Well you’ve been wanting this car for a long time. Something that you’ve been wanting since you were a teenager. And finally you find one. Maybe sitting out in the weeds, but you know, what’s the big deal? Then come those fateful words, ‘ran when parked.’ Okay well, maybe it did. But it’s been a long time since it’s been parked. Now what do you do?

You really want the car so you buy it, you get it home, and the very first thing you do is what you should never do; and that is you put a fresh battery in it and you put the key in the ignition and you try to start it. Well don’t do it. You see, after a car has been sitting for a long period of time, there’s all sorts of things that can go on inside the engine.

You can have rust rings in the cylinders where the starter can slam the piston rings against that rust ring and break the piston rings. Valves can be stuck open. We forced one open and wedged it down here, it can be stuck open. The starter will just keep going and wham it hits the valve, the valve bends, or it cracks the head or something like that. So what do you do to prevent things like that?

Well the first thing you do is to remove the spark plugs. Then you put oil or penetrating oil- some type of lubricant in each one of the cylinders. And you let it sit overnight. At least. Couple three days, fine that works good too. What you want to do is you want to get the insides of the cylinders coated with some kind of oil that will help dissipate any rust that’s in there. 

Then you still don’t hook up the starter. And the reason is, is that the starter has no feeling whatsoever. But you do. So you take a wrench, you put it on a bolt on the end of the crankshaft and you turn it very gently. Turn it, and if all of a sudden it doesn’t want to turn, well you go backwards, forwards, backwards, forwards, and loosen up whatever the piston or whatever is in there is hitting and you get past it without any damage.

So it’s a real simple way to free up an engine that has been sitting for a long period of time without damaging it. And if you have a question or comment drop me a line right there at MotorWeek!