Automotive

Going on long trip, how to prevent car from breaking down?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 19th, 2020 8:21 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 7, 2008
721 posts
192 upvotes
Leask

Going on long trip, how to prevent car from breaking down?

My Toyota Matrix is at 178,000kms and I need to take it on a long trip. Over 6,000kms

What should I change out before I go?
-Tires
-alternator? They are still original
-coolant hose? They are still original
-spark plug? They are still original
-serpentine belt? They are still original

Battery is new. Front wheel bears has been replaced.
38 replies
Sr. Member
Sep 15, 2017
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Hard to believe a serpentine belt is original at those kms. I'd change that before any road trips.
Deal Expert
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Jul 22, 2006
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oilerfan89 wrote: Hard to believe a serpentine belt is original at those kms. I'd change that before any road trips.
It's a Toyota so it could survive to 200k

@OP - Go buy a full size rim + tire so you aren't stuck with a donut going 60 km/h or worse :]
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
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You would want to go to a trusted mechanic you have dealt with before and have them do a very good full check on the car to look for potential issues and fix all issues. if the tires are older and getting low get some new tires.

Consider changing:
- Oil change
- Transmission oil
- Coolant
- Brake Fluid

etc etc
Deal Addict
Oct 1, 2015
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Fill it with fuel and send it. Full size spare might be a good idea instead of driving around on a donut if that happens.
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Sep 6, 2017
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Get it inspected for issues before throwing parts on it. If the belt isn't showing indications of failure leave it be
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Jan 27, 2004
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T.O. Lotto Captain
THINKPOD wrote: My Toyota Matrix is at 178,000kms and I need to take it on a long trip. Over 6,000kms

What should I change out before I go?
-Tires
-alternator? They are still original
-coolant hose? They are still original
-spark plug? They are still original
-serpentine belt? They are still original

Battery is new. Front wheel bears has been replaced.
Meh... not a big deal. Back then i had a 2001 lexus is300... when it was @ 380,000km i drove it to pei. The first stretch was a 8 hr marathon push with no breaks.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 26, 2007
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If you have fear of something breaking on your car because something did break recently, better to rent a late model car or buy roadside assistance or bring lots of money for potential repairs.
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
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GTA
If you've been keeping up with your maintenance schedule and inspections, then there's nothing to worry about.

If not (like most people), have a mechanic perform a thorough inspection and repair whatever is necessary.
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Jul 21, 2005
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Is that a FWD or AWD Matrix? I had the water pump go on my 1.8L engine before, seized, ripped the belt...the good stuff, and my dad had a failing pump on his 2008 Yaris that was also needing replacement, so I think the water pump is a little bit of a worry on some of these older Toyotas, mostly because it happened to me and my dad on two different vehicles. Other than that, you should be probably okay, check oil, and make sure all fluids look good and off you go.
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Sep 1, 2005
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What yr is your Toyota Matrix? Regardless 178,000km is not even half way to it's expected life. If you haven't had any recent issues, perhaps a quick peak'a'boo at your mechanic is all that it needs [tell them your plans and say please inspect knowing I'm doing 6,000 km's in X amount of time].

If you're close to needing oil change, perhaps change that.

Oh and rather just asking ppl on a forum, a quick google is not out of line

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lavanyasun ... 9f82158a97
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Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 7, 2008
721 posts
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Leask
Is a 2009 with 2.4L engine FWD.

The car has been super reliable and I do keep up with maintenance.

I just feel more comfortable replacing the coolant hoses, serpentine belt, tensioner and water pump.

Will probably do a coolant replacement and tranny fiuld drain and fill.

But for the alternator, what is the life expectancy on it? Is 178k near end of life?
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Oct 23, 2008
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That depends on your general maintenance on the vehicle.

I would at the very least consider changing your oil (unless you've done it recently). Depending on when you last did your transmission fluid, that too. You know what, everything @sickcars just said.

How old are the tires? How much mileage (tread) on them? Any signs of wear and tear?
If you're on original plugs, depends on the type.

READ YOUR OWNERS MANUAL to see how close you are to recommended service/replacement and go from there.
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[OP]
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Mar 7, 2008
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Leask
Yes, I'll change out the two rear tires as they are getting old.

Ya, I'll change the oil, tranny oil, brake fuild and coolant before I go

The big question in my mind is Alternator... will it fail?

I figure it is way cheaper to fix up my Matrix than replacing it with a lower Kms SUV or Minivan.

I do have Canadian Tire Gold roadside assistance.
Last edited by THINKPOD on Jul 14th, 2020 1:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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THINKPOD wrote: Yes, I'll change out the two rear tires as they are getting old.

Ya, I'll change the oil, tranny oil and coolant before I go

The big question in my mind is Alternative... will it fail?

I figure it is way cheaper to fix up my Matrix than replacing it with a lower Kms SUV or Minivan
Did you not replace the entire set (all four) together?

178k km... plenty of life left.
Tis banana is IRIE 😎

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
Sr. Member
Sep 15, 2017
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george__ wrote: It's a Toyota so it could survive to 200k

@OP - Go buy a full size rim + tire so you aren't stuck with a donut going 60 km/h or worse :]
Ya ok didn't realize Toyota manufactured their own belts. I've owned more than one Toyota, the serpentine belts are easily wore out at ~100k.... The guys worried about an alternator but running on a 178k serp belt. Face With Tears Of Joy
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May 2, 2017
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THINKPOD wrote: Yes, I'll change out the two rear tires as they are getting old.

Ya, I'll change the oil, tranny oil, brake fuild and coolant before I go

The big question in my mind is Alternator... will it fail?

I figure it is way cheaper to fix up my Matrix than replacing it with a lower Kms SUV or Minivan.

I do have Canadian Tire Gold roadside assistance.
Nobody can reliably tell you if your alternator will fail between 178k and 184k. it might fail today. Might fail at 300K. I had a VW alternator last me 330,000KM.

If it's putting out good voltage (14.2+V when running), not making any sounds, you're probably OK. Not something I'd preemptively replace anyway. They are easy enough to replace usually, and since it's a very common Toyota engine, you shouldn't have any issue getting a new one.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Mar 7, 2008
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Leask
This won’t cost me too much than. Perfect! Thx
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Feb 4, 2015
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Perhaps a bit overboard but if handy with tools then perhaps buy alternator, belt, hose, spark plugs IF can return them. Like a mobile mechanic.

Any issues then repair with tools you bring along or at any garage.

First thing is to get checked by independent mechanic.

Do suggest to change tires if less then 5/32" as don't know weather you will get during travel.

Like others have said check all fluid levels and get oil change if it has been more then halfway to oil change interval since last.
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