"Tune-Up"...What Does That Mean These Days?
Vehicles from the 60s and 70s needed a lot more maintenance to keep them running right. For the right balance of power and fuel economy, they had to be tuned up at about a 35,000 mile interval…a tune-up in those days consisted of things like carburetor adjustments, setting the ignition timing, changing the spark plugs and mechanical ignition points, possibly changing the spark plug wires and more.
Today, that’s all a thing of the past. Automotive technology has changed a lot, and today’s cars are far more reliable, fuel-efficient, powerful and longer-lasting than a generation ago.
Fuel delivery and metering are done by fuel injection, which is controlled by the engine computer. Spark advance or retard is also done electronically, and most vehicles no longer have a distributor and ignition coil to deliver spark, so there’s no need for plug wires. Instead, the coil-on-plug design has electrical current for spark originating at the plug itself.
Still, there’s a need for tune-ups from time to time. On today’s vehicles, that may not be necessary until 70,000 or even 100,000 miles, but it’s still going to be necessary. Here we have a quick rundown of what to expect with an automotive tune-up today:
- Changing the spark plugs and replacing them with good-quality OEM replacements
- Connecting a scanner or code reader device to the car’s diagnostic hookup and checking the engine computer for any outstanding trouble codes
- Replacing the engine air filter
- Replacing the cabin air filter
- Checking the engine’s O2 sensor (there may be more than one)
- Checking the entire exhaust system, pipes, and hangers for tight connections, corrosion, leaks
- Checking all the fluids – motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid – for level and condition and advising if the fluids need to be flushed or changed
So no, your car today doesn’t need the sort of intensive maintenance that cars did a generation ago. Still, they need regular preventive care to run at their best…so how long has it been since your last tune-up? Make an appointment with us at Kirkwood Auto Center and let’s get you taken care of!