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Troubleshooting vehicle stored outdoors for two months


This is my first post in this community.

Now, I really don’t know much about cars, so keep that in mind when you render your responses.

I stored my vehicle outdoors for two months, namely late August until late October. It was sunny, then colder with some rain. No snow or frigid weather, however.

I did not prepare the vehicle for storage (eg. Empty the fuel tank).

Anyway, I recently retrieved the car and drove it for about 30 minutes. It started and ran normally.

But I’m concerned it is damaged. What do I need to check and how? Maybe there is internal rust or something. Also perhaps I can take some preventive measures.

This car was awarded to me by my parrents so I want to keep it in great shape. Thanks in advance for your help!

Nothing to worry about.

Look at all the cars that sit on dealer’s lots. Some don’t move for months at a time. And these vehicles are sold to the public.

If you were to allow the vehicle to sit idle for six months, then at the minimum a fuel stabilizer should be added to the gas tank.


First thing, asap check the engine anti-freeze to make sure it has enough freeze protection for your area. It’s getting colder every day now, and you don’t want to wake up from an early freeze to a destroyed engine from the coolant freezing. Good idea to check the windshield wiper solution too. Sometimes folks will put plain water in the washer bottle during the summer, then forget and the sprayer pump will be damaged. Not driving the car for two months should be no problem, but the battery may need to be recharged.

Not to worry, keep up with the normal maintenance in the manual and all should be fine.

You might ask your parents if they changed oil/coolant before they gave it to you. If not you can change the oil and coolant and check the Auto Transmission fluid (if it’s an automatic) since it runs normally you should just have to do the regular service items.

My late Father-in Law’s 1993 Chevrolet Caprice sat for nearly 3 years before I got it in 2002. Other than being driven from one end of the parking lot to the other every couple of months. Since I drove it for another 9 years before I took it off the road I can assure you no damage occurred.

Before I started driving it on a regular basis I did the following to give the car a fresh start.

  • Change the oil and filter
  • Change the transmission fluid and filter (not flush)
  • Replace the serpentine belt, as the original belt was 9 years old
  • Drain and replace coolant

If your car has a timing belt, check if it’s due for a replacement based on years/miles, whichever comes first. Familiarize yourself with the Owner’s manual and Maintenance schedule. Get into the habit of checking the oil and other fluid levels and the tire pressure on a regular basis. Spend some time on this forum, you can learn a lot from it, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Good luck,

Ed B.

Your concern about damage is baseless. If you had said 2 years then there might be some damage. 2 months…no way.

I agree; I often go away for 2 months overseas and my wife may or may not drive my car. With a donated car, checking all the fluids and verifying what maintenance still needs to be done is necessary.

Please let us know the make, model and year and we can mention any caveats to observe.

Ditto, not to worry.
My 79 pickup sits through the winter months undriven unless I have a load of pellets or wood to haul.
In fact, it is driven so rarely ( 71k total miles on a 79 ) that I know in advance that I will not put in more gas for at least a year so I put StayBil gas stabilizer in the tanks and use a solar trickle charger to keep the battery up and it starts right up every time. ( I also use RV tire covers to keep the UV damage to a minimum )

for your car , consider that overall driving plan for its future and do maintainence accordingly.

  • Add fuel stabilizer if you’re not going to add more fuel for a year even if you drive it a little once in a while. Fuel stabilizer will not make bad gas good again so you have to plan ahead.
  • Change oil by time limit if you don’t put on many miles.
  • tire age is as important as tread depth.