Will My Car Make It Across the Country

I have 94 Camry with 90,000 miles on it. It has had some trouble with the brakes in the past, but I’ve had them repaired and I’m planning on taking it to the mechanic before I go. I’m going to college so it will be loaded up with stuff.

Thanks for your advice.

A trip across the country is 3,500 mile max. Most cars go 3,500 miles without a problem. Check your tires, make sure you have the recommended air pressure in them and decent tread. Have all the “belts” and hoses checked to make sure they are OK. Have a recent oil change and all normal maintenance up to date. The trip should not be a problem. A road service policy like AAA is never a bad idea, just in case.

Assuming you’ve been taking care of it, yes. The mechanic will be able to square you away on anything that needs to be done before launching.

Highway driving is generally easy on a car. It should not be a problem.

You would be more likely to have a problem driving 3,500 miles in your city.

Make mine another vote of confidence. By taking it to the mechaniic, by having had the brakes fixed, you’re doing everything right. And, as others have said, 3500 highway miles really isn’t much.

Added precautions you might take:
Subscribe to AAA if yo are not already a member.
Pick up a 12VDC converter (in car charger) for your cell phone.

Agree with all the above suggestions! I would also make sure the drive belt(s) are OK; at that mileage some may be worn enough to need replacement.

Have a great trip!

Do you know the full maintenance history of this car?
If not, then you should assume that the timing belt needs to be replaced at this point.

On Camrys of that era, the timing belt is supposed to be replaced every 60,000 miles or every 6 years, whichever comes first. So, this car–despite its low odometer mileage–should have had that belt replaced at least twice already. Unless you can confirm that it was replaced within the last 5 years–maximum–you need to have this done before setting out on your trip.

While I don’t think that this car has an interference design engine (others can correct my assumption if I am incorrect), you have to consider whether you would want to have this repair done by a random repair shop in…God only knows where. “Out-of-staters” who have repairs done by random shops frequently find that they were overcharged for substandard work, simply because the customer is in a bind and will not return if the repair work was bad.

If you need to have that timing belt replaced at this point, be sure to also have the water pump, drive belts, and belt tensioners replaced at the same time–before the trip.

A Camry with 90,000 miles, if properly maintained, is just ‘broken-in’ and ready for some serious driving.
Have fun. Take Pictures. Take side trips.

In 1962 I drove a 1947 Chevrolet with over 100,000 miles for 8000 miles during my summer vacation from college with no mechanical failures. I say that you are good to go!

Yes. It only has 90000 miles.

An AAA card will handle most problems – and you probably won’t have any. I would make sure that the spare tire has air in it and that you have a jack just in case.

If you are one of the small number of people in the US who doesn’t have a cell phone, maybe buy the cheapest prepaid phone you can find. I think you can buy a Tracfone and a few minutes of airtime at many drugstores. Activate it and test it before you leave. Cell phones sometimes ship broken. I sort of think that the days when you had to worry about whether your phone would talk to the various networks you might encounter en route are largely over, but perhaps that is still an issue. If so, perhaps someone can make some useful suggestions.

If you’ve taken care of the car it should be no problem. I have a ranger from the same year with almost 130k and I’ve driven it across country going to and from college 8 times in the past 2 years, 4 of those times with a couple hundred pounds of stuff in the back. My major problems have been weather related.
As mentioned by other posters AAA is a good idea though I have never had to use mine. I’d also recommend if you are driving in sparsely populated areas to have a small box with fluids for both yourself and the car. Also make sure you have an inflated spare and jack as the major damage your car is likely to take would be from things like broken bottles in the road punturing tires. It also might be a good idea to have a breaker bar as most auto shop put tires on with an air wrench and torque them well beyond easy removal. That should be more than you will need for whatever problems you run into.

If she can drive her car, you can drive your car.


As others have said, it’s not the miles but the condition of your car that matters most.


Have the car gone over well. Honestly though, unless the car is a complete piece of crap it should make it.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the necessity of replacing the timing belt (and water pump, and tensioners) if the OP could not verify that it had already been replaced on schedule. However, the OP never reacted or responded to that suggestion.

Just in case my earlier post was overlooked by the OP, I would strongly suggest that he/she consider my suggestion and that he/she check the car’s maintenance records to see when–if ever–the belt was replaced.

On the basis of elapsed time, that timing belt should have been replaced at least once already and is now due for another belt replacement, but as we all know, most car owners seem to focus only on odometer mileage, rather than the equally important elapsed time factor for timing belt replacement.