Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationMaintenance & Repairs · 9 years ago

Cross Country Traveling w/ Old Car! Tips? What should I have my mechanic check on before I leave?

I have a 2000 Ford Focus (150k miles) that has been through a lot.

But, it's the only way to get from here to there...and I need to get away from here ....and over there.

I plan on travelling at night to try and avoid temperature issues if I can.

(I'll be going through the SouthWest)

And I'm gonna test drive it a little and have my wife drive the other car behind me and see if she notices parts falling off or wheels wobbling like spinning plates or anything.

I also plan on taking it in to our mechanic guy before I leave and want to know what specifically I should ask him to look at.

Any suggestions on what to check?

Also, any suggestions for taking an old, beat up car long distance?

For instance: Maybe I should only drive it for 5 hours a day MAX ....or something?

I have no idea. So any suggestions or experiences you got are great.

9 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Check all the hoses and gaskets. Pay attention to the engine temperature while driving. Take breaks, especially at altitude. The thinner air will increase the pressure difference between the engine and the outside atmosphere. So things can give out easier.

    One trick I use; If you are staying overnight in the mountains, crack open the radiator cap in the morning while the engine is still cold, and then reseal it. It will hiss like a bottle of soda, but the pressure within the engine will be equalized, so it will be stressed less for the rest of the trip.

  • 9 years ago

    You will want to do the obvious- general tuneup: oil/filter change, check all fluids, rotate tires. Have the electrical system checked and repair as needed (MIGHT need plugs or wires, alternator, etc.- probably not). The focus is not prone to cooling issues, though it is a good idea to have some extra coolant with you.

    The things to have with you are an extra belt for the engine, a radiator hose is a good idea, and if it has never been replaced in the past, an ignition stator (or ignition module) is a good idea.

    Be sure to check the EGR/PVC valve and hose and the vacuum system as this can affect your MPG quite a bit.

    Word of encouragement: you should know that highway driving is generally much less stressful for the car than around town. You'll be fine! I drove my 66 Buick from RI to CA four times with over 200K and my 72 Buick twice with over 350K!! My mom just drove a 2000 Jetta with 140K last week!


  • fadri
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Drive My Car Cross Country

  • 4 years ago

    Depends on how far you actually had to go and where. If I was going from say MN to CA, I'd fly. If I was going from MN to NY, I would drive. I've driven east many times and it is easily done with or without a baby. However, it will take you 2 days unless you have a second person who can feed and entertain the baby in the back seat. I've only flown from MN to TX because of time restrictions, but the drive would generally be pretty easy (get on 35, drive 1000 miles). Same thing though - unless you had someone in the back seat entertaining the baby, it's going to take you an extra day. It's all a matter of what you can afford. I can't afford to rent a car for 12 days and pay for hotel. I CAN afford to drive and pay motel rates at mom&pop shops.

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  • 9 years ago

    I agree with Dave but would like to add to also check your tires for wear. But a good tune up, and tires should do it. A ten year old car is not "that" old LOL. You mention driving not that many hours, or being concerned about you car overheating. If that has been an issue, also have your mechanic check your thermostat. Good luck and have fun on your trip. Oh also you mention you wife will follow along on your test drive in the other car. Is taking the other car, not an option?

  • gary o
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    driving time should relate to ambient drive until it gets warm or you get sleepy. As to car do a complete safety check, like tire condition, air pressure inc. spare. all fluids and filters should be current. same for timing belt or other belt.brakes should be checked. check condition of windshield wipers. Talk to you mechanic about what you want to do as he may suggestions, like a compression check to assure valves are OK.

  • 9 years ago

    I would do a tuneup..plugs wires oil etc

    I would also replace the serp belt and have a spare upper radiator hose for the journey..take oil and at least a gallon of coolant and water

  • 9 years ago

    check all your fluid levels,drive belts,tire air pressure,and let 'er eat

    Source(s): no need for kerosene on my socks
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago


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