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What is a Tune-Up? And ... Know When I Need One?

What is a Tune-Up? And How Do I Know When I Need One?

Most people think of tune-up as changing the spark plugs and wires, but there is often more to it than that. You may need the air filter and fuel filter replaced, adjustments to the valves and/or replacement of the valve-cover gasket, fluids may need topping off if necessary

Even if your car runs fine you should still have a tune-up performed as recommended in your owner’s manual, 12 months/12,000 miles is typical. Not all components of the tune-up will be necessary at every tune-up.

Here are some signs you may need a tune up:

  • Difficulty starting
  • Car seems to idle fast (even when it has warmed up)
  • Car stalls
  • It’s lost some of it’s former “get up and go”  
  • Engine knocks or pings
  • Your gas mileage has dropped by more than 15%
  • Runs or idles rough, misfires, or hesitates
  • Engine continues to run after key is turned off
  • Exhaust appears black/dark/smoky

If you’re ever in doubt, check your vehicle manual to learn what maintenance is needed, and when, before you schedule a tune up.

You should also be aware of changes in your car’s normal behavior. Listen carefully; perhaps drive with the radio off so that you can hear engine noises more clearly.

The good news is that barring other major mechanical issues, keeping your car tuned up can dramatically improve performance and it has been shown that replacing your filters may impact the longevity of your vehicle more than any other factor.

Preventative maintenance is a good investment.

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