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Long Distance Travel

My car is 21 years old and It has way over 200,000 miles but the meter broke so the number is unknown it had major issues a year ago but they have been fixed, I recently have been offered to go on a trip for work but I am unsure if my care will make it. The trip is about 450 miles 1 way and a 6 1/2 hour drive. Should I risk it?

Who knows? it will or it won’t, impossible to predict. Why not rent as cheap a car as you can and if it stalls a phone call will get you another one. Besides, the rental might be less expensive than a on the road tow and repair.

Agree! Unless you know the exact condition of your car it would be risky to go on such a trip with definite timelines. I would agree that renting a cheap car would be a safer choice.

If a car is well maintained and running well it may not be a problem. I’ve taken a few 1000 mile trips on my Pathfinders and wifes Accords when they have over 300k miles. Didn’t even worry about it. I can’t speak for your vehicle. If you’re at all worried, then I’d consider different transportation. Maybe have a good mechanic check it out for you before you go.

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At that age and mileage, there certainly is a chance that something could go wrong. Depending on where you’re driving, Infiniti parts could be hard to get in a hurry if needed. You could bring your car to your mechanic for a pre-trip inspection to try to catch any obvious problems. What was the major issue that was fixed?

How does the 450 mile trip look? Basically flat or through mountains? It does sound like high speed (nearly 70 mph).

If it is basically flat, would you drive your car 30-50 miles on a similar trip? If so, would you drive 100 miles on a similarly flat trip? 200 miles? More?

ur not driving from Chicago to mpls to drop off a “package”, are you? maybe your employer should provide a company car.

+1…sort of…

The two keys words are “If” and “may”.
Only the OP knows if the car has been scrupulously maintained, and whether or not it has some…issues…currently.

IF it has been as well-maintained as your vehicles and my vehicles are, then this drive might be uneventful. However, if the OP tends to extend the periods between maintenance procedures and/or if the car is not running very well right now, then the trip could turn into something…not so pleasant.

How has it performed in the last 450 miles? There’s not a lot of difference between driving 15 miles/day for a month and driving 450 all at one go. If you were crossing Greenland or the Sahara - that’d be different.

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Yeah you never know. With my work car I would drive over 100 miles a day so I was fairly sure what condition it was in. When it had about 400K on it, I would do the 7 hour one way drive every couple weeks to see my dad. Never had a problem but would never have hesitated junking it along the way and renting a car if something happened.

You really should consider renting if you are concerned and work will pay? 200K is not all that much but things happen when you put it on the highway for sustained travel.

I think it’s a great idea. If usually you only drive short distances, a long trip would be great for the engine. Helps get rid of crud that builds up because the engine never gets hot long enough to properly burn everything off.

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I would usually say just do it, but if you are worried then just rent a car. That way you know your costs. Some times you have to get the wild cards out of the game.

I am like @Bing; you have to be willing to junk it and move on if it breaks down. Otherwise you are stuck out of town trying to figure an economical way of fixing the car.

If you shop around, you should be able to get a rental car for $20-30 a day. Use a credit card that provides insurance.

Otherwise, plan ahead with a cell phone and make note of towns/repair places on route and probably have AAA membership if you already don’t have it.

At 200K you’d have to have maintained the car really well for it to be reliable enough for a 900 mile round trip. If you want to do the trip and some maintenance is behind schedule, this could be the incentive to get it done though. If I were going on such a trip w/my 200K Corolla, here’s what I’d do before leaving:

  • Change engine oil and filter
  • Proper transmissions service, for auto’s usually means to drop & clean pan, sieve fluid for unusual debris, replace filter.
  • Fix all leaks
  • Hand spin water pump, alternator, AC compressor, and radiator fan, listening for abnormal sounds or play in the bearings. Any coolant in water pump weep hole, if so replace water pump.
  • Rebuild or replace both side’s half-shaft CV joints and replace all 4 boots.
  • Replace spark plugs, wires, cap, and rotor
  • Check valve clearances
  • Engine and transmission mounts ok?
  • Suspension bushings look ok?
  • Tires less than 3 years old and in good shape? Any abnormal wear patterns must be explained.
  • Visual inspection of brakes, at least one wheel front and back. Check wheel bearings at same time.
  • Any fluids low? A reason must be found.
  • Any unexplained noises, clunks, whines, whirs, etc must be explained or fixed.
  • Any Starter, Battery, Charging system problems? Have it all tested.

Ask you shop to recommend any hard to find (for you car) repair items it would make sense to bring along in the trunk. Alternator, starter motor, water pump comes to mind.

When I’m presented with this issue, I rent a car. It’s usually pretty inexpensive if you book well in advance.

Huge list… there goes the mileage per diem… :grin:

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When I was driving 3000 miles a month in an old car I used to carry a spare computer. Never needed it though. Even I never carried a water pump, starter, and alternator though.

You mean you don’t carry a roll of duct tape in your trunk? I thought everybody does.

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Tow a spare car.

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I wouldn’t hesitate, but I’m just that kind of a guy. Once I picked up an 18 year old car with 192k on it and drove it 2400 miles to get it home.

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Will your employer cover a rental? If so, you might want to give that idea a thought.