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  1. Default Worried about my car making a trip from LA to Atlanta

    My friends and I were planning on taking a road trip to Atlanta where one of my friends' parents are buying a house. We want to take 3 full days to get there and back. I was planning on using my car but my parents, who paid for half of it, are hesitant. My car is a 2005 Honda Civic with 101,000 miles on it. The oil is going to be changed in the next month regardless of the trip or not. I need to check with the previous owners if the timing belt has been replaced yet but I don't think it has. Other than that, the tires are pretty new and I haven't had any issues with it at all since I got it about a year ago. What is your advice on the car being ready for the trip?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    My husband and I regularly drive vehicles that are older than your car, with lots more miles, on a trip. Before a vacation, we take the vehicle to our trusted mechanic and ask him to go through it very finely: hoses, belts (especially those expensive serpentine/timing belts), brakes, electrical system, and of course ALL fluids (tranny, brake, oil). We do an oil change and (on our diesel), a fuel-filter/water separator change if it's anywhere near that time. Same with tires -- including the spare (since our diesel has a FULL size spare, not one of those donut things) -- to make sure all of them are in great shape and that the spare has enough air pressure in it.

    The next thing we do is make sure that we have a good emergency road service package -- AAA is our current "go-to", and probably the best known out there with the most tow truck companies affiliated. That has to be in tandem with money, or a credit card, to pay for a repair, which can and does happen.

    Finally, LA to Atlanta is a FOUR day drive, not 3-days. It's almost 2200 miles, and you are starting and ending in the US cities with the worst reputation for traffic. Trying to do this in 3 days means you are trying to do more than 725 miles per day. That's 15 hours of driving time (ignore what electronic map programs tell you) for three days in a row. You will hate yourself, and each other, crammed into a car for that long. Even professional drivers are not allowed in the drivers or passenger seats for that long of a time -- their max is 10 hours. So, for that reason, don't plan more than 500-550 miles per day, even if you do have more than 1 driver.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    If your vehicle has been properly checked over by a trusted mechanic, who knows about the trip you are about to undertake, then rely on what a qualified person tells you, and have everything suggested attended to. Don't make these decisions yourself, listen to the experts.

    I have no hesitation taking my 1998 Ford with more than 150.000 miles on the clock, to Alaska, once it has been given the OK by a qualified mechanic.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not the biggest concern

    When I see your plan, your car is not the biggest reason that you and your parents should be concerned. Your timeline is very worrisome. As Donna mentioned, at more than 2200 miles, LA to Atlanta is way too far of a distance to try and cover in 3 days. 4 days is the bare minimum to do this safely, even with multiple drivers, and even there, you're looking at being on the road for close to 10 hours each day. If you can't give yourself at least 4 days each way, you shouldn't try to attempt this trip in any vehicle.

    The miles and age of your car really don't concern me much - a 10 year old car at 100k miles is just getting warmed up, as long as it's been well taken care of. I've taken plenty of trips with cars beyond 250k. Having said that, there is no way for anyone on an internet forum to know if your car has been well taken car of. You need to take your car to a skilled mechanic to look over it. It would also be wise to do any of the routine maintenance that is called for at the 100k mark - which in addition to an oil change and timing belt - likely means a flush of other fluids (transmission, brake, coolant), and possibly some other things like spark plugs or brakes. Again, these are all things your mechanic should be able to help advise you about, and let you know what your car needs to be ready to hit the road.

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