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  1. Default Vehicle question before cross-country trip...

    I plan on driving from SW Virginia to Washington state in September of 2024.

    I will be driving my 2007 Honda Ridgeline, and was wondering what absolutely necessary vehicle maintenance might be recommended before I venture out? Other than the very obvious (new tires, an oil change), what would you suggest?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Maintenance is always an ongoing task.

    You're going into some potentially very, very, very cold temperatures.
    A failure of your vehicle could be life-threatening. There are some pretty long stretches between services along I-90.

    How new is your battery? (if 5 years or more old my policy is to change it)
    How recently have your fan belts been changed?
    Has your coolant been checked for a freezing point? Is it -30F or better?
    How recently have your brakes been looked at?
    How recently have your wiper blades been changed?
    Is your windshield washer fluid winter blend? (or will in freeze in the tank?)
    Is your spare tire aired up? Do you know where it is and how to change it? (are you sure?)

    I prefer to have confidence in my vehicles so the above is what I check when planning a December run from Colorado to Seattle the years I do that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona


    Howdy, and welcome to the RTA forums!

    Assuming you have a mechanic you can trust, have them do a complete inspection, along with the oil change. Tell them you're driving across the country, and that you want to head off any potential trouble. Have them check the condition of belts and hoses, address any obvious fluid leaks, and, considering the age of your vehicle, you may need to service the transmission, and/or the radiator. Check fluid levels (and condition of the fluid) in every part that has fluid (including your differential). Make sure your brakes and your front end are in good shape (check wheel alignment). Check the condition of your spare tire (or donut). If it's as old as your car, it should probably be replaced. Even new tires can go flat, so be sure you have a functional jack and lug wrench, and that you know how to use them. (Auto Club memberships are great for emergency services, but if you're in the middle of nowhere, they can be slow to arrive).

    This probably sounds like a lot; if you've owned the vehicle long enough to know its history, much of it might not be necessary. Many shops will do this sort of inspection for free, and they can help you prioritize any repairs you might need. It's no fun breaking down when you're on a Road Trip, so it's a good thing when you do a thorough inspection in advance.

    Good luck--and Happy Trails!


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