1. Check the outside
The first thing to complete is a visual walk around. Walk around the car and check for any obvious signs of damage. Check under the car for any fluid that may have leaked from the car in the time that it has been waiting for you to return. See if there are signs of rodent or pest damage on the exterior or interior of the vehicle. Before you check under the hood, see if you smell any fuel or coolant, which would indicate damage to the vehicle.
Checking under the hood before starting the engine is important. Any damage to the engine can be potentially catastrophic for yourself and others. Check all of the belts and gaskets for damage or shrinkage. Make sure coolant, engine oil, transmission and many other liquids are at basic levels for good engine function. Some people recommend that you replace the fluid completely, but that all depends on how long the vehicle was in storage. If it was only in storage for a few months, you’re good to go. If it has been longer than that, it’s best to completely switch it.
Look at the battery and ensure that it’s not leaking or corroded. Check the spark plugs and ensure that they are clean and undamaged. Be careful with removing them, getting new spark plugs can break the bank. Complete a final check for rodents and pests and you’re ready to start that engine.
3. Prep that engine
There are two types of engines: mechanical and electric. Consult your owner’s manual to determine your car’s type of engine. A mechanical engine needs a bit of love after being left alone for so long. When starting the engine, many people are concerned about starting a dry engine. If that is a concern of yours, take the coil wire off and build oil pressure by cranking it. However, regardless of your concern, the engine still needs to be primed.
Once you are ready to take your old friend out for a drive, let the car idle for a few minutes and warm up. Take it out for a little drive to hear the engine and wheels. Listen for any abnormalities in the way that the car drives. Check the brakes and ensure they are working properly. Check the technology and lights in the car to make sure that they were not damaged while the car was in storage.
These few steps will make you forget the time that you and your car were ever apart. You and your old friend will be driving through the open road and making new memories in no time. Spring is the time to renew your relationship with your car.