Road trip in old car (really)


#1

Vehicle is 1987 Honda Accord with 181 grand. Major maintenance has been performed (clutch job, “tune up”, timing belt, water pump, etc).



I plan to drive the car from Louisville KY to Tallahassee FL. I don’t know how many miles that is, probably at least 600.



A/C works but leaks refrigerant. Might have to recharge the system enroute. Would it be dangerous to recharge the system with a hot engine? Any safety considerations?



I will check oil/coolant level several times enroute. Anything else I should check out before I go besides tires, belts, oil, coolant, etc?



I’m confident in this old thing getting me there I just don’t want to find myself stranded because I overlooked something stupid. Any advice? Thanks.


#2

670 miles. Not really that far.

But if you really want to be cautious…

Have you done the periodic maintenance items, regular oil change, transmission oil change, fuel filter, brake fluid change, antifreeze change, air filter, etc?

Beyond that, your best bet would be to take the car to a trusted mechanic and ask for a thorough checkout.


#3

Agree; this trip is no big deal. However, you may finish it without A/C. You can charge up a hot car with Freon. Just don’t go to a fly-by-night place that tops it up with propane.

Just keep checking the fluids as you go along.

Have a good trip!


#4

AC failure is not something that’ll strand you beside the road. Does your car habitually leak coolant or use oil in 600 miles of driving? I recommend fixing known leaks (or other problems) before the trip. Seems like you know what to check. Any car can break and strand you beside the road, new or old. I’d say go for it, but make sure you have a cell phone, cash, credit card to take care of unforseen breakdowns.

600 miles in one long drive is probably easier on your car than 60-10 mile drives. Main difference is if you break down 10 miles from home it’s less of a problem than if you break down 300 miles from home.


#5

Anytime major work has been done on a car, like clutch replacement, water pump, etc., do several hundred miles of “shakedown cruising” locally before embarking on a long road trip. Repairs aren’t always done right the first time and new parts have an infant mortality factor.


#6

Just bring a cell phone and have fun.


#7

Sounds like you’re on top of it. Long roadtrips are the easiest miles you can possibly put on your car and most breakdowns that do occur are from problems that existed before you left.

The one thing you didn’t specifically mention that I would suggest is changing the fuel filter. A long trip can put extra strain on the fuel pump, and I’ve found that a combination of a long trip and the gas of different lands can cause a borderline fuel system to quit working.

Have fun!