When to Take Your Car in for a Tune Up

Posted December 21, 2011

How do you know when your car needs a tune up?
Vehicles today are sophisticated, fine-tuned machines. Much more so than those of, say the 1970’s. In that era, cars needed what was called a tune-up every 5-10,000 miles! Could you imagine needing to have a tune-up done on your car every other oil change?!
Now today’s vehicles don’t require major services as frequently, but to avoid having major problems arise, you must have your car’s fluids and filters serviced every 30,000 miles.
It is a good idea to have your oil changed at a reputable repair facility that will check the status of these items every 3,000 miles when you get an oil change and then having an all-out, bumper to bumper inspection done once, or even better, twice per year. We have advanced from the days of distributors, timing adjustments and idle screw adjustments on carburetors.

A tune-up today generally consists of replacing spark plugs, plug wires, the fuel filter, the interior and engine air filters, performing a complete fuel system cleaning, as well as flushing any dirty fluids. Now this is a generic list, some cars won’t need all of these services, but on the other side, some may require more. So how do you know if you need a tune-up? There are four major indications that you are due, or overdue, for a tune-up.

First is mileage. Consult your owner’s manual to see when your specific manufacturer recommends servicing for a tune-up.

Next would be if you have noticed increased fuel consumption. The best way to keep an eye on this is to monitor your gas mileage at every fill up. To accomplish this most accurately, fill up your tank to the top every time and use your trip odometer. If you reset the trip odometer after every fill up and you fill the tank, then when you look at how much fuel (in gallons) the tank took and divide that by how many miles are on the trip meter, you will come across your exact miles per gallon on that tank.

If you notice a knocking or pinging sound upon acceleration that is a definite sign the vehicle needs service. Occasionally this can be caused by an octane of gas that is too low, but if you are putting in the recommended octane listed in your owner’s manual, then a tune-up inspection would be required.

Lastly would be hard starting, meaning the vehicle will crank and try to start, but it may take a few tries before it does. No starts are the leading cause of emergency roadside calls, all stemming from a lack of maintenance.

Although cars don’t require service as often, many interpret this as them not needing service at all. Drivers tend to neglect preventative maintenance because there aren’t any noticeable signs of a problem right now and want to wait until there is an issue. But as the maintenance keeps getting pushed aside, problems and damage are surfacing slowly and growing in severity, leading to a much higher repair bill when a noticeable problem occurs. For example, visit your Holland brake repair shop when your brake pedal begins to feel squishy or becomes noisy when you go to brake. This will help maintain your safety and the safety of your passengers.
The engineers that design the cars today don’t create the recommended service intervals on a whim. Much research goes into deciding the optimum mileage increments to have components or fluids replaced. Following these guidelines will ensure the longest life out of your vehicle and the lowest cost per mile of driving.

Categories: Car Repair

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