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How long can you leave a car parked?


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Hey guys, I expect to be leaving my Regal parked from mid-June until the beginning of August. I will be out of the country. I will be taking the car up to Portland but, since my Mom doesn't drive, I wouldn't even want her to start it and move it up and back a few feet to get things moving...though maybe a neighbor could do it. Still, it may wind up sitting there.

I've heard that leaving them parked for that long can cause some problems. Namely, the battery may fail but more so than that, tires are supposed to get a "flat spot" or something to that effect.

Is there any truth to that? What other car components could be adversely affected by being parked for a long time?

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Correct- flat spots take much longer than 7 weeks to appear- years is the norm there.

You could put a trickle charger on the battery if jumping it when you get back is a hassle.

You should not have any other issues in only 7 weeks. The next step would be at 6 months or more, where you might consider a gas stabilizer.

I have a semi-'photographic' memory when it comes to numbers (only, unfortunately). When I took a look at a sweet '64 Catalina with a buddy once, it was sitting unlicensed in the owner's driveway. Odometer read 69,242. A solid 2 years later when I was jonesing for a vintage daily driver and went back to buy it, it hadn't moved a single mile in the meantime.

I did buy it and drove it happily for 2 years until I centerpunched a deer at 100MPH at 92,xxx miles.

I did swap out the tires almost immediately because it had bias plys and it was rather squirrely changing lanes on Rt 1. Also the trans seals had dried out, requiring a rebuild, but then again the car was then 27 years old.

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Only about a month?

You should be fine. :thumbsup:

My biggest worry would be the engine, since it is used to being driven a bit.

As long as:

- somebody warms it up for 5-10 min

- you drive it like you stole it when you get back (or at least push it on the freeway...)

You shouldn't push it when you first get it running after an extended period of no use. At least, that's my thinking.

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As others have noted, I don't think you'll have much of a problem.

Will you be storing the car inside or outside? If inside, is it going to be heated?

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I wouldnt worry about it. Fill the fuel tank and make sure you have fresh oil and a full service and you should be fine. I leave the Bonneville sit for a lot longer than that and other than starting it every 2-3 weeks or so it survives it just fine.

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for a month, you should be fine.

from experience of winterizing my motorcycle for a couple of months each year

-unhook battery and leave on battery tender or trickle charger plugged into timer

-put fuel stabilizer in the gas tank and run it through the fuel system

-put wood under tires to insulate them from the cold concrete

-change the oil & filter so acids in oil don't damage engine components

Edited by Dragon
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Ah, you just need to clean out the sitting fuel...just drive it then... :P

You don't push it, because seals that have not been flexed can crack, causing leaks! Re: old gas, before you leave, add

"Stabil" gas line stabilizer into you tank and run the engine to get it thru the fuel system. One bottle treats 20 gals. Once treated,

the car can stand for months.

For all you "experts", tires can "flat-out" overnight. It is due to the weight of the car sitting on one contact patch of the tire.

Usually the tire "rounds-out" again as you drive it. However depending on the age of the tires and what kind of construction

was used in the tire fabrication, some tires have a memory, and retain that flat spot for a long time. If the car is not

going to be moved periodically, and it is not in the way in the spot where you are going to leave it, put it on jack stands, which

are just above the ride position so that the car is not unstable, but all the weight of the car is off the tires. You should use 4,

located at frame or jacking points of the car. And I don't mean leave it on a floor jack! You want to use stationary, adjustable

jack stands. Oh yeah, don't try this if the spot you are leaving the car in is not level!

Depending on when you changed oil last, from when you store the car, a fresh oil change is usually good, to remove any

corrosive contaminants that collect in your oil. Lastly, disconnect the battery, and store it out of the car and indoors if you can.

As someone else suggested, put it on a slow trickle-charger. This keeps the cells from breaking down. Make sure that it

has the correct level of fluid in it, if it has removable cell caps.

The use of a car cover, if outdoors is controversial. A poorly fitted one can do severe damage to the paint, due to rubbing

as it moves around with a wind. If again, it is indoors these help prevent the normal dust settling from getting on the paint.

And, as also mentioned, if you are in a climate where there are freezing temps, be sure that your antifreeze level is

adequate by testing it. You are not looking for volume, but freezing temp point of your coolant mix.

That should cover most of the points, unless you are considering longer periods of time.

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