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Me and a friend are planning a road trip from NJ to Austin, TX for next month. It's about 1700 miles. I have a couple questions so I know what to expect (I'm bad with car knowledge so help me out please). Vehicle is an '08 V6 Rav4 Sport. About 94k miles on it.
Pretty much, my questions and concerns are:
-Will driving for a long period of time (abt 12 hours at a time, with only a couple breaks) overheat it or be bad for the vehicle?
-Should I be worried about the battery dying along the way if I charge my phone at all or run the radio continuously? Never noticed any engine/battery problems in the past, but I don't know how much of a worry it should still be.
-The Rav isn't aligned properly and has a slight tilt to the right. How much could this affect the fuel efficiency? What MPG should I expect to get on a trip like that?
-How much wear might this put to the vehicle in general (tires, engine, etc), if any?
-Do you think there is much risk of it breaking down along the way? I'd prefer not to get stuck in the middle of nowhere haha.

Input appreciated greatly. I will try to answer any questions to the best of my ability. Thank you!
 

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I would say:

- No concerns about overheating, doubly so if you have the tow prep package, which came with a bigger radiator. You didn't mention if you were towing anything (e.g. a trailer). Presuming not, no concerns.

- You should be able to charge your phone and run the radio without any excessive battery drain concerns provided the engine is running most all of that time. If your battery is quite old (say 3+ years) you may want to replace it before leaving, as the RAV does crazy things once a battery starts to fade.

- The improper alignment is the only significant concern I'd have from your list. While it will slightly affect MPG, by far the bigger concern is the improper wear it will inflict on the tires, eventually possibly causing them to go flat or maybe even blow out. If you do nothing else, I would absolutely get the alignment fixed before leaving.

- Errrr, it will inflict 1700 miles worth of wear, which is pretty insignificant, especially for the engine. If the tread on the tires is already low, I'd look at getting those replaced before leaving.

- Risk of breaking down along the way is impossible to assess, not knowing the entire maintenance history of the vehicle. One would think it should be pretty low generally speaking, as it has < 100K miles, though.

After getting the alignment fixed, I would for sure get the oil and filter changed just before leaving, and check all the fluids (including transmission) and put the battery and maybe alternator under a load test.

Other than those things, based on the information you provided my guess is you won't have anything significant about which to worry.

.
 

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Long road trip like that... Probably 24 to 26 mpg if you keep it under 70mph.

Check fluids before you go. Coolant level and oil being the biggies.

Check tire pressure.

Have fun!
 

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I've always felt road trips are good for cars. The engine, transmission, oil, coolant, etc will all warm to a nominal temperature, stay there, and just cruise. If it had a soul, the RAV would be so happy to break out of stop-and-go commutes or any short trips, which are harder on the working parts.

Yeah, get the alignment done. Keep the same maintenance schedules you would keep for driving around town. Carry a cell phone and a credit card for emergencies. This is not really a super-long trip--if car has no pre-existing conditions, you could drive straight through with only gas stops and be there in 24-hours--the car will outlast you. Your mpg will better than city driving, with the biggest effect being a headwind or tailwind. You might see a 30mpg with tailwind. The V6 really shines at highway speeds, not breaking a sweat.

Let us know how it goes!
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, so it seems I need to get an alignment done according to everyone haha. I had an oil change very recently so I should be good with that. I will have to check coolant levels and tire wear though. I am not aware of any pre-existing conditions, but I will double check in case.

Also, we figure we will probably go sometime around the middle to end of June. I will keep up with any updates.

Thank you for helping, everyone!
 

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Have a good time and
 

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I've always felt road trips are good for cars. The engine, transmission, oil, coolant, etc will all warm to a nominal temperature, stay there, and just cruise. If it had a soul, the RAV would be so happy to break out of stop-and-go commutes or any short trips, which are harder on the working parts.
Exactly! And that's one reason I have no problem with buying a used car with high mileage as long as it's only a few years old. 50,000 miles on a four year old car might be 50,000 trips to the coffee shop, school or workplace 1/2 mile down the road. That's the hardest wear on an engine. 120,000 miles on another four year old car must be from road trips or a long highway commute. Those are easy miles on an engine but the number on the odometer helps me get the price down.
 

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Sorry for the delayed reply everybody. We had a great time, but now I have to work to make up for the money I put into the trip haha! Anyways, we spent 10 total nights at hotels. 6 in Austin and 4 on the road. The whole trip put about 4000 miles on the vehicle and bumped my total count up to over 100k lol. Of course, I had to get an oil change when we got home, as well as get the other fluids checked out. I had to fill up the tank from about 1/4 to full about 5-6 times going there, and about the same coming back. Since gas is a lot cheaper in the south, it didn't cost me as much as I thought it would. No problems with the vehicle at any point, though there was one time where I wasn't paying attention to the fuel gauge and almost ran completely out of gas coming back haha. But it pretty much went well. I ate the best vanilla ice cream of my life in Texas. Might be worth it to go back just for more :p
 

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Thanks for the report and glad it all went well. See--the RAV likes those kind of trips, it likes to get out and see the country. After a few hours behind the wheel, it becomes confidence building to listen to the engine and watch the various gauges on the dash as they stay in the good zone--especially the fuel, lol.

Just curious, though, wondering if you had the alignment done prior to the trip, or just put up with the slight steering issue? Might not have been a big deal.
 

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Thanks for the report and glad it all went well. See--the RAV likes those kind of trips, it likes to get out and see the country. After a few hours behind the wheel, it becomes confidence building to listen to the engine and watch the various gauges on the dash as they stay in the good zone--especially the fuel, lol.

Just curious, though, wondering if you had the alignment done prior to the trip, or just put up with the slight steering issue? Might not have been a big deal.
I decided to get the alignment done before the trip, though I later discovered there had been a bit of an uneven amount of air in a couple of the tires, so that may have had something to do with it. After equaling the pressure out, the Rav went back to having a slight (but noticeable) tilt to the right. But overall it wasn't that bad.
One thing I wish I had known though, was that my iPhone wouldn't be able to take calls via Aux cable lol. It became a pain whenever anybody called while on the road. The engine can be too loud to hear the phone at times. I'll have to find some kind of thing to take calls over the stereo system eventually.
 

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Sorry for the delayed reply everybody. We had a great time, but now I have to work to make up for the money I put into the trip haha! Anyways, we spent 10 total nights at hotels. 6 in Austin and 4 on the road. The whole trip put about 4000 miles on the vehicle and bumped my total count up to over 100k lol. Of course, I had to get an oil change when we got home, as well as get the other fluids checked out. I had to fill up the tank from about 1/4 to full about 5-6 times going there, and about the same coming back. Since gas is a lot cheaper in the south, it didn't cost me as much as I thought it would. No problems with the vehicle at any point, though there was one time where I wasn't paying attention to the fuel gauge and almost ran completely out of gas coming back haha. But it pretty much went well. I ate the best vanilla ice cream of my life in Texas. Might be worth it to go back just for more :p
What kind of MPG did you get on the trip?
 
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