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Subaru prep for the road trip of a lifetime

The car:

2002 Subaru Impreza WRX sedan. Five speed manual. 61k miles. Lowered, performance equipment installed: 12lb flywheel, 17 inch wheels, Optima battery, newer clutch, and braided steel clutch line and turbo oil supply line.

The trip:

I have a trip coming up in June. I am driving Route 66 from Springfield to LA. I will be taking 10 days to do it. I will return via interstate. Camping as much as possible. I am lucky that I am traveling with my Subaru car club so having a mechanic on site will not be a problem.

The prep:

New plugs, Fender rolling for new tires - I am going with a slightly bigger tire (225’s) as the 205’s I have now are beating me up on short trips. New struts. Transmission fluid swap. Oil change (shortly before the trip) - I always use full synthetic.

The question:

Is there anything I am missing? I do not want to be the guy who breaks down.

The only thing that is due if not ever changed are the spark plugs. They have a 60k interval for this car. I would also change out the coolant if not done recently(due every 30k miles).

If you want to be (more) comfortable use the stock 16" 205-55-16 tires. I have an 2004 WRX wagon and got rid of a set of 17"'s I bought used as I could not stand the ride.

Enjoy the trip.

If you want to be (more) comfortable use the stock 16" 205-55-16 tires. I have an 2004 WRX wagon and got rid of a set of 17"'s I bought used as I could not stand the ride.

In addition the 17" wheels are more likely to suffer damage from potholes. Some people really like the feel and unless they are in an area with a lot of potholes, then they should make an informed choice if the risk is worth it to then, then fine.

So long as you have done your 60K service, you should have no problems. I would take a close look at my drive belts. I have broken down most due to losing one than any other reason in my 40 yrs of driving.

Pay close attention as you pass thru route 66 in Kansas; otherwise you’ll miss it!

Enjoy your trip!!

I think you will be fine and can’t add anything more to this except for a camera to capture the good adventure. Maybe a mountain bike also to really get off the beaten path in Utah or other great seneic states.

Inspect hoses. Someone already suggested inspecting drive belts.

For properly maintained modern cars, this is not really a long trip. It may seem that way if you seldom drive a great distance. Back in 1908 it was a major trip taking weeks, but modern cars with modern highways, it isn’t as long as you might think.

I am somewhat used to driving cross country. Nearly 4 years ago, I drove nearly 11,000 miles in two months,getting my son moved from Amarillo to med school in Virginia. I started and finished in rural Puebla, Mexico. My 2002 Sienna had 76,000 miles when I started. Most days, I did not raise the hood. I do watch the gauges very closely and this will usually let you know if there is a problem.

The difference is I drove this car cross country a lot, and one develops confidence. Since you probably do not have that much experience with your car on long trips, look under that hood a couple times the first day, then every day at least once, including checking the oil, and glance at liguid reservoirs. Should be okay, but it is a good idea until you develop confidence in it.

I would do the exact same thing I recommend for you, with a brand new Sienna until I developed confidence in it.

That same Sienna has nearly 149,000 miles and I still don’t raise the hood most days on long trips.

Fuel filter and have you considered the timing belt/water pump/tensioner business if that has not been done?
If not, the T-belt is now 7+ years old and could be a serious problem if it let go.

I work for a bicycle shop here in Indy. The mtn bike will definitely be going.

Indy is pothole central. Especially right now. I had the 225’s on at first and really liked them comfort-wise, the problem was they rubbed on the fenders, so I exchanged them for the 205’s. Now I have access to a fender roller. The car club I am with will be doing some spirited driving out on the curvier sections of the highway and I definitely do not want the 16’s on there for that.

True, I do not have much experience with my car on long trips. I usually rent a car for driving vacations (nothing parties like a rental!).

I will have the gang inspect the hoses and belts.