Automotive

Issues with Car parked for a long time

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 14th, 2020 2:34 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 24, 2005
89 posts
22 upvotes
GTA

Issues with Car parked for a long time

2nd Car has been parked for atleast 2 months (did not drive it, mistake I know). Starts up ok, drives ok.
Problem seems to be with brakes. Brake Discs visible surface rust, not just a thin rust film (not the kind that just goes away when you start driving).
I don't recall, but most likely left the parking brake on as well (it's electronic).

When driving, there's grinding noise/feel, it's very very prominent when brakes are applied.

What is the best way to get this sorted out? (just going by google searches, any advice appreciated).
- Take Wheels off and spray the discs with 3M Brake Cleaner
- Can't drive to the dealership.
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24 replies
Sr. Member
Oct 21, 2006
677 posts
421 upvotes
does it go away if you drive it for a while?
Sr. Member
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Aug 30, 2020
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YEG/YYZ
Brake cleaner is for cleaning dust, dirt, grease, and other minor contamination. What you are describing is full on rust on the rotors. Your rotors and pads are most likely ruined at this point, I would drive around and keep braking at various speeds to see if it will clear off. Otherwise, it will be a 4 corner rotor + pad replacement.

If I park my car for a long time outdoors (Over 2 weeks), especially with modern cars and thin spoke rims exposing the rotors outside, I will wrap the rotors with a shopping bag. It will make a BIG difference in rotor rust.
Jr. Member
Oct 16, 2019
174 posts
88 upvotes
It Needs To Be Machined. you should be able to drive it, I have driven a car with rusted rotors, it just vibrate when braking. try to drive it to a mechanic to machine the rust off the rotors. of course, try it on residentual streets and see if you can stop the car.
Deal Guru
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Oct 5, 2008
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Toronto
Drive it.

Go to an empty parking lot or deserted road and do some hard braking.

Nothing to lose at this point before trying more costly options.
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Dec 27, 2006
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Cornwall PE
As above, also drive around the lot with a little pressure on the pedal. Two months unless parked where a lot of sea spray is getting on the discs shouldn't effect the discs beyond this, if it did there would be a lot of cars on sale lots needing their rotors machined. If the methods mentioned do not help then have them looked at, perhaps they need attention regardless of being parked and there is something else amiss. Even a bare piece of iron left to the elements for two months isn't going to be that effected.
On second thought there must be something else going on, have them checked.
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Feb 11, 2007
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Easiest is to go drive is hard and do several 100kph to 10kph hard braking stops, just hard enough before you start engaging ABS. Keep doing that until they're clean, then drive around with minimal braking for 10 min to cool off.
Otherwise you can take the rotors off and clean them with a wire brush tool on an angle grinder or sand paper.
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Newbie
May 26, 2020
61 posts
76 upvotes
Agree with others who suggest some spirited driving & braking first. Similar to brake bedding procedure. Hopefully this resolves the issue.
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 24, 2005
89 posts
22 upvotes
GTA
Thanks everyone. I only drove for 50 meters and then back, felt weird.

I will try on the weekend to see if that thin surface rust starts clearing.

This car was bought new in mid 2019.
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Sr. Member
Aug 3, 2017
694 posts
514 upvotes
umroayyar wrote: Thanks everyone. I only drove for 50 meters and then back, felt weird.

I will try on the weekend to see if that thin surface rust starts clearing.

This car was bought new in mid 2019.
I travel a lot for work and whenever I come back after a week or two of the car not moving, particularly during wet weeks this happens. As others have said, the key is usually to just drive it unless something seizes up and that is very very unlikely for a 2019.
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2017
956 posts
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Edmonton, AB
I had a car parked for two years. Had to take a hammer to the calipers to shake them loose and knock as much rust out as I could.

Had another one that vibrated/was noisy. I thought it needed new brakes. I checked pads and there was still plenty. So drove the living piss out of the thing, lots of hard braking. Was able to massage it smoother and quiet it down quite a bit.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
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umroayyar wrote: This car was bought new in mid 2019.
First off, welcome to Canada.

Secondly, if the car is that new then you shouldn't require anything more than some moderate braking to clear the rust off the rotors. I can't imagine the rotors are bad enough in that short a time, outside or not, that they would need replacing at this point. Not unless you were doing salt-spray corrosion tests and using your brake rotors on your brand new car as a test subject, lol.
[OP]
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Aug 24, 2005
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Lol

No. I did not do any salt spray tests.

The car is new to Canada, I am quite ancient.

Never had any of the cars parked longer than a week. This will stay parked, while we use the other.

Thanks again everyone for the advice. I will do some brisk braking rust removal driving.

I will post pics then.
ES_Revenge wrote: First off, welcome to Canada.

Secondly, if the car is that new then you shouldn't require anything more than some moderate braking to clear the rust off the rotors. I can't imagine the rotors are bad enough in that short a time, outside or not, that they would need replacing at this point. Not unless you were doing salt-spray corrosion tests and using your brake rotors on your brand new car as a test subject, lol.
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umroayyar wrote: Lol

No. I did not do any salt spray tests.

The car is new to Canada, I am quite ancient.

Never had any of the cars parked longer than a week. This will stay parked, while we use the other.

Thanks again everyone for the advice. I will do some brisk braking rust removal driving.

I will post pics then.
Post before and after pics of you can.
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Jul 5, 2011
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Hard braking on the empty highway will clean it up unless the rotors are warped. If you feel a pulsation, it's likely that the rotors need to be machined and possible that the pads need to be replaced.

The pulsation won't go away by itself no matter how hard you burn the brakes ... The grinding will potentially go away if its uniform surface rust. You could end up with an irregular spot on the rotor where the brake pad was resting (thus preventing corrosion). That irregular spot may cause pulsation.
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Sr. Member
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Jun 24, 2005
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Richmond Hill
Kind of off topic, but how long before you get permanent flat spots on the tires? I didn't drive mine for 1 to 2 months and got a vibration/wobble.
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rngun wrote: Kind of off topic, but how long before you get permanent flat spots on the tires? I didn't drive mine for 1 to 2 months and got a vibration/wobble.
Most modern tires won't get affected if properly inflated for many months. If pressure is increased over normal, I'm sure it would be fine for years. More likely you have uneven rust on the rotors.
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Jun 24, 2005
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I don't have any rust on my rotors except for a few light specks here and there. I have the coated Centric ones.
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rngun wrote: I don't have any rust on my rotors except for a few light specks here and there. I have the coated Centric ones.
What car and tires?
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Apr 11, 2006
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Does it really make sense to brake hard and stop the spinning of the wheels so quickly. Why wouldn't you moderately brake so that you can get more revolutions with the pad and rotor grinding against each other. Would probably be smoother too.

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