My husband and I own a Toyota Corolla with miles...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband and I own a 1980 Toyota Corolla with 150,000 miles on it. We would like to take it on our 5,000 mile vacation this summer out west, but we're feeling a bit nervous. Can you tell us what parts are likely to break so we can bring them with us and be prepared?

TOM: Sure, Paula. I'd bring an alternator, a starter, a distributor, a coil, a cylinder head, a block, a head gasket, a torque wrench, a transmission, a Sears Craftsman 411 piece tool set, a Coleman stove, and a pup tent to use by the side of the road.

RAY: There are so many things that can go wrong with a car this old that it's really difficult to plan for every possibility. So we have two strategies for you to consider.

TOM: The first is to rent a big, roomy car. Renting something like a Lincoln Town Car has three advantages. One is it's comfortable and roomy. You'll appreciate that after you ignore our advice and drive 5,000 miles in your Toyota Corolla. Two, if it's a rental car, it's going to be relatively new, so it's not likely to die and leave you stranded by the side of the road. And three, it's somebody elses car. So if it does
die by the side of the road, who cares? Just call Hertz and tell them to send you another one.

RAY: If you're not going to rent a car, then you really have to have your car thoroughly inspected before you leave. Have someone check the front end, belts, hoses, fluids, brakes, and tires. And make sure you have a spare that's in good condition.

TOM: And even if you check all that stuff, it's still basically an adventure. But maybe that's what you want. You want to see America, right? Well, what better way to see it than from the side of the road in every state you visit, waiting for a tow truck!

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