I have a Nissan Sentra 2007, 118k. It is well maintained (consistent checks at the Nissan shop), well, as much as possible assuming integrity of the shop. I am not a mechanic myself unfortunately. I went back to school and car was sitting in the parking lot of my building for the past 12 months. I took it for a drive 4-5 times, but otherwise it has been sitting idle. My question: what can dry out (like rubber, etc) or can get damaged otherwise in the idle car? This is probably a very broad question, and I know forum's policy about broad questions. If it is, I will delete or if you can help me rephrase the question, that would be great. I am planning a ~1500 km road trip (that's total) and will definitely service the car beforehand.

The car: - has the battery disconnected for the entire idle period; - is stored in a not very dry, not very humid basement parking area with good airflow; - was serviced 2000 km before putting it in "idle mode".

Again, for real solid answer you would need way more details, but is there something that is very obvious that one should be aware of?

One thing I had a "problem" with is a squeaky belt on colder or rainy days (I am in Vancouver, Canada and it really rains here :)). It stops squeaking after 20-30 seconds after the start up, but I thought I'd mention. I wonder if that was more affected by staying idle.

  • 1
    The belt squealing is probably the drive, or serpentine, belt, if your car as 118k on it and the belt hasn't been replaced, I'd say it's due for a replacement. As for the rest of your question, I want to let someone more experienced get to it, so leaving this as a comment.
    – zhang
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Check the tires for dry rot.

Unless you put an additive in the gas before storing it, try to siphon out the old gas and put fresh gasoline in.

As someone already noted, the belt is probably due for replacement, if that does not stop squealing, it may be caused by the belt tensioner going out.

Change the oil.

Look at the hoses, would probably be unnecessary to change them considering the relatively young age of the vehicle, but obviously if something is cracked, change it. If there's something leaking, investigate it.

After you do these things and you go to crank it for the first time, take out the relay for the fuel pump and crank the car for a few seconds (no more than 10) to circulate the oil.

Put the fuel pump relay back in and start it.

I'm sure someone will chime in if I missed something.

  • Thank you @jmdgfc. I would not think about flushing gas. The gas is actually not that old - 4 months tops. I filled it up last time I took it for a drive, which was about 4 months ago. Do you think that's still old? I scheduled a 120k km service (again, I am not a mechanic and I haven't spent money on the car lately, so I thought it is worth it) at the shop I go to and they will change oil. I am not afraid of getting dirty myself. In fact, I'd love to start doing things myself. But the fact that I have no experience with cars is a deterrent for now. I am afraid to underestimate issues. Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 18:38
  • Also, why do i need to remove the fuel pump relay? Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 18:45
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    You remove the fuel pump relay when you crank the car after sitting for prolonged periods to keep the car from starting. The cranking will lubricate the bearings, out don't want the car to start yet because you don't want the engine to turn that fast.
    – jmdgfc
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 21:35

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