Safe way to start my car after not running it for 5 months?

The battery was dead so I have it charging. But I’m afraid to start it if the gas or oil went bad. How do I manage this? Any suggestions?

Five months shouldn’t be a problem. I had mine sitting way, way longer than that during the pandemic, and it started fine after I had a new battery installed on the spot by AAA.

You probably want to get your battery tested if it has been sitting stone dead for that long. My understanding is that car batteries that sit drained for a long time start to have issues keeping a charge.

Yep should be fine once the battery is charged as long as it holds the charge, when is inspection? At that time they can give it a full proper checkup.

Also how old is the battery, 3 years is the average for time to replace.

+1 for the AAA battery service, I’ve used it on 2 vehicles and they are fantastic and priced as good as any shop.

If you are worried about the gas sitting, 5 months isn’t too bad. 6 months is usually the amount of time that gets sketcher. How full is the tank? If it is not full, you can add in fresh gas and a stabilizer. But 5 months in a car is probably fine.

I like to add seafoam when an engine has been sitting for more than 3 months. It does not restore gas, but it helps to clean up anything that has gunked up by sitting.

Michigan doesn’t have mandated vehicle inspections.

Five months isn’t a long enough time for gas to really go bad. In cases where I’ve had something sit with gas for a long time (like my snowblower), I just mix in fresh gas. That assumes your tank isn’t already full. As @JonRowe suggested, getting some type of gas stabilizer and/or injection cleaner additive would help also.

And the oil should be fine as well. I’ve ran some of my vehicles longer that 5 months without changing the oil (not good I know). But if you are still concerned, just take it into a oil change place and have them check all the fluids (oil, windshield washer, power steering, brake, and transmission) It will cost a bit more than a standard oil change, but probably worth it.

I wouldn’t trust the battery though. In my experience after a battery goes dead, then recharged, they tend to go downhill pretty quickly after that. If you know that your car is going to be sitting for a long time again, purchase a trickle charger and hook it up. That keeps a small charge going to the battery.

The brakes are probably going to sound a little rough the first time you take it out because the brake rotors have a layer of rust from sitting. That should clear itself up in a couple miles as you drive it. It just sounds a little off for a bit.

Awesome! Thanks for such detailed information.

A dumb question, but how long does it take to get in for an oil change, fluids and all that. Days?

If you just need oil, filter and fluid changes, places similar to Jiffy Lube should be able to get you in as you drive up if it’s not too busy.

Some auto dealers also have reasonably-priced fluid change facilities on-premises in a separate area so you can drive-up there as well. For those, I guess I’d call a few places first.

My local battery place (Interstate Batteries) has told me that as well, but my last battery went over 9 years here in North Dakota, and my Explorer has never even had a block heater, so I can’t plug it in even at -30F. I keep meaning to have a block heater installed, but the damn thing has always cranked right over and started every time.

Admittedly, it was their best battery that came with a 6-year warranty (currently $214.95), but still that’s pretty good. Better yet, I only replaced it because I noticed it was 9 years old, not because it wasn’t performing. Part of me wonders how long it would have gone if I’d kept it. :-)

My current battery is 4.5 years old, and we just had another cold snap (-24F) last week or so, and again, that thing cranked right over and started every morning.

What I’m saying is that I think batteries are capable of going far longer than 3 years if it’s a good battery and it’s never abused.

This is also very true.

If the car has been sitting, it’s possible your tires will be a little lumpy - the smallest bit flat on the bottom surfaces. So when you start up there may be weird vibrations or noise. Driving a little bit should smooth that out though.

6mo you’ll be fine, check the fluids and change the battery and you should be good! I don’t think that is anywhere near enough time for even the fuel to really become stale.

Source (aside from 10 years in the automotive industry a lifetime ago) - I’ve been a complete sucker for these type of videos for the last few months! :D

I was just coming back to mention flat spots on the tires, but @Charlatan has it covered. If your tires are in good shape otherwise, they should smooth out as you drive and the tires warm up.

You guys are the best. I’d be one lost puppy with out you :)

Shoot. After charging the battery for over a day, not even the door light would come on when I opened the door.

Am I going to be forced to hire a tow truck to bring it somewhere?

There are companies around here who will just send a truck to swap your battery on site.

AMA/AAA/CAA does, for starters. No pin intended.

Yeah there are lots of services that will bring a battery to you and install it.

My battery was dead in the airport parking lot on return from vacation a few years ago. Called CAA. The guy checked the battery and said it was shot. He could get me started and I would be able to get some store to get a replacement or he could just replace it on the spot. I opted for one the spot.

Your battery may be dead, but it may just be drained. You can buy a trickle charger at an auto parts store and try to recharge your battery with it. If you leave it going overnight and the car still doesn’t start then it’s definitely the battery!

All this talk about dead batteries, just goes to prove what racket they are, sure go replace them ever 3 years sheeple.

I say bring back the the crank starter!