Going for a trip on US-101? Or maybe Interstate 5 is more your speed? Either way, you'll be in for a fun drive. Traveling the West Coast of America is roughly a 24-hour drive along 1,500 miles of road, and that's if you don't take any breaks or stop to enjoy attractions along the way. After all, the point of a road trip like this is to discover things while on the way to your destination.

You'll also need to think about preparing for such a long journey. You'll need a budget ready for food and lodging, clothes and activities to keep you busy when you aren't behind the wheel, and if you're going camping you'll need to prepare your camper and other camping gear. Something else you'll need to prepare is your vehicle: the West Coast goes from a desert in the south to the rainiest part of the United States in the north, so you'll need to be ready for everything.

Inspect and Fill Your Tires

Traction is a very important factor when it comes to car safety, and you'll get the best traction possible when your tires are at the right pressure and the treads are nice and deep. Traction is more important in the rainy parts of the Northwest, but even in Southern California you may have to worry about blowing sand if you take roads that hug the coast.

It's easy to inspect your tires yourself. You can do so by using the "penny test" to check the tread depth and a tire pressure gauge to add air can be found at any gas station. Remember to check your spare tire if you have one, and don't forget your trailer tires if you're bringing one.

Update Your Service History

Driving on the highway for hours at a time is tough on any vehicle, especially one weighed down with luggage, passengers, and a trailer. If you've been procrastinating about booking your vehicle for a service visit, you need to make sure to get that done before your long road trip. You should also calculate the miles you'll be traveling, get any replacement parts, and attend to any vehicle inspections. It's unlikely that anything will go wrong, but better safe than sorry.

Save Space for Emergencies

You should always keep some basic emergency supplies in your trunk or cargo area. A jug or two of water is important since part of the trip takes you through the desert, plus a few non-perishable foods that will keep you going until you can get help, should you break down. You should also keep a spare phone charger in the glove compartment and have a road map on hand in case technology fails you.

Wash and Wax the Exterior

You may think that washing your car can wait until you get back home, but it also helps to give your car a good wash and wax before you leave. Washing your car will make sure the road dirt and grime doesn't add to the layer of dirt already on your car, and by adding a fresh layer of wax you will make sure your vehicle is protected from the elements. Just remember to use the right products, including microfiber towels and tire brushes to clean off all the dirt without damaging the finish.

Clean and Organize the Interior

Just like the exterior, it's a good idea to make sure your interior is as clean as possible before you head out on a trip. The carpets and seats may become a mess by the time the trip is over, especially if you have young kids coming along, but that mess will be easier to clean up if you get rid of all the gunk, stains, trash, and dirt before you leave. You can also take this time to organize the things in your car so that you'll be able to find them on the road.

With rain, hot weather, fog, mountains, and coastlines waiting for you on the West Coast roads, you need to make sure you and your vehicle are ready for anything. Depending on the time of year, you can't rule out snow or icy roads, either. So put your vehicle through all the inspections, service and repairs, clean and wax the exterior, and get the interior ready for all the passengers and luggage you'll need to carry. Check out Golden State for your car cleaning products and you'll be ready to have the road trip of a lifetime.

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