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Car guys, help me out please

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Vince S., Mar 12, 2008.

  1. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    My friend's '01 Toyota Celica has been sitting in her college parking lot untouched for the past three and a half months. She let a friend borrow it and he dinged the wheel but denied it, so she didn't have any claim against him. Anyway, she said it was drive-able but only at very low speeds since it causes the steering wheel to shake and is hard to steer.

    She has not used the car at all in the past 3.5 months, has not gone out to start it up, move it, or anything. It's been through snowstorms, rain, and freezing temperatures. She's hoping to get it fixed soon (got tied up and wasn't able to get it repaired til now). I'm going to try to help her out.

    What kind of damage should one expect from leaving a car out for 3.5 months in winter weather without touching it the entire time? What should we do for the vehicle before taking it down to the shop? (Assuming it's even able to be driven, worst comes to worst it can be towed). I'm thinking all four tires will probably need replacement because of tire rot/pressure spots, battery will probably be dead and need to be charged. Also the possibility of critters getting under the hood and into the HVAC system, and chewing up wires and harnesses.

    Anything else? What is a good starting place to get this car back in shape?
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Probably nothing more than a dead battery. If a wheel got dinged it may just need an alignment.

    My 92 Civic Si wit 215k miles sat outside all winter under those same conditions. I charged the battery up and it was fine.

    If you have someone you trust who knows cars, have them look at it. Sounds like she's ripe for getting ripped off if she goes to a shop anticipating the worst.
  3. Don't forget to change the air in the tires. With summer aproaching, you need summer air :smug: :ninja:
  4. This is very important, most people forget it and drive on cold air all summer which leads to worse gas mileage.

  5. Hawaii Islander

    Hawaii Islander Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Rio Rico, AZ
    I had the same thing with my 74 Firebird years ago. I left for the Air Force just after the blizzard of 78 and the Firebird stayed buried in several feet of snow until May. Oil treatment, gas treatment and battery charging was all that we did to get it running again.
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Probably just fixing the wheel and an alignment. Just don't drive it like it's stolen for a while. Add air if needed, but that's about it.
  7. Replace The battery, change the Oil, fill the gas tank and inject a bit of gasoline into the carburetor directly, replacing the spark plugs and cables would be a good idea too.
  8. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Why are you in the "friends" with a chick? :eyebrow:
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Carburetor on a 2001 Celica? This I'd like to see :atoz:
  10. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    That's another problem to worry about: the fuel injectors getting gummed up.
  11. Ooops, my bad. I didn't read the 2001 part. Another chance to use this: :atoz:
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Or not.

    I would not change the battery until it was clear I needed to. Fuel injector cleaner can't hurt but you can have them cleaned professionally if needed.

    Get the car running, see what you need to do that.

    And I've found Fall air to be a good year 'round compromise. New England Fall air being preferred.
  13. Charge the battery, air up the tires and go. Drop in fresh gas. Change the oil in the next week or so. But that's really not long enough of a hibernation to hurt anything.

    And she can probably find a replacement wheel cheap either on Ebay or at a local wrecking yard.
  14. Fall air is the best compromise, but for best performance and fuel economy you want you change your air with the seasons.

  15. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    This is the first suggestion that actually makes sense.

    As far as some of the earlier comments...not so much. There seems to be a lot of mythology floating around.

    1) "Winter air" ?? ***? Check the tire pressure. If it's low, add some air. EDIT: I just realized that comment was a joke, NM

    2) professional fuel injector cleaning services are a scam. The only way to REALLY clean injectors is to remove them from the car, and have them sent to a specialized fuel injector shop, like Fuel Injector Clinic (http://www.fuelinjectorclinic.com/), which will completely overhaul and flowmatch the injectors. A 2001 that's only been sitting a few months won't need anything of the sort.

    3) The battery might need to be charged. It might also need to be replaced, depending on how much parasitic loss there is. On a 2001, probably not much. I'd wager the battery will still take a charge (unless it's the original battery from when the car was bought in 2001, but I doubt that's the case).

    4) My bet is that either the wheel, or one of the suspension arms is bent. A bad alignment won't cause vibration, it will cause uneven tire wear, and possibly strange steering characteristics. Take the car to a competent tire shop, they will be able to put the wheel on a balancing machine and figure out whether it's bent or not. It's possible the wheel is bent AND one of the arms are bent as well. Once the car is on an alignment rack, they'll be able to figure that out as well.
  16. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Jump start the car and check the tire pressure (add air as needed). Nothing else is needed.

    Neither the gas nor the fuel injectors should be gummed up at this point. However if you want to be cautious it probably wouldn't hurt to use SeaFoam: http://www.seafoamsales.com/ (You can usually find it at Autozone, Pep Boys or whatever)
    I have no idea if Sea Foam really works, but it makes me feel better :atoz:

    Of course, get the wheel checked out.

    e: And yeah, putting fresh gas in wouldn't be a bad idea either.
  17. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    Some of the Celicas (especially the GT-S model) have very high compression engines...something like 11.0:1...so they require 91+ octane gas. It's for that reason that I'd definitely try to put fresh gas in as soon as possible.
  18. Nitto


    Mar 18, 2007
    Adelaide, South Aus
    might want to get the ball joints. wheels and steering column checked out, same with the battery. maybe even siphon out the old fuel and refill it, it's possible that it's gone a bit "off"
  19. Good thread. I've got nothing to add except my V8 XR8 has sat in the garage with a dead battery for close to 6 months and recently I wanted to get it running so I called Ford to find out what needed to be done they told me:

    - Charge or swap the battery
    - Swap ALL the oils (engine, transmission, sterring, diff etc) and fluids (water reservoir etc) for new stuff before starting it to prevent any damage.
    - Reset the ECU computer (they never said how)
    - Change the tyres as they will be flatspotted and dangerous
    - Change the A/C gas
    - Put fresh fuel in it
    - Get the brakes skimmed (because will be rusty and won't work properly)
    - Expect to get the injectors cleaned
    - Expect to need a new air filter

    Then they asked when I wanted to book it in...

    Suffice to say, the car is still sitting in the garage while I consider the options :D :D
  20. A 2001 Toyota that sat outside for 3 months? It should start right up, no problem. I used to leave my car in the street for 7 months while on deployment and it almost always started without help. That was in the 80's and 90's.

    Dinged the wheel? I would take it off and get it balanced. If that is OK, then you probably have some minor front end damage and need to get it fixed by a professional.

    Where are you? Maybe one of us "motor heads" could stop by and look at it for you?

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