Q I inherited a 2003 Final 500 Edition Oldsmobile Aurora with 58,000 miles and in pretty decent condition. It has only been driven about 300 miles in the last five years as it sat in a 3 sided carport. I drive a late model SUV full time, but am thinking of using the Olds as a summer weekend sedan. I have a trusted mechanic and am wondering what type of things I should have him check out to insure its reliable roadworthiness. Fluids, belts, hoses, belts, brake lines, etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My father was the original owner and there is some sentimental value attached.
A Your Tech should have no problem with any of this, but I’ll chip in as if it was in my court. I’d approach this from three angles, a comprehensive used vehicle inspection in order to establish a baseline for needed service and repairs, bringing maintenance up to date/mileage, and finally to address possible issues related to long term storage. With 58,000 miles on the clock, the Olds should be in pretty good mechanical condition, with the possible exception of the battery, brake wear and rotor rust, and belts and hoses. A 60K service would take care of needed fluid/maintenance needs.
Now the storage issues. I’d certainly flush and renew brake fluid, remove and replace as much fuel as possible (gas goes stale over time), and check all four tires for their date code. This is a four digit number embossed on the sidewall, the final four digits of the tire information number. Look for the abbreviation “DOT” (Department of Transportation. Following this will be four characters, keep going to the right to an oval shaped area with bullets at each end. The date code is the final four digits of this sequence. For example 4304 would mean the tire was manufactured in the forty-third week of 2004. It’s recommended to discard tires over ten years old. If the carport offered shade for the tires I might be tempted to stretch this a bit, if they look great otherwise.
Adding a bottle of Techron or similar fuel system cleaner will help to diminish fuel system deposits. I’d run a half tank of fuel through to remove/dilute any remaining stale fuel before taking any trips or strong hill climbs. And if you’ll be storing the car during the off-season, how about hooking up a battery tender and giving the fuel a dose of Sta-Bil? I probably overkilled on things a bit but the idea is to be able to truly enjoy your father’s Oldsmobile!
A I saw your response in the paper to a person that was having problems with mice under the hood of their car. I had this problem and set rat and mouse traps under the car and caught critters every few days. Someone told me to place a light under the car on a timer so it would be on at night. I have not caught a critter in 2 years. This solved my problem, so I hope is of help to you.
B Thanks Wes! Perhaps a 120V corded, waterproof LED worklight? fffffffff