Older car, long trips

Messages
2,023
Location
.
I'm planning 2 trips this spring, each of which will be about 3,000 miles. I plan to use our 1999 Acura TL. The car has only 88,000 miles, and has been extremely well cared for since new. Fluids will up-to-date, belts are newish, hoses look fine even though original, tires and brakes are fine. The car runs and looks pretty much as new. I'll confess a little anxiety about taking a car of this age on a long trip. While 88,000 miles isn't a lot, some things do deteriorate with age and the car just turned 13. What do you guys think? Anything in particular you think I should take care of or be aware of? Or do you think I should use a different car? Thanks!
 
Messages
1,107
Location
CA
My considerations would be 1) Comfort 2) Mpg ie gas cost over 6000 miles 3) Tire tread depth left / likelihood of wet weather and also whether one of my cars has particularly expensive tires 4) Which car would benefit more from a good trip like that 5) Will you be doing a lot of downhill braking and if so which car has better / ceramic brakes
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,112
Location
Roseville, CA
The maintenance seems up to date, go for it. Get a full size spare if you don't have one. Bring some tools, just in case. Get an AAA memebership if you don't have one. And most importantly... drive safely!
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
If the timing belt is done, I'd have no worries except the transmission which is a problem with these cars, and that's a 2nd/3rd gear issue (not a highway issue).
 
Messages
3,610
Location
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
All suggestions above are great. All your fluids, Filters, coolant, brakes and tires have been examined and checked. Your good to go..... I make long highway trips all the time with no problem. You might want to read up on fuel additives. I use TC-W3, 1 ounce per 5 gallons of gas mixed with an equal amount of Chevron Techron Fuel System cleaner at each fill up. The TC-W3 is a great UCL and has cleaning properties with the Chevron Techron Fuel System cleaner. I mix up a batch and keep it stored in 6 ounce bottles for the trips. Just reuse the empty 6 ounce bottles later on, when you need to keep your stash full.
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
so long as you have your t-belt replaced (along with genuine OE Honda idler tensioner bearing, water pump, etc.) and everything is holding up really well, one cannot see how this old car cannot take/handle such trip. I, for one, do not believe in the adding of additives in oil (so long as your engine isn't burning any oil to begin with), or unproven gasoline additives. Just drive and be happy. Q.
 
Messages
360
Location
Wisconsin
I would not worry too much. If the timing belt has been replaced recently, you should be good to go. Obviously, check brakes, tires (spare too!) Some stuff may fail, but there is not much you can do to prevent it. For example: I took a long road trip years ago in my 1998 Altima, which had about 150k miles on it then. 500 miles in the alternator died. The bearings were fine, it just stopped charging. I guess the moral is that have AAA or towing on your insurance policy, and do as much as you can to keep your vehicle maintained prior to leaving.
 
Messages
17,298
Location
OH
It's a Honda of a solid generation. You should be just fine. We drove a '94 Accord from here to Spokane when the car was eleven years old. The car had seen so little use that it actually hit 100K somewhere in Wisconsin. The old dear did just fine. Our newer Accord is now 12+ years old. Hard to believe that we bought it in August '99. I would not hesitate to drive it anywhere. As long as the car has been properly cared for through its life, there should be no problems. Also, you do see new cars on temporary tags broke down by the side of the road once in awhile, so new or newer is no guarantor of trouble-free motoring.
 
Messages
2,400
Location
In The Region Between
The only real concern seems to be to be the hoses. On my car, they are original, but my mechanic says they are still flexible, not swollen and like new. Have your mechanic comment on yours. Your hoses likely have the same likelihood to break if the trip is short or not. If they are good on the outside they are likely good on the inside. Weather temperatures now are mostly not all that hot all over the country.
 
Messages
1,841
Location
.
My 97F150 with 211,000 miles just got back from a trip from Ohio to Colorado without skipping a beat. All original hoses too. The belt has been replaced a few times. This truck sees scheduled maintenance and nothing else aside from normal wear item replacement. If I feel fine with my truck bought new in 3/06, you should have nothing to worry about. 100,000 miles on a car today is like 50,000 miles on a car from yesterday. Wheel bearings on those Acuras start to make noise around 150,000 miles. Even with original hoses, I would not worry. Take some basic tools and a roll of duct tape. Make sure your spare tire has air and take a can of Fix-a-Flat. Let us know how the trip went.
 

Danh

Thread starter
Messages
2,023
Location
.
Thanks for the advice and reassurance everyone. The timing belt has been changed once and is not yet due for its second replacement. I'll take a look at the hoses again and maybe replace the upper, which seems pretty easy to do. It's really been a terrific car so far. I suppose there will come a time when it shouldn't be trusted for long trips, but maybe we're not there yet. The transmission is a bit of a wild card, but the 1999's 4 speed auto seems to be more reliable than later year's 5 speeds.
 
Messages
676
Location
TX south plains
I had the same concerns when I took off from KC to Denver (not as long) in my newish to me 1994 Jaguar. I didn't have an idea of the service history but had gotten most everything up to date. It took it like a champ and got me there and back. The MPG is a different story but hey a few extra bucks in gas versus the dollars of a new or even rental car is pretty inconsequential.
 
Messages
1,841
Location
.
I have seen many Honda timing belts go 200,000 miles without changing and they look fine when removed. Today's round tooth timing belts last way longer than the old square tooth belts of years past. You are right. The 4sp is bombproof when compared with the newer 5sp.
 
Messages
691
Location
Van, B.C.
y not jsut rent a car? saves wear and tear and your not on the hook if/when something breaks? my bmw is almost 25 years old and I just use if fro groceriens on the weekend and trips around town. Saves KMS in the long run too. for the small cost to rent your also usually getting unlim. mileage. to me, its a no-brainer, but everyone sems to think i waste money by doing this? dunno why esp. since I dont' have to watch my car depreciate faster than I can drive it, and I also dont' have to deal with worries when far away from home.
 
Messages
1,164
Location
Fresno, CA
My brother used to rent a car every time his trip exceeded 100 miles. Finally I told him he could use either of my vehicles if he was so worried that his cars might not make it. Lately he's preferred to use my 95 Legend due to better mpg than my Ridgeline plus it's still a luxury coupe. Last month he took it for 2 weeks and when he got back he had put over 2k miles on it. He and his wife never had a concern due to the upkeep on the Legend. So if my 16 year old Acura can do, I think your 12 year old should be fine. Sounds like you take care of it as well. BTW, I never rent a car. Why have a car if you never take it on long trips? Who cares about depreciation on a 16 year old car anyway?
 
Top