The Difficulties of Vehicle Maintenance on the Road

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Maintaining a vehicle is a necessary part of being a car owner. When you tow your house with that vehicle it becomes paramount.

When setting up our budget I included vehicle maintenance. I didn’t include it into our travel plans though.  Getting the windshield replaced can be tough when all you want to do is go hiking in a National Park! Not having a shop limits me though and I can only do some of the work.

The bonus to being mobile is the ability to shop around in multiple states.

I called a dealership and made an appointment to service our transmission and transfer case. The price tag was high and I was a little concerned about spending almost half the entire monthly budget on service work, so I called all the dealerships in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. I ended up getting all the work done at half the price with great service at Anchor Nissan in Rhode Island. It just took a dozen phone calls and a short drive to save $450 dollars.


Sometimes it can be difficult to fit vehicle maintenance in when you are visiting amazing places.

We were in Acadia National Park and were trying to schedule a company to visit the campground to replace our windshield. Visiting the National Park was our goal. The windshield company just wanted us to drop everything and drive to their shop. We never could connect with the worker and after quite a few phone calls, I just decided to wait. So while in Vermont a guy come to the campground to take care of it, easy as pie. Since we were staying at the Groton Forest Road Campground, where all the people are so friendly and nice, it was no problem to get some car work done on site. If you are in the area we recommend this campground because they have good rates, nice staff, and are close to the state park and to Montpelier.

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Vehicle problems can’t all be put off until it is convenient though.

Our trailer tires were looking pretty bad and we knew they needed replaced, but all the places we called were expensive. Then Sarah called a guy in Ohio that was super friendly and his prices were lower! We took the time to put the spare on the worst tire just so that we could go to Circle City Tire at Tallmadge Automotive in Tallmadge Ohio. The owner Doug is so friendly and when I called to set an appointment he was easy to work with. I ended up getting the best tires I could for our trailer. They cost the same as the cheapest at other places only these were the top of the line.

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When we pulled into the place and the staff started working, it was quickly obvious that these guys were smart, hard working, and happy. This business is the best run business we have seen in a long time.  So if you are in need of tires, these guys are the ones to visit!

 The condition of the car and trailer is always a concern since they are essential to our adventure.

Our car might have developed an exhaust leak, which concerned us. The muffler had come loose in Florida. When you are constantly on the road stuff like this is bound to happen. The muffler had been attached with bands, so I was able to get it put back on. After driving all the way up to Maine and back down to Alabama I thought it might be loose again and just wanted to have it checked out.

A great guy, Jimmie Hardee one of the nicest people we have met in America, took me to a local shop Southern Dixie.  They put the car on the lift and had a look. Well this shop was so great, that after diagnosing the exhaust, they informed me that it was fine and didn’t need fixed. It was great to find a place that didn’t just do some work to collect fees, plus they let me inspect underneath our vehicle and showed me it was good. This shop also has great people and the owner is wonderful, so if you are in the area I would recommend giving them a call.

Driving over 38,000 miles on our adventure so far has shown us the difficulties of vehicle maintenance on the road.

We have learned though that going through reviews, calling around and picking the shops that have knowledgeable workers is worth the effort. It is worth some investigative work to find a good shop that will do the job right.

As a note, we received absolutely no compensation or discount from any of the campgrounds or businesses noted above. Our family loves finding businesses that are managed the way they should be.

The Groton Road Campground we found on the Passport America list and they really wowed us. Our stay was great and we enjoyed it. Then they really saved us from having to pack up. Unfortunately our boys had left the water on in their excitement to play Minecraft. Therefore the boys filled our tanks on our second day there! We started the process of hitching up to go visit the dump station, since we didn’t have full hook ups. Someone from the camp came over and asked if we wanted to use their portable tank. I don’t know if he was the owner of the camp, but I know he made my day!

Here are a few other articles you might like to read:

Car Problems in New Mexico

While staying at Groton Forest Road Campground we visited Montpelier and the surrounding area.

The Smallest Capital in America

 

7 Comments

  1. Excellent post and it also brings out the challenges of travel which often are not talked about much. As you rightly say, you can’t put off maintenance to a more convenient time…the repercussions can be huge! These days I try and do a maintenance for the car before any long road-trip…keeps me more confident to handle issues 🙂

  2. I have always wondered how amazing it would be to have an RV or a trailer and travel around the country but I never actually thought about the maintenance and the costs associated with it. This is quite an eye-opening post in that sense. Nice to read that there are still people on the road that are nice and not just trying to make money off you!

  3. Such a helpful and very practical post especially for people doing road trips. As someone who used to work with companies for ISO certification, vehicle maintenance is always a requirement especially if people are always on the road. Love the fact that you’ve encountered so many helpful people when you had problems with your vehicle.

  4. I never really thought about maintenance on the road as we rarely travel for more than one to three weeks at a time. I can see how important it would be on longer trips to keep on top of this very well, especially when you tow your accommodation! Great tip on not losing out on valuable sightseeing and relaxation time to chase some of the fixes, but let them come to you when you can! Of course, as you say sometimes you just have to get the job done, even if it’s inconvenient!

  5. It pays to have people like this because for many road trips— Vehicle maintenance is definitely important. It’s good that people like this don’t take advantage of the situation—- it’s nice to know that you do meet a lot of kindness on the road.

    1. We are constantly amazing by the kindness of others on the road and try to pay it forward. Luckily we have been able to help several different families on the road.

      statebystateadventure@gmail.com
  6. Yup, very important to keep the car up to date, especially when doing long trips in North America (I am from London, UK so we do much shorter distances over here) 🙂 I have been a bit lucky whilst on the road so far, no break downs as yet (give it time, I gotta change a tyre one day!) 😀

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