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Long road trip with a old car

I recently bought a pt cruiser 2002 and I’m taking it from Chicago to LA and has about 95000 miles. The trip is about 1700 miles. I changed all 4 four tires and changed the timing belt and water bump and a lot more other stuff. I would say the only one problem I’m having is a over heating problem but I’m figuring that out. Do you think I will make it. I’m super scared that my car won’t make it

For the overheating problem I found this fix at Its the #8 complaint on the list.

Ok for all of you out there that are having the problem with your PT over heating due to coolant loss. Here is a very easy and cheap fix for the problem. Before I say what the problem is or was I changed the water pump, timing belt, radiator, radiator hoses, Radiator cap, belts, plug wires, plugs and still had the problem. So after it started heating up the last time I got another radiator cap and was about to put it on and for some reason I pulled off the hose that goes to the Coolant return bottle and tried to blow thru it. Even put 100 psi from air compressor and blocked solid. changed the hose tried again and still couldn’t blow thru it. Removed the bottle and It was plugged up solid with coolant crud. Replaced the bottle with new one from And guess what no more problem. The dealer when I took it in told me they think it had a cracked head but didn’t say anything about the coolant return system. But I don’t know if they even checked it!! I have nothing to do with Rock Auto except that is where I buy some of my parts. Cost me -$35.00 to fix the problem and has never heated up since!!! Hope this helps with others PT problems my wife didn’t want me to get rid of her PT so I just happened to find the problem on my own!!

  • William L. , Annabella, UT, USA

I’d be scared too. I wouldn’t even attempt to take an. Overheating car on a 17 mile trip much less a 1700 mile one.

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Yeah, concur. Get the car fixed and make sure it’s reliable before you take it on the road. Overheating can not only strand you, but cause expensive damage to the engine as well.

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When you get the overheating problem fixed, be sure you have a credit card, a cellphone, and AAA (or equivalent).

Have a friend driving a new vehicle follow you all the way. Oh, and tell him to bring a tow chain. Do those two things and you have a 99% chance of arriving in LA.

You MUST get that overheating issue fixed or your problems are going to get nasty.

Chicago is on fairly flat land. What happens when that PT Cruiser has to start climbing grades in the mountains? That’s going to make an overheating issue much, much worse.

If operated in that condition it will soon blow a head gasket, fry the engine, or at the least create an engine that consumes a lot of motor oil.

Which brings up the issue of emissions testing in CA if you’re planning on moving ther permanently.

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Keep looking for the problem. The overflow tank issue sounds promising. You’ll know when you find the problem, and after you fix it I say go. I’ve driven old cars long distances with pretty good results. It’s a lot easier on a car to do that than drive the same number of miles in local short trips. Keep your speed reasonable, check the oil every time you get gas, eyeball the levels of brake fluid, check the transmission fluid and power steering fluid, tire pressure, etc.