How to revive a dormant car?
May 5, 2007 2:44 PM   Subscribe

How to revive a dormant car? I've a once-functioning car sitting in a garage for a year. What's the least damaging way of getting it working again?

It's a '95 Nissan 300ZX convertible, if it matters. It's fuel-injected, which means my old-school knowledge of just dumping a little gas in the carb isn't useful. I know I'll have to charge the battery, and plan on getting its oil changed. But how do I minimize damage when first starting it back up? I've heard rumors of gas going bad and so on, is this true?
posted by todbot to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like some prudent advice here.

posted by Exchequer at 3:01 PM on May 5, 2007

It really shouldn't be a problem. Do the basics. Check for leaks and broken/worn hoses and belts. Check all the fluid levels and/or change them. Check the air pressure in the tires. The gas should be fine, but top off the tank with fresh gas ASAP and get the fuel filter changed ASAP.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:04 PM on May 5, 2007

Previously on AskMe.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:31 PM on May 5, 2007

This statement on Exchequer's link: Crank the engine over for no more than 30 seconds (any longer can cause damage to the starter motor).

Is insufficiently prudent, IMO. I'd cut that number by 5/6ths, as I've burned out starter motors in far less than 30 seconds.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:36 PM on May 5, 2007

Pull the plugs, if you can get to them, and put a bit of oil in the cylinder. Plan to change the oil, run it damn near out of gas, and replace the serp belt soon after you get it running.

If the battery was dead-ish or weak when you put the car away, it will be useless now.

Before you crank it, do a couple key cycles - turn the key to the run position, then off, repeat. Do this maybe five times. If the vehicle has a return fuel line, that will help blow the crappy fuel in the lines back to the tank, plus make it start faster.
posted by notsnot at 7:55 PM on May 5, 2007

More precisely, pull the plugs, pour in lots of 2-cycle oil. Turn the engine slightly, not with the key and starter, but with a socket wrench on the bolt at the front of the engine. Just jiggle it a bunch of times to work the oil down over the rings so that when you do start it, you don't have dry rings scraping the cylinder walls. You may want to do this for several days in a row, a bit each day. After you start it and run it for a bit, change the engine & transmission oil, and brake fluid.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:35 AM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

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