How to Start a Car That Has Been Sitting for 1 Year

Cars are for running on the road, not sitting in a garage for month after month. It is designed in such a way that, if you leave it unused for a long time, then gradually various parts of the car become incapable of running again.

Engine fluids start to break down; it can also lose their durability, elements do not get necessary lubrication and begin to corrade, mold can cover the seats and carpets, animals may move in and destroy anything can reach. The longer you will leave your car unused, the worse these problems can be. 

Is this bad news for you, as you have a car that has been sitting for one year?

Do not worry at all. If it is a modern car, then it can still start safely after sitting for a few months. Even most probably, the battery will still hold the charge. If your car is even old enough, there are also not many things to worried about. Here we will discuss how you can start your car that has been sitting for long days. 


How to start a car that has been sitting for 1 year

There are a few simple checks that can help you to identify if there is any problem. And these checks also help you to make sure your car is safe and ready to run. Let us learn about the checks. 

1. Check for signs of leaks

Start your checking by finding leaks. Look at the floor underneath the car to see if there is any sign of anything leaking. Well, you can short issues by inspecting the color of the leak. We will recommend you ask for help from a professional mechanic to diagnose and inspect to understand the leak’s actual situation. Few common leak signs are-

  • Black or light brown color indicates an engine oil leak
  • Brown or transparent yellow indicates a brake system leak
  • Clear, brown, or red indicates a power steering leak
  • Brown or red indicates a transmission leak

Drive a car with any kind of leak can cause a severe accident, so never forget to check the leak before you drive a longtime unused car.

2. Check the engine oil

At first, you should check the engine oil level using the vehicle’s dipstick. If you forget where it is located dipstick, you should search for the diagram in the owner’s manual. Remember that the correct oil level is between the two indication marks on the dipstick. 

Check the oil level when the engine is cooled off. You should wait for minimum ten minutes after cooling off the engine to enter the dipstick. You should also observe two major factors along with checking the oil level; these are the color and consistency. If the oil color turned dark and thick and gritty, then it means you need to change the oil. 

3. Check all exterior lights

Now go for your car’s all-exterior lights. Check the headlights, brake lights, high-beam lights, reverse lights, and all other indicators working perfectly or not before running on the road. There is an easy way to check these lights- ask for help from your family members or friends. You will activate lights, and from outside, your friend or family member will check if they are working. 

4. Check the brake fluid

Now check the car’s brake fluid level. To do it, you need to find out the brake master cylinder reservoir. Usually, it is placed behind the engine, properly positioning with the brake pedal. But you should search it into the owner’s manual to find out where it is actually located.  

It is quite easy to check the brake fluid, just remove the reservoir caps and check the fluid looks dirty or good. 

5. Inspect the battery

The most frequent issue that comes out when you left a vehicle for a long time is the battery down. When you leave the car unused, the battery slowly loses its voltage. If you do not do any types of voltage maintainer, then the voltage will gradually drop below the minimum amount, you need to start the car.

You should practice jump-starting your car along with the drive for 5 to 10 minutes to recharge the battery. After a short run, switch off the battery, and they restart it. This practice will keep recharging your battery even after you leave it for a long time.

6. Check the gas

Usually, the gas takes very little time to break down and become unusable. It starts breaking down in only around one month. With time this lighter gas loses its combustibility and decreases effectiveness. 

Check the tank; if you find a distinct sour smell like varnish, that means gas has broken down. Another best way gas is, take away a small amount of fuel and check the color. If it is darker, that means it becomes old to use. If you have left the vehicle unused for three months or more, then you should drain all the tank and refill with fresh gas.

7. Check the tires

Before you start the drive, go for a visual check of all of the tires. Only if you find them in good condition you can attempt to drive the car. Do not forget to check the air pressure and adjust with the manufacturer’s recommended psi. 

Though your tires may look normal from the outside, when it sits idle for months, it provides unwanted vibration and unfamiliar noise instead of a smooth ride. So, you should run a thorough inspection by an expert mechanic. 

8. Check for rodents

When you leave anything unused, insects and rodents start to live into it. Like other things, a longtime unused car becomes a warmer shelter for rats and mice. Once rodents start to live in your car, they use their sharp teeth and damage feat fabric, plastic panels, engine hoses, and wiring. What are the remarkable signs of a rodent problem in your car?

  • Bad smell inside the car
  • Bite marks on seat fabric, hose, and wire
  • Food scraps spread here and there

Remove insects and rodents from the car is a time-consuming job. You have to remove their nest, clean their shit, disinfect the car’s interior, and repair the damaged parts.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How long can a car seat without being driven?

The highest time is two weeks. You should not leave your car unused for more than two weeks. If you need not run your car, you should at least get your car started a drive for a while.

How often should you start an unused car?

To avoid damage to various parts of your car, you should have it at least once every week. You will just start the car and drive for 5 to 10 minutes, and that’s it.

How long can a car seat with a dead battery?

How long your car can sit with a dead battery-it will depend on storing it and using it. But overall, it should not exceed two months.

Will a dead car battery recharge itself?

No, a dead car battery cannot recharge itself. It must need a power source.

Can a completely dead battery be recharged?

Yes, a completely dead battery also can be recharged.

Wrapping up

Before starting a car sitting for one year, the only doing job is a thorough checking and solving the findings. If you also have a car and have left it in your garage for about a year, you should start your checking. It will be good if you are able to find out any issue and patch up it. Otherwise, you go for an expert car mechanic and ask him to run a thorough checking. We know that car repair is expensive, but you also know that it is not more expensive than your life, isn’t it?

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