You might not think the big hunks of rubber wrapped around your wheels require much maintenance, but these items need as much TLC as any other item on your car. Your tires are the only things between your vehicle and the road, and poorly maintained tires may wear out more quickly or become hazardous under certain conditions. A proper tire maintenance schedule can avoid these nasty situations.

However, what does a proper tire maintenance schedule involve? After all, your tires don't have any fluids to change or filters to replace. Keep reading to learn about three fundamental ways your tires require active maintenance to avoid degraded performance and safety.

1. Routine Rotations

If you don't perform any other maintenance on your tires, you should still keep up with routine tire rotations. There's no hard and fast rule for when you should rotate your tires, but some manufacturers recommend performing this service about twice per year. The pattern you'll need to use for tire rotations will vary based on your car's drive configuration.

Tire rotation helps prolong the life of your tires by evening out inconsistent wear patterns. Keeping your wheels aligned and maintaining your suspension system can reduce uneven wear, but it's challenging to eliminate it altogether. Rotating your tires smooths out any problems so that poorly worn tires don't affect your vehicle's handling or force you to replace one or more tires prematurely.

2. Spare Tire Care

If your vehicle came with a spare tire, that also requires some maintenance. Most cars don't include full-size spares, but the job is the same whether dealing with a small "donut" tire or a full-size one. Tire pressure can naturally vary with temperature changes, and rubber will wear out over time even if you don't use it.

Taking care of your spare means checking it occasionally for correct pressure and inspecting the tire for signs of damage. A tire that you don't use will typically only last about six years, so you'll need to replace your spare if it's much older than this. You should also consider a new spare tire if you notice cracks or other indications that the rubber may fail due to age.

3. Regular Inspections

Taking the time to inspect your tires is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure they remain in good shape. Check your tire pressure often, and examine the tires for bubbling, cracking, or signs of damage. If you notice any problems or if your tire seems to be losing pressure over time, you'll need to bring your car to a tire shop for a more thorough inspection.

Tires are both critical for your safety and expensive to replace. Keeping up with maintenance will help you get the most value for your money while avoiding easily avoidable wear and tear that can create hazardous driving conditions on the road. Reach out to a professional to discuss tire maintenance