How to start an old car after lengthy storage

Written by todd campitelli
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Keeping your car in storage is a good idea, especially if you don't plan on driving. However, after your car has been stored for some time you cannot simply jump in, turn the ignition and expect to drive off. There are certain steps you need to take when starting a car after it has been in storage for a while, and what you do will depend on how long the car has been stored.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Motor oil
  • Oil filter
  • Oil pan
  • Siphon
  • Redline Water Remover & Antifreeze
  • Radiator coolant
  • Car battery
  • Spark plugs
  • Marvel Mystery Oil

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  1. 1

    Change the oil and oil filter. If possible, it is best to do this during the warmer seasons, and make sure you allow plenty of time for all of the old oil to drain.

  2. 2

    Drain the gas tank, flush the fuel lines, and flush any gas from the carburettor float bowls. Add some Redline Water Remover and Antifreeze to your fuel system to absorb any built up condensation and fill up with fresh gas.

  3. 3

    Drain and replace any radiator coolant.

  4. 4

    Make sure your tires have air to the appropriate pressure.

  5. 5

    If you have taken your battery out prior to storage, reconnect the battery. If the battery was left in the car, and you have had it stored for more than a year, you will need to replace the battery, and possibly install new battery cables.

  6. 6

    Remove the spark plugs. When removing, make sure to note which wires they were connected to. Inspect each spark plug for wear and replace accordingly.

  7. 7

    If your car has been sitting in storage for over 3 months, with the spark plugs removed, add a little Marvel Mystery Oil to help lubricate the cylinders.

  8. 8

    With the spark plugs still out, turn the engine over a few times to get the oil working through the car. Keep cranking the engine until the oil pressure reads normal and the oil pressure light has gone off.

  9. 9

    Replace the spark plugs and their leads in the correct order.

  10. 10

    Start the car and let it idle and warm up for a few minutes.

  11. 11

    Take the car for a short 10 to 20 mile trip near your garage or home. This will give you a chance to make note of any odd sounds, leaks, or problems.

  12. 12

    When the car is back in the garage, look for any leaks and check all fluid levels again.

  13. 13

    At around 1,000 miles after you have brought the car out of storage, take the car in for a tune up to service all fluids.

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