The stored car should have a mechanical examination

Q: My 94 year old dad has a 2000 Dodge Intrepid with 110,249 miles that hasn’t been driven in about two years. His neighbor would like to buy it. However, he has heard that if a car has not been used for a long time, the cylinders are dry and should be oiled before driving. Is it true? If so, how do I proceed, or do I have to tow the car to a garage? What would be the cost for something like this?

A: Chances are it’s OK. Unless the car has been sitting in a cornfield for several years, the cylinders might not be dry. A parked car may still have an oil film. To be on the safe side, you can inject a little oil into each cylinder by removing the spark plugs. But I suggest a pro give the car a competition one more time. It will take about an hour and cost around $100. On the lift, the technician can check for leaks and change the oil if necessary. The air filter should not be a mansion for mice. The gas will be stale, so adding fresh stuff with a fuel conditioner is a good idea. The tires are probably in good condition. Once the vehicle is tuned, the new owner can drive it with confidence.

keep a charge

Q: I drive my 2020 Toyota Camry TRD about twice a week. If I were to use a battery maintainer, would it harm my electrical system? I use one on my 1967 GTO, which helps me keep the battery charged.

A: A battery maintainer will neither harm a new high-tech car nor your classic, low-tech “goat”.

A difficult search

Q: Since I moved from California to the Twin Cities last June, I have been looking for stations displaying the Top Tier logo. The list of providers I found includes BP and Holiday (just two examples), but I have yet to see any labeling or signage at the stations here. At first I went inside a BP station to ask and only got a blank stare. Acura says my 2017 RD should only burn the top level. I’m afraid not doing so will void my warranty. How can I find the gas I need?

A: You won’t see any neon signs announcing, “We have Top Tier Gasoline.” But usually there is a sticker on the pump. Oil companies agree to sell only Top Tier fuel at all their outlets. You can find the list of stations on the organization’s website (, which states:

• All retail outlets in the authorized country must meet program standards.

• All grades of gasoline must be treated with an approved detergent additive.

• The Top Tier logo must be displayed.

• Approved retailers undertake not to use organometallic additives.

Bob Weber is an ASE-certified writer, mechanic, and master automotive technician. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions with name and city to [email protected]

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