I’m getting ready to make a road trip to Anchorage, Alaska from Twin Falls, Idaho in April. My car is at 40,000 miles and needs to have the 30,000 check up done, but I really don’t want to spend over $600 to have this done. What are the top things I should have done to the car before making this trip? Thanks for all help!
To answer your question you need to tell us what a 30K check up entails? Then what maintenance have you had done on the car? You are already 10K late for the 30K service so what is a 40K or 50K service for your car?
Basically a 40K car in decent shape sould be able to make this trip. Tires with less than 1/2 tread could be worth replacing. Roads up in that area aren’t the best so you’ll need good tires to resist puncture and have good tread for traction. An oil change is a good idea if you are past 3,000 miles since the last one. Have your brakes checked for pad wear, you are going through some mountains and good brakes come in handy. I don’t think you are due for new plugs but if the car isn’t running perfectly now, have it checked out. A new air filter is a good idea especially if you still have the original one. A new filter will save enough gas to pay for itself. Happy Trip!
Go to your owners manual and see what service is required and have just that done. You can have it done at a dealer, but they will be more expensive and try to sell you unneeded extras. Just take the list to an independent mechanic and have him do just what the owners manual says and give you an invoice for that and you are covered for any warranty you have left.
“do just what the owners manual says and give you an invoice for that and you are covered for any warranty you have left.”
Warranty? I’m not so sure about that.
This car is already 10,000 miles overdue for its 30k service, and based on the statements of the OP, it likely has not had a whole lot of maintenance in its 40k lifespan.
I think that the OP would be extremely lucky to have warranty coverage in the event of a mechanical problem.
And people wonder why I don’t buy used cars…
Driving to Anchorage in April will be quite an adventure…I would investigate road conditions very carefully…
Regardless of maintenance schedule, I would change change transmission fluid and filter. I would also check when coolant is to be changed out and make a decision about that based on how close to a recommended change the car is.
Thank you for all your advice. This is a great car, and I’ve had absolutely no problems with it at all. I’ve driven it all over the country. As far as maintenance, I religiously change the oil and have the tires rotated every 3,000 miles. I have just been putting off the 30,000 check up because $600 is a lot of money to come up with for a student. And, I bought this car used, so there is nothing wrong with a used car!
The general rule for rotating tires is every other oil change, so you can probably do that every 6k miles. I’m a college student too (at least for another 8 weeks, hooray!) so I’m with you on cost-effective car ownership.
Assuming that your engine, radiator, transmission and tires all have adequate fluid in them (oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and air (technically the mix of oxygen and nitrogen is a fluid) respectively), chances are your car will make the trip with no problems what so ever.
A few spring breaks back I took my old '87 Accord on a 1300 mile round trip. The car had almost 190k miles at the time and a Carburetor and I had no issues on the trip whatsoever.
At some point you WILL need to spend the $100 on a good transmission service, in order to save you $thousands$ a few years down the road.
If I were you I would find a good non-dealer mechanic who you are comfortable leaving your car with and get a 2nd opinion on the $600 worth of stuff.
I hope this helps.
Is there an owner’s manual in the car? Forget the Ford dealer hyped up 30K or 40K service agenda. Get out the manual and review it. If it says change the coolant at X miles or Y years whichever comes first then it should be done. You are doing only the minimum maintenance with oil changes and tire rotations.
If you want the car to last for another 5 years or beyond 100K miles you need to do more to maintain it. Take the owners manual to a good independant mechanic and review what is overdue, what it due, and what is needed in the future for the car. Using an independant mechanic will get you the things needed without the high profit fluff the new car service departments add to their 30K services. Toyota dealers are the worse for expensive add ons but Ford dealers play the game too.
Just my opinion, but about all I would recommend is changing the transmission fluid, the air and fuel filters, and change the spark plugs. These are all normal maintenance items that are not difficult to do and it should not cost that much.
Check the tire pressure along with the spare, make sure the accessory belt is in good shape or replace it, and I think you’re good to go.
When checking the tire pressure it doesn’t hurt to add a few extra pounds (few, not many) of pressure either. This can help the fuel economy a little bit.
For a trip like that with no previous 30k maintenance…I might be over cautious if I were on my own and spring for the drive belts too regardless.