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I'm unsure about a 300 mile trip. Any thoughts?

I have a 2005 Toyota Corolla LE wit h 137,000+ miles. I bought the car in 2006 with 7,000 miles on it. I have never driven hard or poorly and have ALWAYS kept up with oil changes, BUT I made the mistake of overlooking transmission fluid changes (ATF). At this point i know NOT to flush and replace the ATF bc it can be dangerous at this point, so I’m just going to leave it. I’ve never really ever taken the car on long trips, but recently started dating long distance and want to do a 300 mile trip from Long Island to upstate NY, and 300 miles back like a week after. My car has the check engine light and has for years, and the reason I get from my mechanic is that they think it’s the transmission clutch solenoid, bc that’s the code they get for the readout. There was ONE instance where my ABS went off like a month ago while driving slowly and the brakes wouldn’t immediately react for like a second. My mechanic says despite the solenoid perhaps needing replacement, the car has no mechancial problems. Brakes and rotors not even a year old yet. Air filter new. Oil just changed. Car runs very well. Smooth idle.

I have been taking a train upstate a few times already but want to save on money since the train is $130/trip. I can make that trip in 2 $28 tankfuls. So I have not gone bc I’m worried about the transmission. But should I be? Should I take the chance and do the trip? Thanks

Go for it. Take your cell phone. If the car breaks down you have the cell. Live a little, you took the risk to meet someone new, driving this car is far less risk.

BTW, I’d change the trans mission fluid and filter anyway - not a flush, a change. Changing old fluid and having that cause a failure is a myth.


My SO and 2 Sisters all have 2007/8 RAV4s All have more than 200,000 miles. None of them would hesitate to drive them 300 miles, although the two with 4 cylinder engines would definitely need to add oil every 1000 miles or so (the V6 never uses any - Toyota screwed up the rings on the 4 cylinders of that vintage and they all use oil). All of them had one transmission oil change around 120,000 miles ago. The fluid still looks nice and pink and I wouldn’t worry about changing it again even at 200k miles. Unless the fluid is dirty and smelly it is unlikely anything is wrong with the transmission. Personally I wouldn’t worry about the car breaking down. If you are the worrying type, get a cell phone and AAA. You can call them and they can tow the car for you.

Agree with Mustang, while they are at it the solenoids, if indeed the problem, could be replaced.
The downside of not having the transmission work down is the constant CEL. You may generate new codes and not see them.

Thankfully I do have AAA. I have a feeling it’ll make it but was always concerned about the transmission. Thanks!

I have no interest in AAA and agree with mustangman.
Depending on the roads you will be travelling, maybe consider premier membership that includes more miles in case you need a tow. The added cost would be most likely recovered with a single tow that is more than the 5(?) miles at regular membership.

Good luck!

I’ll be a contrarian here. I wouldn’t engage in a 300 mile winter-time trip to upstate NY with a car that had the check engine light on for any reason, and certainly not if the diagnostic code was for the automatic transmission. In an emergency maybe, but here there’s a simple alternative available ; e.g. taking the train. If OPs objective is to save money, stop the long distance dating. To really save money, accept the fact of being single, rather than deplore it, enjoy it.

Did you get an estimate on the cost to fix the problem? If this can be fixed for a reasonable price, it doesn’t make sense to me to risk a breakdown far away from home in the winter. I suggest going to an independent transmission shop for a second opinion on the transmission fluid replacement and the check-engine light.