Cross Country Drive with 2005 Mazda 6 with 142,000 miles

Am I crazy for thinking I can drive my car from NC to CA and still have a working car? I expect something to go wrong or need replacing after the trip but really don’t want to push my car to its breaking point. I have driven it twice from NC to Boston and back and it’s still running. Thoughts?

If your Mazda has been well maintained and there is no Check engine light on and the tires and brakes are in good shape there is no reason you won’t make it.

Breakdowns can happen anywhere and any time just make sure you are well prepared to call for roadside service with some way to pay for it. But I’d recommend that if you had 142 miles or 142,000

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I’m assuming that your maintenance is all up-to-date. If so, if you want some extra peace of mind, you could take the car to your mechanic for a pre-trip inspection.

Keep in mind that highway miles are very easy on a car, not counting the portion through the Rockies in your case.

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I agree with the above 2 posters. A well maintained Mazda will easily make it without unexpected problems. Any service problems you may encounter on the way can be remedied as this is a common vehicle. If you had a Jaguar or other low volume, finicky car, I would recommend against it.

I once took a 7000 mile vacation trip through the US and Canada with an 11 year old Buick with over 100,00 miles on it while towing a camper trailer. Had to replace one spark plug wire as the only trouble.

In any case, your best friends are a credit card, cell phone and an AAA membership.

Highway driving at legal speed is very easy on a car. Just check your oil at every gas stop.

Happy motoring!

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Broken timing belt might wreck your day. Does car have one? How old? Friend drove from Michigan to mn and belt broke in Chicago. Bad trip.


If you feel that the car will be perfectly fine for the next 3k miles of local driving then it should be perfectly fine for the 3k miels trip to CA.

A lot depends on maintenance and checking the motor oil level along the way.


Is the spare tire’s pressure up to spec? Are the jack and tire changing tools in place? You may want to practice changing a tire. But if that’s not your thing, having everything ready means someone can help you and get the job done.

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He is correct on this issue . You need to check and see if it has a belt or a timing chain . If it is a chain I wouldnt worry about it but if its a belt and you dont know if its ever been changed I would not . If you break that belt a lot of engines are interference designs and basically will trash the engine if it breaks . If you plan on keeping the car and its a belt get this done before it breaks .Way over due if its a belt . This is not a cheap item , will cost probably $700 to replace . Thats why I never buy cars with timing belts .

Dec. 2016 I had to get the water pump belt and tensioner replaced b/c it had worn down and the engine was overheating. so it is relatively new but I will definitely reach out to a mechanic regarding the timing belt and get a full inspection.

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If this is a round trip, rent a car and eliminate the worries.

Just by a quick look it looks like it might use a chain so that would be good but verify with a mechanic who can look it up. Change the oil before going on the trip .

Ask your local mechanic to do a “general inspection” prior to departure. Let the shop know your plans. Then you’ll know what repair and maintenance needs immediate att’n and what can be deferred.

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It will be but with 9 months in between the trips haha trying to decide if i want to ship my car or drive it myself!

yea thats what i found as well but I will verify before assuming

I agree with all the posters, especially George. It’s only 3,000 miles+/-, but a good checkup never hurts anyway.

In addition, I’d recommend that you get an 'auto club" subscription if you don’t have one, and be sure you bring a cell phone (with car charger) and credit card.

AAA used to offer some trip planning services, like the numbers and locations of dealerships along the way, but I don’t know if they still do. You could also do that if it helps you feel more confident.

By the way, an '05 Mazda 6 has an excellent reliability record, and at 142K it’s still in its prime. Preparation is always prudent before a trip, but unless the car’s been neglected it’s an excellent one for what you’re planning.

Zoom-zoom. Have a great trip.

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I am happy to hear this! I love my car and want it to keep running for as long as possible, but also keep up with my travels.