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Maintenence frequency on stored vehicles

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Anonymous Poster

May 26, 2008, 6:53 PM

Post #1 of 3 (42224 views)
Maintenence frequency on stored vehicles Sign In

I own a 1972 Chevelle that was my daily driver from 1983 to January of this year. It has a 350 ci engine that's been rebuilt to produce about 320 hp. I had to retire it due to the fact that it gets 10 mpg. I now drive it about every other week for about 20 miles. How often should I change the oil? What else should I be doing on a regular basis; like radiator flush, etc?

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 27, 2008, 7:22 AM

Post #2 of 3 (42219 views)
Re: Maintenence frequency on stored vehicles Sign In

Driving this a full 20 miles every other week will be real good for it! So much can happen with LACK of use and that should ward it off.

I have had "extra" cars and things for ions with good luck running them now and then. We may depart of advice for keeping the car for years perphaps this way but I suggest mandatory dry storage for best results. I've seen just covered over ground that destroyed cars as they don't dry out under cover well.


Routine maintenance. You may find it eats spark plugs more often but that's not a big deal with this car. Oil - I suggest sythetic and good filter but I really think you can drop frequency to once a year - that's 500 miles - right?

Anti-freeze. Peak and perhaps others are selling "permanant" lifetime anti-freeze. I'd flush it all out for that and pretty much forget it till it so much as shows any issue.

Right thru it I'd change out oils for synthetics, gear oil, ATF if applicable, PS but leave DOT3 or 4 brake fluid and change it out fresh every few years. I believe Dot 5 is synthetic but can allow moisture to collect at low spots if not tended to more often as it's not hydroscopic.

Check tire pressure MORE often. Seal between rim and rubber sometimes benefits from use. Wally world sells pressure indicating caps for assorted desired pressures for about $5 bucks - worth it!

Use parking brake now and then - that applies to about any car though.

Grease front end parts with synthetic grease too - once a year for the miles should be plenty.

A/C - use it! Even when not needed oils should be forced to circulate. In colder months the defrost setting does this for you but not always enough. Allow engine to warm up and when shut down for a few minutes the temp underhood is enough to fool it for a short run for the A/C. The shaft seal at compressor will thank you as well as the compressor itself.

Even the two weeks is time for critters to like it for a home! Moth balls tend to help keep them out. Put under hood and interior/trunk in a tray as they can harm some materials.

Skip the run if a rainy day. If you live where they salt/sand roads for Winter plain wait till it's gone even if it goes way over your two week plan.

As with any car I like to lube up hinges and things all over them. WD-40 doesn't make such a mess but also doesn't last as long. Primary door hinges should be lubed as they are a pill to fix and get perfect again.

Silicone grease light bulb sockets and electrical connections where you find them.

Battery: Could be fine without doing anything. A disconnect would help against any slight drain. If longer than a month a trickle charge helps periodically or one that's automatic.

Electric motors. Use them. PW, PDL, blower, seats, wipers (put cloth under blades if dry) and anything else it has like that.

Try to "dry" wash the car or drive it after washing as water holds up where you don't want it sitting.

Exhaust: Hope it's stainless now and the full 20 miles is lots better than just a few now and then.

Points (distributor) with them still: Any with points should have a small smear of silicone (dieletic) grease on nylon rubbing block of leading edge of the block where it rides cam. Those can last by miles and disregard time in most cases.

Time is different on different items. Cooling system rubber parts may harden or soften over time alone as with vacuum hoses and other assorted things.

That's all I can think of for the moment. Dry storage alone is 99% of the plan. Periodic use makes more extreme measures unnecessary. I would still treat the fuel with stabilizer and use it up now and then for new. Do consider the fuel filter if orig tiny thing will need replacing routinely. If still on carb consider an in line one that's easier to replace and the one on carb has an unseen quarter dollar size gasket that you may have already run into needing that aren't so easy to find. Don't teflon tape threads to compensate there!

Good luck,


Anonymous Poster

May 27, 2008, 9:00 AM

Post #3 of 3 (42217 views)
Re: Maintenence frequency on stored vehicles Sign In

Thanks, Tom. What a great reply! I didn't expect something so in depth.

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