We’ve all heard about the value of a car tune up for its performance and lifespan, but fewer people know what this type of maintenance entails. Let’s talk about what a tune up is and when to know if you need to get one.
Tune ups then and now
Tune ups as we know them today are completely different than they were when the term was first coined. A tune up in an early car was routine maintenance work on the vehicle’s ignition system to ensure that ignition and fueling worked in perfect tandem with each other.
A tune up was a complicated, precise process that might include replacing spark plugs, resetting the ignition timing, adjusting the vehicle’s carburetor, and more. More than that, old vehicles required tune ups on a regular basis to ensure the vehicle worked properly.
With so many improvements in technology, modern vehicles no longer have the need for regular recalibrations to ensure the ignition and fuel systems work in tandem. New cars do still need regular maintenance to perform their best. The term ‘tune up’ has carried over from those early models even though the items in a modern tune up are different than they used to be.
A ‘car maintenance schedule’: a car tune-up by any other name
Every modern vehicle comes with what’s known as a ‘maintenance schedule’. This schedule consists of routine work that is required after a certain amount of miles have been driven. A modern tune up is another way to refer to this routine maintenance.
What does a modern tune-up include? Let’s take a look.
Checking filters, belts, and hoses
Belts and hoses are essential parts of your engine, ensuring that your drive system can power components such as water pumps and timing belts. Although they last longer than they used to, belts and hoses don’t last forever. They can wear down, crack, or break, potentially leading to expensive repairs.
Replacing oil and other fluids
You may not think of an oil change as part of a ‘tune up’, but replacing your oil and other fluids help keep your engine lubricated and cool. Your car will still function with old fluids in it, but it’s still important to get these changed regularly as debris, build-up, and deposits can decrease the lifespan of your engine.
Checking/replacing spark plugs
Modern spark plugs can last most of the life of the vehicle, depending on the type of material they are made of. Since spark plugs are key to combusting the fuel needed to make your car move, it’s important to ensure that they are in top condition. Dirty or worn spark plugs don’t combust fuel as effectively and can decrease your gas mileage, ultimately costing you more at the pump.
How do you know if your car needs a tune up?
Back in the day, old vehicles might need a tune up every 10,000 miles or so. Newer vehicles are designed to last longer and may go 20 – 30,000 miles between maintenance items. Depending on the condition of your vehicle and driving habits, you may need to get a car tune up earlier than this.
Signs your car may need a tune up include:
- Your car has begun to stall or is having difficulty starting
- Your engine operates or idles roughly
- Your check engine light is on
Time For A Car Tune Up? Routine Maintenance And More At T3 Atlanta
Whether you are diligent about keeping your vehicle on its maintenance schedule or you want to get onto a good routine, preventive maintenance can reduce the chance that you will need extensive repairs in the future.
T3 Atlanta is here and ready to help. With our friendly service and two convenient Metro Atlanta locations in Smyrna and Decatur, we make it easy to get the service your car needs to perform its best. Give us a call and we’ll book you in for a prompt appointment!