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Old 01-17-2011, 10:00 AM
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,844,235 times
Reputation: 12258


I have two vehicles, the one in question is a 2001 GMC Jimmy.
Due to financial reasons I chose to take it off the road for a temporary basis, just a few months. It has a Newer Battery in it (6 months)
Will the battery go dead if I just sort of let it sit? I do plan on starting it up every now and again to let it know it still lives..
How often should I start it and how long should I let it run.. Will disconecting the positive cable help out when it's not being used or running?
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:10 AM
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
11,029 posts, read 25,866,138 times
Reputation: 5402
Change the oil and filter. If the car is being stored for an extended period of time, measured in years, talk to a mechanic about using oils without additives, which may include slightly caustic detergents.

Fill the fuel tank with fresh, premium fuel. Condensation in the tank is a problem in stored vehicles, and it is widely suggested that you fill the tank completely in order to avoid any empty space where water can accumulate. However, the gasoline additives can become "sticky" over time, so it is useful to add a gasoline stabilizer, which is available for lawn mowers and other seasonal yard equipment. In some areas, premium gas does not contain ethanol which can release water when stored for long periods.
Make sure coolant levels are proper.

Inflate the tires to proper pressure. If you are storing for the winter in a cold climate, check the manual for proper pressures.

Clean and wax the car. Be sure to wash under the car to remove any dirt, especially from the the wheel wells. Clean the interior extensively, being especially vigilant about all food scraps and particles; these can attract small animals. Removing the carpets for heated indoor storage will prevent them from becoming musty. Do not use Armor AllĀ® or similar products; these contain water, which may become trapped inside the car.

Consider placing a sheet of vapor barrier plastic under the car on the floor if being stored indoors. This will prevent water vapor buildup in an unheated garage, and also makes it very easy to spot fluid leaks when the car is removed from storage.

Open a window slightly if stored indoors, but not enough to allow small animals inside. Put the top up if it's a convertible. Stuff a rag into the air intake and exhaust to prevent animals from nesting, covering this with a metal screen (1/4 inch square screen is useful here). Some suggest using strong-smelling chemicals like soap or mothballs to keep animals away, but these can leave a smell in the car.

Use a battery maintainer if the car will be stored for more than a month. These are basically "smart" battery chargers that only turn on periodically. For short times, a few months, the maintainer can be attached to the battery while still in the car. For extended periods, if you are comfortable with basic mechanics, removing the battery and attaching the maintainer to it outside the car is a advisable. If you choose to do this, be sure to contact the car's manufacturer to ensure that this will not confuse the on-board computers, and that you have written down any needed access codes for devices such as the stereo or alarm.

Place a piece of plastic wrap on the windshield under the wiper blades, to prevent the rubber from sticking to the glass. Better yet, remove the blades completely and store them in a warm place (perhaps beside the battery and carpets). If you remove the blades, be sure to pad the ends of the wiper arms, which can scratch the glass if inadvertently turned on. You can also leave the wipers in place and just wrap them with plain plastic wrap. This can be gently scrubbed from the window if it sticks. Alternatively, if your car has the windshield wiper arms that pop out and away from the windshield, you can store them in the "out" position

If you are comfortable with basic mechanics, remove the spark plugs and spray a small amount of oil into the cylinders to prevent rusting, then insert the plugs again. Special "fogging oil" is available for storing boats, and will work well here. Use of a spark plug anti-seize lubricant on the threads is always advisable, as to prevent the threads from sticking. It will make disassembly easier, when it's time to change the spark plugs.

If the car will be stored for extended periods of time, it is advisable to jack it up on axle stands to avoid flat spots in the tires. "Extended" in this case depends on the type of tires; bias-ply tires need to be jacked up sooner than radials, and high-profile sooner than low-profile. A "classic" car with fat bias-ply tires should be jacked up if stored for more than a month, a modern sports car with low-profile radials should be fine for a winter.

Release the parking brake. If the brake is left on, the brake pads can stick to the rotors. Place chocks under the tires to prevent movement, which is even more effective than the brake, anyway
Place a note to yourself on the steering wheel outlining which optional steps above you carried out (rag in exhaust, rag in intake, carpets removed, battery removed, etc). When returning to the car in the spring, ensure all of these steps are reversed, checking them off as you go down the list. The list should contain every item separately; "rags in openings" may lead to one being left behind.

Lock the doors. It will help in case someone tries to steal something from your car.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:14 AM
Location: Verde Valley, Az
444 posts, read 1,319,131 times
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The battery will go dead if left unused. The best option would be to buy a battery tender, it will keep a trickle of electricity going to the battery,and will maintain a correct level of charge. Its what I use to keep my jet ski batteries alive through the winter.

If you decide to disconnect a battery cable, pull the negative cable. Disconnecting the positive cable with the negative still connected is not safe. You run the risk of accidental short circuts if done the wrong way.

Add some fuel stabilizer to the gas before you let it sit, and run the engine to make sure the stabilizer reaches the injectors. Running the engine for a short time now and then can cause a buildup of moisture in the crankcase (oil pan area) so I would suggest an oil change when you put it back on the road.

Edit GTOlover beat me to it!
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:57 AM
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 20,152,279 times
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few months and all you will ned is to remove the battery and keep it inside and charged to a battery tender. Nothing else. I do it every year for 30 years on my show cars which sit for months unstarted. Even up to a year and the car car fired right up. I assume its being stored inside?
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:09 PM
Location: Charlotte county, Florida
4,196 posts, read 5,844,235 times
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It's being stored outdoors but in Florida.. The oil was changed about 500 miles ago..
Thanks everyone for the input..
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:17 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
15,811 posts, read 50,865,194 times
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Starting it up and idling it is not a good idea. Battery Tender or if you don't have access to mains power a solar battery charger is a good idea.

If you know how to do it, it's a good idea to spin the engine with the starter but disable the ignition or (usually more practical) the fuel (ie pull the fuel pump control relay if it has one) so as to spread the oil around in the engine. Then run the fuel pump separately.

Make sure you don't do anything to attract mice to the area of the truck.

Would not hurt to push the truck a foot or two back and forth to minimize the tires taking a "set", some tires are worse than others to develop a flat spot when parked for a long time.

Definitely keep the fuel tank full.

With only 500 miles on the oil you probably don't need to change it.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:56 AM
Location: Ohio
780 posts, read 2,579,431 times
Reputation: 634
What GTOlover and M3 Mitch said.

I put one of my cars up for hibernation every year and that lasts about 6-7 months at a time. Fill-up fuel tank, over inflate the tires a bit, hook it up to a float charger, park it on the lift in gear (disengage parking brake) and kiss it good hibernation
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:24 PM
19,023 posts, read 24,215,106 times
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A very good charger can be had at walley world for 20 bucks. It's just the ticket for this sort of thing. This is the Shumaker rated at 1.5 amps. It does auto float, and has antisulfation pulse.

I agree with GTO and Mitch, but it might be better to get the tires right off the ground. If you don't for a while the car will feel like it is riding on square tires.

Do not start the engine for any short times. Either crank it over disabled or just leave it alone.

All short time starts do is make water in places that don't like water.
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