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Should a stored vehicle be started periodical to get oil back up to the top of the engine or just left till Spring without turning the motor over at all?
There has been is some change of thinking on this.

Used to be the rule was put the car away and do not touch it until time to resume use again.

The problem is with cars is the engine oil used in most cases is not engine seal friendly. The oil has an additive (ester) which compensates for this and does a very good job. I put 317K miles on a car using bad for the seals oil (POA oil, but the oil that was recommended by the factory) and no oil seal leaks developed.

Besides the engine oil seals the water pump seals and the A/C system seals (o-rings) all benefit from having the coolant or A/C refrigerant and compressor oil circulate once in a while.

There are some who now recommend the engine be started and run some minutes every so often. While the engine won't get up to full operating temperature this does circulate the oil and coolant. One is also advised to turn on the A/C and run this for a while then turn off the A/C while letting the cabin air vent fan run to dry the A/C evaporator and air passage ducts to avoid the chance mold/mildew might "take root" in the damp conditions.

If the car is equipped with an automatic shifting in to D and R also helps circulate ATF through the transmission.

Also the fuel pump runs and this stirs up the fuel in the tank and flushes fuel growing stale from the injectors and fuel lines.

The failure to get the engine oil up to temperature -- and keep it there -- does result in a bit of water getting into the oil. But it is no different than when the car is used in the driving season for short trips.

The car should be put away with fresh oil in the engine. If one follows the auto makers oil change guide lines the oil could be due to be changed on time about the time it is returned to service when the driving season rolls around.

It is not my nature to put a car away for the winter. 'course, I admit I live where winter is not that severe and while it does snow here after a few days the roads are clear and dry and while it can still be cold I can take the car out for a nice long drive.

But if I lived someplace where I was pretty much forced to take the car and store it I'd put it away with fresh oil and arrange to start and run the engine every so often. Around every 2 to 3 weeks. And come spring I'd change the oil/filter.

As an aside I would still have the battery connected to a good battery charger/conditioner/maintainer. The periodic starts would not be sufficient to fully replenish the charge the battery lost from sitting and what it lost from starting the engine.

Yeah I can hear the screams of protest about throwing away new oil but this cost is way less than the money lost to depreciation while the car sat for ~6 months. A spring oil change is just part of the price one pays for trying to keep the car from the ravages of winter and the new car warranty in effect. 'course, if the owner chooses to not follow the 6 month oil change schedule that's on him.
 

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If possible I would run it but only in this scenario.

You have an automatic transmission and by putting in gear and powerbraking slightly (max 900 rpm) you can quickly warm up the engine and you must get the oil fully warmed up not just the coolant, so go to your digital oil temp gauge to verify.

Run the air conditioning and make sure the compressor is coming on.

As your warming it up, move the car forward and backwards if you can.

Doing this will very closely simulate actually driving and is much better than letting it sit untouched imho.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If possible I would run it but only in this scenario.

You have an automatic transmission and by putting in gear and powerbraking slightly (max 900 rpm) you can quickly warm up the engine and you must get the oil fully warmed up not just the coolant, so go to your digital oil temp gauge to verify.

Run the air conditioning and make sure the compressor is coming on.

As your warming it up, move the car forward and backwards if you can.

Doing this will very closely simulate actually driving and is much better than letting it sit untouched imho.


Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Thanks for that info.

There has been is some change of thinking on this.

Used to be the rule was put the car away and do not touch it until time to resume use again.

The problem is with cars is the engine oil used in most cases is not engine seal friendly. The oil has an additive (ester) which compensates for this and does a very good job. I put 317K miles on a car using bad for the seals oil (POA oil, but the oil that was recommended by the factory) and no oil seal leaks developed.

Besides the engine oil seals the water pump seals and the A/C system seals (o-rings) all benefit from having the coolant or A/C refrigerant and compressor oil circulate once in a while.

There are some who now recommend the engine be started and run some minutes every so often. While the engine won't get up to full operating temperature this does circulate the oil and coolant. One is also advised to turn on the A/C and run this for a while then turn off the A/C while letting the cabin air vent fan run to dry the A/C evaporator and air passage ducts to avoid the chance mold/mildew might "take root" in the damp conditions.

If the car is equipped with an automatic shifting in to D and R also helps circulate ATF through the transmission.

Also the fuel pump runs and this stirs up the fuel in the tank and flushes fuel growing stale from the injectors and fuel lines.

The failure to get the engine oil up to temperature -- and keep it there -- does result in a bit of water getting into the oil. But it is no different than when the car is used in the driving season for short trips.

The car should be put away with fresh oil in the engine. If one follows the auto makers oil change guide lines the oil could be due to be changed on time about the time it is returned to service when the driving season rolls around.

It is not my nature to put a car away for the winter. 'course, I admit I live where winter is not that severe and while it does snow here after a few days the roads are clear and dry and while it can still be cold I can take the car out for a nice long drive.

But if I lived someplace where I was pretty much forced to take the car and store it I'd put it away with fresh oil and arrange to start and run the engine every so often. Around every 2 to 3 weeks. And come spring I'd change the oil/filter.

As an aside I would still have the battery connected to a good battery charger/conditioner/maintainer. The periodic starts would not be sufficient to fully replenish the charge the battery lost from sitting and what it lost from starting the engine.

Yeah I can hear the screams of protest about throwing away new oil but this cost is way less than the money lost to depreciation while the car sat for ~6 months. A spring oil change is just part of the price one pays for trying to keep the car from the ravages of winter and the new car warranty in effect. 'course, if the owner chooses to not follow the 6 month oil change schedule that's on him.
Thanks for that info, plan to follow it from now on.
 

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If not driven to full warm up, I won’t start mine. Leaving mine dormant fro 12-15 until 2-14 due to travel. Don’t want the wife to touch it. Just lifting the cover she’ll snag and bend the plate. Plan to trickle it overnite at 2 amps from the trunk then check fluids and lite it. I’ll Turn it to Run twice to prime then start. Will report back. Got fresh full tank of gas, good run, and fresh Amsoil when parked. Used PI in the gas too.
 

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We get snow & the roads get salt or some other ice melt compound applied. What I did the last couple years & did today is take the car for a drive when the streets are dry & as clean as they can be without having a heavy rain washing them off. I try to do this every 7-10 days if possible & look ahead at the weather forecast & try to see when next best day will be. It may not be a perfect solution but figured it’s less hassle than storing the car, & the car will last a long time anyway.

It keeps the battery charged, the tires round, & the oil circulated. It does a while to get the oil warmed up in cold weather. It was 15°F today & I didn’t think of running the AC!
 

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I find it interesting that I bought the car as a must have item, I put it away in November and have no desire to start or even sit in it. How things change, but it still looks like day 1.
I’d never take it out in the winter, I did it years ago with a Mustang and a snow squall came and wrecked it. I should have left it home, I had a brand new pickup for that weather.
 

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Stored Nov 1st. in a 3 sided carport.

I start it atleast once a month sometimes more often if I miss the car too much.

I let it run until the remote start turns off. Set heat on the highest setting.

I haven't had an issue in 3 years.
 

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Due to work trips I often have to leave cars stood. I never ever ever have anyone start them - you do more wear in the first few seconds of start up than at any other time until the oil pressure builds and oil gets pumped around through the engine. Several cars have stood for a couple of years - those I check fluids, or change fluids, with my Lancia, I might even change the cam belt as its change interval is 20,000 miles or 2 yrs - and a head rebuild is rather more hassle than the pain of skinned knuckles and of taking a day to change the belt.

Oil seals etc have been perfectly fine - now if you stand it for a decade, or its crate engine thats been stop for a long time, I might worry and change them, but modern materials will be fine.

You cause condensation in the engine, gearbox and exhaust by warming them a little, but not for long enough to boil off the previous condensation you caused when it cooled down again - the only way to do that is actually drive it and load it and warm everything through properly.

Park it, and leave it. Disconnect the battery if you feel the need. Advice used to be fill the tank with petrol - stop condensation rusting it - but with modern plastic tanks, less of an issue.

Similar advice applies to the machinery I design for a major multinational company. Run it properly, or leave it alone.
 
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