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Long Distance Summer Journey

I own a 2007 Ford Escape that I recently finished paying off. I drive 42 miles per day for work and around 300 miles per week. I live in Texas so this isn’t unusual. I’ve kept the vehicle serviced fairly well. I want to get at least 5 more years out of the car - no monthly payments! :slight_smile: Here’s the question. I’m going from Dallas, TX to Portland, ME this June and was thinking of driving so I could take my elderly dog with me. Will the trip be too much for my car? Am I taking too much off the life of the car by driving it this far? Help!!!

A lot will be dependent upon the real meaning of, “I’ve kept the vehicle serviced fairly well”.
“Fairly well” would imply that some of the maintenance has been skipped or delayed.

Can you fill us in on the actual maintenance that this Escape has had over the past 3 years?
We also need to know how many miles are on the odometer.

This is going to be about 3,500 to 5,000 miles round trip. Highway miles are very easy on the car mechanically. An oil change before the trip, or somewhere during the trip might be a good idea. You will be doing essentially 13 weeks of driving over the period of the trip. The biggest impact will be on your tires. The Explorer gets about 30-35K typically from a set of tires. You will lose about 1 to 2/32" of tread on your trip. A new tire has about 11/32 of tread. So, in the end your tires will wear out a bit sooner timewise, but you’ll get the same amount of miles from them.

Oil change, a check of the serpentine belt, a check of all your coolant and heater hoses for any leaks or soft spots and replace as necessary. Flat tires, broken belts, and blown coolant hoses are about 80-90% of roadside emergencies. It is always good to have AAA or a similar roadside plan just in case. Everyone has cell phones now and these are great in emergencies.

I think a good “once over” inspection by an independent mechanic will ease your mind. It’s also worth the money because repairs on the road are always more expensive than repairs near home. A little more info on your vehicle should bring you several more insightful answers.

Uncle Turbo

What you say is true, but…if the transmission has never been serviced, it may be living on borrowed time–depending on the number of odometer miles.

While an unmaintained trans is just as likely to fail during the OP’s daily commute as it is to fail on a long highway trip, having to deal with a blown trans in an area where you are not familiar with the available repair shops is…not a good position to be in. Hence, my request for info on the vehicle’s odometer mileage as well as its maintenance history.

By your weekly mileage, you have around 75,000 miles on the truck. Is that correct? If you haven’t changed the trans fluid, now is a great time to do it. You should also change the brake fluid if it has not been done. You should change the oil before the trip. Check your tires and brake pads for wear.

Margravemark wrote:
I want to get at least 5 more years out of the car - no monthly payments!

This is a good idea, but let me add that it would be financially very prudent to continue your monthly payments into a separate account meant to purchase your next car, so that you can pay cash for it instead of financing.

I don’t know about Explorers, but since yours is an Escape, it will get more miles out of a set of tires than Uncle Turbo suggests. I put a new set on my wife’s Escape just a couple of weeks ago. The old ones still had safe tread at 62,302 miles, but were getting very noisy due to being out of balance at some point. Her Escape has 121K. I bought 60K guaranteed tires. I think it will make it.

As for your Escape, change the tranny fluid for sure, if you haven’t in the last 30K miles. Check the belts and hoses, get a fresh oil change. As stated above, it’s just like 13 weeks of your daily commute, except it’s in a more straight line. Have fun. Say hi to ME for me.

As Unlce Turbo said, long road trips are probably the least stressful miles you can put on a car. Brakes, transmission, cooling fans, and the engine itself, are less stressed in a mile of highway driving than in a mile of around-town driving.

So as long as you have the car properly serviced beforehand, your road trip won’t be any more stressful than a few hundred miles of around town driving.

Check tire pressure and since the trip length is about equal to one oil change interval, go ahead and get the oil changed. Otherwise its like a trip across town, only longer.