas in it, then a double dose of stabilizer (per the Stabil web site). Do a search on ‘car storage’ here, there are several discussions.
We can give you the precise advice on how to store this car for 3 years, but it would be a bad decision. I would sell the car, invest the money and buy a new one when you return to the US.
In my opinion, a turbo equipped car HAS to be driven regularly to keep it healthy. That involves insurance.
Sell it and stop worrying!