Road trip - what do you guys think?

I’m trying to plan out a road trip to take in a couple of months - I’m planning pretty far ahead. I have a 2003 Civic Hybrid which will have, at the time I take my trip, around 75,000 miles on it. I will be driving in January through mostly northern states, starting in Iowa and eventually enduing up in South Carolina, with detours through Michigan and New England. I will be driving somewhere around 6 hours a day and putting nearly 5,000 miles on the car if I drive the route I’m looking at right now. Assuming I change the oil right before I leave and put on new tires, do you think that the car can take it without any serious problems, or should I plan something a little less ambitious?

You’ll be fine. I took an 8000 mile (13,000km) trip across western Canada last fall in my 02 Hyundai Accent. If an Accent can make it over the Rockies and through the interior of British Columbia, I would hope a Civic would be able to handle the (relative) flatness of the eastern States.

I don’t know why you are worried about the car. This trip will not challenge a car – any car – any more than would 5000 miles of daily commuting. You’ll do just fine.

What you should be worried about is the weather particular in the northern states. Heck even the midwestern states will have bad weather in January. Why are you taking this trip in the middle of winter?

The car will be fine. Another 5,000 miles is nothing for your Civic. Considering the time of year and the route you will be taking, I’d suggest you install winter tires before you start your trip.

I concur with mcparadise.

4 new snows for sure, check all fluids ensuring the coolant is good and is sufficient for atleast -35F.

Drive carefully and enjoy.


Assuming you’ve kept up the basic maintenance on the car I can’t imagine why you are even worried about it. I’d expect another 5 years and 75,000 miles out of that car before anything even halfway serious crops up. If then.

In addition to the tires and coolant, I suggest you make sure you have

  1. winter mix windshield washer fluid. Summer mix will freeze in the lines.
  2. rubber booted winter wiper blades. The boots prevent the wipers from getting iced up in a storm, and that makes a HUGE difference in safety and convenience.
  3. a couple of ice scrapers and snow brushes.
  4. warm clothing that you can layer.
  5. a AAA card.
  6. a credit card. The safest thing to do in a storm is watch it on a hotel TV set. And that’s far, far cheaper than an accident.

Dont forget the tow rope in case those nice folks in the east will actually stop and pull him out if he lands in a ditch for some reason. Presuming of course they know how to do so!!!

I wouldn’t worry, I’ve driven my car more than 5000 miles in the last month (and it’s an '82 with almost 400K miles). What’s the worst thing that’s likely to happen, the car breaks down any you have to call a tow truck?

Have the car checked out before you leave, carry a cell phone and a credit card and enjoy yourself.

We got stuck in a spring storm in WY this past March due to getting stuck behind alot of trucks that were stuck in the storm / wind was blowing snow for several hours. Ended up staying at the HS in Douglas and waiting until 25 opened to get to Casper and it was only supposed to be a 4 1/2 ride!!!

This is January and while we dont know the weather in the northeast / northern states we have heard alot of stories about storms so we hope to god; this guy will take some advice from everyone and not be an idiot when it comes to driving in bad weather and if he is; he will just be forced to wait it out; hopefully in a nice hotel / motel room.

The trip will be harder on you than the car.

No one has mentioned this however make sure the maintenance is up to date for your car.

Its only July folks. A couple of months is not exactly the middle of the winter in Iowa. Four snow tires? I don’t think so. I’m in Minnesota and haven’t had snow tires in 30 years. If you’re going in December or January, I’d say bring some warm clothes and a cell phone, but otherwise its not exactly unsettled territory.

Just make sure your belts, hoses, filters, etc. are fresh and you should be fine. 75K and a 5000 mile trip are nothing.

I will be driving in January through mostly northern states, starting in Iowa and eventually enduing up in South Carolina, with detours through Michigan and New England

If it makes you feel better, toss on 4 snow tires. A better strategy is to stop and wait if you encounter any significant snow. From what I’ve seen, it’s the ice on the roads that’s a bigger danger. Unless you’re on a strict schedule, just find a hotel when the weather gets bad, they usually have the interstates cleared within a few hours anyway.

“They will just have the interstates cleared in a few hours”

Maybe in the east but we have heard stories that the roads are closed for hours. Know that is the fact here (in the west) since in some areas we get blowing snow on plains and until that stops they cant even clear the roads. How many of you have heard 80 / 25 / etc are closed?

I live in denver and drive on I-25, I-70, and I-80 extensively. Notwithstanding blizzards, the roads are normally reopened within a few hours if they are closed at all (maybe a few times per year). I have lost a few hours due to weather on several occasions, in those cases snow tires really don’t matter because you’re not going anyplace anyway. Just check into a hotel and wait it out, it’s not a big deal unless you really need to be someplace.

Well we also live in the Denver area and also drive 25 / 80 and 70 alot.

We were in Laramie in January when all roads (80 and 287) was closed due to blowing winds and no it wasnt opened in just a “few” hours. This wasnt the only time it was closed in January when we were working there either. It doesnt take much to close 25 / 287 or the snowy range road 130 / 230 in the Laramie area.

We also spend alot of time working in WY and how many times has WY public radio said high wind advisory between Laramie and Rawlins and also Cheyenne and Laramie. If you add in snow to the mix; 80 is closed and its not opened until it stops blowing which in WY takes a long time at times.

How many times is 70 closed east of Airport road to the KS line? Quite a few times this year and we werent even in CO at the time but we heard about it in WY.

25 also was closed in WY and CO due to this several times this past winter.

70 also got closed especially Vail pass this year.

Any roads which are flat and get alot of wind are closed alot so if this is the situation in the east; the roads will be closed too. Though the mtn passes arent as high as they are in the west; if they cant keep the roads clear; its best to stay off.

Missed the January part but not withstanding, buying four snow tires is a bit excessive. I drive 100 miles a day in all weather conditions. Its not the snow that stops you but visibility and ice. Except for extreme conditions, you wait a couple hours until the roads are plowed and salted and the traffic clears and you’re on your way. South Dakota is a different matter where they don’t use salt but Iowa and east is civilized with salt sand and plows. Good radials and common sense is all that is needed.