After leaving your vehicle sitting around for a few years, there is likely some damage that needs to be taken care of. Jumping right in and assuming everything will work well is a grave mistake. Let’s look at how to start a car that has been sitting for years so you can drive it safely.
- Check the Battery
Unless the battery was disconnected, removed, and stored outside the care, you most likely need to replace it. You can try to jump the battery, but it may be safer and less of a hassle to purchase a new battery and add in new cables to go with it.
- Replace All the Fluids
Replacing the fluids is a good idea. The longer the vehicle has been put away, the more likely it is that you will need to drain everything out. A good rule of thumb is, if the vehicle is just put away for the winter, then a filter and oil change is often enough to make it work well. But if it has been in storage for several years, you should drain and flush all the fluids and replace them.
- Look at the Brake Fluid
You should always check the brake fluid before you get out on the road. If the brakes are not working, this can result in a serious problem. To check the brake fluid level, you need to find the master cylinder reservoir near the rear of the engine. You just need to do a visual check of the fluid compared to the markets on the reservoir. You can simply take the cap off and see if the fluid is high enough and whether it is too dirty.
If the brake fluid is dirty, then you will need to flush the whole system. If you see the fluid level is low, then you need to repair the brakes before you take the vehicle very far. Consider a Honda certified auto repair if the brakes need fixed.
- Get Ready for the Ignition
For any vehicle that sits for more than 90 days, you should remove the spark plugs so you can add some lubricant over the cylinders. The spark plugs must fire in a specific order for the car to work, so label each one before you remove.
Once the plugs are removed, you can turn the engine over using your key, a few times. This allows the oil you add in to go over the cylinders and lubricate the walls, preparing it all to get started. Crank the engine until you see a normal oil pressure gauge reading.
- Look at the Oil
This is a simple step that anyone can do. You can use the dipstick already found in the vehicle. You should see the oil has reached the two indicator marks on the dipstick. If it is lower than that, you need to add more oil inside. Check the viscosity of the oil as well. If it is gritty, dark, and thick, then you need to completely change the oil.
- Look at the Exterior Lights
These lights can save your life when you are on the road at night or in bad weather. It is important to check all of them before you head out. This means checking that the indicators, reverse lights, brake lights, high-beam lights, fog lights, and headlights are all working well. Grab someone else to activate them one right after the other to make sure everything is working.
- Look Around for Leaks
If anything is leaking around the vehicle, that is a sure sign you need to get something fixed. Look at the floor right under where the vehicle has been stored to see if anything is underneath. The color of the leak is a good indicator of what is wrong. Some things to look for include:
- Light brown or black is a sign of an oil leak.
- Brown or read is a sign of a transmission leak
- Brown, red, or clear means power steering is leaking
- Brown or transparent yellow means something is off with the brakes.
When a car has been sitting for years without any use, it may have a few problems that need to be fixed before you can take it out on the road. Check the fluids, the brakes, and the ignition to help make sure you can drive the car around without any accidents.