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  1. #1

    Default has anyone else taken an old car on a long roadtrip?

    So me and my fiance are going on a month long road trip in September. We are going to see the West coast (starting in Mn, North Dokota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa then back home). About 5000 miles. The point of this trip is to see as many National parks as we can so my fiance who is a photographer can take pics. I have two car options I could take on this trip. The first is our "97 Dodge Advenger that has just over 200,000 miles on it. The second is my mothers 2006 Hondai Sonata. The good thing about taking my own car is that if something were to happen I would be ok with fixing it. Im on a budget so I would hate to make fixes to a car thats not mine. I just want to know if anyone else has taken an older high milage car on a long road trip? Do you have tips? I have taken long road trips like this before but that was mostly when I had a 2007 BMW. The one thing that is making me think my car can take this is our last road trip (mn, Niagra falls, NY, DC, Carolina, florida, Texas, then back up north to Mn and it did fine, but that was when it was at about 170,000 miles. ANybody have an ideas on what they would do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Confident ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You really need to work through the pros and cons and then make that decision for yourself as there is no way of judging what shape your Dodge is in. If you have put a lot of those miles on it and kept it well maintained, it is known to be reliable and in general good condition, plus you feel confident, then it is worth getting it checked out by someone who knows their "stuff" and tell them what you are planning and then make sure that all the necessary servicing and checks are up to date. Of course there are no guarantees whichever way you go, new cars break down as well but in answer to your question, we have had Lot's of people visit the forums and successfully take an older car on a long trip.

    As you are on a tight budget and covering a large distance, have you considered the difference in the cost of gas ? The difference could be quite significant, especially when in the mountains when the car's will become under more load/stress, which could pay for more minor repairs on the Honda should the need arrive. Of course not everyone who has taken an "old" car on a long road trip has had the generous offer of a newer one to borrow for the trip, but some have a newer car but really want to do their Roadtrip in their classic pride and joy !

    Either way, it sounds like a great trip !

  3. #3

    Default "Old" is a moving target

    Hello gracie,
    I just returned home from an out-and-back trip from North Carolina to Montana in a 2002 Ford pickup truck which had just over 185,000 miles at the start. She's within 100 miles of turning 192,000 this morning. I bought the truck used and the prior owner had a stack of maintenance records as thick as a telephone directory. My maintenance has been meticulous, as well.

    I have no fears about taking an 8-10 years or older vehicle on a long road trip provided I'm familiar with the maintenance history and driving characteristics of the owner. There is of course a long list of maintenance issues which should be attended to before departure, but as long as that's tended to and you're comfortable with the maintenance history of either vehicle, no worries here.


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

    Default the first 200,000 are just a warm up

    I'll let you know that my Roadtrip vehicle is a 2001 with 225,000 miles, and I just took it on a trip out to the east coast and back, so I completely agree that an old car that's been well maintained can still be a perfectly good car for a roadtrip.

    However, any time you are taking an old car on a roadtrip you are at an increased risk of having a breakdown on the road. A couple years ago, I had a breakdown in Ohio, that delayed my trip home by a day, and a repair that probably should have cost $200-300, and at home I could have done myself for even less, wound up costing me closer to $700.

    The nice thing about taking the Hyundai is that it should still be under warranty, so while its possible you might have to make some repairs while on the road, they likely wouldn't be major. At the very least, the engine/drivetrain should be covered, and those tend to be the real expensive issues, and many of the other things that wouldn't be covered would likely be catch-able by a good pre-trip inspection.

    My thought is that if your car was good enough to take a trip 30,000 miles ago, its probably still good enough to use it now. However, you know the car, its history, and its repair record better than any of us, and those really are the important factors.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Historically, the Hyundai has a better reliability record than the Dodge, if this can be considered as a factor.

  6. #6


    Thanks for the tips. I really want to take my Dodge cause its mine & even tho my mom could care less about me putting 5000+ miles on her car I just would feel bad. Im defently going to get a full check up on the car so I am hoping they say its all good and if they advice me not to take it then ill take my moms. Has anyone else taken an old car or high milage car. Its good to here a lot of others have done so. Im just SOOO excited for this trip and the worry wort/ over reactor in me keeps thinking about the what if, I think I should relax, lol. Thanks again everyone!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Make sure you have a AAA membership!

    About 20 years ago, I took a 17 year old Grand Prix with 180,000 miles on it on a trip from Chicago to Crawford NE and back. No trouble with it except things of my own doing (driving well over the speed limit with the A/C running full blast in 104 degree weather). No permanent damage, it overheated and I had to let it cool down for a couple hours and refill the radiator. I developed a slow leak in a tire and discovered a screw in it when I got back. Gas mileage was atrocious - I think I averaged about 11 on premium.......

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