Dear Tom and Ray:
Are car engines damaged if left on dealership lots for weeks without running? My automotive instructor told me that letting a car sit for more than two weeks without starting it could corrode the fuel lines and injectors. Should I have any concerns about buying a new car that might have been sitting without running at a dealership? Do dealerships take this into consideration and start every car in the lot once every two weeks? Or is this just an urban legend? -- Joshua
RAY: It's an urban legend. Most fuel lines these days are plastic. And the rest are stainless steel. So rusting of key parts is not an issue -- certainly not in two weeks.
TOM: Not unless all the new cars are parked on sand, and you're finding seashells and starfish on the seats. And the place is called "Low Tide Toyota."
RAY: Even if a car sits for a month or more on a dealer's lot, I think the worst thing that'll happen is that the battery will die and the car will get covered in bird splat.
TOM: I suppose if a new car were left sitting on a lot for years, I might want to have the rubber components replaced -- the belts, hoses and maybe the tires. Not because they'd be no good after a few years, but because rubber does get broken down by oxygen and UV light exposure. So it ages even if it isn't being used. And I'd rather start out with brand-new parts if I'm buying a new car.
RAY: But even after a couple of years of sitting on the lot, other than the rubber stuff, everything else would be brand new. So there's nothing to worry about, Joshua.
Wait! Don't buy another car without the mechanic's checklist that's included in Tom and Ray's pamphlet "How to Buy a Great Used Car: Secrets Only Your Mechanic Knows." It will help you get a good used car and avoid the clunkers. Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Used Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
Get more Click and Clack in their new book, "Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk." Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or email them by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.
(c) 2012 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.