Need advice for long road trip

Soon I will be traveling from San Diego, CA to southern Oregon and back

in my 180,000 mile 95 escort. What should I do to prepare? The trip will be approx. 1500 to 1800 miles round trip.

If you have kept up with routine maintenance on your Escort, and followed the maintenance schedule, the car should be ready for the trip. Check the fluids and the tire pressures, gas up and go.

If you weren’t taking this trip you would expect the car to last another 2,000 miles, wouldn’t you? Of course you would, and 2,000 miles on the highway is MUCH easier on the car than 2,000 miles of daily commuting.

If, on the other hand, you have NOT been keeping up with routine maintenance, now would be a good time to bring everything up to date.

How old it the timing belt on this car?

I have taken many long trips in my lifetime and used to fret over preparations as you are doing now. I would have my car serviced into tip-top condition. I would bring along extra oil, water, snacks, spare parts, my toolbox, and the repair manual.

Nowadays I only check the oil and the tire pressure before leaving. Many people have cell phones so I don’t even bother with one of my own. That’s all you need; now, off you go. You still need snacks.

McP and SteveF have it right, but I would further make sure all the fluids are topped off, and I would take a few emergency tools. Running out of windshield washer fluid or having to replace a bulb is no big deal when you are close to home, but can be a big inconvenience if you are in the middle of nowhere. And make sure your spare tire is useable and properly inflated.

I aggree with everyone except for one thing that got left out: on the trip you MUST hit the redwoods on hwy 101. Just north of the intersection of 101 and 1 there is a side road (excellent condition) called “The Avenue of the Giants”. If you have not driven it before, it will change your life. “Git on the pony and ride, son”.


Make sure you bring a cell phone. Have fun.

Bring your cell phone. Have a credit card if you need to rent and abandon this chariot.

Don’t forget to make sure you pack the jack. I went on a 1000 mile trip this pas weekend (round trip) and I apparently forgot to pack the jack in my car after cleaning out the trunk. Luckily I didn’t have to use it to change a flat but, thats probably one of the worst things to forget.

Since my car is about 105,000 and I do periodically make this trip I do have AAA service just as a precaution. Its more for piece of mind than anything else.


i’d just double check your tires so see how the treads are and if they’re safe for a long summer drive.

If you have kept up with routine maintenance and promptly fixed everything that has worn out or broken, you should have no problems. Just check fluid levels, (especially oil) and tire pressures (including the spare).

We have a 1998 Subaru with 171k miles and a 1984 RX-7 with 185k miles and would not hesitate to take either of them on the trip you propose. A month ago, we took the Subaru on a camping trip into the mountains in Wyoming.