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I was just curious what would be suggested vehicle maintenance for a bike commuter who has a car sitting unused for months at a time.

I drive/drove/own a 2006 Subaru Impreza wagon and since I started bike commuting back in May I've maybe driven it 4 times. My next oil change sticker suggests June 17 or some mileage I'll never reach if continue to ride like I've been.

Does oil go bad if it sits in the engine unused too long? I've got 9 grand left to pay and love the thought of this being the last car I'll have to buy for maybe 15-20 years, so I'd like to make it last.

Thanks
 

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no not unless this car is going to be sitting for 6 months + will you run into problems.

drive it every few weeks to keep the battery charged, gas can go bad if you want you can siphon it out but its not needed.

you can also use "Sta-bil" which stabilizes the fuel and stops it from breaking down.

tires may get flat spots if its sitting for 6 + months as well.

Chad
 

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That's good advice. It's helpful if every few weeks you do a drive long enough to heat the engine to full operating temperature and keep it there for a while. This will boil off condensation that collects in various parts of the engine.

And good on ya for getting so carless and all.
 

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Our car sits for months at a time. We did have to replace a couple of the tires because of dry rot.......

We change the oil once a year or so. Probably don't need to but what the heck......
 

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If you leave the tank without much fuel in it, condensation will become a problem. At the same time, gas will turn to varnish and wreak havock on your fuel system and valves, but it takes it a good year to do that. As Nimitz mentioned, Sta-bil will keep gas from going bad. So if you don't use a full tank in a year, I'd suggest that. Otherwise, if you are burning a tank of gas every 6 months or so, you'll be fine. Change the oil once a year. It won't go bad sitting there like the commercials try to convince you (every 3 months? puh-leeze!). And warm it up to operating temp at least once a month. Maybe drive it to the grocery store. that'll help with the tires too. Try to park it in a garage or shady spot and don't let bird crap or other stuff sit on the paint for weeks at a time, or it'll eat the paint. Especially bird crap. If you have to, just take a wet sponge and wipe off any debris or pewp that's on the paint.
 
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Drive it one a week

I try to drive mine (Chevrolet V-8) once a week, usually on weekends for errands.

If it sits for four or five days, I can hear a difference when I crank it -- I worry if it sits any longer and more oil drains out of the upper end of the engine that it will be really bad news.

I'd be afraid to let it sit for a month. It might grind a few thousand miles of life off the cyclinder walls and bearings.
 

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The other thing that can happen in minor condensation in your oil pan can cause water to collect. Its best to drive your car enough to get the temperature up to normal operating range at least twice a month. This allows that water to evaporate. The other thing is what Slim Again, Soon mentions about lack of protection in various parts of the engine due to drainage. Subaru's are especially notorious with the rear main bearing and oil starvation. If your car has sat some time (especially Subaru's) its best to prime the engine before starting it. For most people, its just easier to start the engine once a week even if it just idles in your driveway. (Please don't think I'm knocking Subaru's, the opposite is true. I've owned 3 and am an active member in a local Subaru "club").

Also, gas will turn to varnish if it sits and can wreak havoc. The suggestion for STa-Bil is a good one.

Oil does break down, so changing your oil is a good idea... 3 months is a little bit excessive, but at least once a year is preferred. Its cheap insurance.

I've had to do a lot of work on cars that have sat for long periods of time because of the damages of gas that has turned gooey, rust in the tank, or oil starvation issues.

I commute and rarely drive my truck but if it goes more than 4 or 5 days I start it and let it idle for 15 minutes to get oil circulating. That isn't enough to warm it up, so I make sure at least twice a month I take it out on a long enough drive that it gets up to temperature. Costs some in gas, but a LOT cheaper in the long run.
 

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Slim Again said:
I try to drive mine (Chevrolet V-8) once a week, usually on weekends for errands.

If it sits for four or five days, I can hear a difference when I crank it -- I worry if it sits any longer and more oil drains out of the upper end of the engine that it will be really bad news.

I'd be afraid to let it sit for a month. It might grind a few thousand miles of life off the cyclinder walls and bearings.
don't be....no need to worry in that short of a time span.

my highly modified ls1 will sit for a few months, i'll prime it, and then let the fuel pump kick on and then fire it up...not a problem.

Chad
 
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