3000 mile road trip

We own a 2006, Mazda3 hatchback which has about 55000 miles on it. The car has been serviced regularly and is in good shape. We are planning a roadtrip from San Francisco, California to Louisville, KY traversing AZ, NM, CO, KS, MO and finally arriving in Louisville (KY). The total mileage for the trip will be about 3000 miles.

Looking forward to some advise from you about any precautions or tips w.r.t to the car in particular or the trip in general. What are the key things to check on the car before heading out on the trip. Any advise on speeds to maintain as well as number of hours to drive continuously etc. We are planning on completing this trip in 6 days.

Any advise is greatly appreciated.

PS: When we told the Mazda dealer we were doing a road trip and wanted the car serviced (55000 mile oil change etc) he handed us a huge bill ranging from changing tires to battery to brake pads and a lot of other things…

The car should be fine…no problems there…YOU may have trouble with the AZ and NM legs because of high daytime temperatures which you are not accustomed to…Maybe plan to drive those legs at night when it’s cooler. Are your TIRES in good shape? The spare inflated? Jack and lug wrench where they belong? How many people in the car?

Tires have run 55000 miles and haven’t been changed since we bought the car at 20000 miles. There will be 2 people in the car and some stuff that we’r moving in it…mostly comforter, sheets, pillows, shoes, some jackets, 2 handbags and an icebox with food for the way…

Regarding that list from the dealer - you just need to check the factory manual to see what’s really needed. As for the drive, a short break every 2 hours or so is good. Once you’ve picked your approximate route, drop by the travel section of a bookstore and see what sights you might want to take in. 6 days gives you a fair amount of time.

Just saw you’ve got at least 35,000 miles on the tires - how do they look? Full tread on all of them? Use a quarter to see if you have enough. (see the top of GW’s head when inserted in the tread?)

How much tread is on the tire? Down to the wear bar yet?

Have brake pads ever been changed?

This is about the mileage many OEM tires are close to being worn out. I would check the tread depth and err on the conservative side. Get an alignment at the same time. If no brake work has been done previously, then it is possible that new pads may be required.

Not enough about the other items to comment on. Battery is a little premature and can be easily replaced on the road if it does fail.

Speed limits: I stay within 5 mph of the posted speed limit. Out of state plates always make you a target of opportunity. If I am not sight-seeing, then I generally drive 9 or 10 hours per day, with breaks about every two hours or so and a good lunch break.

Fill up in Missouri and avoid buying the more expensive gas in Illinois. Traffic in St Louis can be horrendous during rush hour.

I would also have the work done at a quality independent shop and not the dealer. Dealer pricing is generally much higher than an independent.

I agree with the others…Take a CLOSE look at those tires…A set of new tires makes any car drive SO much better…

Drinking water
Decent, dark-tint sun glasses
Side-window sun shades
A new road atlas. A GPS is NOT a substitute.
Motel prices can DOUBLE on Friday and Saturday nights…
The motels and gas stations right at the exit ramps are
always the most expensive…Drive downtown and look around…

A trip as you describe is normally not much to worry about if you have had your car serviced regularly. Your car does not have enough miles to be concerned with much except for wear items that you mentioned that are worth checking prior to departure. Tires can be bought along the way as needed.

We travel often and far enough so that such a trip would cause no apprehension but instead sounds like fun to me.

Mazda as with any import does not have a dealer in every other little town as do some US brands such as Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge so you might want to bring along a list of Mazda dealers along your intended path. Most likely you will not need the list but knowing that you have it will make the trip less stressful. Car parts stores are everywhere; they can get almost anything that a non-dealer mechanic might need. Again, I doubt that you will need them, car parts stores or non-dealer mechanic.

Bring along a laptop so you can stay in touch. Many motels have free WiFi now. A GPS is a wonderful thing to have to search out restaurants and motels to your liking in addition to providing navigation assistance. A cell phone is a given, of course. I carry a small CB radio kit in the trunk. It comes in handy at times such as during extreme fog to know of a multi-vehicle pileup in your path. I have also used a CB radio to avoid big city rushhour freeway traffic jams.

You might also want to collect a few motel location books to call ahead for reservations and with addresses to program the GPS to help you find them.

Tires and brakes yes, have them checked by a pro at an independent shop. What is the milage limit on your timing chain? do you have free tow on your insurance. If you want to save money and stay in lovely places, buy a tent for 100 bucks at big five, and stay in camp grounds which run about 10bucks a night. Lots of them have great showers, some have swimming lakes, and all of them have nice families of decent people to sit around camp fires with and chat into the late hours. At avg 500 miles a day you will have lots of time to relax and the days are getting longer this time of year.

Good advice so far. My son is planning a 3000+ mile trip this summer in his 2004 Mazda 3, with 80,000 miles on it. It has been serviced regularly ,and the local dealer did not present him with a “scare” list of expensive things to do.

The car will cross the Rocky Mountains twice, and be driven in hot and moderate weather.

Just do the normal checks, and you’re on your way. Years ago I did a 7000 mile vacation trip with a 10 year old Buick station wagon (with 100,000 miles on it) pulling a tent trailer. We serviced the front brakes beforehand and had 2 new front tires installed. The trip went great and only a burnt spark plug wire was our only repair.

Have a great trip and carry a cell phone and an AAA card.

Wow, this is all great advice!! We did get AAA, brake pads replaced and got new tires since there was about a month or so left on them…might as well get them. Hopefully everything will go fine. Thank you all for you advices.