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Long Distance Drive


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#1 lsqlsqyy

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

Hi everyone. I have a 2000 corolla CE with 108k miles on it. I plan to drive my car from Albuquerque to Los Angeles this summer.

I got this car when it has 105k miles. I changed oil for every 1500 miles. This car runs fine, but it's old, some of the parts are rusty, and it has a leak in its AC compressor.

I don't know how the car was maintained previously. I am the 4th or 5th owner of the car.

Do you guys think it is risky to drive such a long distance?

Also, I usually drive around 80-85 mph on interstate highway, do you guys think it is too fast for my old car?

Thanks a lot?

#2 plonkster

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

I've driven Cape Town to Windhoek, a distance of 1500km or just under 1000 miles quite frequently with vehicles well over ten years old and with mileages well over 200 000km (about 125 000 miles), usually doing average speeds of 100km/h (that's 60 for the metrically impaired). I have no idea how far Albuquerque is from Los Angeles, but google tells me its about 1200km. So I would say that unless you know of something in the vehicle that needs attention, yes, you can do it.

In addition, assuming the cooling system is in good nick, long distance driving actually stresses a vehicle less than in-town driving.

But then again, I do live in Africa, and our temperatures rarely dip below freezing, so ymmv. Literally :-)

#3 plonkster

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:24 PM

Over here the Land Rover people have a joke: On a really silent night you can hear the Toyota's rust. There is some truth in it, they do tend to rust (though much less so than some of the VW's I've owned), but I've never had a mechanical breakdown in a Toyota ever. I sold the previous Corolla I owned at 215 000km (133 000 miles) with everything except a cracked exhaust manifold (bad spot on the 8th gen) and clutch untouched, as it left the factory, even the exhaust. Never had a single failure, not even the usual suspects (Alternator). Even the battery I bought it with lasted 6 years.

#4 Sonix

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

With cars, it's all about maintenance, so beware, you don't have any history about the car. You may find out why it's been sold so many times. But, I am a courier that drives 60,000 miles a year, does maintain cars, and gets 250-325,000 miles on many of them.

Finding a good mechanic is difficult, but if you know one, ask him to do a full go-through!

#5 listoff

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:08 AM

I've only known of two Toyotas to leave people stranded. My parent's have a RAV4 that broke some oil feeder valve or something goofy like that. It was a V6 and it dumped oil all over the road. Even still, she was able to limp it home with no damage. Now, of course that's a Rav vs Corolla and V6 vs I4. The other time was an old '01 Corolla of ours that had a rusted muffler bracket and the exhaust dropped and drug on the highway. I climbed under and used some plastic wire ties to hold it back on. Other than those two issues, I've driven many Toyotas many many miles and always felt comfortable doing it. Corollas are usually pretty good about giving you audible clues before something breaks.

As for going 80-85 mph. I'd advise against it for a bunch of reasons - like speeding tickets. That being said, be sure to have good tires with plenty of tread. Don't forget to make sure that spare is inflated too. Standing on the side of the road without a spare is not fun. In our old Corolla, I kept a small toolbox, jumper cables, nylon rope, and wire-ties. I fixed numerous broken clips and plastic thingies with the wire ties. At very least some basic tools might be enough to get you off the highway safely and to a repair shop. But, like Sonix said, take it to a trusted mechanic and tell him your intensions. If they're honest, they'll be straight with you.

Generally speaking, if the engine is in good shape (doesn't excessively burn oil), the coolant is topped off, transmission fluid is in good shape and the tranismission doesn't slip (if automatic), I think you'll be in good shape for the trip. I will add that I discovered that running the AC for a long long time non-stop on high in summer in 8th and 9th gen Corollas caused the AC to freeze up on occasion. It would stop, I'd pull over to use the restroom and grab a soda and it was enough to thaw it out and I was good for another couple hours.

Hope that helps in some way.
Mike

#6 plonkster

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:39 AM

80mph is around 128km/h, which is actually within the 10% margin we are allowed in this country. When I said I average 100km/h, I meant including all stops, which means I'm going a lot faster most of the time :-)

To be quite honest, once in Namibia driving north from Cape Town on the N7/B1 I used to apply the lead foot a bit more, doing 140km/h for long stretches in my old 98 model (which, unlike the US model, had a 4a-fe engine). I used to do this even at temperatures in the high thirties (centigrade, so you'd have to convert once more) running the aircon at full blast most of the time. Basically conditions that some would classify as an endurance run (140km/h for hours at a time, 1500km in a single day, African desert temperatures, stopping only for fuel and food...). So yeah, I see no reason why a well-maintained vehicle can't do these distances.

#7 lsqlsqyy

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

Thanks a lot guys. I also think it's worth a try. Alright now, it is too expensive to ship a car. Hopefully, my car can last for two or three more years without major problem. Then it is already better than I expected.

#8 chicagolander

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:27 AM

I think that depends on your transmission: 3-speed auto, 4-speed auto or manual. 80-85 mph seems to me too much for a 3-speed auto. The engine would be at too high number of revolutions.

#9 corollamike

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:39 PM

Just two weeks ago, the rear differential on my '98 S10 pickup went out. Why? A slow, slow leak left it empty of oil, and I had no idea until the glovebox cover shook violently, the rear end acted like it wanted to come off, and I saw smoke in my rear-view mirror. The mileage? Not even 87k.

Point is, your 'Rolla is OLD, by today's standards, anyway. Take it easy on it. Have a good garage give it a good lookover, just to be sure.

Besides, driving 80-85 mph can be quite stressful on a long journey. One time, my wife and I followed another car to Washington, D.C., -- about a 7-hour drive. The lead car kept the speed limit for about 20 miles, but the driver just wanted to go faster. Before we knew it, they were gone, and we never saw them again until we reached the hotel. The next morning, my wife asked them when they arrived, thinking that they must have made some pretty good time. Turns out they beat us there by only a half hour or so, and they admitted they were very tired. As for me, I wasn't that worn out at all, because I kept my speed at or under the limit.

Let the fuzz catch someone else. And let the tow guy tow someone else.

Edited by corollamike, 22 April 2012 - 07:40 PM.

#10 Bodhisattva

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:46 AM

Over here the Land Rover people have a joke: On a really silent night you can hear the Toyota's rust.


Saw this on a bumper sticker on a Land Rover: "The parts falling off of this vehicle are of the finest English craftsmanship."