I have a 1998 Ford Contour. It has a brand new timing belt & water pump. I have 103,000 miles on my car.
103K miles… your car is still a baby!
You know your vehicle better than you think, or better than your mechanic… in general terms of performance or it’s particular quirks. A timing belt & water pump at this mileage is almost a given, so you’re already points ahead.
Since the timing belt & pump has the car performed well? No concerns?
Does it start quickly, and idle smoothly?
Does the transmission shift smoothly? No jerks or clunks while driving?
Are all the guages (oil press., temp, alt/batt) showing in the middle of the “normal” range… or are there no indicator lights lit on the dash?
Do you feel confident about the car? Has it given you any reasons for concern, or have you been postponing a major maintenance item?
If you’ve answered “Yes” to the above, I’d take the car.
Frankly a good running, dependable “city-car” can use a good road trip from time to time! A long run at highway speeds will help clear carbon deposits from the cylinders, get all other “systems” up to temperature and their fluids really flowing. It’ll probably run better after the trip.
My suggestions for a road-trip:
- Get the oil and filter changed at a reputable shop. Tell them you’re going on a trip, and you’d like things looked over. (Avoid the “Quicky-Lube” outfits. Nothing against them, but they’re not mechanics… “Jimmy” just finished “oil-change 101 training”, and he doesn’t know what to look for under your car. A mechanic will give a cursory once-over at things while he/she’s under there.)
- Have all fluid levels checked and topped off. This should include:
Brake fluid, Coolant, Transmission fluid, Power Steering fluid, and Windshield Washer fluid.
- Check all tire pressures! Including the spare!! The recommended pressure is molded into the sidewall of the tire.
- Check your jacking equipment! See if you even have one! There’s usually a sticker in the trunk detailing how to change a tire.
- Change your wiper blades. Sounds silly, but getting caught in a downpour not being able to see stinks! Especially in an unfamiliar area.
- Fill up at home, and then on the road from reputable/well-known fuel stations! Don’t try and save .03 a gallon and get a tankful of junk/water contaminated gas.
A 2000 mile trip isn’t that much.