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Discussion Starter #1
Last summer I planned to take The Gary on his first road trip adventure. Alas, it was not to be.

While my wife and I did get to go on our Pacific Northwest adventure with our new pup, we had to do it in a rental car; my wife was rear-ended while driving The Gary the day before our trip.

Our insurance got us a rental and a sympathetic nod from our agent, and off we went driving 3,000+ miles across three states, in a 2018 Tahoe.

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I'm not going to lie, this car made me second guess my choice of a Pilot. But after reading lots of posts here, I concluded I got what I paid for, and I'd have paid a lot more to drive that car. And for what it's worth, I actually wanted to get another 2006, like my previous Pilot. But it was nice riding around in that big ol' creature of comfort. One night, my wife, pup, and I actually slept in that dang thang! We found us a nice camping site and sympathetic ranger, and set up shop. The Mrs. wasn't so happy about it, but I had a great time! We ended up staying in a little place called Rogue River by Grants Pass, and it was lovely. On the trip back from Seattle, after we'd been to Portland and then Spokane, we took US1 nearly all the way down to The Bay. It was gorgeous, and we did it with an entirely packed car of humans, and a little hitch in the back for extra storage (had to get it, but figured it'd fit The Gary anyway, and I plan to use it this summer). But all in all it was a great trip.

Summer is here again, and my family and I are going back up north for some fun in the sun. We liked Oregon so much we're making it our destination. But I got nervous about The Gary, if I'm honest. I told my folks let's just rent a car instead. But, naturally, when the insurance company isn't paying for it I was unpleasantly surprised to learn it'll be over $1,000 to make that happen. We figure, let's see about putting that money into The Gary instead, and see how we go!

So, my question to the thread is, if you had ~$1,000 to spend on maintenance for a road trip, how would you go about spending it? My car is pretty standard so far, and my kids (teenagers, three of em) are already complaining about the lack of sound system compared to last summer.

I turn to you, my trusty Piloteers, for some thoughts, advice, inspiration, or anecdotes that my wife and I might use to help ensure our summer road trip is going to be awesome.

I'd be willing to promise a blog post with pictures n' stuff should I get some good advice from this place, if that might entice some participants.

Oh, and here are some pics of my dog, as promised.
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Here's her Instgram because of course she has an Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emberpazthepuppy/
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The little hitch I've got is quite small, probably need a bigger one as well traveling with seven people in the Pilot!

This list seems like as good a start as any: https://www.autocareplus.com/media/long-trip-preparations/

And I feel like I need to upgrade my lights. The fog and darkness at night really put the headlights of the newer Tahoe to work, which pissed off everyone around me. But made a huge difference in how safe I felt.

I really just want to feel safe driving around the country in this car.

The Gary is at about 128k currently.
 

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I bought my '09 with 93k miles, did the timing belt kit around 118k, I think I remember. Now it has 128k. I've changed the oil myself and did a few drain/fills of transmission fluid while I've had it the last two years. There's some rattling in the front end, not sure if it needs new struts or the compliance bushing is just cracked, like I've read around her.

Anyway I'm taking my car to Monterey and San Francisco from LA next week, no worries. I'll change the struts I think in the next month or two, but for mechanical reliability, I feel fine with my Pilot.

Does yours have any issues? Like $1k on maintenance, or upgrades, is what you're looking at?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I bought my '09 with 93k miles, did the timing belt kit around 118k, I think I remember. Now it has 128k. I've changed the oil myself and did a few drain/fills of transmission fluid while I've had it the last two years. There's some rattling in the front end, not sure if it needs new struts or the compliance bushing is just cracked, like I've read around her.

Anyway I'm taking my car to Monterey and San Francisco from LA next week, no worries. I'll change the struts I think in the next month or two, but for mechanical reliability, I feel fine with my Pilot.

Does yours have any issues? Like $1k on maintenance, or upgrades, is what you're looking at?
 
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