* Don't neglect the signals your tires are sending you. Tires have "wear bars" built into them. These indicators appear when you have worn your tread down to one-sixteenth of an inch.
* Rotate your tires according to the vehicle owner's manual. The forces exerted on tires differ depending on the tire's position on the car, which may cause uneven tire wear. Front wheels work harder because they do the turning and most of the braking. And rear wheels can be unevenly loaded.
* Check your air pressure with an accurate tire gauge at least once a month and always when cool - meaning the car has been driven less than one mile or has not moved in at least three hours. Tires can lose up to 1 pound per square inch per month, and tire pressure can change by 1 pound per square inch for every 10 degrees change in ambient temperature.
The next time you head to the car wash, take a few minutes to check your tires so you can cruise the roads knowing your vehicle is clean and, more importantly, safer for any season.
Trisha Hessinger, an automotive education specialist and former race car driver, is a national spokeswoman for TiresPlus. For more information, visit www.TiresPlus.com.