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Long road trip with a 98 Camry

I’m planning a 4k mile trip down to Tahoe, Napa, LA, San Diego, Grand Canyon, etc, etc.

I have seen the long road trip guidance from click and clack.

The Camry has 150k miles.

I just got new tires and I’m getting new struts and an oil change this week.

I’m going to check:

Cooling system

ball joints

rod ends

steering components




And will bring:



duct tape

spare tire




vise grips

coat hanger

tire jack

tire rod


Anything else?

I think you will be better prepared than 99.9% of all the other cars on the road. Good list, if you have any room put some water in the car to keep the driver hydrated and alert. Bon Voyage!

Consider joining AAA if you’re not already a member.

Satellite radio would be nice on some of those stretches.

A car charger for your cellphone could be useful, especially because your battery will go down more quickly where the signal is poor.

I was thinking about getting AAA, but I already have emergency coverage through my insurance up to $150 per incident. Do you think that will be enough or should I still consider AAA?


Oh one more thing…I’ll be bringing along my inverter as well.

Cell phone (Tracfone is fine)

Since you are venturing into the desert, a couple of gallon jugs of water from the grocery store

About 10 feet of soft wire (for tying exhaust pieces back on temporarily if you venture down the wrong dirt road – easier to work with than the coathanger)

A box of spare fuses

An old blanket

A second jack or (better) a jackstand if you think there is any chance that you might be tempted to crawl under the car.

You’ll get the accessory belts checked I’m sure, just forgot to mention it.

I’d probably include a tire plug kit and an effective tire pump, but that’d be overkill for most people. (I’d throw my tool box in the back as well)

The only other thing I ever had to use not on your list was tire chains when I managed to get myself stuck on a hillside near Bakersfield covered with some very slippery vegetation.

***Satellite radio would be nice on some of those stretches. ***

My experience has been that cell phone coverage in the West is amazingly good. (Better than Vermont and the Adirondacks actually). One may have to climb a hill and hold the phone just so to get a signal, but I had pretty good luck making phone calls from places where one would guess that the likelihood of cell phone coverage was close to zero.

Has the timing belt ever been changed?
If so, when was it changed, and at what odometer mileage?

Yes, the timing belt was changed at 95k 2 or 3 years ago.

In that case, based on your very comprehensive list of preparations, I would say that you are good to go.

Happy Motoring!

Congradulations for being so well prepared. On a long trip[ I always carry cellphone, credit cards, AAA membership. A can of tire inflator is handy if you can’t change a flat or leaking tire conveniently.