Road tripping: what do I ask for at the tune-up? (Honda fit)

I drive a 2008 BRIGHT red Honda Fit, manual transmission. About 71,000 mi on it and has already taken me from Hartford, CT to New Orleans, LA twice.

Now I’m moving from CT to CA and driving 3000 miles to get there. I have an appointment for a tuneup and I need to know:
What the heck do I ask for?? How do I not get tricked into spending lotsa money??

I said I wanted them to check out my brakes, transmission and radiator as well as change my air filter (which has been needing it). I have “comprehensive coverage” but it appears to cover more “mechanical breakdown” situations…

Thanks a bunch! This chick loves driving but doesn’t know know a lot about cars.

Go through the maintenance section of the owners manual and see what needs to be done at the 5 year and/or 71,000 mile point. Catch up on any missed maintenance, and if something’s due soon, might as well do it now.

Get your owner’s manual out and see what is required at the 60K level, and move forward to your current mileage. Did you do any of these items? If not, decide whether they need to be included for this service and specify them to the service advisor. Do not say, “I need an xxxx service” because you may get a more expensive service than the owner’s manual calls for.

Some you may be able to do yourself (like air filter). Decide what you want to do and revise the list accordingly.

Owner’s manual may not specify transmission oil changes, but it should specify when the radiator fluid needs to be changed. Transmission oil changes can be discussed here, since this board has a tendency to be fairly conservative in the interval recommendations. Some of the newer long life antifreezes have fairly long change intervals. Come back and ask questions before you commit if you have any questions at all.

As is often the case on this board, my view is different. If you have maintenance which has not been done, yes, you need to catch up. You might need that car a while.

However, assuming you change the oil with some regularity, it is unlikely you will have any problems in a 3,000 mile trip – again assuming you drive near the posted speed limits, and don’t run 90 to 120 mph.

Traditionally, most highway failures have been tires; belts; and hoses. At legal speeds, there is no more probability of that car failing in 3,000 highway miles than in the last 3,000 miles. Highway miles are easier on a car than driving around your home area.

My 2002 Sienna runs an easy 2700 rpm at 70 mph. Not hard on motor at all.

With over 190,000 miles on it, last October we left home here in Mexico, and drove 830 miles to the border. Then, 3 days and 1500 miles to Florida. A week later, 1500 miles back to border, then after preparing, another 830 miles home. Total, um, over 4600 miles. No problems at all, except I chose to install new motor belts which had well over 130,000 miles on them. No failure, my option. I also changed the oil and filter, of course.

I took my first cross country trip in December 1964, 2050 miles in a 1953 Chevrolet. 50 hours to Ft. Lewis. I have done many cross country trips over the years, and the only real problem I had was something I induced once and I am not going to talk about it, heh, heh.

You need to think about other things. Make sure you have a cell phone. If you don’t perhaps Straight Talk from Wal-mart with a month card for it. Take several gallons of water, they sell that stuff in gallon jugs. In the summer, if the car did die, you could be suffering from thirst. This is basic survival techniques and does not reflect on your car. We always took a large container of peanut butter. With that and water you can survive a rather long time. And, since you will be prepared for an emergency the odds of having one are slim.

The engine valve lash should be inspected and adjusted as necessary and that’s a recommended procedure whether there’s a road trip or not. This should be done about every 30k miles and the last thing you want is to be miles from nowhere and have a valve tighten up a bit too much as that can lead to some expensive engine damage.

For what it’s worth, when I worked for Honda inspection and adjustment of the valve lash was part of every major maintenance or during a full tune-up; although the word tune-up is a bit of a misnomer on modern cars.

You may also hear references to valve lash being checked every 100k miles plus or inspecting it “audibly”. Both of those recommendations are bad ones and it’s the quiet valves that cause the worst problems; not the noisy ones.

You might also consider adding a few extra pounds of air to the tires as that can help fuel mileage and also check the engine oil level now and then. Hope that helps and enjoy the trip.