What would be the best way to get a car back up and running, if it has not been turned over once in 4 years?.

I have a friend who wishes to sell me his Mazda 323 1.8 petrol that has only 30,000 miles on the clock. (Genuine) He has had it garaged for the last 4 years and has not turned it over at all. What would be the best way to get the car back up and running so that it can be checked over? Thank you.

Asked by Mark Frankland

The work required to start a car that’s not been used for a long time will depend on how well the car was prepared before being put into ‘storage’. You can find the following check list on the main AA website where you’ll also find information on how to prepare a car that you’re not going to use for a long time:

– Check tyre pressures
– Check that nothing’s nesting under the bonnet or has chewed through the pipes/hoses
– Re-tighten any drive belts loosened when the car was put away
– Check all fluid levels before starting – change the oil once the car’s running
– Stale fuel could be a problem – hopefully there’s not too much in the tank so that fresh fuel can be added and can get through to the engine
– Taking the plugs out first and turning the engine over is a good idea as this will reduce the load on the engine whilst the oil is redistributed
– Check brake operation including the handbrake – the brakes will probably be seized on if the car’s been left with the handbrake applied. Try engaging a gear and driving gently, otherwise dismantling may be necessary
– Arrange a full service once the car is running again.

If the vehicle is currently subject to a SORN this will end as soon as you buy it – you will have to apply for a tax disc before you can use the car on public roads.

The car will need an MOT too of course – you are permitted to drive to a pre-booked MOT but must have insurance cover.


About Author