Drive a 1993 Town and Country from Alaska or buy used?

I have this really trusty 1993 Town and Country at my parent’s house in Fairbanks, Alaska with only 165,000 miles on it. We just replaced the transmission and shocks about 15,000 miles ago, the fuel filter about 5,000 miles ago, and generally speaking it’s a great point a to b car. I’m wondering how great a folly it is for me to drive this thing from Alaska to New Haven, CT, about 4,500 miles and 1200-1500$, or if I should just buy a cheap used thing down here and pray it doesn’t have anything too expensive wrong with it. I’m also only 23 and I’ve never bought a car, new or used, before.

I would say drive the van to New Haven

You know the car, it’s got almost new shocks and trans.

Are the tires in good shape? I wouldn’t want to drive marginal tires on a big road trip.

I’d rather drive the cheap car that’s been in the family . . . versus buying a cheap car from a stranger, which may be a . . . that they desperately want to get rid of.

I agree. If you have confidence in the T&C and the 'rents don’t mind, I’d take it. Finding a decent car for under $4000 (I’m guessing at what cheap means to you) is difficult to do. Especially if you need a car immediately. Having the T&C in CT is one less headache after you arrive. A one way flight from Fairbanks to New Haven is less than $500 FWIW.

It is a low risk decison. Get the car as fit as you can and take it easy. There is still a chance you won’t make it if something major breaks; then sell it for parts locally and take the bus! You will still have had a wonderful drive. There is another post of someone moving from NY to Fairbanks and all our advice. Please check it out.

A friend of my wife years ago drove a Sunbeam Alpine in an outpost in the North West (Canada). When she moved to the Atlantic region, she decide to drive the car back. It conked out somewhere in Northern Ontario and she left it there, taking the bus/train the rest of the way. The car was doomed anyway.

Have a great trip!

I always look at how many more hours does it have to run. My guess dou you think it will run for another 40 hours?

How do you feel about driving the car for the next 4500 miles while commuting? Personally, I have little faith that a vehicle like this is a good long term car, but for 4500 miles, it should do the trip. My biggest question is; do you really have need for a gas eating, 20 year old minivan ? That, IMO is what you should be asking yourself.
Whether you buy a more practical cheap compact or use a 20 year old minivan with questionable reliability, you’ll still be praying either doesn’t have much expensive go wrong. Your confidence is commendable but practically speaking, these cars are real clunkers at that age. Count me in the minority…I would pass on the TandC.

“Count me in the minority…I would pass on the TandC.”

We still don’t know how much @bnd2105 has to spend on another car. If it is just the $1000 he saves by taking the plane or anything close to it, driving the T&C makes a lot more sense.

"$1000 he saves …driving a T and C makes a lot more sense " Money wise sure and…

That’s probably why I 'm in the minority and will remain so. Traveling 4500 miles in a 20 year old minivan with the hope it will be a decent car to own, with no apparent use for a gas guzzling minivan with such a real stella reliability reputation, leaves me wanting… I would have more confidence shopping around for a more practical compact with the same miles and 8 to 9 years newer. $3k will get you a 2000 to 2002 Prism for example. .I am adding that my disagreement is not from making the trip (albeit with fear and doubt) but, what do you do with the albatross when you arrive ? IMHO, OP is better served with a more practical clunker then this. If you can’t come up with a few grand to buy a car, you can’t afford to own one. Cars require more then the usual extra discretionary funds laying around.

I still vote no, nix, nine, nada…and what ever else I can think of if it were my kid planning the trip.;=) BURY THE TandC IN ALASKA…

Well, I bought a '93 Dodge Grand Caravan new and loved the thing, but I doubt that the T&C is worth driving home.

Actually, I am in the “drive it” camp. As @Docnick says, if it breaks down, just sell it and move on. If you drive a more decent car, you have to stay in a hotel while they are fixing it. Finding a used car in New Haven is not that easy either.
I once drove a beat-up Corolla from New Haven to Buffalo and back, same logic and I did just fine. Just make sure you have a cell (I didn’t have one-stupid).

It’s 20 years old. If it breaks down, just junk it and rent something for the rest of the trip.

“and just rent something” might be tough for the half of the trip out in the boonies of Canada. I might take it if I have a thorough inspection by a good mechanic first.

@texases I agree; renting a one way car, especially to another country, is very expensive because of the drop-off charges. If the car gives up the ghost, just take a bus or taxi to the neares airport and head home. In Northern Canada every little hamlet has air service. I used to fly into Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean, population 400, and take a plane that usually was a 2 engined Otter which can be equipped with wheels, skis or floats, depending on where it’s used.

These planes usualy fly to the nearest larger town, such as Whitehorse or Yellowknife, the reginal capitals, and from there you can fly through Edmonton all the way back to your US destination. Canada has the world’s second largest civilian fleet of airplanes (after the US), Brazil is third.

If it breaks down just sell it or junk it…???

I wonder if cell reception from Alaska to Connecticut is perfect. I wonder if the neighbor hoods are all cooperative . I wonder if breaking down on an interstate with no breakdown lanes doing 70 plus through a city like who knows is dangerous. .
Renting grows on trees in the Midwest a gazillion miles from no where and no one cares if you leave a junker car and your stuff…anywhere you want i guess…just rent or buy another junker “just as good” for little or nothing and move on mr. Midnight Cowboys. Traveling from Alaska to Connecticut must be the yellow brick road to Oz.
A lot chest thumping testosterone going on me thinks.

Like…cell phones magically bring aid and take care all of your problems for little expense. At the end of that cell call for aid…WILL be a big bill.

My first thought when I read the other posts about the roads was that it would be foolish to drive anything but a wreck. The old T&C is a small loss if it burns out during the trip.

Hey guys. Run the trip through Map Quest and tell me for most of the first nearly 60 per cent of the trip you are near anything that even remotely resembles a town. Then tell me how you are going to just dump the car, if it breaks down. You’ll be lucky if your cell works at all and anyone can find you with a helicopter. Let’s count the towns on one hand for two thousand miles…l( exaggeration).
20 year old T &C, no way. It’s more like northern Maine, then northern Maine.

@dagosa; People in the North rely on each other. When your vehicle breaks down you flag down whoever is coming and they will give you a ride to the next road house or town. I would prefer to have a breakdown there than in many parts of Detroit! There is actually quite a bit of traffic on those roads in the summer.

My brother went off the road on an ice patch in the North. It took him very little time to get to the nearest town and get a wrecker to pull the car in. Since the car was quite new, the biggest problem was getting the insurance to assess the damage, declare it a write-off and paying him.

You’re either adventurous or you’re not.

@Docknick, well stated. I know that you will be on the lookout for the OP when he passes through Alberta. Well, in the summer month, anyway.

I used to be adventurous. Now I’m a proponent of uneventful. I don’t choose cars anymore because they are adventurous.

@dagosa, it appears that the OP is young, and we might presume is full of vigor. It sounds like he is up for an adventure. We shouldn’t discourage him from a good time he should have. As long as the car is properly prepared for the trip.