Driving Far?

Planning to drive 14 hours to Florida. I’m not renting a car. I’m planning to use my Chevrolet sonic 2014. My millage is at 4,something. I was just thinking if driving 14 hours is the best idea, I don’t want to put my car engine at any risk. Anyone help?

Highway driving is actually less stressful for an engine than other types of driving.
However, the key to whether or not the engine will suffer any damage lies in how it has been maintained over the past couple of years.

If “4,something” means that this car has logged less than 5,000 miles in two years, I would be concerned about whether the oil has been changed often enough. If it has been more than 6 months since it was changed, then you need to have an oil change done before the trip. All of the other fluids need to be checked, and topped-off if necessary. Make sure that you have the oil change done at a place where the employees are competent, and that means NOT going to a quick lube joint, where the screw-up rate is amazingly high.

Also, the tire pressure needs to be checked before you begin the trip, and you will need to check the oil each day of your trip in order to make sure that you aren’t running the engine with a low oil level.

Thank you for being a big help!

Above post, and have a good trip, cars were meant to be driven! :slight_smile:

It isn’t the CAR you need to worry about… its the DRIVER!

Be sure not to push yourself to exhaustion. If you aren’t used to driving long stretches, plan to get out and walk around, stretch your legs and revive yourself. Or take 2 days to do the drive. Please don’t drive drowsy, it is as bad as driving somewhat drunk.

Good luck and have a nice trip!

@VDCdriver gave good advise. I’d like to add, that if you use a regular mechanic to do that oil change, mention the trip and ask if they will check for any problems.

I say regular mechanic because most workers at a quick change place are not very well trained to look for problems that may crop up on your trip.

Have a nice trip and don’t mess with the alligators.


“most workers at a quick change place are not very well trained to look for problems that may crop up on your trip.”

…and many of them are capable of actually causing new problems, as a result of inadequate training and the pressure to rush cars in and out as fast as possible.

Additionally, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the manager at a quick lube place insisted that this 2 year old car needed a new air filter, despite the fact that it has been driven less than 5k miles. Unfortunately, many customers fall for the ridiculous up-selling at those places.

"It isn’t the CAR you need to worry about… its the DRIVER!"
Agree, safety first.
Check all 4 tires and set tire pressure to factory specifications (NOT what is shown on the tire side-wall).


Sonic? That’s a small car. Are you driving alone? Do you get along with passenger? I would worry more about crabby co drivers. Not the car.

I know how that goes @cavell , but even our Van is too small when the wife comes along.

I tried tying her to the roof rack, but she kept gnawing through the ropes.


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Drive your car and take the most important safety item ever devised…the cell phone. I recommend a smart phone because it can get answers to any of your questions.

Your car and engine ARE NOT AT RISK! Just make sure you check the oil after each gas fill up. Your biggest danger is fatigue, so take frequent breaks.

When I travel, my companions are always a cell phone and my AAA membership card. The last time I had roadside trouble was in 1980 when driving my brother in law’s Pontiac cross country and the fan belt gave out.

Enjoy your trip.

'‘Driving far’'
is a completely relative term. Relative to your personal perspective of time and distance.
a 14 hour trip is not ‘‘far’’ around these parts . . BUT . .
( and other posters have wisely brought this up )

      • certainly NOT all at once !

I just came back from two weeks in Florida visiting the grand kids, daughter, and s.i.l. .
We loaded up the rental car to head to a nicer beach and Troy said ‘’ You’re going all the way to Englewood ? ‘’ ( from Port Charlotte )
To which I instantly replied ‘’ It’s only 40 minutes. ''
Then he quickly realized the point I just mentioned and said ‘’ Oh yah, you’re from the wild west so 40 minutes is next to nothing. ''
However . . .

    • Driver fatigue - - - aka ‘white line fever’ is the immense real issue here !
      It even rears its ugly head out here where Albuquerque is merely two hours one way. A drive we make weekly sometimes. On this all too familiar I-40, your mind gets lost because you know the road, and the eyes get heavy.
      For me, I sing along, whistle, or steering wheel drum with the radio music since the kids in the back seat are either engrossed in their video games or asleep.

One hour or fourteen makes no difference to your engine. The best advice I can give you is not to do a 14 hour stint too much past your normal bedtime, If the rumble strips at the edge of the road start annoying you, pull over and take a nap’

If it wasn’t for that annoying ocean problem and having to check the engine oil you could drive repeatedly around the Earth at the equator while working in shifts.

I agree that the bigger issue is not nodding off at the wheel. Sometimes the eyes start getting a bit glassy and next thing you know you’re upside down in the ditch. About the 10 hour mark each mile gets longer and longer…

Many years ago in my younger days I drove straight through from the Los Angeles area to OK; a distance of about 1500 miles. I was a total zombie by the time the trip ended and never wanted to a car, any car, ever again.

And to answer the obvious question of what kind of drugs was this guy on the answer is none. A lot of soda pop, candy bars, and coffee along with rolling down the window now and then for blasts of 30 degree air.

Speaking of driving straight through . . .
in 1975, My brother and friend drove from Ohio to New Mexico for my wedding in 17 hours !
Straight through non stop except for potty and food stops.
Two drivers in one ‘‘smokey and the bandit’’ ( but silver ) Trans Am.

+1 for @mustangman’s post. Drive no more than half the distance the first day and finish on the second or third. As far as the oil change is concerned, how much oil life is left according to your oil life monitor? Even though this is an economy car, I think you have one. If you have more than 4000 miles left, you can delay the oil change. See what your owner’s manual says about changing the oil based on time and the OLM. Make sure to check tire pressure and oil level before you leave.

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I regularly drive 13 hours from Ohio to Minnesota with no problems. Sometimes even get home before dark due to the time change. It is a haul though but we stop for supper and I take a smoke break every now and then to stretch.

Back in the early 70s a good friend of mine headed back to OK from his station at a naval base in San Francisco. He decided to take the southern route so as to avoid the snow packed Flagstaff, AZ I-40 route.

He wasn’t wearing his seat belt (common back in the day) and somewhere east of Yuma, AZ he nodded off. The Camaro rolled 6 times and sometime during the rolling he was tossed out and rolled over by the car.
This left him a paraplegic. After he healed well enough to get back to OK we had a benefit concert to raise cash for him with 8 bands participating. Couple with a healthy ins. policy he got along well all things considered.

He did not have a poor old me attitude; ever. He took up electronics repairs as a hobby, horseback riding (with some help from bracing), and got back into acoustic guitar again.
He even found him a '68 Camaro SS with a big block which he drove after I installed long tube headers on (God…), and once fitted with hand controls.

I have driven as much as 19 hours in a single stretch with rest stops for bio-breaks and sit-down eateries. But I stop and nap if I need to or grab a hotel for the night. Waffle Houses are open 24 hours an always have hot coffee. I’ve done 12 hours or more many times and I know my limits. I leave myself extra times and I try not to push through if I’m tired.

You need to recognize your limits and act accordingly.