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  1. #1

    Default Mozy Road Trip up the west coast. Car question

    Hi, I'm brand new here as a member but have been a lurker for a year. I'm finally planning for my 4 week road trip next summer. I have loads of want-to-stop places but nothing pressing so it will be so much fun to see where the road takes me.

    My question: I have an older Buick Regal (1996) that drives fabulous and as smooth as glass. Do I dare use this car for my trip from Phoenix to San Diego and up the coast to Widbey Island in Washington and back again? Or should I rent a new model?

    I can spend some bucks for new tires and some preventative care before I leave.

    Thanks for future help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two Factors to Consider

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While there are lots of nuances to choosing your RoadTrip vehicle the use-my-car vs. rent-their-car debate really comes down to two items: Is your car mechanically up to the trip? and: Will their car get such better mileage as to pay for itself? The only way to answer the first question is to have your Buick checked out thoroughly by a trusted, competent mechanic. If he says it's good and reliable for the few thousand miles you'll put on it during your drive, then that's a very strong vote in favor of taking it. Then, assume that you'll get somewhere around 30 mpg highway with a rented compact/intermediate sedan. How much extra would you pay to feed your Buick? Assuming your car gets 15 mpg (half as much), gas is $3.50, and you'll be driving 2000 miles, then the extra cost to drive your car would be about $465. So, if your Buick gets lousy gas mileage and isn't mechanically sound, then this becomes a no-brainer. If it is sound and gets decent mileage, then you're probably better off with your own car. If it's close, you can consider secondary benefits such as the comfort and 'gadgets' of a new car vs. the familiarity of your own.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-08-2013 at 12:35 PM. Reason: I think I put in the URL AZBuck was referring to??

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    That's a question that really only you can determine.

    If you like your car, and you believe it is up for the task, then it is certainly an option. Of course, any car that is getting close to 20 years old is at a higher risk of having a breakdown as things just wear out. If you want to take it, you should have it looked over by a mechanic before you leave to find any obvious problems, and know there will be the chance that even after an inspection, there could be another issue that needs to be fixed while you are on the road. Having some roadside coverage, like AAA, would also be a good idea.

    Of course, if you rent a car, you're going to get a nearly new car, and in the rare case you have a problem, you just swap it out for a new one. There can be some great deals for in-town rentals, and when you take the better mpg of a newer car, your total costs to rent might not end up being that much, and could very well be worth saving the wear and tear on your current vehicle.

  4. #4


    Thanks so much AZBUCK and Midwest Michael. Good hints and now I can think clearly.


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