Car Tune-Up: What It Is and When You'll Need One

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A traditional car tune-up should no longer be necessary, especially if your car was manufactured after 1999. However, a lot of car owners still have their cars tuned up. Are you wondering why?

That’s because getting a car tune-up is completely different these days. This article will help you understand what a modern-day car tune-up is, how it’s different from its traditional counterpart, and when you’ll need one.

What is a Car Tune-Up?

A modern car tune-up is a preventative maintenance service done to keep vehicles running at peak performance and correct possible issues. Meanwhile, a traditional car tune-up is about tweaking specific components to ensure they are still running properly.

Traditional automotive tune-ups are no longer needed because onboard computers already automate most of the work involved. Some engine components are also no longer present in newer models.

What is Involved in a Car Tune-Up?  

A modern car tune-up involves two different services: an inspection and an actual tune-up session. For the inspection phase, a mechanic will do a visual check of your car, which usually covers the following:

  • Engine’s fuel-system components
  • Engine’s PCV valves
  • Ignition Systems (timing belts)
  • Fuel filters
  • ​Oil Filters
  • Air Filters
  • Oil and coolant levels

The tune-up phase will depend on your mechanic’s diagnosis. It could involve oil change, replacing spark plugs, cleaning filters, and more. Major component repairs and replacements can also happen during this stage, especially if the mechanic found major issues with certain engine parts.

When Should You Get a Tune-Up?

car oil filter

For most modern cars with electronic fuel injection and ignition, you can go past 25,000 miles before getting a major tune-up. If you have an older vehicle with non-electronic ignitions, getting an engine tune-up annually or every 12,000 miles is recommended.

You can also check the owner's manual of your vehicle for specific suggestions on when you should get a tune-up. 

Aside from regular tune-ups, the following indicators also tell you that your car needs a tune-up:

  • Stalling: If your car experiences some lag every time you step on the pedal, it’s a sign of car engine stalling. It’s usually due to insufficient power or lack of fuel. If those two are not the cause, it could signify a serious problem that needs to be checked.
  • Shifting Problems: The automatic transmission should handle your car’s gear-shifting process pretty well. If one day you notice the shifting gears are behaving differently than usual or causing you to get lurched around in the car, it could be a severe transmission issue.
  • Violent Vibrations: Any vibrations or shaking when you’re driving is usually a sign of a serious problem. If the car vibrates violently when steering or braking, it’s best to have it investigated by a professional.
  • Braking Issues: Problems with the braking system comes in many forms, but all of them should be considered dangerous. Get your brakes checked when you hear violent scraping sounds when braking or if the pedals are starting to feel too soft.
  • Check Engine Light: If you notice that the check engine light is turned on or blinking, that is a sign of a major problem. It usually means a major component of your vehicle's engine has failed. During this situation, do not start the car. Have your vehicle towed to the nearest auto repair shop instead.               

A regular car tune-up is an excellent way to keep your vehicle running properly and safely. It’s also a great opportunity to have your vehicle checked for potential problems and prevent them from causing further damage. Hopefully, this article helped you understand what a car tune-up is and why it’s important.

Auto Works of Brandon provides expert vehicle maintenance and tune-up services for a wide range of car models. If you plan on getting a vehicle check-up, contact us today to set an online appointment. Our team will be happy to help improve your car’s performance.


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