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Old 29th October 2007, 15:58   #1
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Default What things can go wrong if a car is kept idle for more than 1 year?

@Gurus - I am in a great dilemma regarding my car. I will be going for a long term (min 1 year) onsite assignment in a few months time and dont know what to do about my car. At first I thought of selling it and had even manged to get a customer. But have not finalised anything yet, so would like hear from the BHPians as to what might go wrong if I plan to keep the car sitting idle for more than one year. My father will be starting the car once every week but nobody will be driving it. Also is there any precautions that one might take so that the least amount of damage occurs. Also would like to know whether keeping the car would be the right decision or not.

@Mods - if this not the right place please move the thread.
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:04   #2
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Generally the car must be moved a bit at least once a week so that the load does not fall on the same points on the wheels.
If you dad forwards and reverses once a week for a few feet, I guess all should be ok. He might also have to get the air checked once a month.
If it is a new car, then someone has to get the car serviced--the first 3 services,else the warranty may be void.
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:09   #3
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Hi Black Pearl,

One of the main risks is that the residual fuel in the tank will go bad and become thick over a period of time. It can clog the fuel pump and fuel lines. There is a fuel-additive that you can put in your tank before you leave the car idle. This would reduce but not completely eliminate the problem. (sorry, I don't remember the name of the additive right now)

Another problem depending where you park is that rodents sometimes eats the wires and tubes from underneath the car. Not sure exactly how to avoid this problem.

If your dad is not able to start the car every week, I suggest you keep the battery disconnected to avoid it from discharging.
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:11   #4
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Since you say that the onsite is minimum 1 year I am assuming that there are chances that the duration might increase & in such a case if you dont have any one to drive the car I belive It will be better to sell her off.
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:14   #5
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My Santro was idle for close to a year when I was in the US. There were no problems when I came back.
Car was started and driven around in the housing complex every week or alternate week. Maybe you can ask your father to drive it for a few mins when he starts it up. Keeps the battery from dying.

Some points to keep in mind:
- Tyre loses air pressure after sitting idle for a long time... led to a puncture in the Santro.
- Car will invariably get dusty unless you pay someone to wash it maybe once a week.
- If the car isn't started (and driven a bit) for a long duration, then the battery discharges.
- If you have open air parking, then it has its share of security concerns, as well the risk of some parts rusting.
- Car will need some airing out once in a while, else it starts smelling musty and there may be moisture accumulation inside the cabin.

I guess the bottom line is, if your father (or anyone else) can spare a few mins every week on the car, it should be fine. I would not like to see BlackPearl go away personally
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:23   #6
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After a long stay abroad, you'll see/ride so many marvelous cars, after returning home you'll feel changing your car anyway.

If you're sure that you'll stay there for at least a year or more, probably better to sell the car now.

However, if someone else in the family can use the car (at least once a week), then do keep it.
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:29   #7
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Sell the car.
think of it this way, you have 4 lakh rupees sitting idle. Nowadays senior citizens get 10% interest. So in one year your 4 lakh would be 4 lakh forty thousand.
If you do not sell it your 4 lakh may require 10-20,000 to get back to shape. Sometimes a simple rodent attack can cause 10,000rs of damage.
Do the maths. If nobody is driving it, its sitting their depreciating, and when your boss says "1 year minimum, could be more" take it as 15-18months minimum.
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:33   #8
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Please also refer to your owner's manual. It has a section on long term storage of a car.

General checkpoints:
1. Battery - disconnect
2. Fuel - drain out / use up
3. Oil(s) - change immediately after hibernation term
4. Tyres - They almost become plastic and loose their elasticity, if totally unused, even if on jack. May have to change after storage
5. Ensure AC vents are blocked out - to prevent pests entering the cabin
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:54   #9
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If you are really staying more than a year better to sell off...or if your dad drives it every week then fine...

On hindsight based on personal experience, I would suggest go onsite and checkout your project in next 2months, based on that sell your baby...
Assuming you work for a Software Company, you never know the status of the project sitting here, they might send you with lots of promise but the client might close down your project in a month and you are back to India (Pls dont take me otherwise, It has happened in front of my eyes, it happened to me as well but thankfully I was not suffered like my friends)...

It happened to two of my close friends working in the Infys, Satyams and TCSs (one of them sold even his household items and car thinking he will be in US for 3 years but he was back in his bangalore flat in 2 months)...

Abhi
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Old 29th October 2007, 16:55   #10
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@All - thanks for all the inputs. I have a few questions after going through the posts -
Suppose I plan to keep the car and do the following -

1. Dust and dirt is no problem as there is a caretaker who cleans it everyday
2. Dad will start the car (if you guys advise to start it daily, then he will do so)
3. Maybe dad will hire a driver once in while to take the car out for a spin. This is my main concern as I have never allowed any person to drive my car unless I know he is a very good and caring driver. Even my wife has driven her only twice till now. I live in a place where the lanes are narrow and full of autorickshaws and if somebody is not very careful the car will get scratched from every possible direction.

4. Change all the tires after coming back (which I had to do anyway as they have travelled 40,000 Kilometers.

5. Changes all the oils after coming back.

Now the question is whether all this is sufficient to get the car back to the position where I will leave it (apart form say a few dents here and there if a driver drives it once in a while) ? I am ready to shell out a few thousand if required but I want the car to be as reliable as it is now. Reliability is the main concern as people who know me will surely understand. I go out for long drives on a minutes decision and my car has to be upto the mark to do that.
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Old 29th October 2007, 17:00   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
If you are really staying more than a year better to sell off...or if your dad drives it every week then fine...

On hindsight based on personal experience, I would suggest go onsite and checkout your project in next 2months, based on that sell your baby...
Assuming you work for a Software Company, you never know the status of the project sitting here, they might send you with lots of promise but the client might close down your project in a month and you are back to India (Pls dont take me otherwise, It has happened in front of my eyes, it happened to me as well but thankfully I was not suffered like my friends)...

It happened to two of my close friends working in the Infys, Satyams and TCSs (one of them sold even his household items and car thinking he will be in US for 3 years but he was back in his bangalore flat in 2 months)...

Abhi
thats well said. I had ignored this part absolutely. it happened to my friend who was promised a 2 year term but had to return in 15 days. so anything can happen in IT. you are absolutely right. the decision has been made. will wait and see what happens. moreover what I know is that there is an option of flyback every 1 year, right. if that is the case then I can even decide after one year. Thanks a lot everybody for all the inputs.
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Old 29th October 2007, 17:08   #12
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I think the driver thing is a right decision...Take that chance and tell your parents to take a driver occassionally for any drive...not necessarily i the interior of city...

Then you need not have to sell it...
Abhi
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Old 29th October 2007, 17:16   #13
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Even without using it a bit, if you are deciding to sell it after one year, you are going to lose money. At least 30-50K difference will be there I suppose. So think wisely, and in case you are planning to sell it, it is better now. Also as sbasak has rightly pointed out, once you are back, definitely you will be thinking of a new car.
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Old 29th October 2007, 17:27   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Maybe dad will hire a driver once in while to take the car out for a spin. This is my main concern as I have never allowed any person to drive my car unless I know he is a very good and caring driver. Even my wife has driven her only twice till now. I live in a place where the lanes are narrow and full of autorickshaws and if somebody is not very careful the car will get scratched from every possible direction.
Also see if you can trust an friend, car lover or even a tbhpian who you think can check on ur car once a while. IF not once a week... a 2-3 km run once in two weeks should be fine.

Elito
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Old 29th October 2007, 17:39   #15
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Keep BP if you want to continue with the car till say 2010. A bit of work once you return and she should be fine. If you feel you would want some other car after returning, bech do.

OT - Given the lethargy of Maruti to resolve my Climate control issue, I could be without a car for a very long time, so may be I could take care of BP
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