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car idle for 6 months

  • 20-12-2021 1:31pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu


    Have a 2010 Skoda Fabia Desiel thats been sititng idle for 6 or 7 months no usage. Battery is flat as a pancake but I can jump start it so I'm hoping that after a few runs about it will be back to normal. thing is the Oil warning light is on but very faint when it starts. I've had teh engine running there for about an hour and teh light turned off. I've topped up by about 1Litre just in case but in the short term should it be OK to drive? what i mean is could the old oil case major issues or can I get over the holidays and then service in the new year? I'll keep checking teh oil levels over the next day or two and keep topping up anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,943 ✭✭✭✭ Toyotafanboi

    Orange light or red light?

    Orange is oil level warning, top it up and it'll be fine.

    Red is an oil pressure warning and that will damage the engine. That being said if you've already ran it for an hour and the engine sounds ok it's probably not an oil pressure fault.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu

    faint orange light. so just fill her up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,156 ✭✭✭ cruizer101

    Good chance you'll need a new battery. Even if you can jump it battery being flat for that long isn't good for its health and it may not hold a charge well now

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu

    cheers, I jump started it last week and it started. left it run for an hour or two. then tried again yesterday on its own and it was flat. so manegd to jump it again today and it restarted 30 minutes later on its own, I will try again in the morning and see how i fair.

  • Registered Users Posts: 73,754 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn

    Have a look the the tyres too for damage on the sidewalls.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu

    cracks and the like? they dont seem to have deflated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 815 ✭✭✭ monseiur

    It takes a lot of amps to crank a diesel engine, after 6 months idle it's unlikely the car will self charge the battery fully. Check the fluid level, top up with de-ionised water if required. Then charge for a minimium of 16 hours, if this fails you need a new battery, otherwise be sure to have a fully charged power pack with you at all times. As it's dark from before 4pm to after 9am it means driving with lights, AC etc. on for long periods which puts extra pressure on the battery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 73,754 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn

    Yes if there was a bit of deflation or just standing still over months you might see some cracking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,226 ✭✭✭ Buffman

    Sounds like you actually haven't driven it yet OP?

    If the handbrake was left on it's probably stuck on now and might need attention to free it.

    The 'ordinary' brakes are also going to be somewhat corroded and will probably be a bit stuck on also, needing extra power to get it moving initially. After some driving and braking they should 'clean' themselves a bit and might be back to normal. But don't be surprised if they need more work and do some low speed brake tests before going too fast.

    The battery is almost certainly dead beyond repair after that long flat, but the only hope for it is to get a charger on it to fully charge it and see if it holds. If you're leaving a car lying up for a long time, disconnect the negative to save the battery.

    Tyre pressures will be down and need to be reset.

    A fill of fresh diesel wouldn't do any harm.

    Regarding the oil level, I'm presuming there's a dipstick. How's your level on it?

    Personally, if it was my car and I was going to be keeping it for a while, I'd be doing a full service on it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu

    thanks for the tips.

    basically this is the car i'd usually use to go to work but with WFH it wsnt used much, add two nippers and we needed to get something larger for their crap so teh skoda sat idle, i completly forgot to disconnect the battery. the second car has acted up so I was getting this skoda back running in case anything happened over christmas.

    teh handbreak was stiff and it was hard to move initially but its freed up now, I'll do a few slow KMs to wamr teh breaks up and clear any crap off of them and teh tank needs a fill anyway.

    dipstick says teh oil is about 3/4 so I'll top that up also.

    probably safest just to take a hit for a battery in the log run last thing i need is trying to collect ine inlaws christmas eave and being stranded.

    plan on keeping it and will have a service in teh new year but just shelled out 800 on repairs for teh second car so i'm kinda skint til the new year

    appreciate the help

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu

    Why if a service and a new battery will get it in running order?

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,166 ✭✭✭ Flinty997

    I think was meant to funny. Not a serious comment.

    Op if nothing else get battery checked. It might leave you stranded and more expense to recover.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,943 ✭✭✭✭ Toyotafanboi

    Sorry, yes i was being a bit sarcastic.

    You could write a list to infinity of this you could recommission on an older vehicle whether it's been sat up for a while or not.

    I'd top up the oil and drive it on. It'll probably need a battery, i'd replace that. Feck tyres ans servicing and the rest, it's been 6 months not 6 years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,226 ✭✭✭ Buffman

    No worries, the oil light may have been due to the flat battery more than any oil issue. Sound's like you'll be good to go with a new battery.

    Ye, but this is a 12 year old car left sitting outside in the Irish winter, not a brand new car inside a nice warm dealers showroom. Just assuming that the tyres and brakes are gonna be grand and hopping in and taking off down the motorway at 120km/h is a bit optimistic. And if we learned anything from 'Under Siege 2', it's that assumption is the mother of all feckups.

  • Registered Users, Subscribers Posts: 13,067 ✭✭✭✭ antodeco

    I wouldn't do any major drives on the motorway until you know the brakes and tyres are ok. Check all fluids, including power steering, clutch and coolant. Car should be ok, but as others have said check the tyres. They may have slight flat spots if it hasn't moved. I'd also possibly suggest putting some diptaine into the take aswell just to clear up any crud. Also, if you do drive it, make sure you drive for at least an hour. You want the engine nice and hot, and as it's a diesels will need to possible do a regen

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,052 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005

    A new battery will get the car going. A power bank booster will get multiple cars going and costs about the same as a battery. If you won't be doing much driving in the new year a booster might be a better purchase.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,943 ✭✭✭✭ Toyotafanboi

    Ah no, honestly i think you are overly pesimistic.

    Like it's only sitting up 6 months, what could have degraded so badly that it's dangerous in that time? We havn't even had a frosty night yet.

    Unless the car was in a state beforehand, but if it was parked up in roadworthy shape it won't have made any huge difference to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,226 ✭✭✭ Buffman

    It's not just frosty nights that could cause issues, condensation, direct sunlight, precipitation, temperature and humidity all factor in.

    If you're only specifically talking about what could be dangerous after 6 months idle, then my main candidate would be tyres. For the sake of a few minutes I really can't see why anyone wouldn't check pressure and condition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,095 ✭✭✭ James Bond Junior


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,943 ✭✭✭✭ Toyotafanboi

    Yeah grand but we aren't exactly in thr Sahara or at the North Pole our climate doesn't really give extremes that would destroy a roadworthy car after a few months.

    I still think if it was parked in roadworthy condition, not much if anything will have changed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,979 ✭✭✭ User1998

    I’d agree. 6 months isn’t a long time at all. Jump start the car, let it run for a while, see if the battery holds a charge. Top up fluids if necessary and check all bulbs. Set the tyre pressures, get the breaks free’d up and take it for a slow drive and do some harsh breaking. If the car is running driving and stopping and the battery is holding a charge its good to go imo.

    I wouldn’t be replacing oil tyres or batteries

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,743 ✭✭✭ Faolchu

    so i took the car fpr a run today and the only thing off is the gear stick seems tight, kind of hard to get into reverse and 1st but when driving its fine. Spoke to the local mechanic and he is suggestng WD40 on teh gear rails should sort it out

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,677 ✭✭✭ 9935452

    Id be in agreement with you.

    There are olenty of cars in dealers sitting for months before being sold and are perfect

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,226 ✭✭✭ Buffman

    If a dealer had a 2010 Skoda Fabia lying idle outside untouched for 6 months and let a customer out in it without at least checking the basics, then that's a dealer I wouldn't be doing business with personally.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,943 ✭✭✭✭ Toyotafanboi

    You're sensationalising that. A few basic checks after 6 months sitting are no harm but 6 months sitting up full service and replace all consumables.

    Any car from the last two or three decades that's in any way well maintained should need little to no attention to do 6 months parked up. 12v battery care aside.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,634 ✭✭✭ Miscreant

    I had a 3 year old car sit idle in my garden for around 18 months about 5 years ago. All it took to get it moving again was a quick jump start, a rock back and forth to release the handbrake and a sedate drive around the housing estate for about half an hour to clear the brakes and get the engine up to temperature. I checked all the fluids before starting the car to make sure they were OK and off I went (once I was sure all the lights were working)

    I daily drove the car for about 2 months after that without any issues before selling it to my brother in law, who then kept the car for 5 years... again, without issue (he did have it serviced a couple of months after he bought it from me though).

    Having a car laid up for 6 months is nothing and I would just do some cursory checks (fluids, brakes and lights) and then carry on. Unless it was in bad running condition when it was parked, it should be OK.