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Home » 4 things to check before Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

4 things to check before Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

You’ve tried everything to get your car to start after a year of sitting. You did an inspection, you replaced the oil, changed the filters, and checked the engine’s fluids. But no sign. The car isn’t ready to start, and you may need to take it to the mechanic. Cars can develop major internal issues, and sitting for so long can damage various parts. They may require repair or even a replacement. The cost of a car starting depends on the size of the part and the amount of damage it has incurred. It can cost you a maximum of $150.

You have to face many challenges with starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months. However, our focus on this page guides you through all you can do to start your car.  Most of us know that the longer the car sits, the harder it is to restart. So even if your battery is still strong, your starter can give out because it hasn’t been, exercised for some time.

If your car has been in there for more than a year, it’s important to warm up the engine before you drive it. Otherwise, it could cause internal components to overheat and cause a brake fluid leak. Fortunately, there are some easy steps to take to get your car started again after a year of sitting. There are several common mistakes that can drain the car battery and damage the engine.

The easiest way to avoid this problem and improve your battery’s life span is by performing monthly maintenance on your car. As a general rule of thumb, you should start it up once a month and drive it around the block for 10 minutes or so.

Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

If you ever leave your car to sit for a longer period, it is expected that it will either fail to start due to some reason or at the start, you are so lucky. Here are things you should do if you ever leave a car sitting for 6 months.

Check the battery

The most common cause of car problems after six months of idle time is the battery. Sitting idle will deplete the battery’s power. If you don’t do anything about it, your battery will not get a chance to recharge itself. Driving it for a few miles each week will recharge the battery and get your car’s fluids moving again. So, you should start the car every week.

The car’s battery is the first step that you need to check. If it shows it still has charged, it is likely to start while other parts are in good condition. However, if it fails to start, you need to get another battery or recharge it if the battery is still good and can retain a charge.

Mind you, leaving a battery for that long will damage the battery. So, your chance of getting back to an active battery is so slim.  In addition, it’s recommended that you check the battery terminals regularly to ensure they’re clean and secure. A battery health check will give you a good idea of what type of car you have.

Changing the battery is another way to start a car that’s been sitting for a year. The easiest way to replace a dead car battery is to use jumper cables. Connect one of the cables to the positive and the other to the negative terminal. Tighten them properly and then connect the battery with a live one. Once the battery is connected, you should run the car for a few minutes to recharge the battery.

If the battery isn’t the problem, you may have to jump-start the car to get it started. The battery will eventually lose voltage while it sits, which means it’s useless to drive it. Luckily, there are some DIY solutions to this problem. Using a jump starter and a jumper, you can get your car running in no time. This is the easiest way to start a car after it’s been parked for a year.

Check the engine oil/other fluids

The first step to starting a car that has been sitting is to check the oil level, which should be between the two indicator marks on the dipstick. You should check your car’s engine oil before you ever try to start a car you allow to sit for 6 months. Make use of the dipstick to check the condition of the oil and the level. It is a good decision for you to empty the engine oil and refill it with a new one. One of the tips to ensure a proper starting condition is to make sure your car has been properly serviced. You should replace the oil, filter, transmission fluid, radiator and coolant.

If your car has been sitting for a year, you should replace the fuel with a new one. Old fuel loses its effectiveness and can damage your car’s engine. You’ll need to replace the fuel before you can start the car. In addition, you should make sure to replace the fluids with fresh ones. Cars are made to be driven, and if you haven’t driven them in a year, there are some precautions you should take before you start the car.

The same with other fluids you have in your cars, such as the transmission fluid and brake oil. You need to check those as well and change the oil. You should never take any risk of driving the car with the same fluids for 6 months, even if the car chooses to start.

The transmission fluid is perhaps the easiest fluid to check. Auto supply stores and gas stations sell refill jugs for transmission fluid. You can also make your own, which will cost you very little. Simply pour the fluid into the reservoir and close it. While gas is the most important fluid in a car, it’s important to check all of the other fluids, too. Make sure the fluid levels in all of these areas are properly maintained, and your car will run smoothly.

Empty the gas tank

One of the most effective ways to start a car after it has been sitting for a long time is to empty the fuel tank. This is a simple procedure that requires little special knowledge and only minimal tools. Just remember to take precautions, as gasoline is highly flammable. Also, remember to properly dispose of the empty fuel. You will need to use the proper container to store your used fuel.

You may not be able to see your gas gauge before starting the car after sitting for several months. This is because your gas tank is nearly empty, and your engine needs some fresh fuel to function properly. You should also add a fuel stabilizer or antifreeze to help prevent the degradation of the fuel for a long period of time. This is especially important if you have a car with an older model.

There are two ways to deal with the car gas tank. If you have the gas empty while you let the car sit for that duration, you need to get a mechanic to blow out the air, wash and ensure the tank doesn’t have any rust formation before you refill the tank with gasoline.

After a car has been sitting for several months, you should know how to start it safely and correctly. Most modern cars can be safely started even after months of sitting. Besides cleaning the gas tank, you should also check the engine oil level. The correct level is between two indicator marks on the dipstick. If it is below that level, you should consider replacing it. This is a cheaper option than replacing the entire gas tank.

The second way is that if you have the tank filled up with gasoline, you need to empty the tank and get a new one into the tank. You can recycle the gasoline you emptied and reuse it if possible.

Check the coolant

The next thing you should do is check the radiator coolant. It is possible the coolant is not good anymore, and you should do well to change the coolant before starting the car.

First, always turn off your engine and open all doors and windows before attempting to clean up a spill. Then, place a white rag or absorbent material under the coolant tank. After this has soaked up the coolant, leave it for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use newspaper or paper towels as an absorbent material. Using these methods will help you remove the coolant, as well as the stains it may have caused.

After you’ve removed any antifreeze, you should clean the coolant tank by using a dishwashing pad or a mixture of water and bleach. You can even use a solution of bleach and water, but it is useless if the coolant is not completely removed from the cooling system. The chemical reaction between the antifreeze and water causes a yellow color. If you notice it’s brown, the coolant is rust-contaminated. Using bleach alone won’t get rid of the yellow color, so you should use some other methods instead.

One way to ensure that your engine will run efficiently is to check the coolant of your car. Most vehicles have a translucent coolant overflow tank which is made of white plastic. If you’re unsure how to find this, look for markings on the side of the tank. If you’re unsure of the level of the coolant, you can always add water to the cooling system.

You need to understand and follow all of said above before starting the car. The other thing which could stop you from starting the car is the key starter. However, you should not have any problems with that if you leave the car for 6 months.

If none of these options works, you should consider changing the key starter. Above all, you need to get the car to your mechanic to help you fix the necessary things and get the car back to normal condition.

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Starting a car that has been sitting for 15 years

Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

Several factors come into play when answering this question including, oil type and condition, fuel used in the vehicle, ignition system type and condition, gas tank condition, weather conditions after the vehicle has been stored, including temperature variations, and the list goes on.

If you don’t know how to do this, your mechanic will help you. Otherwise, start by checking the battery. Usually, these sit for so long that they don’t hold a charge and need to be replaced.

After sitting for over 15 years with an empty tank, the owner will remove the fuel pump relay. The relay is located under the dash on the driver’s side, protected by a rubber pad. If it makes no difference or worse after removing the relay, then clean any corrosion from battery connectors and the posts inside the battery itself.

How long can a car sit before the engine goes bad?

If you’re planning on taking your car out of circulation for an extended time, it would be better to maintain it properly than chock it up to laziness. Having a mechanic take care of maintenance will ensure that your vehicle can start and your vehicle run correctly.

If you leave your car unattended for too long, the gasoline in the tank can go bad. Fuel has a shelf life, and after 30 days, it starts to degrade. The older the gasoline, the worse it is for the engine. It develops varnish and gummy deposits that can damage fuel system components. It’s important to keep your car filled with gas as much as possible.

Vehicles with engines from the ’70s and older may start to require fuel systems if left sitting for two or more months. Fuel and fuel injectors may begin to get old and wear out, and there is also a chance that rust may damage the engine in the long run.

In addition, every car manufacturer has a threshold for how long you can safely leave it sitting. And that period depends on which type and how much the car is driven. That’s why it’s important to know your threshold before going on vacation, switching cars in the family or selling a car.

Also, the amount of time you can leave a car parked before the engine goes bad will depend on what kind of engine the car has. Engines begin to run into problems when they lay dormant because oil, coolant and fuel boil away while they’re not in use. When a car sits for a long time, its tires can become flat and develop cracks, rubber hoses can break, and bushings can lock together. Besides, when a car sits, dirt in the fuel tank can settle to the bottom and cause problems in the engine.

So, give or take, you should be able to leave your car for 6 months to 1 year before you experience some setback with the car engine.

Can you start a car after sitting for years?

Yes, you can start a car after sitting for years. All new cars sold in the United States must have sealed batteries. A sealed battery is not affected by cold weather or heat. If the battery is considered dead, it may be due to a slow loss of acid through a disconnected cell. All batteries last around 4-7 years.

First, make sure the battery is still in the car. If not, you will have to remove it in the reverse order. This is the second-most common cause of a car not starting. You will also need to replace the fluids in your car, such as the battery. To access the battery, open the hood. To disconnect the negative cable, unplug the positive end of it from the negative terminal (the one with the minus sign). If the battery is too tight, you may need to use a wrench.

The exception is when you have some parts of the car damaged things, such as the spark plugs, coolant, oil compartment, and rust in the gas tank. Many things could affect the car from not starting. Therefore, leaving a car sitting for so long is never a good idea.

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What happens if a car is not used for a long time?

Naturally, a car left unused for some time will not run as well as when it is regularly used. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. What happens if the car is not used continuously can be fixed by rebuilding or reconditioning the engine and other parts.

Your car’s engine starts slowly degrading after a long time. Some degradations are easy to repair while others are more difficult. For example, if you don’t drive it for four or five months, the battery may die from small parasitic current draws. Also, it’s important to replace any old hose, gaskets, and seals. Your car’s fuel tank could be laminated inside, causing it to become difficult to lubricate.

But you should note that even if you rebuild or recondition the engine, it will still not run as well as when rebuilt from a freshly assembled state. Suppose you are going to store your car for a long time. In that case, it is advisable to run your car’s engine every day or every other day to keep the engine in usable condition and avoid circumstances with the starter, alternator, and battery.

How can I store my car for 20 years?

Starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months

You can do many things to keep your car sitting for years without losing any part of the car.

If you have mechanical skills, you can place your car on jack stands. This will take the weight off the tires and suspension. This way, you can avoid a flat spot on the older tires. Jack stands to differ depending on the model, so it’s important to get an expert’s help for this. Make sure the storage floor is concrete. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, consider storing your car outside.

Fill up the gas

Your car is going on tour, but first, you need to fill it up with fuel to ensure smooth sailing on the open road. When you’re cruising down the highway, you won’t want your tank to run dry. If you’re storing your car for more than a month, don’t just leave your gas tank empty. Filling it up will save the gas from evaporating and keep your engine from rusting and deteriorating.

Change the oil

There are many reasons why someone may want to store their car. Perhaps they are planning on moving, or they don’t drive the car very often and want to free up some room in their garage, or maybe they just want to hold onto the car in case they decide to sell it later. If you’re storing your car for just a short time, the simple garage storage is probably fine.

Most auto enthusiasts agree that you should change the oil in your car before storing it for the winter. The oil left in your car for too long can contain corrosive materials that damage your engine. You should drive the vehicle to fully warm the oil before storing it. There are some exceptions to this rule, but most manufacturers recommend that you should change your oil every six months. The longer you store your car, the more frequently you should do an oil change.

On the other hand, if you plan to store your car for longer periods, you need to be careful; 20 years is a long time! The most important thing is to change your oil so that the engine won’t become clogged over the years.

Protect the engine cylinders

If you want to protect your car from the damage of a long storage period, there are three important things to keep in mind:

  1. Protect the engine cylinders from corrosion and rusting.
  2. Keep all fluid lines clear for easy pouring and prevent any chance of clogging.
  3. Store the car in a cool and dry place

Once your vehicle storage is complete, don’t forget to protect the metal engine cylinders under the hood. The engine contains metal cylinders that typically store gas or diesel fuel. Left unprotected and exposed to rain, snow and extreme temperatures, these cylinders can rust over time, causing them to crack and leak gasoline.

Before storing your car, check it for critters. Rats and mice love dormant cars, so make sure to seal them well before storing them. You can also use mothballs to prevent small animals from chewing on the wiring. It is also a good idea to remove the wheels and tires, which relieve pressure on suspension components. While removing these components, you should also avoid leaving the tailpipe open.

While you’re storing your car, you should also consider cleaning the inside of your car. Rust can easily attack an internal combustion engine if moisture gets into it. The rusting can harm the carburetor, valve, cylinder walls, and even the engine itself. Eventually, the engine may seize and cause severe damage.

These leaks can lead to hazardous conditions around your car, such as spontaneous fires, while they also make it very difficult to sell a vehicle later on. Protecting this part of your storage during storage helps prevent damage in the future.

Keep the battery alive

If you plan to store your car for an extended period, you want to keep it running well. This means keeping up with maintenance. Even though you won’t be driving it, you should ensure that the battery stays charged.

To do this, periodically charge the battery as if you were going to drive it. Some batteries are equipped with desulfators and other devices to maintain their charges during extended periods of nonuse.

Also, the first thing that needs to be done is to keep the battery healthy. You don’t want it dying on you as soon as you start it up after a few years of storage. The battery self-discharges over time and slowly loses its charge. If the self-discharge rate is high enough, the battery can be considered dead.

In short, you need to start your car from time to time, even if it requires just a couple of seconds of cranking over to jump-start it. The battery in your car is like a human’s: if it sits around for too long, it will eventually get flat tires. Leaving your car for three months isn’t good for a battery. Even if it’s a fully charged car, it’s still not healthy and will likely start to show signs of deterioration if you don’t use it.

Plug the exhaust outlet

With the tailpipe plugged in, no moisture can enter the exhaust system. It is important to ensure that this system functions properly throughout the 20-year storage period to prevent water damage.

You can also use stuffed rags to prevent mice and other animals from slipping into your car. Also, you can put mothballs in the vents to keep rodents at bay. Dryer sheets can also prevent the car from developing a musty smell.

Since you will no longer be driving your vehicle as it undergoes long-term storage, be sure to remove any items stored in your glove box and trunk so they do not collect moisture and cause corrosion.

Elevate the vehicle

To store your car for 20 or 30 years or longer, you will need to elevate it off the ground. You can do this with cement blocks and bricks arranged in a sturdy frame or stack concrete blocks one on top of another between the tires.

Another option is to drive the car into a trailer and park it in an indoor storage space. What you do is up to you, but ensure that your storage location is dry, safe, and stable.

Use a car cover

A car cover is the best way to protect your car from mold, mildew, sun damage, and road salt. Car covers provide complete vehicle protection during outdoor storage. Lining material helps protect against ultraviolet rays that can damage your convertible’s interior. The protective, sturdy fabric shields your investment from prying eyes while protecting it from tree sap and bird droppings.


If you are starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months, there are many things that you need to know. However, you should never leave your car for that long because the propensity of damaging one or more car parts is so high.