I am planning to drive my 96 Honda civic from Indy to Colorado and from there to Wyoming and back. It has 150K miles on it, it runs ok., a 5 speed manual transmission. Part of my trip consists of driving it in an unpaved road for about 50miles. total distance is about 4K and will be driving this in 2 weeks. i have never driven this car such a distance in such a short time. i’ve driven 600miles per day many times though. Your ideas
Make sure your maintenance is up to date and motor on. If it gives you peace of mind, get an AAA membership.
Depending on how the unpaved road is, you may want to detour around it if you can.
Falling asleep from boredom while driving through Kansas and/or Nebraska would be my biggest worry.
If the car has been properly maintained, you should not expect anything much different from what you would experience if you drove it for a total of ~4k miles over a period of a few months nearer your home.
But…has it been properly maintained?
Are there any current issues with the way that the car runs?
When somebody tells me that their old car runs “ok”, I interpret that to mean that it doesn’t run well, but that it is…acceptable to them. If there are any issues with the way that the car runs, I would suggest having them taken care of before a road trip.
At the top of my list for vital maintenance for this car would be replacing the timing belt.
It should have been changed at least twice already, based on elapsed time since it was new.
Has the timing belt been changed in the past 6 years/90k miles? If not, it is overdue, and when that belt snaps (with no warning whatsoever) it will be similar to a grenade exploding inside a couple of the cylinders. (Translation: Repairs that could cost more than the car’s book value.)
Have the water pump, serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners replaced at the same time as the timing belt.
Also–what is the condition of your tires?
Personally, I would not set out on a road trip unless I had a set of tires that was in good condition all-around. If you have to replace a tire on the road, you will not have the same choice of brands and prices as you would have if you shopped around near home.
And, of course, make sure that you check the oil every day while you are on the road. After 16 years, it is very possible that this engine is going to consume oil when operated for hours at a time at high speed.
Adding to Bscar2’s advice:
If your car is in good condition go for it. I would recommend you keep your speeds on the Interstates moderate. Stresses on your car go up exponentially with increases in speed. When driving across the Great Plains I’ve found an almost uncontrollable urge to get it over with by driving faster. Set your cruise control at the speed limit, or slightly lower if safety allows and settle in for the long haul. The same applies for unpaved roads. Your car wasn’t designed for off road, but it will do fine if you keep your speed down. Take some music. Finding good radio stations is a problem, IMO.
Belts; hoses; and tires have traditionally been involved in most highway failures.
And, check the oil every rest stop before you start again, at least the first day, just to make sure that car doesn’t use oil at highway speeds. It probably does not, this is a case of safety first.
On Great Plains driving - just have a selection of tunes one loves (or even a books-on-audio), learn to enjoy the beauty of the ever changing skies, enjoy some of the weird and interesting loads the big rigs are pulling and other things about other vehicles, and relax.
This girl grew up in Wichita Falls, now lives in upstate New York, and misses driving that kind of country. One does not have to consider it boring.
Agree with MTraveler - drive moderately. When I was driving an older vehicle like my 1997 Explorer on a road trip, I’d stay in the right lane for the most part, all the easier to deal with any breakdown. When the Taurus’ transmission broke down on my son, he needed to coast across a couple of lanes to get off the road, not the greatest situation to put oneself in.
But many an old Honda Civic has gone many a mile on many a road trip, it’s a staple for young people and college students. You’ll be fine.
If you are up to date on the maintenance, just be sure to check/inflate your tires before you leave. If it is not up to date, then it needs to be done first. VDCdriver made some good points.
If you are going to be due for an oil change sometime during the trip, it would be better to have it done by a trusted mechanic before you leave, you really don’t want it done by an unknown when you are far from home.
Have a gallon of distilled water with you for an emergency. Carry a spare key on yourself just in case. I’d hate to see you lock your keys in your car at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere.
I always enjoyed the Great Plains. Not so much the Interstates as the two-lanes, where you drive by farms and through some small towns that seem frozen in the fifties, or even the thirties. The smaller roads are only a little slower than the Interstate, so if you get bored and there is another road you can take for a bit, give it a try. See the U.S.A., in your Chevrolet…
Please don’t misconstrue my advice to the OP. IMO you can’t fully appreciate the magnitude and diversity of our country until you’ve driven it. I’ve made the rounds a few times both in a car and on a motorcycle. My girl friend and I, in a car, I took a two month 10K roundabout. Less than ten percent of the trip was on Interstates. If you have the time, taking U.S. routes instead of the Interstates is the best. Still, like Dirty Harry said,” A man’s got to know his limitations”. I use the cruise control method and have benefited not only from better gas mileage and reduced strain on the car but have been able to take in the sights as well. The OP sounds like he has to cover a lot of ground and a short time to do it. I only counsel restraint. I have to add, the couple of days it took to ride a motorcycle across Kansas on U.S. 50 was the longest week of the trip.
I was a farm kid. In Feb. 1964, I was drafted. In December that year I flew back to the Midwest, put a rebuilt motor and transmission in my old 1953 Chevrolet, and a few days before New Years, left for Ft. Lewis.
I left at noon, and 50 hours later, entered Ft. Lewis, a short distance west of Tacoma.
Except for a short 500 mile to Arkansas and back, I had done no long distance driving. So, driving day and night for 50 hours with only short turns by a hitch-hiker I picked up (he was a mechanic, heh, heh) that was a very memorable trip. Including driving across the mountains, with the highway being closed behind me as I went from a major snow storm.
It was not all Interstate, a lot of US highway, also very interesting.
I drove that rebuilt motor around 55 mph. In Wyoming we encountered an ice storm, no other cars, so I upped it to 60 or so, which scared the bejabbers out of my passenger. Seattle doesn’t have much ice. I told him not to worry, with no other cars, no problem.
A long trip across the USA, the first time, is a very memorable experience. The vista changes so fast, it is hard to remember it’s the same country. Now, I have driven 250,000 miles since retiring in 1997, it’s never the same again.
Take it easy, and enjoy. This sort of thing is almost addictive, so you can be sure it won’t be the last time.