How Do I Start a Car That Has Been Sitting for Two Years?

Before starting a vehicle that has been in long-term storage, check the vehicle for leaks, replace the fluids and squirt oil into each of the cylinders. Charge or replace the battery and start the car. The process requires a couple of days.

  1. Check underneath the car

    Look under the vehicle for any signs of leaks. If you find spots of fluids, repair them before proceeding to start the car.

  2. Replace fluids

    Change the oil and hydraulic fluids. Flush the radiator and add a fresh mix of 50/50 coolant and water to the radiator. Add fresh gasoline to the fuel tank.

  3. Add oil to pistons

    Mark the spark plug wires and remove them. Remove the spark plugs and add a squirt of oil to each cylinder. Allow the oil to sit overnight. Place a socket on the large nut at the front of the engine and turn it slowly to distribute the oil. Replace the spark plugs and wires.

  4. Check battery

    Charge the battery. If it does not hold a charge, replace it. Clean the battery terminals and connect the leads.

  5. Start the car

    If the vehicle is in a garage, open the door to provide ventilation. Start the car and allow it to come to operating temperature. Avoid pressing the accelerator to increase idle speed. Make sure the thermostat opens and the upper radiator hose gets warm. Test the brakes and transmission before taking the car on the road.