By on March 24, 2015

snow. Shutterstock user LeManna

Matt writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I read your recent PS on engine warm-up procedures, and it got me thinking about my own situation.

I recently started working from home. Now, the missus is able to let sit her 2003 Mercury Sable and drive my 2013 Chevy Equinox during the harsh Wisconsin winter. The Sable is left in a parking spot, outside, for days and weeks on end without being driven. Aside from starting her up every 2-3 weeks and driving around, what would you recommend to make sure the Sable is in tip-top shape in the event the old gal needs to be driven?

Thanks in advance!

Sajeev answers:

Oh yes!  You and I, we are the same: we’d preserve an old Mercury and subject a new vehicle to winter abuse instead! Clearly you appreciate the Mercury Sable like a Lincoln-Mercury fanboi such as myself. If this were a 1986 LS Model in brown with chocolate velour and digital gauges…well, good thing it’s not. 

Since you’re probably being nice to your wife, giving her the safer/nicer vehicle since you don’t need it, I’ll stop with the Sable talk.

So anyway, driving it every 2-3 weeks is all you need.  Just don’t forget to do it! Exercise and fresh fluids is perfect for vehicle health during winter hibernation,  but remaining safe for occupants might be another story.

Make sure the tires are relatively new (i.e. not 8+ years old and hardened to death), change the wiper blades, change the headlight bulbs (if driven regularly at night, that’s often overlooked) and even the little things like a cheapy reflective windshield visor to keep the dashboard from cooking in the winter sun. You could get super picky via paint protection, any grade of breathable outdoor car cover, a battery tender, indoor battery storage and who knows what else the B&B will think of…

But you pretty much nailed it in your query. Off to you, Best and Brightest!

[Image: Shutterstock user LeManna]

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68 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Sable Preservation Society?...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve seen a first generation Sable like the one pictured. Dat light bar.

    I remember in just a few years after Taurus and Sable were introduced, it seemed like every driveway had one. The neighbor across the street had a brown Sable exactly like the one pictured, as did the neighbor next door. My mother had a tan first gen Taurus and the neighbor on the other side had a silver one. It’s easy to forget how ubiquitous those cars used to be.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I love a nice light bar! Front or back, don’t matter – as long as it’s not interrupted by anything.

      *cough cough MKZ*

      http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/news/gallery/2013-lincoln-mkz-unveiled-photo-gallery-videos_20.jpg

      Rurint.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember a few years ago they were searching for any straight, clean, or show example of the 1st gen Taurus/Sable to feature in the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles (before the show went extinct, of course)… IIRC they couldn’t find one in the entire country. They were all used up or rusted to nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I dont buy that they couldnt find a decent first gen Taurus/Sable anywhere. Few if any running around within the salt belt Im sure, but I was in/near Seattle summer before last, and I saw several gen 1s in excellent condition. I also find them pretty regularly on Seattle, Skagit, Portland (and others in the north west) craigslists. Not all are minty fresh of course, but I see some genuine gems from time to time.

        I found a 1986 Taurus LX on Seattle craigslist with like 70k miles a month or so ago. Digital dash, InstaClear windshield uncracked, said to run and drive as good as it looked (like a time warp car, as clean as when it rolled off the line in 85/86).

        I had a fully loaded 1986 LX sedan years ago. It was pretty hammered but it was the same color scheme as the one in the Henry Ford museum in Michigan. I traded it for a V-8 4×4 Dakota with engine issues that I resold within hours for *a lot* more money than what I had in the Taurus. Thought I came out pretty good on the deal at the time, but I regret not keeping the car and restoring it like I had in mind when I bought it.

  • avatar
    r129

    As someone with an irrational love of 1980s and 1990s GM cars, I am preserving a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and subjecting a new vehicle to winter abuse instead. Seems perfectly reasonable to me! It usually stays in the garage for 4 months during the winter without much exercise, and so far, it’s always been fine in the spring.

    • 0 avatar

      You are someone that I truly adore. Kudos!

      • 0 avatar

        FYI: I’m not kidding. Your car is pretty awesome: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/vellum-venom-1989-oldsmobile-cutlass-supreme-sl/

        • 0 avatar
          r129

          Thank you! That’s my favorite Vellum Venom article, for obvious reasons. If I could find a decent example of a 1988-91 coupe with a manual transmission, I’d be all over it. It’s one of the many odd GM cars that I’m perpetually searching for, in a passive sort of way.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’d love to have one of those Cutlass Supremes. But it would need new…motivation.

      3800SC motivation.

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      I have never driven a convertible version, so I wouldn’t know from personal experience. I’m sure they are relatively floppy, but probably not much floppier or more terrible than other domestic convertibles from the 90s. You tend to see a lot more convertibles with the optional “Twin Dual Overhead Cam” 3.4 V-6, which is something that all but the most dedicated W-body fan should run away from.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yes, the LQ1 was a headache just as the Quad4. They can be swapped with a 60V6 though, and I know I have read 3800s have been used but cannot confirm.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I wonder how much bigger a 3800 is than a 3100, because the W body Regal got a 3800 in the first gen…assuming engine bay dimensions are the same across W bodies, that would mean a 3800 has small enough outward dimensions to fit in a 3100 equipped W body.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            One would think, esp since W-body Regal was available with 3800 Series II. But then again someone informed me the MN12 will not accept the 4.6L DOHC the FN10 Mark VIII used due to Ford’s shortsighted design of the lesser MN12’s hood.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Yeah, it’s a shame that a hood swap is required to clear the valve covers, but at least you don’t have to do crazy sh*t like change out crossmembers, Sawzall holes in the inner fenders, and modify the firewall.

            I dunno how those crazy people put LS motors in Pontiac Solstices…

          • 0 avatar
            r129

            From everything that I have read, the 3800 does fit in the Cutlass Supreme, and the swap has been done. Not really something I would be interested in, though. I can’t see myself putting excessive amounts of time and money into a car that is never going to be worth much. I’m fine with preserving it as-is.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            It’s not about whether the car is worth anything, it’s about making something tame into something insane!

            …It’s probably a good thing I don’t live on a huge property with a lot of money and time on my hands, isn’t it…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yes, we are all glad you’re not Ted Turner.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I don’t want to be Ted Turner, I want to be Jay Leno!

            Jay Leno the car collector, not Jay Leno the crap comedian.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think I’d rather be Jerry Seinfeld. He’s a good comedian and also collects cars.

            Plus my jokes are always about everyday observations as well.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            As long as I can eventually buy some interesting and eclectic automobiles someday, I’ll be happy.

            I keep telling my parents that if I win a million bucks in the lottery, I’d be buying a big garage, an off-beat 50s car, a big Cadillac, and some kind of huge old truck. Like a Brockway or something.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Yes, we are all glad you’re not Ted Turner.”

            Two words: captain planet.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Nah, when I think Ted Turner, I think World Championship Wrestling. WOOOOOOOO!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “As long as I can eventually buy some interesting and eclectic automobiles someday, I’ll be happy.”

            A lot of people (of all ages) are already doing that and the place to go to find interesting and eclectic cars and trucks of vintage is West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California and Southern Nevada.

            Some have been parked in the desert for years. Not because they quit running but because their owners lost interest in them after they got that new car or truck.

            Now that I have moved into town, I have seen numerous old cars and trucks parked on people’s properties, not being used, because newer cars have taken their place as primary transportation.

        • 0 avatar
          r129

          Having said that the 3.4 is something to run away from, I just found a 1991 Grand Prix GTP for sale in what appears to be mint condition with the LQ1 and manual transmission. Even though I know what a horrible idea it is, I want to buy that car so badly!

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        My completely unscientific guess is that the basket handle, which I believe was retained because of the coupe’s B pillar-mounted door handles, would’ve lent some degree of rigidity, at least relative to the baseline of “1980s unibody platform modified into a convertible.”

        I actually see a relatively presentable convertible on the road once or twice a summer. It and an immaculately maintained first-gen MR2 always make me smile.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Speaking of putting 3800s where they dont belong, Ive thought about putting one in a Pontiac 6000.

        A buddy had a Buick Century T-Type with a factory 3800. It was the FWD 1980s Century, akin to the 6000, so going by that, putting one in a 6000 would be doable.

        Ohhh. A SuperCharged 3800 Series II in a 6000! What a torque-steer-crazy sleeper!

        I still want an Alero coupe with the “Twin Cam” (rebranded Quad 4) with the Getrag 5MT. The last Oldsmobile-designed engine in the last decent car from the brand. Just feels right. I think there is room for one in my fantasy car collection.

        • 0 avatar
          r129

          I test drove one of those Aleros with the Twin Cam and 5MT many years ago, and really liked it. It is definitely somewhere in my fantasy car collection, and though I regularly search for examples for sale, I am reluctant to actually buy one.

          I once owned a 2001 Alero coupe with the 3.4. It was a GL2, which was the only model that came with the sport suspension. I loved the way that car looked and drove, but it was by far the worst car I have ever owned. From the time it was new to the time I unloaded it at 100,000 miles and 8 years old, there was always something wrong with it. I used to drive by it after I sold it, and I think it only lasted another few months before something happened that was catastrophic enough for the new owner to junk it. Not to mention, the Alero and Grand Am are probably the most rust-prone domestic cars ever produced in this millennium.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Im fortunate enough to live outside of the salt belt. Although I found my 1995 Taurus in Mobile, Al, the western half of the US is the place to be for finding rust-free older (and cheap) cars. In the Dirty South, people use the car to death and then crush it when something fairly large needs repair. A lot of people live way out of town, so cars tend to be very high mileage down here. My neighbor’s 1997 Taurus has 258K on it, for example. My brother’s 1997 GMC Sierra has 361K!

            His current commuter is a 2001 Altima. It looks like it came from a war zone (but no major dents). The paint is awful, the plastics are brittle, the interior is all warped and ill-fitting. It looks like a rough 1981, not a 2001. Cars just get used up quickly down here, and since scrap metal pays decent, people are reluctant to spend much of anything to repair an older car.

            Going up to Washington state is like going back in time. I saw a MINT first gen Fiesta (not Festiva, I mean the 70s German built car) when I was up there last. Not uncommon to see 1970s Datsuns, Hondas, Pintos, etc still being driven regularly.

            In 2004, I bought a 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 in Marysville, Wa. I paid a whole $100 for it. An hour or so of tinkering and I was able to drive it home. I rented a shop with two buddies at the time and we put the Z-7 up on the lift. We looked EVERYWHERE for rust. There was NONE! Id still have that beast if a bad situation hadnt forced me to liquidate my collection on a moments notice. Had the old 200 ci (3.3L) I-6, ran like a champ. Sounded good with a Flowmaster, too.

            Back to the Alero. Ive driven a few. We had one with like 15k miles at a dealership I worked for. The inside was so cheap, the damn shifter nearly came off in my hand. I said “really?” out loud, lol.

            Still, as you mentioned, theyre a very good looking car, and a Quad 4/5spd/2 door combo is still a car Id enjoy having. Maybe Im a gluton for punishment? Lol

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Lookie what I found: http://skagit.craigslist.org/cto/4913305045.html

    • 0 avatar
      PRNDLOL

      I bought a 1990 Cutlass Supreme International sedan in 1993 with 55000 km on it and took it all the way to (no word of a lie) 499500 km, or about 300 000 miles. I got it when I was still a kid with all the money I had saved up in my teens and had just about every life experience you can imagine with that car.

      It looked just like this:
      http://zombiedrive.com/images/1997-oldsmobile-cutlass-supreme-9.jpg

      No one thought it was mine because teenager/Olds sedan lol

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I bought one of these years ago for scrap value. We used it as a bush car for quite a while before it snapped a tie rod riding up a tree. It was pretty impressive under those circumstances.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    A trickle charger is probably a good thing in this case. It wouldn’t hurt to use some fuel stabilizer and make sure the tank is full (less chance of condensation and rust that way).

    Other than that, standard winterizing procedures apply: test the coolant, fill-up with winter washer fluid.

    Have a look under the hood once in a while to make sure the local rodents/squirrels haven’t moved-in. They can make a real mess of the wiring (BMW wiring is especially delicious to squirrels).

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I’m preserving a 2nd Gen Sable in my garage, and I still have irrational love for the light bar. I just drove it yesterday in fact, as it was a pretty spring day and I was off work. 20 years old and like new. In 5 years, I’ll get an antique plate and never have to register it again.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I am also looking forward to that point when mine will not have to pass emissions testing. At least my mechanic is on the opposite side of the block from the station that does the tailpipe testing on ODBI cars; so when it fails, I just drive it around the block to him, let him do his magic, and I pick it up with a new sticker an write the check for a hundred or so dollars.

      I imagine failing emissions testing is killing off the 1st and 2nd Taurus and Sables around here; I have only seen one 1st gen Taurus, and I used to see 2nd gen Taurus and Sables every now and then; but they are becoming increasingly rare.

      Like the OP; at least I get to work from home now, so the Taurus mostly sits under a cover while my wife drives the Durango.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Part of the reason I got rid of my first car, a 1987 Taurus GL, was that the 150,000-mile Vulcan was having an increasingly hard time passing emissions, and needed internal engine work to fix.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    As the owner of a 1992 Sable weekend/train/beater, I’ll add a few nuggets of wisdom. A few items are worth watching for. Subframe may rust around the rubber doughnuts where the sub meets the frame. Passenger side rear mount usually goes first as it gets not only salt and rain, but A/C condensate as well. Check the rear suspension; the locating links that keep the rear wheels from moving fore and aft have steel washers that rust away and you will find the wheel rubbing against the rear wheel well when a good jolt lets the rusted washer break free. Good replacement links are available at Shosource (as are lots of SHO goodies that made my Sable into a “SHOble” suspension-wise). Body resists rust really well, I have only a tiny bit of rust perf in the right rear quarter over the rear wheel. Brake lines hold up great as well – mine are original. All these items pertain to your 03. Otherwise these cars hold up very well, assuming you have the “Live Long and Prosper” engine. My trans is still original. The car has no problems passing emissions either, though I did have to replace the cats at 20 years of age as they rotted out. This car spent its entire life outside.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    The Vulcan V6 seemed to have issues with coolant, the heater cores rust. I have an ’02 Taurus wagon and suddenly the heat stopped working. It needed to be flushed out a few times to get the particles out, but fortunately it works fine now and I didn’t have to replace expensive parts. So, I would suggest fresh coolant or even a flush before you let it sit too much.

    Then again, my car only has 34k miles on it. I bought it last year from an 85 y.o. woman with 25k miles, so I have to assume the coolant on this example had been sitting in there for 12 years. Oh, and my car is brown. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nice buy.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Can confirm. 2x leaky heater cores on both my ’87 (Vulcan) and my ’89 SHO.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        You guys talking about heater cores in Fords get me all worried…the heat in my T-Bird smells funny if I keep it on too long. Like…a smell almost like rotten eggs comes out of the vents.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          If your heater core’s leaking you’ll smell coolant, either through the vents or in the interior generally. Think the rotten egg smell must be some foreign material in the system that starts cooking if you leave the heat on too long.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I bet you’ve had something crawl up in your car, and die NoGo. Do you park outside (I think yes IIRC).

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I do, but I’m not exactly out in the woods…so if something crawled up in there, it might have crawled in before I got the car.

            Then again, despite living in a housing development, we have had a small handful of mice over the years, so maybe a mouse actually did end up in my car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah, wherever there are people and structures (and their associated garbage), you’ll end up with mice/rats, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrel, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Engine-cooked mice will have more of a skunk smell/”smell of death” than a sulfury, rotten-egg smell. Don’t ask me how I know.

            Come to think of it, that doesn’t necessarily rule out a mouse that is decomposing at cooler temps.

    • 0 avatar
      CaseyLE82

      By 2002 did the Taurus come with both the Vulcan V6 and the Duratec V6 or was it still only the Vulcan back then? The Duratec is a much better engine in my opinion. It’s what I have in my 2006 Fusion and it’s bullet proof.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Duratec made its debut as the optional engine in the new for 1997 Taurbles

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Im sorry, but youre wrong on two facts:

          The Duratec debuted in the 1995 Ford Contour in 2.5L form.

          The third generation (oval style) Taurus/Sable was released in late 1995 as a 1996 model. The 3.0L version of the Duratec did debut in this series (standard on LX/LS models).

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        The Duratec was avalible in Taurus/Sable from 1996-2004 (and from 2008-present if you count the 3.5L Cyclone).

        The Vulcan is an extremely reliable and durable engine. Ive had them still running well at 300,000 miles (1993 Taurus). Ive seen Vulcan Aerostar cargo vans with 350k on the odometer (yes it was in miles, the van was USDM from the Atlanta area, a daily driven delivery vehicle that was well maintained).

        Flushing the coolant as recomended prevents (most) heater core issues. 1996+ models have frequent issues with clogged heater cores when not properly maintained. My parent’s 1997 Sable had at or near 200k when they sold it. Original Vulcan, original transaxle, original heater core with no issues from any of them.

        By the mid-late 2000s, the Vulcan was rather dated and down on power compared to newer engines. But when it debuted in 1986, it was top notch. I have a 1985-6ish Car & Driver magazine issue where they were testing the new Taurus. In the same issue, they reviewed the new V-8 powered Cadillac Touring Sedan. The Caddy’s V-8 was less powerful than the Taurus’ Vulcan. Not by 1-2 hp, I mean a decent difference.

        In the early 1990s, a Vulcan powered Taurus achieved better highway MPG than an I-4/automatic Toyota Camry (of course the Vulcan had more hp as well). Look up a 92-5 Taurus Vulcan and compare it to the same year I-4/auto Camry at http://www.fueleconomy.gov to confirm.

        By the way, does anyone know why Camry owners list their cars on craigslist as having a “V4”? Are they just that ignorant? I mean I dont see Civic V4s or Escort V4s or S10 V4s. Usually its just Camrys.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    We didn’t get the year 2000 restyle of the Sable in Canada because Ford dropped Mercury here in 1999, so I’ve always found it more intriguing than it deserves.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Wait til you see the 08!

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        But…wasn’t that just the Montego? I’ve seen Montegos before, I knew a guy who got one loaded for like…nothing.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The Montego/Five Hundred AWD system is a time bomb due to the CVT. The FWD version is acceptable AFAIK but is underpowered.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It was the same platform, with a medium-duty body restyling (LED brake lamps, HIDs), different interior, and a different transmission (6AT). Called the Sable, and available as base, Premier, or at the very end ________ something special trim name, in FWD or AWD.

            The Sable had available nav as well, though it’s hard to find. None of them are worth much, but the 08-09 AWD Premier in cinnabar red is my choice.

            http://imganuncios.mitula.net/2009_mercury_sable_4dr_sdn_premier_fwd_4750055421803803730.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sable != Montego. While both being D3, the Sable is a refreshed Montego using the Ford 3.5 Cyclone/6F six speed auto with no CVT offered. Montego offered the 3.0L Duratec 30 with a ZF [blow up] CVT in AWD config or 6-speed Aisin automatic in FWD configuration.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_Sable
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_Montego

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I glad you reworked this comment, 28. I couldn’t read it before, ha.

            Also, I found the special trim name, rare on the last of the Sables. VOGA.

            They did it on Mariner too.
            http://imageshack.com/f/63picture4vu5p

            Also:
            http://allcarcentral.com/Mercury_pdf/2009_Sable.pdf

            VOGA Package – Chrome accent finishes on grille, rear decklid appliqué and rear badging;
            18″ 7-spoke chrome-clad aluminum wheels with “VOGA” center caps; unique “VOGA” exterior
            badging; unique floor mats with embroidered “VOGA” logo; Cashmere-colored door-trim inserts;
            Cashmere-colored leather-trimmed seats with tone-on-tone Cashmere-colored stitching; Cyber
            Carbon instrument panel appliqués; and “VOGA” embroidered on front seatbacks (available only
            with White Suede or Tuxedo Black exterior colors and Charcoal Black interior)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wonder what “VOGA” means?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Have a look.

            http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/09/ford-to-debut-high-end-voga-trim-for-mercury/#image-2

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            A close friend has a FWD (6spd) 2005 Five Hundred she bought new. Its not exactly fast, but I really dont think its under powered. I know critic reviews of the car often made that claim, but Ive driven her car a lot and I never found it wanting. As I said, noone will confuse it for a Mustang GT, but in everyday driving, its perfectly acceptable. They tend to use it as a “trip car”, and it effortlessly cruises at 75 MPH all day. 95k on it, no real issues yet. The ABS and traction control (iirc) lights come on after the car has been sitting (sometimes up to a year), but goes away after the car is driven for a while.

            That said, I do prefer the 3.5L in my parent’s 2012 Taurus. More = better, of course.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    A drive a week keeps the doctor away.

    My G8 sits most of the time, but I try to take it on one ten-mile drive every weekend, or every other weekend at most. I think it sat for a month once. So far, the only failure has been a munged oil pan gasket. It’s still on the original battery.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah, I’ve got a 2004 F150 long bought and paid for. I make sure to get her out and exercise her at least 3 times a month. I keep it around because its so dang useful to have a truck around when you need it.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I don’t think driving it frequently is as important as many people make it out to be. The most important things are to keep the battery charged (trickle charger) fuel fresh (fuel stabilizer) and tires round. Over inflating tires while the car is parked is a decent method. Car manufacturers do this to prevent their new cars from flatspotting their tires. Just remember to let the air back out before driving it. I would also ad that when you finally do drive it, drive it for a decent amount like the 10 miles suggested by dal20402. Get the oil hot enough to boil off any moisture that has built up while it was parked.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        People I know who have three or more cars and only two drivers, rotate driving all cars.

        IOW, use a different car each time you need to drive somewhere.

        My best bud has three cars and when he and his wife go somewhere together, they take a different car for each trip, sometimes three different cars during the same day for three different trips.

        It keeps all cars ready to go at all times.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Speaking as someone who has purched many older cars, problems do tend to come from a car sitting for a long period of time. I have bought several vehicles that were previously parked for a long time, and its amazing what can go wrong simply from lack of use.

        Gauge cluster lights, HVAC systems, other things like power locks stop working. Ive had several instances where the lights and features start working again after the car is driven regularly for a while, but that isnt always the case and I certainly wouldnt count on it.

        Its important to get fluids circulating, moisture can build up and cause rust and other issues. Rust will build up on brake rotors, and brake calipers tend to stick or otherwise fail if not used (same with spings and other hardware in drum brakes). Hoses, belts, other rubber pieces (such as bushings, etc) will have issues if they sit unused for a long time. Mildew or mold can build up in the car, including within the HVAC system. Rodents and bugs love parked (unused) cars. Latches, door handles, etc can get stuck or otherwise fail if unused.

        The worst thing you can do to a car is park it for extended periods.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Ah, memories of the Whale, our silver 1996 (third-gen) Mercury Sable LS wagon: that ultra-jellybean shape crouched in an almost low-rider stance over big chrome alloys…the lavish pre-cost-cutting gray leather interior bathed in the blue-green light of electronic-integrated-everything displays…the then-modern 24-valve V6, silky-smooth and uncannily efficient on the freeway. Such a rare marine mammal that people routinely stopped us and asked if it was a new model a good ten years after its birth. Like all premium Fords, it was let down mainly by insufficient suspension travel and indifferent assembly. I always harbored a fantasy of finding a wrecked V8 Taurus SHO and swapping the parts over. Instead, when the kid got old enough, it was replaced by a sensible Civic (with the spaceship dash).

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Okay, Ill try posting again. Maybe the site wont crash my device again.

    The advice I would add is to properly maintain the Sable’s transaxle (has nothing to do with the car sitting, but its important). A proper service means dropping the pan and replacing the filter. Do not let Jiffy Lube or some other place like that do a “flush”. All that flush will do is trap debris in the filter, clogging it, and causing transaxle failure.

    The fluid/filter/pan gasket service should be done every 30k miles. If youre feeling a shudder during heavy acceleration, its due (or over due) for a service.

    Avoid taking the car to aamco at all costs. I had a lengthy example of why I say this, but it was lost and I have no desire to type it all out again, especially when I could loose it all again when I post this comment. The jist is, theyll insist that it must be rebuilt no matter what the actual problem is. If you let them tear into it (for a diagnosis), they will charge you nearly the same cost as a rebuild to put it back together.

    Ever notice how many cars they have for sale at an aamco? Its because theyve basically stolen them by presenting the owner with a huge repair bill and had them sign over the car (or they place a lein on it) when they wouldnt or couldnt pay it.

  • avatar
    CaseyLE82

    Aw this post made me a bit sad. 2 weeks ago we finally decided to sell our un-needed 2005 Ford Taurus (brown on brown, she was so ugly), but she had 195,000 trouble free miles on her orig engine and tranny.

    We were sad to see our “Big Brown Bessie” go, but it was time.

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