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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings, First time poster!

When the pandemic subsides and the land borders are open, I am giving up to my middle age crisis. Our family is planning to drive the Pan-American Highway from the US down to Panama, maybe longer if we have enough time/funding. I am at the stage of choosing our vehicle, and my first choice is our old, trusty 2011 Traverse FWD. We would not be doing any crazy off roading, and I believe our car can be modified with enough ground clearance to survive the trip regardless of road conditions. I will probably fall for the overlanding crazy and add a rooftop tent. I have checked online, but I am not sure whether the Traverse was sold in any Central American countries. Since my car has been a freaking tank, we have not needed much beyond regular maintenance and fluids.

Am I crazy? I am confident my old lady (Traverse, not the wife) can pull it off, but my concern is finding parts if/when something breaks down the road.

Your input is greatly appreciated!
 

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Crazy.
IMO a unarmed American making that trip is a recipe for potential disaster traveling through notorious South American bandito country.
Yes others have done it solo or with a buddy but with your family onboard in a old vehicle risks are too high nowadays.
Your foreigners in a foreign country, zero support unlike a organized event would have.
Lots of out of the USA posters on here looking for parts/service support on a regular basis also.
 

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Ive traveled Mexico- different routes- but only- half way down into....
 

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I wouldn't in this day and age. Mexico is a really rough place in several areas. Yo would need lots of cash for bribes and that is a problem in itself. My brother used to travel there a lot and did the native route way. Rural buses and all. Said a year or so ago he wouldn't cross the boarder today..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ive traveled Mexico- different routes- but only- half way down into....
I'm mostly trying to figure out whether my car would survive the road, given the conditions and such. And maybe whether I'll have problems finding parts when something breaks. Should I bring stuff with me or not? Or should I invest in a different car? I've kept up with all maintenance in my car, but this will definitely be rougher than anything else I've done.

I am not concerned at all with safety issues. Lots of people do that route not only from the States. Europeans have their vehicles flown from their home countries and drive all the way down to Argentina. (you have to ship your car from Panama to Colombia, there is not a connecting road there) RV's, motorcycles, you name it. It is a matter of using common sense, not driving at night and not showing off. There are entire groups in Facebook and blogs about it.




Thanks a lot for your opinions and input.
 

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The last time I drove down there, I took a spare
water pump(new)
Ignition coil (used, purchased on ebay)
Serpentine belt(my previous belt)
OBD-II scanner.

Never used any of the spare parts.
I did use the scanner on a Honda though.

Close to our final destination, I did see an Acadia on the side of the road, that was dripping coolant. Im guessing the water pump went.
 

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I live in Colombia and I get what people are saying about security during your trip but I would bet none of them leave the US other than on a cruise ship.
they do sell the traverse down here and I see other ones on the road all the time. Parts can be bought from dealers but I think you will be hard pressed to find any “auto parts stores” they just don’t really have them down here. The issue with dealer parts is the cost and the time to get them sent. It takes me about a month if dealer has to have it shipped. I can get it through a mail forward site in a week though. I would second what rbarios is suggesting. I have a spare belt and a few filters on hand but if your traverse is in good shape I would not worry a single bit. I have driven all over Colombia and Bolivia (two different AWD Traverses). Bottom line I would replace what you think you should before the trip and carry a couple small things. Buena Suerte!
 

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I live in Colombia and I get what people are saying about security during your trip but I would bet none of them leave the US other than on a cruise ship.
they do sell the traverse down here and I see other ones on the road all the time. Parts can be bought from dealers but I think you will be hard pressed to find any “auto parts stores” they just don’t really have them down here. The issue with dealer parts is the cost and the time to get them sent. It takes me about a month if dealer has to have it shipped. I can get it through a mail forward site in a week though. I would second what rbarios is suggesting. I have a spare belt and a few filters on hand but if your traverse is in good shape I would not worry a single bit. I have driven all over Colombia and Bolivia (two different AWD Traverses). Bottom line I would replace what you think you should before the trip and carry a couple small things. Buena Suerte!
Good info and insight!

The US media crucifies Mexico as some sort of lawless territory where you will get pillaged. I'm not saying I wouldn't have my reservations since that's all I've heard for years and years, but I assume with proper planning and certain techniques (like not driving on non-highways in the middle of nowhere at night) it can be safely done.
 
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