Ready to hit the road--but is your car?

Getting your car checked out before hitting the road will save you time and money / Ashley Knight

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer--and for many, summer means road trip!

But before you hit the road, make sure you know what your car needs to get you there and back safely.

When you get ready to travel, you may have a laundry list of things to check off like hotel accommodations and sights to see, but experts say--just as important is making sure your car is ready for the road, and they say it all starts under the hood.

"Tune ups, they help increase fuel economy of the vehicle, they also can lower the cost of repairs in the future," says Danny Wiggins with American Lube Fast in Albany.

You should also get your brakes checked every time you get an oil change.

"If you slam on your brakes, what it does is eats your brake pads a lot quicker, your brake rotors," adds Wiggins.

And though you may not think about it, whether your tires have the right pressure in them can make a big difference. Underinflated tires can be deadly.

"It decreases your traction and it makes the tires less safe, you're more likely to skid because of the surface contact, makes a larger stopping distance," says Joel Davis with Goodlife Tire Brake and Alignment.

And putting the right amount of pressure in your tires could be putting money back in your pocket--fuel efficiency drops 4% for every pound of pressure lost in your tires.

"It may not sound like much, but if you drive 12,000 miles a year, that's about $300-500 a year that you're spending more than you have to," says Davis.

Check tire pressure first thing in the morning before driving and check regularly, experts say once a week. And soon, you'll be ready to hit the open road safer than before.

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