Finally! You’ve booked your destination, and you’re ready to take that much-needed vacation. But is your car safe to drive long distances? If you drive a high-mileage vehicle, you may be wondering, "Can my car handle a road trip?" Check out these driving precautions before hitting the road to see if your vehicle is ready for the long drive ahead.
Is My Car Too Old for a Road Trip?
The first thing you’re probably wondering is, “Can my car make a long trip?” Generally, the answer is "it depends."
Age usually doesn’t determine if you should drive your car long distances or not. An older or high-mileage vehicle that is regularly maintained should be safe to drive on a road trip. However, if your car has any of the issues listed below, a long trip may not be safe.
Your car leaks oil
An oil leak is never a good sign and can be a symptom of a more serious issue. A bad engine gasket, worn seals, and a leaky oil pan can all cause an oil leak, which can cause major damage to your vehicle in some cases — especially if it’s driven over a long distance.
If your car shows signs of an oil leak, such as an oil puddle underneath when it’s parked, smoke from the engine, a burning oil smell, an illuminated oil light, or if you find yourself constantly having to top off the oil between oil changes, your car might not be road-trip-ready.
You frequently have to replace or repair parts
Is your car burning through parts? Have you made friends with your local tow company? Then your vehicle might not be road-trip-ready. If you need to replace things like brake parts, engine parts, tires, or the battery, or if things like your transmission or engine need frequent repairs, there are likely some serious underlying issues that need to be addressed.
Your vehicle tends to overheat when driving
Several things can cause your vehicle to frequently overheat, and none of them are good. A leak in the cooling system, a broken water pump, a faulty radiator fan, and even a bad engine oil leak can all cause your engine to overheat. These problems can, in turn, cause many other serious issues. If your engine’s temperature gauge tends to climb the more you drive, then your vehicle likely is not ready for that road trip.
You experience heavy shaking or vibrations when driving
Suspension problems should not be ignored — and they may be hard to neglect if your vehicle is shaking excessively every time you hit the highway! Shaking or vibrating while driving can sometimes indicate unbalanced tires. Other times, however, it can point to something more serious, such as damage to the suspension system, problems with your brakes or wheels, or broken engine mounts.
Excessive shaking while driving isn’t just annoying. It’s dangerous. If your vehicle sustains too much heavy vibration, other parts can loosen, become damaged, or fail entirely. So, if your ride feels a little shaky these days, a road trip might worsen things.
How to Get Your Older Car Ready for a Road Trip
When it comes to getting your car road trip ready, it’s usually less about age and more about reliability. If you can rely on your vehicle every day without issue and perform regular routine maintenance, your car may be able to handle a road trip. And when it comes to maintenance, the experts at Firestone Complete Auto Care know your car inside and out.
Get a complete vehicle inspection before you head out to help prepare your high-mileage car for a road trip. During your complete vehicle inspection, an expert Firestone technician will perform a 34-point inspection, checking the engine, suspension, brakes, steering, tires, and more. With a complete vehicle inspection, you can help diagnose potential issues before they become bigger problems down the road!
Schedule your appointment online, or find the nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care near you to get peace of mind for your next road trip!