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How to Start a Car That’s Been in Storage

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Replacing Fluids
Two cars connected to jumper cables, elevated view
Greg Ceo/Stone/Getty Images
Whether a car has been sitting for three months or three years, certain steps must be taken before you can just fire it up and head down the road, especially if you want to ensure many happy motoring experiences with it.

One of the best places to view what’s been going on with your car while in storage is to look at the floor beneath it. Leakage from the coolant system could mean a bad gasket, a corroded radiator fitting, a rotted hose, or compromised water-pump seals. Also check for leaks in the power-steering system, engine, transmission, rear axle and brakes.

Depending on how long the car has been sitting will determine what fluids should be drained and replaced. Barn finds that have been sitting for years would require all fluids throughout to be drained, bleed and systems flushed before refill.

But if the car has only been in hibernation during the winter months, we would suggest;

  • Doing a complete oil and filter change
  • Drain any gas in the tank, carburetor float bowls and flush the fuel lines
  • Drain, flush and replace radiator coolant

Check all other fluid levels to make sure they are filled to the required levels and fill your tires with plenty of air.

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