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Volvo on Ice

When our son moved to Washington, D.C. and decided he didn’t need his car, it became a permanent fixture in our driveway. It’s an '01 S-60 Volvo. We took the insurance off it because neither I nor my wife need to drive it, but we’ve been told we should drive it up and down the driveway for about 20 minutes every month to rotate the tires and keep the battery strong. Then another mechanic told us that’s the worst thing to do. Short of driving around the block late at night (without insurance), which our 24-year-old son wants me to do, what’s the best way to maintain it when it’s parked for most of the time?

You should do the following:

Change the oil
Put fuel stabilizer in the gas tank
Use a battery tender to keep the battery charged
Put the car on jackstands in order to keep weight off of the tires

However, all of that is predicated on the car being used again by your son within a year at most, or sold within a year at most. This is not a classic Rolls Royce that will appreciate in value. Instead, it is a car with a reputation for expensive repairs as it ages, and it is depreciating every day as it ages.

If I were you, I would try to pin down sonny’s intentions for the car. Unless he commits to personally putting the car back into service within a few months to a year, tell him that you will have to start charging rent for the driveway space that it occupies. You will be doing him a massive favor if you can get him to decide what he wants to do with this car.

Why have you allowed this to become your problem?

Tell your son to do something with the car. Either drive it to DC or sell it. If the title is in your name this becomes very simple to deal with.

You don’t need it sitting around your property, and without insurance you CANNOT drive it enough to maintain it. The car needs to be driven on the road for 30 minutes or so every few weeks. Driving around the block isn’t enough, and is just as bad as moving it up and down the driveway.

Stop being your son’s servant and get rid of the car, one way or another.

I would only add that removing the battery and bringing it inside. That will make it more difficult to steal. (Thieves usually don’t remember to bring a spare battery when they go out shopping.)

Personally I have not seen any flat spots on a tyre in over 20 years. Long ago when I was young, if you left the tyres in the same spot for a few weeks or months, you did get a flat spot. Today’s tyres are radials and what little flat spots do develop go away very quickly when you start driving it. At least that has been my experience.

The real question however is why do you want to keep it?  It sounds to me that it is more trouble than it is worth and it likely will become more of a problem as time goes on and as the value of the car goes down.  How long are you planing to keep it and not use it, it will loose value every month older it gets. 

 You also should contact your insurance company.  Chances are good that you can eliminate the collusion insurance (if you don't drive it you don't need it.)

How old is your son? Tell him the free ride is over and you have more important things to do than babysit his car. Take the car to a storage facility and park it there and have the monthly charge go on his credit card.

Then go home and take care of you and your wife.

It’s a characteristic of Volvo owners. They seem to park old Volvos everywhere. I have to wonder if the cars are hard to sell or just hard to part with. Most of them do not move very often and I suspect that they are pushed into new positions every two years or so. They are generally parked on or near a slope of one kind or another. Well, Duh! It’s hard to find a level place in Augusta Maine, the city of rapid runoff.

They could also be trying to collect an insurance check if they can’t sell it. :stuck_out_tongue: