In 1997, the Dodge Super Neon participated in Hot Rod magazine's Power Tour. Consisting of a 10-day cross-country jaunt, this event rang up a total of 2,800 miles. Associate Editor Karl "Hello, Officer" Brauer piloted the DSN from Los Angeles to Denver, where Publisher John "I Would Love To" Cobb took over for the rest of the drive to Mt. Clemens, Michigan.
Before Karl and John departed in the Neon, we wanted to make sure everything mechanical checked out. Not that we cared whether either of them would get stranded. No, it was more to the point that we didn't want Super Street to look stupid. You see, one of the big selling points of the Power Tour is that it proves 10-second V-8 performance cars can be dependable and comfortable enough to last 2,800 miles. But the dependability of a new Neon is a given, and if it did encounter some freak kryptonite along the way, we would never hear the end of it from the Hot Rod weenies down the hall.
To make sure this wouldn't happen, we took the DSN to Stokes Tire Pros in Santa Monica, California. While Stokes primarily deals with tire stuff, the shop is also equipped for vehicle maintenance. Simply walk in and tell them what kind of car you own and how many miles it has. Stokes' computer will quickly spit out exactly what type of scheduled maintenance needs should be performed.
"1996 Dodge Super Neon, 3,300 miles," we said. The computer responded with the equivalent of a blank stare. Turns out our DSN was too new and lacked the miles to warrant any work. But because this was the Power Tour, we cheated and told the computer we had a '95 Neon with 25,000 miles. This gave us more recommendations to work with. So if you're using your ride for a long-distance trip anytime soon, follow along and see what needs to be inspected before a Power trip.