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Car stored for 4 years... what to expect?


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NaturalBornCamper
New User

Sep 5, 2016, 12:51 AM

Post #1 of 11 (266 views)
Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Hello all,

I'm new and I had a question that I don't have any friends who could help me with..

I left Canada 4 years ago and I stored my car in an interior, non-heated storage unit. I thought I would only be gone a year but turns out I stretched a little bit. But now it's time to go back.

Now I did store cars in the past and I know the transmission is jammed after a while and you need to push the car or something, then it "un-jams", but other than that and a flat battery, I never had any problems as I stored the cars but shorter times. And I have googled what can happen to cars stored for a long time, but it's not a very common situation.

I don't really have any hopes of starting my car again when I come back, but I'm just wondering if it might be saved, or even if something can be done to start the car and drive it to a mechanic or another short distance.

Here's some info about the storage, what do you guys think I can expect? Think there's any chance I can do some minor fixes to start it?
-Stored exactly 4 years
-Inside storage, so no rain, no salt
-Other cars in the storage unit so there is probably some movement and dust flying around (air filter might be clogged)
-Not heated, so temperature in summer can reach 30 celcius (-22F), and about -30 celcius (86F) in winter
-The storage company probably started the car in the beginning and moved it around, but no idea if they did it later and they never answered when I asked (means no I guess)
-Did not put anything in the fuel before leaving


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 5, 2016, 4:52 AM

Post #2 of 11 (258 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

It was dry counts. Dust won't harm it by itself nor clog air filter.


Battery would be dead by now. Fuel probably an issue to use a solvent or drain out for new. Really can't know that so well so just smell it at the filler cap and choose an approach.


Charge a new battery before any attempts to move it. At least check tires for pressure where it is or bring a pump, air can or something.


What type of car? It can matter if alarmed, some will reject having a dead(flat) battery for a day never mind this long or require some things to be reset.


If fuel where you are contains Ethanol it probably has a problem? If not, it might not? Can't know but fuel doesn't do well with age,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 5, 2016, 7:39 AM

Post #3 of 11 (248 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Don't even try to use that fuel. After 4 years it is going to be real nasty. Pulling the gas tank and cleaning it out is the only good way to correct that.

The tires will be junk and rotted also.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 5, 2016, 9:58 AM

Post #4 of 11 (245 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

? HT - Said CANADA so not sure and don't know and don't think Ethanol is used in fuel so essentially could be what we called "White Gas" for storing vehicles which was without lead - all is but could be stable or make it? Can't know as "GASOLINE" never sold in the US at common sources is so full of garbage it doesn't last. Gasoline is stable by itself except evaporates so sealed can last for ages.


No way to know this for location just unsure.


Trivial pursuit: Ethanol is cash negative as a fuel and subsidized in US for its use and would cost way too much - lots more than "gasoline'' ever cost made/refined from crude. TMK again I think Canada is energy independent totally and an "exporter" of extra not buyer of any? Keystone Pipeline not approved for US to buy it as crude oil.
It's not possible to know IMO. It might be OK or junk - think I'd test some in a jar to see and still dump it,


Tom



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Sep 5, 2016, 10:00 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 5, 2016, 10:08 AM

Post #5 of 11 (240 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Ethanol has nothing to do with it. Gas will not last for 4 years.

Gas has been going stale long before Ethanol was added.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 5, 2016, 10:14 AM

Post #6 of 11 (238 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Additives go stale not gasoline! Not guessing, I'm sure.


US National Gasoline reserves are decades old sometimes not now by chance,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Sep 5, 2016, 10:44 AM

Post #7 of 11 (232 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Pump gasoline will not last 4 years with or without Ethanol.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Sep 5, 2016, 12:04 PM

Post #8 of 11 (228 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

True: As said can't say how long for which formula. Universal misunderstanding calling what we buy "gasoline" which is or was the name of the 8th chain of carbon when distilled and stays that way. Hence "Octane" which isn't used in pure form except for like camping stoves and such - lasts till the container rots.


To that you add whatever can make it behave - 100s of things that are the true problem not the fuel itself NEVER sold pure as it would cost too much or not behave if honest as sold as an "Octane" rating.


That's where you can't know. Cheating, what garbage is added that does go bad? Can't know what age does to it either ruin just its rating or turn to a gum that may or may not dissolve and clean out well which is why I suggest dumping that fuel any which way betty yet looks and odors tell tale.


IDK - I can't even empty a tank totally without putting a hole in it for disposal and soap and water rinsed. Some is going to be left somewhere to deal with or hopefully just by dilution burn that out fast and be done with that part on to other things,


Tom



nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
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Sep 7, 2016, 6:02 AM

Post #9 of 11 (217 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Fuel is definitely junk. HT's idea of removing and cleaning the tank is spot on. You should also bear in mind that the oil has all settled inside the engine, not sticking to surfaces as if it was just driven. I would pull the plugs out and give it a squirt or fogging oil down each cylinder, then bar the engine over with a ratchet a few revolutions by hand. Change the oil out and before you start it remove the fuel pump fuse and crank it over. Go until you see oil pressure on the gauge. This way you have primed the lubrication system so you aren't dry starting on the bearings.

Be sure to tear apart the air ducting and visually confim it is clear. Dust isn't getting in there on a non-running engine that isn't sucking air, but mice love to get into airboxes. They also love making nests elsewhere under the hood. I have a co-worker who stores his truck in the winter. This spring he went to get it out and it went up in flames. Seems the mice nested on his distributor cap and chewed the insulation on the plug wires. He never checked so when he fired it up the sparks ignited the nest which was right by the fuel line. Bye bye truck. Would be a good idea to pull out the blower motor and look in there too. Heater ducting is another favorite nesting spot for them.


NaturalBornCamper
New User

Sep 8, 2016, 1:50 AM

Post #10 of 11 (199 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Wow, did not expect that many replies!! Thanks guys!

But to answer some questions, I don't have a car alarm so it shouldn't be a problem and yep, I expected the battery to be permanently dead hehe. I indeed don't have ethanol in my fuel and I don't believe we have any in Canada. But I was expecting to empty the fuel yes. Removing the tank to clean it seems like a lot of work though.. So I'm thinking I'll just tow it with CAA (Canadian AAA) to the nearest garage and have them do a checkup, mentioning all the things you guys are saying.

And yes, I was afraid the tires would be dried out by then :( and possibly also having a weird shape if they didn't move my car and it's been sitting on the same side of the tire.

Thanks also for the advice on the engine oil, did not think about that! And will make sure to thell the mechanic to check for nests inside :P


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 8, 2016, 5:02 AM

Post #11 of 11 (194 views)
Re: Car stored for 4 years... what to expect? Sign In

Good luck with getting it going no matter how much in need or hope for less.


Speak for myself - I store stuff with engines and have for ages on end. You didn't expect this which is long term - so is ONE year too for a car.


There would be several things to do if you planned this to almost just put a good battery back in, check tire pressure and be close to ready at pretty extensive expense plus the place to do that.


Not funny is the critter damage. Just happens that last two weeks found a mouse where I store a now 69 year old thing! Yikes, traps set - the works which is catching them daily till I see none.


One last note on specially automotive batteries: They age by themselves once made and acid put in they are like an hour glass just waiting to run out. You can prolong life but not on types of today. It's not like other battery powered things that can take 4+ years - new car batteries are dead on the shelf if not sold and marked so good places will keep stock fresh.


Perhaps the best and not possible for all is to have someone actually use it a day every so often if know a year would do. Lots more takes lots or prep - anything stored really cars just more to do.


Good luck getting it going and trouble free,


T







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