What should be done to a car for the winter that isn't driven much

My dad has a 97 Dodge neon. Given dad’s age and upcoming weather for the winter, the car won’t be driven much over the coming 4-5 months. At best it might be drivin once a week and then not for many miles. So, what is the best thing to do for the car to help it through the winter? Should we go with a full gas tank, should we remove the battery, is there something we should put in the gas tank to help the gas and such. The car is not garaged as there is no room in the garage for a car, it is in the driveway up near the garage but still outside.

Have the oil and filter changed by a trusted local mechanic, not a quickie-lube place.
Have the mechanic check tire pressures and add air as needed.
Fill up gas tank.
Add some Sta-bil fuel stabilizer from your local auto parts store.
Start the car once a week and let it idle 5-10 minutes to keep the battery charged.
In the spring, have oil changed again, even if car wasn’t driven much. This prevents engine oil from sludging up due to accumulated moisture from not being driven enough.

You might also want to invest in a rechargeable jump pack in case that battery (or yours) goes dead in the winter.

I agree with the above except for the start and idle weekly. That kind of running will create condensation in the oil and exhaust system, and will probably not charge the battery enough to make up for the draw on the battery from starting. The car can probably sit for weeks or months and be able to start. If you have any doubt, park it so it’ll be easy for a helper car to give it a jump if need be.

Sta-bil in the tank.
My 79 will sit for the next six moths at least.
The last time I put any gas in the tanks was…well, I can’t remeber ! How about two years ago.
It will start right up when the time comes as I keep a battery tender on it too.

Not just the cheapest “red” stabil, but the marine grade stabilizer for ethanol. I would even add a marine enzyme to control ethanol separation over time. This can start in three weeks when exposed to air. . Generally, fuel injection and closed system in a car has fewer problems but you will notice a difference in performance over time if you used the same gas in the spring that has not been treated properly. It has a cumulative effect and is cheap insurance using the proper stabilizer that is more aggressive dealing with ethanol.

Mine sits in the garage and I just charge the battery from time to time and start it up and fully warm it maybe once a month. I did store my dad’s car outside one winter and just filled the tank, put a car cover on it, and pretty much left it alone. I don’t remember if I pulled the battery or not but I may have. On the newer cars you want to leave the battery intact I hear.

What everyone is apparently forgetting is that this is the same car on which the OP’s father wanted to use…duct tape…or some other totally inappropriate Rube Goldberg approach to fixing a leak from the brake hydraulic system. When we counseled the OP that this was extremely unsafe and that his 90+ year old father should not drive the car, he claimed that he was unable to keep his father from driving it–even though several of us described how to disable it in order to prevent the engine from starting.

So…if the brake hydraulic system of this car was never properly repaired, I would suggest that this is an excellent opportunity to send it to the crusher.

Meany…that Neon has months of useful life left in it.

I’d recommend to start it up and drive it for 15 minutes at least once a week. Use it to run an errand, go to the movies, take it to the car wash, or something. Best if you can drive it somewhere, let it sit a while, like while you go into the grocery store, then drive it back. That way you don’t have to worry about the exhaust system getting waterlogged, tires getting flat spots, bearings going dry, etc.

Dad got the break system fixed by a professional, car given it’s age runs real well and is safe.

But @bertrand, is Dad still safe to drive? We discussed that one at length in another thread…

Now that the break system is fixed what about the brake system?

According to the state he is and that is all that matters, he passed their tests…

His car while up three in age, runs pretty well. Starts, stops and all and gets him around town when he needs to, which isn’t that often anymore…but he goes out for lunch and such from time to time.