Barn Find CarsAbout "Barn Find" Vehicles

The term "barn find" has a serious significance. In case you are unfamiliar with that term, a barn find is a car that has been in storage for a long time, sometimes for decades. In some cases these vehicles are really stored in old barns but they are more likely to have rested away in a garage or some  storage facility.  You'll see "barn find" cars advertised for sale often.

A "barn find" isn't like starting a car that has been recently running.  Below we have put together a list—although not super extensive, so further research is recommended--of the things that barn find cars need to have done.

Drain the fuel

Gas that has sat in a fuel tank for years has gone bad. It will have a turpentine smell to it. Plus, if the tank is not full, it might have a lot of condensation (water) in it.  The best way to drain a gas tank is to use a ball siphon hose or a powered one.  Take some time to siphon out as much of the old gas as is possible.  When you are pretty sure that you have virtually all the old gas out, pour in some gallons of fresh gas.

Oil your cylinders

It is not a bad idea to pull each of the spark plugs and squirt a little oil into each cylinder.  Old timers like using a product called "Marvel Mystery Oil" when doing this (you can get it at any automobile parts store). The reason for the squirt of oil is to give a little lubrication to the cylinder walls before you start the vehicle. It will make the starting process a little easier. This is what the Service manager at Thompson Hyundai of Baltimore MD, a local full-service car dealer, told us.

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Tire Replacement

It is possible that the tires on an old car will look good but they probably aren't safe. After sitting for a while, rubber tends to dry out and become fragile. If the tires are really old, and you are driving the vehicle home, it would be smartest to get new tires on the car.

Check Your Air Filter

If the vehicle has been stored for a long time, check your air filter.  It won't have gone bad but you have no idea how common it is to have a rodent nest or two in there. Obviously pull all the nesting materials out and vacuum out the other debris.

Let's Go!

Getting a barn find vehicle up and running takes a little extra care but it's a labor of love, say many members of the classic car collecting community. There is nothing like hearing an old barn find car start up after sitting for ten years or even longer. It's a special moment.  In most cases, it is best to have a barn find car towed to the final destination. When driving it around at first, definitely be gentle with it! After all, it hasn't been on the road in years!