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Old 10-27-2007, 01:58 PM   #1
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Will it hurt a car to sit for a long time without running?

Of course I've always heard that it's not good for an engine to sit for an extended period of time without running... is that actually true, or just some myth? If so, what could happen to the engine, and how often should it be run to keep it in good working condition?
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Old 10-27-2007, 02:06 PM   #2
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Over time the fluids in the engine will eat through hoses, mice can get in the tailpipes and engine bay, fluids turn to sludge, gas goes bad.

Of course there's ways to avoid all these things.
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Old 10-27-2007, 02:14 PM   #3
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How long is 'long'?
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Old 10-27-2007, 02:27 PM   #4
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a year?
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Old 10-27-2007, 02:28 PM   #5
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I'd say drive it at least once a month. Take it for a mile or two and park it.
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Old 10-27-2007, 02:31 PM   #6
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Wink

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Drive it longer to let the moisture burn off.
Don't tell me what to do
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Old 10-27-2007, 03:28 PM   #7
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Canadians store their vehicles every winter. Usually Oct-April or so.

No problems whatsoever. Those stories of gas turning to sludge, seals drying etc are true....if the car has sat for a decade! But a year or two in storage is fine.

Full gas tank (keeps the condensation down)
Clean interior, windows up (keeps the new car smell)
Make sure tires are at correct pressure
Unplug battery terminal or use a battery tender

Don't start the car unless you're going to drive it somewhere. The initial cold start is the hardest part of the winter cycle. Cold oil, cold coolant, most of the oil is in the pan, not on the engine parts. I like to plug in the engine block heater for an hour before starting just to give the oil, block, and coolant a head start on being warm. Less pollution, easier on the starter this way.

I have cats, so no mice problem to worry about. Pull the car cover tight over the exhaust tips for added protection.

I'm assuming you have a garage or storage place for this? Leaving it outdoors is different. Indoors is dry and stable temperatures.

Don't start the car and let it idle when you do finally start it. A minute is alright, but 10 minutes is a waste. You want the car to warm up quickly and letting it sit in one spot will cause the car to warm up slower. Also doesn't do much for circulating the transmission fluid/axle fluid etc. The people who start their cars up once a week or twice a month don't do anything except have more cold starts and more carbon buildup. Once it's stored, leave it! When you do start it, go for a drive around the neighbourhood.

When spring comes, charge the battery, start 'er up and go get an oil change. That's it.

Last edited by Gord's Green Z28; 10-27-2007 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 10-27-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Since you're in TX, the problem you'll probably run into is battery sulfation. Batteries sulfate the worst when they're in hot conditions and not used. Cat lots in the south have this problem. I've never had a problem with sulfation over a winter's storage farther north. But a long Texas summer without using your battery will result in trouble.

Buy a Battery Tender and your sulfation problems are gone.
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Old 10-27-2007, 03:32 PM
 
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