Cross-country road trips are an amazing way to explore. Make sure your car’s just as ready for adventure by following these car preparation tips.

From Yosemite National Park to the Las Vegas strips, there are plenty of reasons to head west. By opting to explore the western states via road trip, you can customize an itinerary that works for you and your friends. Before starting on your cross-country journey, however, you need to ensure your car’s ready for the long haul, too. To avoid any vehicle problems along the way, follow these tips for getting your car ready for a road trip out west.

Check the Battery

It comes as no surprise that your car’s battery is imperative to its performance. Check that the car battery’s connection is tight and that there’s no sign of corrosion. If you’ve never checked the battery before, entrust your mechanic with the task.

Fill Fluids and Replace Filters

You never want to head out for a long journey with low fluid levels. Top off your coolant, engine oil, power steering, transmission, and windshield washer fluids before tending to your road trip itinerary. Without ample fluids, your car’s performance will suffer.

Replacing your filters will confirm your car’s engine receives adequate airflow. A filter stuffed with dirt and debris can cause an overheated engine and poor vehicle acceleration.

Prepare Your Car for the Elements

Throughout your trip, your car will encounter many external elements—some more detrimental than others. These include the following:

Bird droppings and dead bugs – These are highly acidic factors that can dissolve your car’s paint. An exposed vehicle is more vulnerable to rust. Fresh wax coats and car washes can help reduce the hazard.

Dust – Your car is likely to accumulate a lot of dust during the trip. Be sure to wash it regularly to avoid corrosion.

Road contaminants – When exploring new terrain, your vehicle may encounter unexpected contaminants. Regular washes can maintain the undercarriage’s condition, removing any harsh chemicals acquired along the ride.

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UV rays and heat – Just as extreme heat and rays can be detrimental to you, they can also damage your ride. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to protect your car from the heat that you’ll encounter out west.

Have Your Tires Inspected

Have your tire pressure assessed before hitting the road. Tire inflation can directly influence your car’s fuel economy, meaning it should remain at optimal levels. You’ll also want to check the tread on each tire. Tread is critical to effective traction, which increases driver control and passenger safety.

Additional Inventory

In addition to adhering to these tips for getting your car ready for a road trip out west, you’ll want to stock your car with a safety kit. Flare guns, extra water, warm blankets, an atlas, and other backup gear can serve your group well when in a bind.