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1000 mile drive - which car to take?

Every year we (wife, 2 small kids, me) drive from IL to VT for vacation - 900 mile trip each way, plus 1500 or so miles while we’re out East. Which car to take? 1) 2007 Volvo XC70, 138K miles, new tires, new front tie rod ends, timing belt replaced last year, never had any engine trouble. Roomier interior, more space for luggage, safer (?). 2) 2006 Subaru Forester, 90K, new brakes last year, no problems beyond cat converter replacement & new alternator - but smaller, noisier ride, not as sturdy as the Volvo. My mechanic (whom I trust) says he can’t find anything wrong with either car & it’s a coin flip to him. Taken the Volvo on this trip every year w/o issues. But I’d rather not blow a head gasket on I-90. Any thoughts? What should be the tiebreaking elements here?

It’s a coin flip to me also. A head gasket should not blow UNLESS the engine is overheating and if you’re oblivious to or ignoring the temperature gauge. Please don’t take that comment as being snide; it’s certainly not meant that way.

No matter the car it’s always a good idea to check the fluids several times during road trips.

Why are you worried about blowing a head gasket? If the Volvo is the more comfortable car and it is up to date on service and has been well-maintained there’s no reason not to take it.

If you have taken the Volvo every year on this trip why worry about it this time? Maybe have a thorough inspection done and enjoy your vacation.

Volvo. More comfortable, sounds like it’s well maintained.

Coin flip. Why would you be worried about blowing a head gasket? Tires, battery, drive belts (v belts and serpentine belts), and radiator hoses are the most common reasons for on the road breakdowns. Head gasket failures are rare and out of your control. You’ve maintained the cars, so drive whichever you one you want.

Seems like you like the Volvo for the trip, then take it. Even if it blows a head gasket (which I doubt) you either have to fix it or buy a replacement car that is comfortable enough for road trips.

Every time I get stressed about a long road trip, I put it in the context of “what are the chances of this car making it to the next oil change”. You don’t think the car has already had its last oil change, do you?

Take the one you like the best. Simple as that. In even a new car you could be rear ended and end up having to rent a car to get back home. So that’s the worst case on any car.

Take the Volvo.

3300 Miles And Concerned About Taking Your Car On A Trip?

How long will you be gone?

I recently drove nearly 3500 miles on a short vacation. My daughter had to be back at college on a certain date, my wife had to be back to work (I’m a retired guy, so no schedule).

Have you considered renting a car?
I rented a 2016 car (unlimited miles Cross-over),for 10 days, with 4,300 miles on it and left my cars at home. It cost me less than $300 (… Less than10 cents per mile to use somebody else’s car). That is less than wear and tear on my car, oil change, etcetera, would cost.

Besides, when I have a time constraint (less than a few weeks) on a long trip, I don’t want the risk of a breakdown or some clown running into my car and rendering it unusable many miles from home and ruining a vacation. It happens. How much is that protection worth?

Even with newish cars in my garage, I’ve rented cars for vacations many times. I will next time, too. I have never regretted it. Rent, go, relax.

Why not take a vote?

"Why not take a vote?"

Votes sometimes go awry… this country voted nearly 4 years ago. Look what has happened!
A consensus doesn’t always yield a desirable outcome.

Voting on which car to take on a trip by those family members that will go on the trip is totally different than voting on a president. And the risk is hugely different.

I forgot the :wink:!
I was joking.

Got it! :smile:

For a long trip like that . . and the choices you have . . ?
Take the vehicle that best fits the criterium for a trip like that.
Such as ; how many people ? how much ‘‘stuff’’ ? what will those people do while riding ?

My family of five will fit in the Escape sure enough . . BUT for trip like that ? ( to California last summer ) The Expedition EL is much, MUCH more practical within those considerations.

Me, I’d take the Volvo. It seems like a more comfortable ride for a rather lengthy trip.

A while back I drove from San Francisco to Denver and back and rented an sort of mini-van like vehicle, an HHR. That was a very comfy trip. That HHR held the road, even at higher speeds, like a train holds to the tracks. I expect your Volvo would probably match the ride quality of the HHR. The Subie ride is probably not quite as good.

@“common sense answer” - Why bother owning cars if you are going to rent a car to go on trips? I own a 2004 Sienna with 206,000 miles and I would never hesitate to take it on family vacations and long road trips. The day I rent a vehicle for a road trip is the day I ditch my mini-van. I don’t want to pay insurance and maintenance on a vehicle not fit for every day and long haul duty.

"common sense answer - Why bother owning cars if you are going to rent a car to go on trips?"

BK, I understand your questioning and skepticism. I’ve done both many times. I’ve driven my own and rented for a trip and have reached some conclusions that work for me. This is not my first rodeo.

Where do I begin?
First, I seldom rent a car, lately once per year, and only under unique circumstances…
It has to be a trip of a lot of miles in a short period of time. Since my wife still works and my daughter is in college we had to drive 3,500 miles (round trip) in just 10 days. It’s time constraints. Luxury Ocean Hotel booked and paid. Wife and daughter have to get back on time.

I don’t want to chance spoiling a once per year vacation with car problems (running over debris, jerk hitting me, storm damage, etcetera) involving my own vehicle and being up to 1500 miles from home. I don’t want to waste even a day getting it fixed or arranging other transportation or having to get home by other means and then go pick up the car, later.

It’s not as if driving any of my vehicles is FREE. I saved an oil change, tire wear, mileage, brake wear, etcetera, by using somebody else’s car. And it’s not as if it’s EXPENSIVE (relative to spending $1800 while on vacation).

I’m too thrifty to fly and I don’t want any surprises that I can avoid, nothing that will keep us from a fun week! The cost to rent that 2016 Journey was less than 300 bucks TOTAL! I save more than that keeping collision insurance on my Caravan suspended during winter months. I suspend 2 or 3 cars that way.

I pointed out in a recent discussion that last week I hopped in my Bonneville and made a one day 600 mile+ (round trip) to look at a car. I have no problem road tripping my cars, just not that far (1000 miles+) from home on a very limited time budget. I don’t want to have to think about it.

Now, that may not make sense to you or others, but it really works for us. I will do it all again next year without hesitation. I have never regretted renting for a trip.