Is it safe to take my 12-year-old Camry on a 3,000-mile trip?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who needs to get an older car ready for a long drive.

–AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File

Q. My 2007 Toyota Camry has 103,000 miles on it, and it needs four tires and an alignment. I do not have a lot of money, and I have to travel to Florida to help settle my grandfather’s estate. I have two problems: I don’t fly, and I really can’t afford to anything other than driving. I’m concerned about traveling 3,000 miles in my 12-year-old car. Do you have any suggestions?  

A. Since renting a car is not possible, driving your car is really the only option. Start with a thorough inspection of your current vehicle. The shop should pay particular attention to the belts, hoses, and radiator. During the tire replacement and wheel alignment, the brakes and suspension will be inspected for wear. Although a 3,000-mile trip is a long drive, you probably drive 3,000 miles every six months, and do that without worry.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to