Go Back  Bike Forums > The Lounge > Foo
Reload this Page >

Strategy for driving long distance with very old car

Foo Off-Topic chit chat with no general subject.

Strategy for driving long distance with very old car

Old 02-11-19, 01:46 PM
  #1  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtb_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,822
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2833 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Strategy for driving long distance with very old car

Hi
I was planning to visit close relatives in NY this Summer for a few weeks.
Instead of flying out there and paying for a rental car for 3 weeks...I am contemplating driving my 96 Nissan up there. Gets 30 mpg. Estimate $300 in gas.

The trip is 1,600 miles. We (3) plan to stop along the way to sightsee...like Nashville, Wash. DC, etc...and camping in Nat Forest along the way to save money if possible.

The thing is my car has 270,000 miles. But it is in tip top shape. Still on the original engine and transmission. Does not burn oil. THe thing worry me though is the transmission...it runs like a Rolex now but I know automatics tranny can fail without warning. If it craps out while we are 500 miles from civilaization. I guess it's hitchhiking time.

My backup plan is to (1) apply for AAA and (2) bring the car's title with me...so if the car has serious break down that is more than $500 to fix...I can just sell the car on the spot to anybody willing to buy and continue on the journey in Greyhound or something. Then, fly back or something. I think the risk of break down ought to be extremely low. Wat do you think?

Btw, any must see sites along the way?

Last edited by mtb_addict; 02-11-19 at 01:55 PM.
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 01:59 PM
  #2  
ridelikeaturtle
Senior Member
 
ridelikeaturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 622

Bikes: Bianchi Ti Megatube, M Alloy Pro, Sprint 76; Amp Research B4; Colnago Crystal; Klein Pulse; Litespeed Catalyst

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 275 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 9 Posts
I've a bit of experience driving old vehicles across the US (and a bit more experience with old motorbikes across France).

I'd recommend not forgetting your tools. Bring enough stuff to do simple emergency maintenance on the side of the road - and a big hammer.

But also bring your AA card, insurance details, and emergency phone numbers, and the vehicle reg (title) and be ready to walk away. As you've probably found out, you could buy another car (like a mid-90's Cadillac?) for the price of a rental car for 3 weeks.

This is a great adventure - have fun!
ridelikeaturtle is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:05 PM
  #3  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtb_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,822
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2833 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Is it a good idea to just abundon a car on the side of the highway if the tow cost is too high?
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:12 PM
  #4  
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Posts: 14,603

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex

Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3261 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 9 Posts
I drove a '76 Impala from Houston to Vermont in '92 and on the way I replaced the mechanical fuel pump in a parking lot near Baton Rouge. Then the transmission went out in Atlanta where I picked up a rental car and the man from a savage yard paid me $50 to take the Impala. The rental car transmission went out in Tennessee and I got a fresh one there.
noisebeam is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:15 PM
  #5  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtb_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,822
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2833 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
I drove a '76 Impala from Houston to Vermont in '92 and on the way I replaced the mechanical fuel pump in a parking lot near Baton Rouge. Then the transmission went out in Atlanta where I picked up a rental car and the man from a savage yard paid me $50 to take the Impala. The rental car transmission went out in Tennessee and I got a fresh one there.
You were very unlucky.
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:34 PM
  #6  
308jerry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Is it a good idea to just abundon a car on the side of the highway if the tow cost is too high?
AAA would have it towed off the road But there are no guarantees I have a 2013 Dodge Ram, it has 40k miles and the water pump went out fifty miles from anywhere just last week. Turbo went out on my wife's VW Passat with 30k miles. Even newer models are a crap shoot today. Check yer belts, watepump, alternator and yer fluids before heading off down the road. Check your wheels when at the rest areas or when filling with fuel, touch them to see if the bearings are getting hot, front may be a little bit hotter because of braking. If you just kind of coast in without undue braking they'll just be slightly warm. Pop the hood and listen for squeaky or rattling noises as the engine is idling. Just a few tips...


​​​
308jerry is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:43 PM
  #7  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 6,713

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 88 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1546 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
My first thought - is it OK for the other two on your trip to have to go through this? Ask them. You don't the option of leaving them on the roadside.

Ben
79pmooney is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:50 PM
  #8  
1nterceptor
LET'S ROLL
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,727

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 286 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
We were having cabin fever during last year's winter. Told my wife we should drive south for a few days.
She said our 1998 Honda Civic(160K miles) may not make it. I said that's fine; we'll take a plane, train or
bus back if the car breaks down.
So off we went; New York City to Greenville, South Carolina. Had a blast. nice place; nice people. Oh; the
car made it just fine.
__________________
One day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20X43026ukY&list=UUHyRS8bRu6zPoymgKaIoDLA&index=1
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 02:57 PM
  #9  
bark_eater 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Eastern Shore, MD
Posts: 420

Bikes: Road ready: 1989 Centurion Sport DLX, "I Blame GP" Bridgestone CB-1. Projects: Yea, I got a problem....

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 151 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Dude? Is the question "Should I go on a road trip?" Hell ya! If the question is should I take a toddler and the 8 months pregnant wife across country in a half dead jalopy? Don't be a Dumb ass!

In between is a cost benefit analysis requiring a clear eye on the worst case scenario. Risk mitigation by planning and preparation is highly recommended. Bong hit's work for some.

Since this is a bike forum. Bring bikes and take nothing that won't fit on the bikes.

I can also suggest following Vigors Black Box Theory.

John Vigor's Blog: The Black Box Theory
bark_eater is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 03:09 PM
  #10  
no motor?
Senior Member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 5,971

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 879 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 11 Posts
When I was younger road trips often involved bringing tools for repairs enroute if needed. But I'd think twice about that with bringing the family along, .
no motor? is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 03:27 PM
  #11  
BenzFanatic
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Chicagoland area
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
1st, obviously, ask your usual mechanic for an inspection when you take it in before the trip. Some shops do it free, some will charge you for an hour of labor or a flat rate around that price. Buy a gallon of oil and coolant, maybe a serpentine belt. Of course a spare tire and roadside emergency kit are musts. A good flashlight and some PB blaster have saved my butt more than once. A basic tool kit as well. (10-20mm wrench sizes and a few screwdrivers will get almost anything done.) Something to use as a breaker bar or even a trolley jack would be luxury.

My biggest thing is comfort level. If you're comfortable with it, sounds like it could be a fun adventure. If the possibilities stress you or the people you'll be with, you're probably better off flying.

Mapping out your route in detail and keeping in touch with folks would definitely be smart as well.

Good luck!
BenzFanatic is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 03:36 PM
  #12  
bark_eater 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Eastern Shore, MD
Posts: 420

Bikes: Road ready: 1989 Centurion Sport DLX, "I Blame GP" Bridgestone CB-1. Projects: Yea, I got a problem....

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 151 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I did at least 7 full transcontinental bomb runs and all sorts of up and down the East Coast and out to Texas trips. Mostly in 70's junkers . Lots of fun. Any number of days spent fixing **** on the side of the road. Always ready to crawl out of a burning wreck with a backpack. The whole youth is wasted on the young thing only goes so far.
bark_eater is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 04:36 PM
  #13  
Squeeze
High Plains Luddite
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 571

Bikes: '90s MTBs, '96 Allez

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 143 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I owned two air-cooled VW Beetles (sequentially, not simultaneously) back when they were just common older cars and not yet collector vehicles or whatever they are now.

By the time I bought my second one, I had learned to keep certain tools (such as a feeler gauge, among others), a fan belt, and John Muir's book "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive For The Compleat Idiot" in the car instead of at home.

This was before cell phones, so a breakdown meant either fixing it where it stopped, or walking to find help and/or a pay phone.

OP, good luck with your trip.
Squeeze is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 05:21 PM
  #14  
jimincalif
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Lake Forest, CA
Posts: 1,953

Bikes: '96 Trek 850, '08 Specialized Roubaix Comp, '18 Niner RLT RDO

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 4 Posts
All normal maintenance, no funny noises, you should be fine. But yeah, AAA and bring the title just in case. My daily driver is a 1993 Lexus.

One other option, forget about flying/renting. Rent a car near home and do the whole trip in the rental car. Depending where you get the car weekly rental rates can be amazingly affordable, much better than piling the miles on your own car, and you eliminate this concern from your vacation, road-side assistance is built in, and no worries about repair costs in unfamiliar or inconvenient locations. My business partner has been doing this for years, I've done it a few times as well. We last did it in 2014 on a one-week driving vacation, 1400 miles, the car rental was something like $105. Assuming you have a credit card with rental coverage so you don't have to buy their extra insurance.
jimincalif is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 05:30 PM
  #15  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtb_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,822
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2833 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
All normal maintenance, no funny noises, you should be fine. But yeah, AAA and bring the title just in case. My daily driver is a 1993 Lexus.

One other option, forget about flying/renting. Rent a car near home and do the whole trip in the rental car. Depending where you get the car weekly rental rates can be amazingly affordable, much better than piling the miles on your own car, and you eliminate this concern from your vacation, road-side assistance is built in, and no worries about repair costs in unfamiliar or inconvenient locations. My business partner has been doing this for years, I've done it a few times as well. We last did it in 2014 on a one-week driving vacation, 1400 miles, the car rental was something like $105. Assuming you have a credit card with rental coverage so you don't have to buy their extra insurance.
Wow....no idea rental car is so cheap nowadays.
mtb_addict is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 05:34 PM
  #16  
jimincalif
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Lake Forest, CA
Posts: 1,953

Bikes: '96 Trek 850, '08 Specialized Roubaix Comp, '18 Niner RLT RDO

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Wow....no idea rental car is so cheap nowadays.
Well not always. Depends on when/where. We were renting in a vacation area off season. But worth spending a few minutes online. We've ended up renting either Hertz or Enterprise, and their rates are surprisingly different at times for basically the same thing.
jimincalif is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 06:24 PM
  #17  
Zedoo
( ͡ ͜ʖ ͡)
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 307

Bikes: several

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 741 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
3 people in the car means you need 3 bikes on the rack. If it can't hold 3, drive something else.
Zedoo is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 06:44 PM
  #18  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,458

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Moto Fantom29 ProSL hardtail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Sounds to me like you've got your bases covered, a mechanic inspection before the trip is a good idea.

You ask for sights to see along the way, what is your way? Where from/to?
RubeRad is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 06:59 PM
  #19  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,129
Mentioned: 156 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8214 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 15 Posts
You should be able to do 1600 miles in 3 weeks by bicycle... with some time to spare.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 08:35 PM
  #20  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,129
Mentioned: 156 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8214 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 15 Posts
My last transcontinental drive was cut short in the middle of Nebraska by a broken timing belt. I would have replaced it earlier, but it is a bit of a finicky job requiring the removal of the water pump and replacement of all the water pump gaskets... But... I should have done it.

Anyway, that may be one thing to look at on a car with a bunch of miles and quite a few years.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 08:51 PM
  #21  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,781
Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7435 Post(s)
Liked 61 Times in 35 Posts
What better way to strengthen your bond than sharing an experience like this?
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 09:10 PM
  #22  
308jerry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 72 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
My last transcontinental drive was cut short in the middle of Nebraska by a broken timing belt. I would have replaced it earlier, but it is a bit of a finicky job requiring the removal of the water pump and replacement of all the water pump gaskets... But... I should have done it.

Anyway, that may be one thing to look at on a car with a bunch of miles and quite a few years.
I've helped more people in that area of I 80 than I care to remember.. A lot of nice people and a few, was glad to see them rolling down the hiway out of sight....
308jerry is offline  
Old 02-11-19, 09:51 PM
  #23  
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Posts: 26,258

Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6110 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 15 Times in 12 Posts
Shoot, I'm pulling a 3600 lb trailer all over the country with a 97 F150. I check the oil at every fill up.
genec is offline  
Old 02-12-19, 06:47 AM
  #24  
bark_eater 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Eastern Shore, MD
Posts: 420

Bikes: Road ready: 1989 Centurion Sport DLX, "I Blame GP" Bridgestone CB-1. Projects: Yea, I got a problem....

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 151 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Knowing whether a timing belt failure is an inconvenience or fatal to the engine is worthwhile. Have had 2 break, one was a hassle, one was fatal. The engine that got killed was already on its way out so major maintenance had stopped. The car had the good graces to commit seppuku in the BIL's drive way.
bark_eater is offline  
Old 02-12-19, 07:32 AM
  #25  
ahsposo 
Titanic Member
 
ahsposo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Deep in the North Atlantic
Posts: 7,094

Bikes: A Home Built All Rounder, Bianchi 928, Specialized Langster, Dahon Folder

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2831 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What better way to strengthen your bond than sharing an experience like this?
Yeah, just like the strong bond remodeling kitchens and bathrooms while you live in the house creates.
ahsposo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.