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Reviving a vehicle that has been idle for a long time.

My 1998 Trans Am has about 80,000 miles on it and has been sitting for about a year without being started in my garage. I live in NJ so it does get pretty cold during the winter but we haven't had any prolonged deep freezes.

What precautions should I take when starting it for the first time this spring? Aside from possible leaks, should I be worried about the internal lubrication of the engine? For what it's worth I've always used synthetic oil with it.

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marked as duplicate by Iszi, Benjol, Troggy, Noah Goodrich, Dori Mar 12 '11 at 4:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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possible duplicate –  Patrick Mar 11 '11 at 16:39
    
@Patrick: Yes, but this one is specific and not hypothetical. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 12 '11 at 3:27
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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. Charge the battery. It will be totally dead, unless you have it on a trickle charger. You may need to buy a new one if the current one doesn't hold a charge well, but this will at least allow you to start the car.
  2. While the battery is charging, check all fluids. Coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and even the windshield washer fluid (while you're under the hood)
  3. Change the oil unless it has hardly any miles on it. I would change the oil filter in any case since the paper elements can clog with dis-use.
  4. If your car had a distributor, I would recommend buying an oil pump primer shaft so that you can remove the distributor and run the oil pump for a minute to circulate oil through the engine. In your case, however, there is little you can do.
  5. Once the battery is charged, remove the charger and start the car.
  6. Watch the oil pressure (if you can) and the engine temperature so that they don't spike or dip.
  7. Inflate the tires
  8. If all looks good, drive around the block.

When I let my car sit for a year the fuel filter was clogged with old gas junk. Replacing it fixed that issue.

Good luck!

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It's easier to change the oil in a warm engine, because the oil flows more easily. So maybe move #3, and instead just "check that there is enough oil", in case there was a leak. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 12 '11 at 3:16
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