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What is a Tune Up? A Comprehensive Guide!

What is a tune up

What is a tune up? Many of you have probably heard the term “tune up” a lot of times, but what does it really mean? “Tune up” now is considered to be completely different from the “tune up” made to vehicles many years ago. Tune up years ago consists of inspecting, cleaning, and replacing car components that affect the flow of air, fuel, and fire to the engine, while the tune up today includes checking over the car’s components to make sure that everything is working properly. Tune up includes checking, cleaning, repairing, or replacing parts such as spark plugs, rotors, wires, fluids, windshield wipers, tires, tire pressure, filters, belts and hoses, brakes, and many more.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


What is a tune up? Tune up also includes oil changes, tire rotation and balancing, and wheel alignments. A tune up might seem like a hassle, a checklist of what needs to be done, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Get your owner’s manual and look at the manufacturer’s recommended schedule of these “tune ups”. Tune ups are preventative measures done to make sure that your car will continue to run as it should and without problems. Tune ups are basically taking care of the problems before they actually become problems.


What is a Tune Up and How Much Does it Cost?



When a car has problems with its performance or is not running right, there are car owners who think that their cars need to be taken to an auto repair shop for a tune up, thinking a tune up will fix the issues. But what is a tune up? Does it fix car problems?


A car tune up is not like when you fix a musical instrument, tuning it up, making some adjustments to make the sound or performance better, or to make it sound like it was before. If your car has problems, it usually needs immediate repairs and not tune ups.


Maybe back in the old days when vehicles were not yet equipped with onboard computers that are capable of doing the needed adjustments to ensure that the vehicle functioned properly, tune ups were still needed. Mechanics usually do tune ups to adjust the vehicle’s idle speed, fuel mixture, or timing to improve the engine’s performance.


However, today, modern vehicles don’t need traditional tune ups. Tune ups today are more of a preventative measure. Routine tune ups are usually done to inspect the wear items of a car which include filters, fluid, brakes, wiper blades, gaskets, spark plugs, and other car components that normally wear out.


The tune up you need will depend on what vehicle you drive and its wear items. The specific and exact tune up details will depend on the make, model, age, and wear of your car.  Bear in mind that tune up recommendations can vary and it tends to change over time,as your car ages. It is given that the older your car, the more attention and tune ups it will need. Make sure that you always consult your owner’s manual to know the right intervals and appropriate tune up procedures. What is a tune up? A tune up is a much needed car care routine which can help improve and extend the life of your car as well as enhance the overall performance of your engine.


What is a tune up and how much does it cost? Many car owners might be concerned about the cost of the much needed tune ups. Minimal tune ups can coast around $40 to $150 and this includes inspecting and replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires. For tune ups that require some special skills, it can cost between $200 and $800. The cost can vary depending on your car’s make, model,  mileage, and what service or tune up needs to be done.


Many car owners might ask, “can I do the tune ups myself?”. If you are comfortable doing it and you know yourself around cars, you certainly can. You just need to make sure that you have at least a bit of knowledge of the different parts of your car and how they work. You also need to make sure that you have a well-lit, comfortable area where you will do the tune ups, and the required tools for the job.


What is a Tune Up? – What Does a Tune Up Include?



What is a tune up? A tune up is basically some preventative and restorative measures done to make sure that your car is operating efficiently. It is a way of preventing a problem before it becomes a problem. Tune ups can be done by yourself or by a professional. When you take your car to an auto service shop for a tune up, you are basically allowing the mechanics to inspect your vehicle and its components, assess its performance, and do some repairs or replacements if needed.


But what does a tune up include? It is said that when you take your car to an auto service shop, you just don’t tell the mechanics that you want to have your car “tuned up”. This is because the term “tune up” is considered an outdated term and a traditional tune up is not required on modern vehicles anymore. It is best that you tell the mechanics what your car actually needs. You need to tell them the specifics.


What is a tune up and what “tune ups” my car needs? Tune ups usually include the following:


  • Checking oil and oil changes


It can’t be stressed enough how important oil changes are and why you should always check it. That is why it is included in the routine tune ups. Checking your oil is necessary since it helps extend the life of your engine. If it is not time for an oil change yet, you need to check its level and top it off if necessary. You also need to check its color and consistency. If it has turned black or has gunks, even if it's not time for an oil change yet, you need to have it changed immediately.


Oil is considered as the engine’s lifeblood. That is why it needs to be at the right level all the time. Since it deteriorates over time and loses its protective capabilities, you need to have it changed regularly. Oil changes are usually done every 3,000 miles or three months. However, every car is different so you need to consult your owner’s manual for your car’s recommended oil change interval.


  • Checking spark plugs


Spark plugs should be checked regularly and replaced when necessary. Spark plugs are responsible for supplying power to make a car move by receiving a spark from the modern car’s electronic ignition. Spark plugs tend to wear out over time. It can usually last for about 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Faulty spark plugs can cause a number of issues to occur such as misfiring, stalling, and starting problems. It is for this reason why you always need to check and replace them regularly to prevent any potential problems.


  • Checking tires and tire pressure


People don’t usually pay attention to their tires unless they go flat. Tires need to be checked regularly too since underinflated or overinflated tires can compromise your safety. You need to check the tire pressure on each of your tires regularly. You also need to check your tire’s tread wear. If you notice that your tires are wearing out prematurely, it can be an indication that you need an alignment, balancing, or a rotation.  Tire balancing and rotation are done to make sure that you get a smooth ride. It also helps extend the life of your tires and make sure that they are wearing out evenly.


  • Checking all the car’s other fluids


Aside from engine oil, there are other fluids in your car that need checking too such as brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. You need to check these fluids’ level and top it off when needed. You also need to check if the fluids are still clean and uncontaminated. This is because contaminated fluids can result in excessive and premature wear on the car’s internal components.


It might seem like a lot of work, but doing so can help you save money in the long run since it helps prevent potential damage from occurring which can be very expensive to repair. To know the change or service intervals for each type of fluid, you need to consult your owner’s manual.


  • Replacing the filters


Your car has been equipped with a number of filters that help protect your engine and car from taking in dust, dirt, and other particles. Filters found in your car include oil, air, fuel, and cabin air filters. The oil filter is responsible for trapping metals and other particles from reaching into your engine while the air filter helps keep the dust, dirt, and other debris out of your engine.


On the other hand, the fuel filter helps keep the fuel lines and tanks from being contaminated which can cause performance issues while the cabin air filter prevents dust, exhaust fumes, pollen, and other contaminants from entering into your car’s passenger compartment. When you replace your filters regularly, it can help keep many contaminating particles from entering into the vital components of your engine and your car. This can also help improve the performance and efficiency of your engine.


  • Checking belts and hoses


Belts play an important role in the overall operation of your engine. They are used to connect the pulleys of your accessory drive system that moves the crankshaft pulley’s force to the alternator, power steering pump, water pump, and air conditioning system. When they begin to show some issues, you will have to replace them.  Belts usually last for around 50,000 miles to 100,000 miles.


Hoses are also as important as the belts. They are responsible for transferring vital fluids throughout the engine. The car’s hoses and belts tend to wear down over time since they are often exposed to the elements. It is for this reason why you need to check them regularly and look for any signs of damage. If they have worn down or cracked, you need to have them replaced immediately.


  • Replacing windshield wipers


Windshield wipers are always exposed to the elements and become damaged or cracked over time. It is important that you check your wipers regularly and replace them if needed. It is recommended that you change your wiper blades the same time you have your oil changed. Make sure that you get new wiper blades with the same size as the old ones.


  • Checking the car battery


You also need to check your car battery regularly. You need to do a visual inspection and look for any signs of corrosion and wear. Deposits build up over time on the battery terminals which can lead to a number of issues. If you indeed find build ups on the terminals, you can clean it by using an old toothbrush, and water and baking soda paste. A car battery usually lasts for about 4 to 5 years.


  • Testing the brakes


Your brakes are considered as an important safety feature of your car so you should always check it. You can test your brakes while you are driving on an empty road. You just need to step on your brake pedal at a low speed and check how it responds. A healthy braking system should be able to slow down or stop without a problem.


If you notice any odd sounds like squeaking or when its response is rather slow, it is an indication that your brake pads need to be replaced. Brake pads should be regularly checked and replaced since it is considered a consumable item.



What is a tune up and why is it important? Your car and its components lose their efficiency over time and tune ups are needed to correct this and to prevent potential problems. Although it may seem like a hassle to deal with them one by one, doing so will be worth it in the long run. You won’t have to deal with expensive repairs later on since you have been taking good care of your car really well.


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