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#4682010 - 03/02/18 07:08 AM How often should a car be started?
Spetz Offline


Registered: 01/23/14
Posts: 405
Loc: Australia
Hi everyone,

I use a car on a race track and hence have no need to start it often.

Just wondering am I better off starting it weekly, or whenever I need it (could be 1-3 months apart)?

And, is it a good idea to disable the fuel pump and crank it for a while to build oil pressure before starting it if it is only started rarely?
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#4682012 - 03/02/18 07:14 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
supton Offline


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 11976
Loc: NH
How much of a race motor is it? What is your ambient humidity like?

If it's a wild motor I'd get a prelube setup, or prime the motor by spinning the oil pump (if possible). How long would it need to sit before I would do that? dunno, maybe six months, unless if it was trivial to spin the oil pump & I thought the bearings really "needed" it. I have a tough time thinking it couldn't go a year between starts.

I'm not sure if cranking w/o spark is going to get "lots" of oil pressure, and quickly. I'd be more apt to pull spark plugs and crank if I were to do that--it'll crank up to speed much faster, and get pressure that much faster.

Now if it humidity was a concern I'd fog the cylinders with some spray lube before storing; and then pull the plugs and crank (as above) when taking out of storage. Make sure to seal off intake&exhaust before storing.
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#4682021 - 03/02/18 07:37 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
Spetz Offline


Registered: 01/23/14
Posts: 405
Loc: Australia
Humidity is low.

The engine is a 6A12 Mitsubishi with bolt on modifications.

I can (and have)removed the plugs to prime it before but I need to take the intake manifold off (it's a V6) to get to the back cylinders.
I like this as there is no load on the bearings and the motor would spin fast enough to build oil pressure but it is quite labor intensive unfortunately.

It gets started about once a month at least but over summer as it's too hot to race it may go 3 months without being started (but I can obviously start it if needed).
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#4682026 - 03/02/18 07:44 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 29788
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Spetz
Humidity is low.

The engine is a 6A12 Mitsubishi with bolt on modifications.

I can (and have)removed the plugs to prime it before but I need to take the intake manifold off (it's a V6) to get to the back cylinders.
I like this as there is no load on the bearings and the motor would spin fast enough to build oil pressure but it is quite labor intensive unfortunately.

It gets started about once a month at least but over summer as it's too hot to race it may go 3 months without being started (but I can obviously start it if needed).




I've let engines sit longer than that w/o issues. I think you'll be fine. Over the years I have installed pre-lubers in vehicles that would occasionally sit more than 3 months at a time. That might be something worth looking into. As I mentioned I think you'll be fine just the way you are.
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#4682032 - 03/02/18 07:58 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16832
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
How are you priming the main ,rod bearings and camshaft through the plug holes?


Edited by Chris142 (03/02/18 07:58 AM)
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#4682035 - 03/02/18 08:04 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Chris142]
supton Offline


Registered: 11/09/08
Posts: 11976
Loc: NH
Originally Posted By: Chris142
How are you priming the main ,rod bearings and camshaft through the plug holes?


You're not. Fog with a light oil before storage, reinstall plugs, to prevent cylinder wall rust. When taking out of storage, remove plugs and spin the motor to remove said oil. Cranking the motor over w/o plugs should get pressure up pretty quickly.
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#4682039 - 03/02/18 08:16 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
hpb Offline


Registered: 08/28/14
Posts: 1212
Loc: Tasmania, Australia
Just start it as and when needed. Seriously, you're not going to remove the inlet manifold to get the rear bank spark plugs out and fog those cylinders, are you? In our temperatures, nothing inside the engine is going to rust. If you're wanting to be super cautious, pull the fuel pump relay and crank it a bit before firing, but honestly, it'll build oil pressure much quicker if you just start it right up smile
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#4682065 - 03/02/18 08:49 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
mightymousetech Offline


Registered: 04/03/17
Posts: 1444
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Do not start it unless you plan on getting it up to full operating temp.
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#4682067 - 03/02/18 08:52 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: mightymousetech]
propuckstopper Offline


Registered: 03/05/08
Posts: 99
Loc: MB, Canada
Originally Posted By: mightymousetech
Do not start it unless you plan on getting it up to full operating temp.


^^^^This.
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#4682073 - 03/02/18 08:55 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: mightymousetech]
SteveSRT8 Online   content


Registered: 10/10/08
Posts: 18958
Loc: Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: mightymousetech
Do not start it unless you plan on getting it up to full operating temp.


Times a million! For years I worked for a guy with a substantial collection of cars. One rule for all was never start them unless you can drive it for at least 20 minutes.

Even if you let it get up to full temp at idle it is not heated the same as driving. Plus other components have issues with long spells of inactivity.
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#4682187 - 03/02/18 10:58 AM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: SteveSRT8]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41795
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
Originally Posted By: mightymousetech
Do not start it unless you plan on getting it up to full operating temp.


Times a million! For years I worked for a guy with a substantial collection of cars. One rule for all was never start them unless you can drive it for at least 20 minutes.

Even if you let it get up to full temp at idle it is not heated the same as driving. Plus other components have issues with long spells of inactivity.


Agree 100% getting to temp is key.

Since OP likely does not have AC in that vehicle, I see no reason to run it. Keeping AC system lubed, oil barriers in the hoses, etc. is one of the only real drivers I see to having to run a vehicle more often... And even then, the hot rule applies!

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#4682275 - 03/02/18 12:37 PM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: SteveSRT8]
Gimpy1 Offline


Registered: 08/24/17
Posts: 107
Loc: Displaced Texan in Mexico City
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
Originally Posted By: mightymousetech
Do not start it unless you plan on getting it up to full operating temp.


Times a million! For years I worked for a guy with a substantial collection of cars. One rule for all was never start them unless you can drive it for at least 20 minutes.

Even if you let it get up to full temp at idle it is not heated the same as driving. Plus other components have issues with long spells of inactivity.


This!!!
What about the fuel in the tank and lines are you completely draining the system I'd be concerned about fuel evaporation leaving nasty gunk on the injectors and such . Also if its a wild built uber motor, building or purchasing a oil accumulator might be a wise investment. Check out Accusump for examples.


Edited by Gimpy1 (03/02/18 12:40 PM)
Edit Reason: added info

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#4682358 - 03/02/18 01:54 PM Re: How often should a car be started? [Re: Spetz]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10119
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Unless you need to move it or use it, leave it alone.

My Camry has been sitting for a year. Every once in a while I need to move it, it's parked on the street out front of my house. I pulled it in the driveway in December overnight to charge the battery, next morning back on the street. I think that's the last time I touched it. Battery is in the garage now.
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