Is It Safe to Go on a Road Trip in a New Car?

For decades, spring break and summer have been synonymous with travel to sunny destinations like Miami Beach and South Padre Island. And many travelers choose road trips instead of flights to make the journey as fun as the destination. But unless you want your vehicle breaking down on the highway, car safety on road trips can be worrisome.

Fortunately, you shouldn’t have any major concerns about taking your new car on a long journey, and here’s why.

Unlike older vehicles, modern cars do not need a break-in period

Road trip car: 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 electric compact crossover SUV
2022 Volkswagen ID.4 | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

In the past, automakers recommended break-in periods and processes for their vehicles. For instance, Chevrolet highly discouraged pushing the Corvette Z06 C7 over 4000 RPMs for the first 500 miles. Other manufacturers, such as Subaru, suggested breaking in the car for up to 1,000 miles.

However, according to Consumer Reports, break-in periods with new cars are quickly becoming a thing of the past. That’s thanks to modern powertrains’ continually adapting to drivers’ needs and driving styles. As such, you might not need to rack up the miles in short bursts before you take a road trip in your new car.

Nevertheless, some manufacturers still suggest steps to enhance car safety and ensure your new car will run for years to come. Examples include varying your driving speeds as often as possible and not towing other vehicles. You might also need to avoid frequent hard stops and going full throttle for extended periods.

Besides those few tips, there’s not much else you need to do to break in a new car. 

But you should still be careful with your new car on a road trip

Road trips can still be demanding on a car, whether old or new. Here are a few things to consider.

Various components, such as brakes and tires, will accumulate more wear than usual due to the extra friction on road trips. So looking into something like tires for long-distance trips might be an excellent idea for extra car safety.

Also, long-distance driving is likely to be more taxing for the engine than short daily trips. That can lead to issues like overheating and even reduce the engine’s performance in the long run.

Consequently, it would be best if you took occasional breaks to reduce the load on the engine and let it cool. A 15-minute break at two-hour intervals should be sufficient. Doing that should also improve the engine’s long-term performance.

That said, running into traffic on highways and other roads after driving at higher speeds means your engine will suddenly be idle. Doing so might take its toll on the engine as well. Therefore, planning ahead using tools like Google Maps to avoid traffic can help reduce the strain on your new car.

Those tips, as inconsequential as they may seem, should help you maintain your car in top condition throughout your journey. 

Best new cars for road trips

Some new cars are better suited for road trips than others, and they are available in various styles and price ranges.

The 2022 Hyundai Elantra is a great example. With pricing that starts at around $20,000 and fuel economy of up to 43 mpg, it’s an excellent economical option, Reader’s Digest reports. Also, the Elantra offers cruise control to make the journey easier, and the infotainment system is remarkable for its class.

If price or budget isn’t an issue, the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover Westminster Edition is ideal for those who want comfort and luxury. The SUV is exceptionally comfortable, with features like heated and cooled front seats, reclining rear seats, and even a front console refrigerator. There are also beneficial road-trip extras like a sliding panoramic sunroof, a rear traffic monitor, and an adaptive speed limiter for car safety.

If you enjoy the feeling of the sun and wind while you drive, the 2022 BMW M440i convertible might be a better pick. It benefits from being comfortable and potent and will likely be an asset if you take the scenic route.

Finally, the Volkswagen ID.4 is a great road trip vehicle for electric car lovers. The 260-mile range is well-suited for longer journeys, not to mention the fast charging at public DC chargers. As a bonus, this compact crossover boasts a spacious, comfortable cabin.

RELATED: Toyota Makes 2 of the 3 Best Road Trip Cars, According to CarGurus