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17 year old Nissan Micra driving through Europe Watch

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    So..just some thoughts here.

    My boyfriend moved to France for 4 months and I'm going out to visit him.
    The journey is just over 800 miles (one way) in the Alps. Obviously I'd looked at flights but this would be so much cooler!!

    My car is 17 years old, has about 115 thousands miles on the clock. Serviced back in June. It's going to fail its MOT in September this year because of rust, apart from that the car is mechanically sound. (the fan belt needs replacing but I'm doing that this month anyway before i go)

    I've got Europe driving covered on my insurance, would just need to check my breakdown cover. My question is...would the car survive the journey?

    I regularly drive it down to cornwall which is a 300 mile trip, and the car never fails or overheats or struggles. But obviously this is 500 miles more.

    I'm selling the car in the summer anyway so thought it be cool to give it one last road trip before it goes to the scrap yard in the sky.

    Thoughts???
    Also would I need winter tyres or are UK tyres okay?
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    Why it wouldn't survive? I have 2 cars at the moment and I am more confident in 145k car than in newer with 75k on the clock. You will get tired after this journey due to noise and low comfort of Micra. Check with laws in France if you need winter tires. Don't forget to purchase approved breathalyzers, also check if you have to have first aid kit and fire extinguisher.
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    You're also going to need:
    A GB sticker
    warning triangle
    hi-vis jacket

    Yeah your car would be fine, my parents have taken a 14 year old skoda with 300k miss on it plenty of times and it's survived. Only issue is how comfortable you realistally be driving all that way in a micra and if you feel okay driving on the other side of the road
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    I drove an old Micra and it could barely hit 65mph!

    Please do check all the tyre pressures, coolant and oil levels. Make sure all the lights are running okay and youre good to go. The Micra is a very reliable car, but probably not the most comfortable and fastest haha.
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    I own 10 year old and a 20 year old cars, and I don't see why they would fail on a trip through the continent, but I know almost every screw in them. A well maintained old car is often more reliable than many cars produced after 2005 or even brand new ones.
    (Original post by mcgreevy1993)
    Thoughts???
    Also would I need winter tyres or are UK tyres okay?
    I wouldn't go for a winter trip through mountain roads without winter tires, even if they are clear from snow and ice. Besides, you never know, what conditions you may face. Also, make sure that brake cables are ok. which means no leaks from stiff cables, or elastic cables. Especially those rubber elastic cables near calipers age quickly, and in a car 17 years old should have been replaced at least once.

    However, the most crucial thing will be your skills. Driving in Alps requires very good engine braking skill. Without it, even a car with big, ventilled brakes may overheat brake liquid or even burn brake pads, which means loosing them when you need them. Actually an engine is every car's main brake, especially in the mountains due to need of continuous braking, and on ice, due to lack of grip that makes normal brakes almost useless.
    Another skill is grip feeling (mind your car may not have ABS) so if there will be snow on the road, it may be fun.
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    Damn......this trip sounds great..... hope you enjoy it and if the cars fine then deffo go for a car ride!

    It'll be an experience of a life time.

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    Yes you can, My checklist to get the car sound are:
    1) Get a new radiator put in, any cheap taiwanese aftermarket will do it.
    2) Transmission oil flush, differential oil change, power steering flushed.
    3) New shock absorbers, suspension fix, new struts.
    4) New Engine serpentine belt, etc.
    And finally a set of tires.
    If you calculate all of these parts cost, it would be around 150 pounds, without tyres, not bad if you are going to take a long journey.
    Good luck!
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    Do us a favor, brake cables are more crucial than a radiator that is probably fine unless someone filled it with not-demiralised water.
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    Thanks for all the comments.
    I was just unsure as everyone's response is "well it's an old car" but to be honest - the car has never failed me once and I do an average of 15,000 miles per year in it anyway!

    The only problem would be the comfort really. The Micra isn't exactly comfortable after a few hours and your back hurts.

    Can you get winter tyres in the UK??
    I'm assuming they do them in most tyre places??
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    (Original post by PTMalewski)
    I own 10 year old and a 20 year old cars, and I don't see why they would fail on a trip through the continent, but I know almost every screw in them. A well maintained old car is often more reliable than many cars produced after 2005 or even brand new ones.


    I wouldn't go for a winter trip through mountain roads without winter tires, even if they are clear from snow and ice. Besides, you never know, what conditions you may face. Also, make sure that brake cables are ok. which means no leaks from stiff cables, or elastic cables. Especially those rubber elastic cables near calipers age quickly, and in a car 17 years old should have been replaced at least once.

    However, the most crucial thing will be your skills. Driving in Alps requires very good engine braking skill. Without it, even a car with big, ventilled brakes may overheat brake liquid or even burn brake pads, which means loosing them when you need them. Actually an engine is every car's main brake, especially in the mountains due to need of continuous braking, and on ice, due to lack of grip that makes normal brakes almost useless.
    Another skill is grip feeling (mind your car may not have ABS) so if there will be snow on the road, it may be fun.
    My father has a 17 year old Toyota Hilux which has gone beyond 1.2 million kilometres. I was in charge of its maintenance, all I did was follow the owners manual for maintenance routine, I still have 3 fat books filled with maintenance details on oil changes, brake jobs, belts, 3 radiators so far, a brake booster, it got its transmission repaired twice and much more. the truck paid for itself. I don't think new cars might do so well like the cars of 90s or early 2000s.
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    (Original post by mcgreevy1993)
    Thanks for all the comments.
    I was just unsure as everyone's response is "well it's an old car" but to be honest - the car has never failed me once and I do an average of 15,000 miles per year in it anyway!

    The only problem would be the comfort really. The Micra isn't exactly comfortable after a few hours and your back hurts.

    Can you get winter tyres in the UK??
    I'm assuming they do them in most tyre places??
    CC900 was a cheap city car with short engine lifespan for it's time and it did survive a trip from Poland to Dakar in Africa and back, starting the trip after passing 213 000 miles, just because it was properly maintained. Earlier, the very same car made it to Pakistan and back earlier, and believe me, the roads through post eastern block were VERY bad back then.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHCrVT2q0F0

    I think you can get any tyres anywhere in Europe.


    (Original post by Mr. Petrol Head)
    I don't think new cars might do so well like the cars of 90s or early 2000s.

    Yeap. The best proof is probably VW 1.9 TDI BXE series. Older version could do over 300 k miles without capital renovation. The BXE series notoriously suffers from major failures after 140 k miles, and 1 out of ten engines suffers from broken connecting rods and block explosions after 90k miles. Engine desing is almost the same as in the old models, so clearly they started using far worse materials to make them.
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    (Original post by PTMalewski)
    CC900 was a cheap city car with short engine lifespan for it's time and it did survive a trip from Poland to Dakar in Africa and back, starting the trip after passing 213 000 miles, just because it was properly maintained. Earlier, the very same car made it to Pakistan and back earlier, and believe me, the roads through post eastern block were VERY bad back then.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHCrVT2q0F0

    I think you can get any tyres anywhere in Europe.





    Yeap. The best proof is probably VW 1.9 TDI BXE series. Older version could do over 300 k miles without capital renovation. The BXE series notoriously suffers from major failures after 140 k miles, and 1 out of ten engines suffers from broken connecting rods and block explosions after 90k miles. Engine desing is almost the same as in the old models, so clearly they started using far worse materials to make them.
    True, A 90s Nissan was built to last, a Nissan pulsar of that time was built to last, recent Nissan cars suffer from CVT failure, I worked for Nissan as an intern, and I heard from my colleagues that is there's even a minor issue in the CVT ecu, the whole transmission is useless and needs immediate replacement.
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    (Original post by Mr. Petrol Head)
    Yes you can, My checklist to get the car sound are:
    1) Get a new radiator put in, any cheap taiwanese aftermarket will do it.
    2) Transmission oil flush, differential oil change, power steering flushed.
    3) New shock absorbers, suspension fix, new struts.
    4) New Engine serpentine belt, etc.
    And finally a set of tires.
    If you calculate all of these parts cost, it would be around 150 pounds, without tyres, not bad if you are going to take a long journey.
    Good luck!
    :eyeball:
    Why would you change a bunch of parts that are (presumably) currently serviceable, especially when the car isn't going to be kept much longer? Rad and shocks would be north of £200 alone, let alone adding labour.
    Out of curiosity, where are you based? I'm guessing America, as you reference transmission and diff oil changes (diff oil changes are bloody hard to do on FWD cars, do you know why?)

    (Original post by PTMalewski)
    Do us a favor, brake cables are more crucial than a radiator that is probably fine unless someone filled it with not-demiralised water.
    :eyeball:
    Unless the handbrake is pointing into the sky, why are you worried about brake cables? And using tap water isn't a big deal unless you're losing a lot of coolant and constantly topping up. Correct level of anti-freeze would be a much greater concern.

    (Original post by mcgreevy1993)
    So..just some thoughts here.

    My boyfriend moved to France for 4 months and I'm going out to visit him.
    The journey is just over 800 miles (one way) in the Alps. Obviously I'd looked at flights but this would be so much cooler!!

    My car is 17 years old, has about 115 thousands miles on the clock. Serviced back in June. It's going to fail its MOT in September this year because of rust, apart from that the car is mechanically sound. (the fan belt needs replacing but I'm doing that this month anyway before i go)

    I've got Europe driving covered on my insurance, would just need to check my breakdown cover. My question is...would the car survive the journey?

    I regularly drive it down to cornwall which is a 300 mile trip, and the car never fails or overheats or struggles. But obviously this is 500 miles more.

    I'm selling the car in the summer anyway so thought it be cool to give it one last road trip before it goes to the scrap yard in the sky.

    Thoughts???
    Also would I need winter tyres or are UK tyres okay?
    It's only an 800 mile drive, it's not that big a deal. Parts could fail at any time but distance isn't that big a deal - it's not like you're driving over inhospitable terrain, they're still paved roads! The thing that could potentially be an issue for you would be altitude, depending how far into the alps you're going. As you climb higher the air gets thinner and the engine has to work harder (particularly a non-turbocharged engine) which could be an issue if your cooling system isn't up to scratch.
    Best thing to do is work out what your contingency plan is if something catastrophic fails. Can you just scrap the car, get a train to where you're going to and then fly back?
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    :eyeball:
    Why would you change a bunch of parts that are (presumably) currently serviceable, especially when the car isn't going to be kept much longer? Rad and shocks would be north of £200 alone, let alone adding labour.
    Out of curiosity, where are you based? I'm guessing America, as you reference transmission and diff oil changes (diff oil changes are bloody hard to do on FWD cars, do you know why?)


    :eyeball:
    Unless the handbrake is pointing into the sky, why are you worried about brake cables? And using tap water isn't a big deal unless you're losing a lot of coolant and constantly topping up. Correct level of anti-freeze would be a much greater concern.


    It's only an 800 mile drive, it's not that big a deal. Parts could fail at any time but distance isn't that big a deal - it's not like you're driving over inhospitable terrain, they're still paved roads! The thing that could potentially be an issue for you would be altitude, depending how far into the alps you're going. As you climb higher the air gets thinner and the engine has to work harder (particularly a non-turbocharged engine) which could be an issue if your cooling system isn't up to scratch.
    Best thing to do is work out what your contingency plan is if something catastrophic fails. Can you just scrap the car, get a train to where you're going to and then fly back?
    CurlyBen, nice guess, I am from the UAE, I own a 2003 nissan pulsar, and we have strict mot tests, we have to have the car to be mechanically perfect. I change my differential oil every 60k miles, the transmission oil at 60k miles too. Here's my car's picture and our cars over here have to be in perfect running condition.
    Attachment 608872
    Attachment 608878
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    (Original post by Mr. Petrol Head)
    CurlyBen, nice guess, I am from the UAE, I own a 2003 nissan pulsar, and we have strict mot tests, we have to have the car to be mechanically perfect. I change my differential oil every 60k miles, the transmission oil at 60k miles too. Here's my car's picture and our cars over here have to be in perfect running condition.
    The clue is that transmission doesn't mean quite the same thing in the UK as the US - in the UK it refers to the whole drivetrain, whereas in the US it refers to what we call the gearbox. Surely your car is FWD? In which case the diff is integral to the gearbox (transmission) and they use the same oil. It's also quite common these days for gearboxes and diffs to be 'sealed for life' units, which don't require oil changes.

    I still don't see any reason to change shocks and the rad just for the hell of it.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    The clue is that transmission doesn't mean quite the same thing in the UK as the US - in the UK it refers to the whole drivetrain, whereas in the US it refers to what we call the gearbox. Surely your car is FWD? In which case the diff is integral to the gearbox (transmission) and they use the same oil. It's also quite common these days for gearboxes and diffs to be 'sealed for life' units, which don't require oil changes.

    I still don't see any reason to change shocks and the rad just for the hell of it.
    Nope, in cars made before 2008, Differential oil is much denser and different in properties than transmission oil. No matter what the drive layout is, both cant share the same oil. Radiators will last typically for 10 years, after that they are more prone to leaks due to their plastic material cracking. I live in a country where the temperature exceeds 45 degrees Celsius, which further provides greater challenges for cooling system to not to fail.
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    (Original post by Mr. Petrol Head)
    Nope, in cars made before 2008, Differential oil is much denser and different in properties than transmission oil. No matter what the drive layout is, both cant share the same oil. Radiators will last typically for 10 years, after that they are more prone to leaks due to their plastic material cracking. I live in a country where the temperature exceeds 45 degrees Celsius, which further provides greater challenges for cooling system to not to fail.
    It's extremely common to use a single oil when diff and gearbox are contained within a single casing, as is the case with most FWD cars but also things like tractors (where the gearbox oil is used not only for the diff but also the hydraulic systems too!). Look at the datasheet for something like Spirax G. There are formulations for specific use and there are advantages to that, but it's very possible for diff and gearbox to share oil. But this is going a long way off topic so I've said what I'll say on the subject!
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    It's extremely common to use a single oil when diff and gearbox are contained within a single casing, as is the case with most FWD cars but also things like tractors (where the gearbox oil is used not only for the diff but also the hydraulic systems too!). Look at the datasheet for something like Spirax G. There are formulations for specific use and there are advantages to that, but it's very possible for diff and gearbox to share oil. But this is going a long way off topic so I've said what I'll say on the subject!
    Wow man, I would definitely want to learn more, thanks for the information dude
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    (Original post by Mr. Petrol Head)
    Nope, in cars made before 2008, Differential oil is much denser and different in properties than transmission oil. No matter what the drive layout is, both cant share the same oil. Radiators will last typically for 10 years, after that they are more prone to leaks due to their plastic material cracking. I live in a country where the temperature exceeds 45 degrees Celsius, which further provides greater challenges for cooling system to not to fail.
    Any source for that?! As CurlyBen said, pretty much any FWD car will share the transmission oil between the gearbox and differential. This has been the case for every FWD car I've owned, ranging from '94 to '02.

    And "10 years" is a pretty arbitrary time limit to impose on a radiator. My current car is 15 years old with 170k miles on it on what I'm pretty sure is the original radiator, no problems with it at all. In fact the engine runs a little cool, if anything (although OEM temperature gauges aren't the most accurate).
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    :eyeball:


    :eyeball:
    Unless the handbrake is pointing into the sky, why are you worried about brake cables? And using tap water isn't a big deal unless you're losing a lot of coolant and constantly topping up. Correct level of anti-freeze would be a much greater concern.
    I meant brake circuits(?) those with brake fluid. I'd prefer to lose coolant and stop, or suffer from head gasket failure than to lose my brakes. If the elastic cirucits were never replaced, they are no doubt a weak point.
    Of course, it doesn't matter if driver's technique is wrong. Then in the mountains overheating will kill the brakes anyway.

    (Original post by Mr. Petrol Head)
    . Radiators will last typically for 10 years, after that they are more prone to leaks due to their plastic material cracking. I live in a country where the temperature exceeds 45 degrees Celsius, which further provides greater challenges for cooling system to not to fail.
    This shows a terrible quality of those radiators. In my 10 year old Fiat, there is no signs of age on plastic parts of radiator. In my 20 years old FSO I have replaced original radiator when it was 15 years old, which was a big mistake, because it turned out that the old radiator was still in good condition, and plastics even looks like brand new, while the new radiator made in Turkey required instant repairs due to leakings and there was even more corrosion than in the 15 years old Polish-made radiator (and Poland was not famous for quality of industrial production)
    One more time this Turkish crap fails and I think I'm going to put the original part back into the car.

    (Original post by Nuffles)
    In fact the engine runs a little cool, if anything (although OEM temperature gauges aren't the most accurate).
    Replace the termostat. Replacement interval is 5 years for that. Then the bi-metal springs gets worn out. Only mind to pick the one with higher temperature of opening. Those with lower temperature are typically for southern-Europe versions.
 
 
 
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