Anxiety while driving cars that were hibernating for months

When I take out my Maruti 800 after a month or so, it behaves well but on a few occasions, it has spewed white smoke and refused to accelerate.

BHPian anjan_c2007 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

It has happened to me with my 1987 Maruti 800 and now with the 1955 Landmaster today. The latter was last driven in March 2023 within the city though, but it went to the Samruddhi Mahamarg, in December 2022 for a long, flawless drive, just some days after the E-way was thrown open. Post March 2023 this car was started statically though almost every few days and the engine used to be on for at least 5-10 minutes with some hard acceleration phases.

But today I took it out though again within the city and it drove flawlessly. I was though very apprehensive about any potential niggle showing up all through the drive. And today was a Sunday, when no workshop was open, so there was no “helpline” or “phone a workshop friend”. It drove well though not very well, but behaved like a good lady. No doubt, it needs some morale boosting with a workshop visit. This aged car’s reliability and simple engineering is a tribute to the Morris Motors founder Lord Nuffield whose motto was “Quality First”. The Landmaster is a Morris Oxford Series II.

On the Samruddhi Mahamarg in December 2022

If the Maruti 800 too comes out of hibernation after a month or so, it behaves well but on a few occasions, it has caused anxieties like spewing white smoke (no engine issues at all) and refusing to accelerate after exiting the home and getting on the road. White smoke can be very embarrassing these days when the greens have all the adrenaline to shout at polluters, especially those with such cars. I had to change the Maruti’s fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel line pipes and a few carburettor components (too tough to procure these days). All this was due to the ethanol-blended petrol stored in its tank and also in the fuel lines, fuel pump and carburettor. I also changed its distributor’s CB point and condenser as preemptive measures. It runs OK though after a few months of hibernation these days.

Please also share your anxieties if you experience them on your hibernating cars, out after a spell.

Here’s what BHPian vigsom had to say about the matter:

The longest my cars were hibernating was approx 70 days in end-2020. There have been a couple of spells of 30 days in 2015, 2017 too. My only anxiety every time was the ability of the battery to hold charge (despite leaving the negative disconnected), but that anxiety was disproved when the machine(s) started up. Two wheelers – kick start required approx 14 kicks primarily to fill the carb float chamber (I think) but the machines fired without fuss.

Now, in this era of E blended motor spirit, I try my best to ensure that I take the car out for a spin every 7-14 days at least. Not just the engine, all mechanicals would get “roused” this way.

Here’s what BHPian SS-Traveller had to say about the matter:

Many cars, especially old cars, hibernate. Not just for months, but for years. Just 3 things spoil if not used regularly, but those can be easily removed from a car and put back in when required – these are (1) the battery, (2) the fluids (petrol, engine oil, coolant), and (3) rubber (tyres).

So, if you remove the battery (trickle charge it or use it in another car); drain the petrol, engine oil and coolant (and store them in airtight containers); deflate the tyres and leave the car on jack stands (or bricks, in India!) with the tyres off the ground; you would expect the car to start up and run reasonably well once the process is reversed – and not cause you any anxiety at all.

Apart from this, rust, rats, and even termites & fungus (on those leather seats) can play havoc on old cars in hibernation, but that will depend on how the car is stored.

Here’s what BHPian shankar.balan had to say about the matter:

My 2021 Feb manufactured Thar’s OEM Exide battery went dead and it didn’t start because it was idle for 2 weeks when I had gone out of town recently. The only parasitic drain device connected to it is the ant rat electronic gizmo.

One may not really be accurate in saying this was a ‘hibernation’ per se, but it surprises me that such a thing can happen to a 2.5-year-old battery.

My other vehicles were also idle during this time and they also have the same anti-rat gizmo connected but they started at first crank.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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