Starting a Car That Has Been Sitting for 6 Months

Beige three ar garage with white doors and brick and red brick driveway

Many drivers with homes in Sarasota  live in another state or travel for work most of the year. This means their vehicle may be sitting in storage for weeks or even months at a time. Depending on the storage condition, long periods of inactivity can lead to a number of mechanical issues. But don’t worry, the exceptional technicians at our service center in Peterson Toyota of Sarasota are here to assist with all your automotive needs and provide other helpful service tips. Give us a call with any questions about starting a stored car or starting old cars. We’re always here to help!

Tips for Starting a Stored Car

It doesn’t matter if you do a lot of traveling, you don’t drive a lot, or you only spend the summers in Florida, Peterson Toyota of Sarasota has a handy guide on starting old cars after they have been sitting for 6 months or longer in storage.

Starting a Stored Car: Inspect & Replace

The automotive services needed depend on how long your vehicle has been sitting in storage.

Are you starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months? If so, you will want to:

  • Drain, bleed, and flush all fluid systems
  • Refill fluids to the required levels
  • Check fuel tank for rust or corrosion
  • Test the car battery

Before storing your vehicle for extended amounts of time, disconnect, remove, and store the vehicle’s battery in a safe spot that’s away for any moisture. Once you return home, clean the battery posts and terminals with baking soda and water solution. After that, give the battery a charge, reinstall it, and you’re ready to head out to the Port Charlotte.

Did you leave the battery in the vehicle? You’ll likely need to purchase a new battery and install it with new cables.

If you are a Venice-area driver who only spends the summer months in Florida, we recommend getting a complete oil and filter change, as well as drain any in the tank and carburetor float bowls. After that, inspect the other fluids and fill them to the correct levels. Be sure to check your tire thread as well!

Prepping for Ignition

When starting a car that was in storage for more than 90 days, it’s advised that you:

  1. Remove the spark plugs introduce a lubricant like Marvel Mystery Oil into the cylinders. Spark plugs fire in a specific order, so label each plug wire before removing them.
  2. Inspect each one and replace any plugs that look white, oily, or corroded.
  3. Using your key, turn the engine over multiple times so the oil can lubricate the cylinder walls, as well as prime the oil and fuel pumps.
  4. Keep doing this until the oil pressure gauge is normal and the oil pressure light goes out.
  5. After that, put the spark plugs and leads back in the right spot.

Final Inspections

If you’re starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months, before hitting the Naples roads, there are some tasks to complete: replace the air filter cover, check the transmission fluid level, and look underneath the vehicle for any leaking fluids. Then, turn the engine off. Check the hoses for dry rot and the belt for any cracks or if they need tightening.

Other things to inspect:

  • Suspension: Inspect for any worn or loose ball joints, deteriorated bushings, leaks at the shocks, rusted shafts, and missing or broken bump stops.
  • Brakes: Inspect the friction linings, rotors, and drums. The wheel cylinders and calipers could get corroded and leak, keep an eye out for this.
  • Running Lights: With some help, check headlights, brake lights, high beams, and turn signals to make sure everything is functioning. If needed, replace any blown fuses and inspect it again.

After successfully starting a car that has been sitting for 6 months, you can now hit the Venice roadways! While driving home, make sure to listen for any rattles or noises, as well as keeping an eye on the gauges. If you feel there may be an issue with your vehicle, feel free to bring it to the Peterson Toyota of Sarasota service center for an inspection.

Trust Peterson Toyota of Sarasota for Your Next Inspection

A lot goes into starting a stored vehicle, and the certified technicians at our service center are ready to assist any way that they can. Before stopping by, be sure to check our rotating selection of service specials and parts coupons for additional savings! Give us a call for additional information, if you have any other service-related questions like how do car brakes work, or to schedule a service appointment.

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    7435 S Tamiami Trail • Sarasota, FL 34231

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    Peterson Toyota of Sarasota

    7435 S Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL

    Phone: (941) 924-7700


    Phone: (941) 925-2886

    7435 S Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL


    Phone: (941) 924-7700

    7435 S Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL


    Phone: (941) 924-7700

    7435 S Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL
    27.247252 -82.510502
    Peterson Toyota of Sarasota 27.247252, -82.510502.