How To: Start a Car After a Very, Very Long Time in Storage

Start a Car After a Very, Very Long Time in Storage

My grandfather's brother won this car in a lottery during 1957. He had no driver's license, but his brothers used to give him a lift in it.

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From 1975 to 1996, the car was parked in my grandfather's brother's garage. My grandfather moved the car on a trailer in 1996 to his garage a few miles away, but it's been standing still there until this year when I rolled it out and started it up.

This was the first time someone turned it on in 38 years!

  • Remove the spark plugs and squirt some oil in each cylinder. Let it sit over night.
  • Try to turn the motor by hand by rotating the cooling fan. If the pistons are stuck, you can stop now and call for help.
  • Check if the battery is okay. Otherwise you have to buy a new one. In my case, a 6 volt battery.
  • Replace all fluids. Brake fluid, coolant, and engine oil. Replace the oil filter and fuel filter. Drain the gas tank and the fuel lines.
  • Check if the coolant and heater hoses are okay.
  • Check if the belts are okay.
  • If you are planning to drive the car now, you need to check if the wheel bearings and brakes are okay.

Now it's time to try to start the car. A good idea is to buy a can of starting fluid.

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