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Tiny
EMILY NOELLE HAYDEN
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 100,000 MILES
My friend wants me to watch her car while she is away for a year in Germany. We are both in Washington right now but I live in Texas. The only thing I can tell is wrong with the car is the alignment and the air conditioning could be better. It is an old car standard with about a hundred thousand miles on it. Do you think it can make the two-day drive from Washington to Texas? And still be in good driving conditions for the rest of the year?
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Monday, July 25th, 2016 AT 8:52 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Well, you are going down the globe, so you can coast all the way with the engine off if you have to thanks to gravity! :) Just kidding!

Actually, what you are asking is impossible to answer. My old 1988 Grand Caravan has well over 420,000 miles, but I would trust it more than my 1995 Grand Caravan and definitely more than any VW, regardless of mileage. Mileage is not the issue here, and for today's cars, 100,000 miles is not much. This car could go for another 50,000 miles with just oil changes and gas, or it could require a new timing belt, water pump, cylinder head gasket, brake job, and radiator in the next couple of weeks. Often these things have nothing to do with repairs that were done recently or in the past.

You did not say what is wrong with the alignment. If there is abnormal tire wear, you will want to check their condition each time you stop for fuel. It is better to replace worn tires before they blow out than to be sitting in a pile of tears on the side of the road. The people at a tire and alignment shop can read the tire wear patterns to give you an idea of what is wrong. They can also inspect the steering and suspension systems before the trip. If an alignment is recommended, they will prefer to do that before you buy new tires so they can determine what to look for by looking at the wear patterns.

Be aware that I read way too often about problems related to what you are about to do. Some people accuse a friend of damaging their car. Some people know a major repair will be needed soon, so they borrow the car to someone they can blame later, or get them to pay for it. I never heard of taking a car cross-country to "watch it", but I guess that depends on where it is kept when she is around. What if someone does something to it while you are at work? Who takes care of the repairs?

I have a 1980 model and a 1993 Dynasty with less than 5,000 miles. Both regularly sit for two to three years without being driven. When I do drive them, I just pop in a battery and off I go. I do not think I would let the battery go dead on a VW because in some years a bunch of computers would lock up. That is not a repair bill you want to pay, especially for someone else's car.
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Monday, July 25th, 2016 AT 11:28 PM

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