12,000-mile Road Trip

I am planning to take a 17 day, 12,000 mile road trip (about 700 miles per day) next summer through all 48 continental United States in my 2005 Honda Odyssey. This means I will be going through some mountains as well as some deserts. Does anyone have any insight on what I should do before and during the trip to ensure that I have the least car trouble possible? I plan on getting the car looked at before I leave, having the oil changed before I leave as well as three times during the trip. What else should I do or be aware of?

How many miles on the Ody now? When was the last time the transmission fluid was changed? I’m going to switch to synthetic ATF after I get my 02 Odyssey transmission rebuilt. Do you have a tranny cooler?

17 days of highway miles - I probably wouldn’t bother changing the oil until you got done with the trip. Change it once if it makes you feel better, but these highway miles will be pretty easy on the van.

Get your maintenance up to date based on the 30/60/90K, etc mileage schedule. If you’re close to the next maintenance schedule, get it done about two weeks before you leave. I would change oil somewhere half way through the trip, at a convenient point.

How has it been maintained thus far? Tune ups, oil changes and belt changes on time? If not…do a full tuneup including fuel filter, air filter, etc…the whole shebang… The engine coolant also had a change interval…but that’s not really needed if its been fine so far I guess.

Not really too much to do to a well maintained, proper running Honda. I’d be looking at my tires and things like that…Also put together a NICE well stocked tool as well as First Aid Kit and put it in the vehicle…you prob have room for it


Yeah same advice, but, 700 miles a day is one truly grueling routine. After two or three days you will not give two hoots what state you are in or what there is to see. You can only average 60+ miles an hour even on interstates with gas and food stops so 14 hours a day on the road will quickly take its toll. I just did a one day 800 mile jaunt and it is not fun and no way would I do it two days in a row let alone 17.

I’d reconsider and break the country up into two or three trips if you must, or do it in a month. Even I haven’t been to every state after 40 years of travel and that’s just fine with me. Plus some states you will miss what’s important so why go there at all. Even in South Dakota you’ll want to see the Badlands, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, Custer, etc. and its only 400 miles long. You won’t even do that in one day and its mostly open space.

In the words of somebody “I pray thee, consider ye may be wrong”.

Ody doesn’t have a replaceable fuel filter. It’s built into the fuel pump.

I have to agree with Bing on this one. You will be driving and little else. Sounds like you just want to be able to say that you have been to all 48 states. Personally I would break this up and do it over several summers so that I could do a little sightseeing in each state.

It is clear you are not intending to do any sightseeing or visiting. You are merely trying to establish some sort of claim. OK, have fun. I assume there will be more than one driver.

If your Oddity is currently in good condition you need not do anything special other than routine maintenance as provided by your car’s schedule. Pay more attention to your emergency kit.

A jug of coolant, some quarts of oil, basic tool set, a tire pressure gauge, maybe an inflator, spare set of wipers. Flashlight. Maybe roadside flares or cones. Litter bags. Large box of Twinkies. OK then, off you go.

I have 2 comments. One is that you should get in the habit of checking the fluid levels every 1000 miles during this trip. It would b easy to let the oil level or whatever get away from you and that cuold leave you on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with a blown engine. Do not rely on the oil level remaining the same and that it will be fine from one change to the next.

Two is that I agree with keith. This is not a trip so much as an endurance course and doing that much driving will do nothing but numb you after a couple of days. Slow down, take the back roads, and enjoy the scenery instead of ending up totally miserable and worn out.
If this is a Guinness Record Book thing then I guess the above doesn’t apply.

Why not rent a vehicle for the trip? Check out rates on a couple of websites like Hotwire or Orbitz. One serious breakdown will cost more than the rent, and when you get home, in a fairly new rental vehicle, your old Odyssey will be waiting for you.

When was the timing belt changed? My guess is that it has not been changed yet. If you take the van, get the timing belt changed before you leave. Have a new water pump installed at the same time. The van is 7 years old and could be pushing the 105,000 mile limit during the trip. I would also change the transmission fluid before you leave unless it has been done in the last 25,000 miles (from today, not the departure date).

In addition to all of the other good maintenance advice given above, there is an additional caveat because of the make and model–namely the motor mounts and transmission mounts. These mounts, and the transmission itself, are the Achilles Heel of Odysseys of that era.

I strongly suggest a transmission fluid change prior to the trip, and while it is up on the lift make sure that the mechanic checks the motor mounts and transmission mounts. And, be sure to have all of the pre-trip maintenance done by a REAL mechanic. Don’t go to a quicky lube place unless you want your trip to come to an abrupt halt, due to the wrong type of fluid, or a leaking oil drain plug, or a loose oil filter, or any of the other bone-headed mistakes that quick lube places are renowned for.

Has your T-belt been done? Its not double over due is it? If it is, then I’d worry… If you are slightly over…that’s OK…just don’t miss the interval by double… Almost every Honda will make it to 120K+ with the original T-belt, I just don’t want you to be at 120K on the original and THEN take a trip like this…so… Just want you aware of the belt, hopefully you are OK with your mileage etc. Just an FYi… I’m not even sure the Ody has a belt but I think it does…

The Ody has a belt that’s supposed to be changed by 105,000 miles.

Thank you to everyone for your advice so far! I’ll have to check on what maintenance has been done and when… I’ll let you guys know once I do.

For those concerned about the plausibility of such a trip:
First of all, thanks for your concern. No, it won’t be easy, and yes, it will be exhausting, but that’s all part of it. There will be 6 people on the trip, and while that doesn’t change the time spent in the car, it does make the average drive time per person per day around just 2 hours. Yes, this is MOSTLY driving. However, it IS a ROAD trip. It is more about seeing the United States as a whole and having an awesome experience with close friends than it is a sightseeing tour. That being said, we will still have time to see The Willis Tower, The Mall of America, The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Old Faithful, The Space Needle, The Redwood Forest, The Golden-Gate Bridge, Hollywood, etc, etc, etc. and even more in between. I understand that we won’t have time to savor some of these awesome sights, but try to think of this more as an appetizer sampler (just to see what we like) rather than a whole meal.

To answer the one question that I do know off the top of my head, the Ody has just over 100,000 on it now (I think around 105,000).

Thanks again for all of your help thus far, it’s been extremely insightful! Please continue to post anything you can think of. Trust me, you are helping us more than you could ever imagine!

You’re right on time for new spark plugs (if they’re original). Stick with the original spec NGK’s. They’re not cheap, but worth the price.

New timing belt time too. Probably water pump and tensioners too. This won’t be cheap. Check your records and owner’s manual.

I put in new AC, alternator, power steering pump belts at the same time.

Even if each driver is only driving 2 hours sitting as a passenger another 12 will be mind numbing.
Time spent at the landmarks will be very brief compared to seeing the parts of the US that are within a few hundred yards of the interstate.

Covering 700 miles a day might be a stretch beause some of those things you mention involve tourist traps and slow traffic, with Mt. Rushmore being an example. Rushmore is located off of the main highway and it’s a roughly 9 miles, twisty road to get there; not to mention the parking lot jam.

I hope you all remain good friends during and after the trip. Six people with belongings crammed into an Odyssey is probably going to cause some severe nerve irritation after the first day or so of new wears off.
Good luck anyway. :slight_smile:

Great that you’re seeing the sights. If you have to decide between making your 12,000 mile goal and staying a while, STAY A WHILE! That’s where your memories will be, not cruising along the freeways.

It’s OK to have a plan, but be flexible. If you want to spend a little extra time somewhere, do so. When your time is half gone, you will need to start the trip back. Again, be flexible and allow for unscheduled stops at interesting destinations. You will have memories of your trip no matter what you do. I’d prefer to experience stops along the way with my friends, and maybe you would too.