Is it safe to drive my old car on a long trip?

I have a 1998 honda crv with 176,500 miles. I’ve recently gotten a oil change and filled all fuilds. I’m planning on going from around oklahoma to Dallas Texas which for me is a 225 mile drive up there and another 225 back.

How are the tires? How old are they?

1 Like

I’m not sure I haven’t gotten new tires since I’ve got the car about 3 or 4 years ago but I barely drove the car until this year because of recently getting my license a couple of months ago. Nothing wrong with them that I know of.

You must check how old they are. A blowout would be no fun.

Take your car to your local independent mechanic, tell them about your trip and ask them to check your car out. It will cost around $100 but is well worth it. A well cared for Honda with high mileage can give many years and many more miles of reliable service. Tires, belts and hoses would be the areas I would worry about the most, but let you mechanic have a look.

1 Like

If they are more than 8 years old, they should be replaced regardless of how much tread is remaining. Old rubber becomes dried-out and hard, and as a result you have less traction on a dry road and dramatically-reduced traction on a wet road. And, as was already said, a tire that old is also more prone to blow-out.

Additionally, it is very likely that the timing belt needs to be replaced, and that is something that would be true even if you only did local driving. The Honda maintenance schedule calls for this every 105k miles, or every 10 (?) years–whichever comes first. Unless you have hard copy documentation that the belt was replaced less than 10 years ago, you need to have it replaced–along with the belt tensioners and the water pump. When that belt snaps–with no warning whatsoever–it will result in major internal engine damage.

And I recommend that, if your CRV has AWD, you have the differential fluid changed, using ONLY Honda’s Dual-Pump fluid. CRVs are particularly prone to “binding” of the tires on slow turns if this is not done every 90k miles.


Completely agree with VDCdriver’s advice, especially regarding anything made of rubber.

Recently replaced a full set of name brand tires with good tred depth on a well maintained, low mileage, garage kept car that with no warning or obvious cause had developed a strange vibration.
Turned out that simply due to age, the tires had begun shedding pieces of the tred from the belts.Didn’t like spending the money but glad it was caught at home instead of 50 miles away.

My 2005 Accord EX V6 called for a 105,000 mile or 7 year cadence, and I imagine that is the same for the 4-cylinder CR-V. That’s for normal service. Gates Corp. suggests 60,000 miles for severe service.

I would like to point out that the maintenance can wait until after the trip, though. Tires…maybe or maybe not, depending on their age and condition.

I just didn’t want the poster to think the timing belt, differential fluid and everything had to be done before their 225 mile trip.

None of us–probably including the OP–knows how old that timing belt really is.
It could snap on the way to the expressway for his trip–or maybe not. If he doesn’t know for sure how old it is, waiting is a gamble.

The point of preventive maintenance is to avoid expensive engine repairs, and IMHO the OP would be very foolish to defer something as potentially expensive as timing belt replacement. I agree that the diff maintenance can be deferred, however.

That sounds right. I purposely placed a question mark after the number 10 because I wasn’t sure about the elapsed time factor for that service.

So, unless the OP can verify through hard copies of maintenance records that the timing belt was replaced less than 7 years ago, he would be VERY wise to have it done a.s.a.p.

Life is a gamble. If I needed to take the trip, I would. I agree, doing the belt first would be ideal. But if I couldn’t get that service scheduled and completed before the trip or if I couldn’t afford it before I took the trip, I’d go ahead and take the trip and get it done when I got back.

It may be a really important trip! Maybe a honeymoon or something! :grin:

Another vote for taking it to a local independent mechanic to get their assessment.

If the mechanic finds things that look highly likely to breakdown, then fix those and take the trip.


On a car this old, I would check and replace a lot more than just the timing belt/tensioner/idler/water pump and tires. If this was my car, and I wanted to be sure it will be dependable, I would also replace the spark plugs, ignition wires, heater hoses, radiator hoses, transmission cooler hoses, radiator, thermostat and housing, fuel filter, change the transmission fluid and filter, and of course check (and replace if low) the brake pads.

Of course, I would be doing the work myself, with parts purchased online, so all this preventative maintenance would cost me less than $400 including fluids and incidentals (obviously excluding the cost of tires, if needed). I also wouldn’t be doing major work to a car before a long-distance trip, which I define as anything over 100 miles away.

For the OP, I would suggest to do nothing but buy tires, if needed, before the trip, and to check thoroughly to make sure there are no oil/coolant/transmission fluid leaks. I would also consider bringing an extra 1-gal. bottle of coolant, a few extra 1-qt. bottles of engine oil, and one extra 1-qt. bottle of transmission fluid, and a funnel, in case anything needs to be topped off during the trip.

After you get back, I would do the timing belt/have it done professionally, at which point I am sure other worn-out parts will be discovered such as heater hoses, radiator hoses, etc. I would also consider proactive replacement of the radiator, if original, because reduced engine cooling due to deposits, and external leaks due to corrosion will occur, also the plastic hose connections become soft and deteriorated over time.

Long distance anything over 100 miles ? :astonished: I have jumped in my car and drove farther than that just to play a new Golf Course ( I even did it on a Motorcycle ) .


Where’d you put the clubs?

If you are asking about the Motorcycle this is what I did . On the Full Dress Yamaha I turned several irons upside down in the bag so it would balance cross wise on the luggage bags and strapped down . On the croch rocket Suzuki I made 2 brackets on the side near the rear to hold the bag ( think like the rifle holster on a horse ) .

1 Like

You could go hunting with that Suzuki too.

1 Like

The tires are 4 or 5 years old and treads are good. Sorry took me a little bit to find out

1 Like

Then I’d just check the pressure in the morning and check the fluid levels, then go.

Of course, if there’s anything that concerns you get it evaluated.

1 Like