When was the last time you had a mechanic thoroughly check over your vehicle?
Although it is important to make sure basic car maintenance – like oil changes and inspections – is performed, automobiles also require a tune up every once in a while.
“Tune up” is a term you may have heard or read in reference to regular automotive work.
Because cars are made up of many computers and updated equipment, the procedure of a tune up looks a bit differently than years past. In the old days, you would replace the distributor cap, rotor, spark plug wires, spark plugs, PCV valve, fuel filter, air filter, and set the timing.
A tune up now could involve spark plugs, ignition coils, ignition coil boots, PCV tubes, and injector cleaning.
Even though there may not be as many parts being changed, tune ups are still just as important.
What is the purpose of a tune up?
Through tune ups, technicians are able to catch issues you may not notice in your daily travels before they become major problems.
They are also able to ensure that your vehicle is up to date on all maintenance needs. This includes mileage based services, like the fuel induction service.
The fuel induction service, which should be performed every 30,000 miles or so – depending on the vehicle – gets rid of carbon that has built up in the engine. In addition to restoring the engine’s performance, it helps prevent engine damage.
Parts may be replaced during a tune up, as well.
Spark plugs, which ignite the fuel in the cylinder head under high compression, are one example. Years ago, they were changed around 30,000 miles. Nowadays, they have a longer lifespan and can typically last for as long as 60,000 to 105,000 miles.
How much is a tune up?
There isn’t one set answer for the cost of a tune up. Usually, it can range from $100 to $500 (or more).
The price tag varies based on the type of vehicle, where you have it serviced, the work that the auto repair shop provides, and if new parts need to be installed.
Keep in mind that some cars require special tools in order to replace components.
The type of work needed may also impact the cost because of the labor required. Various parts may need to be removed in order to install new spark plugs, a process that could take several hours.
It’s important to use the correct type of spark plug. Just because it fits, it may not be the right spark plug for the vehicle. Different engines and manufacturers have different tolerances. That’s why we like to use O.E. manufacturer recommended spark plugs. Since today’s vehicles operate under much closer tolerances, it is worth spending the money on the right plug over a cheap alternative.
What happens if you don’t do a tune up?
When you hear an estimate for a tune up, it may be more than you feel like spending. But the money that you put in now may be saving you from receiving an unexpected (or possibly more expensive) bill.
For example, if bad spark plugs aren’t replaced it could ruin your catalytic converter, which can cost between $700 and $1,200 each. Some vehicles have three or four of them.
Additional parts that may need to be replaced, including intake plenum caskets as well as rubber and plastic vacuum lines, as they get brittle with age.
Avoiding a tune up doesn’t just prevent you from making sure all pieces are functioning. You could also miss out on an opportunity to help your vehicle run more efficiently and last longer.
HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.