To maintain a car in its optimum state, regular tune-ups are extremely important. The processes included in a car’s tuning ensure that the engine and its supporting systems perform to the best of their efficiency. In this article, we will look at what a car tune-up actually is, and learn about all the procedures that are conducted in this process.
Although easy forgotten by most people, when conducting a car-tune up by yourself, it would be a good idea to check if the valves of the engine are properly adjusted. Also, the condenser and points should be replaced after a thorough inspection.
Before the emergence of electronic systems in cars, a tune-up would normally include repairs of the ignition, engine controls, and fuel injection, which are nowadays undertaken by electronic adjustments.
A modern car tune-up should include processes of preventive maintenance, analysis of performance and minor adjustments, which might be causing driving problems. If conducted properly, a car tune-up usually helps in making the drive smoother, increasing mileage, and preventing any minor problems and symptoms such as poor fuel economy, low power, stalling engine, and ignition problems of the vehicle from getting serious.
The tune-up of a car can be broadly classified into minor, moderate, and major types, which can include one or more of the following procedures.
- Checking the operation of safety accessories such as lights, wipers, tires, indicators, horn, etc.
- Replacing the spark plugs and rotors.
- Checking all belts and hoses for wear and tear.
- Checking, adjusting, or replacing the distribution cap and ignition timing mechanism of the engine.
- Checking the levels of engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, and transmission and power steering fluid.
- Checking the wires and performance of the ignition unit, and replacing it if needed.
- For cars with carbureted engines, checking the functioning of the choke.
- Checking the working of the emission system, such as the emission gas reticulation valve and the air pump.
- Checking the idling speed, and adjusting it if needed.
- Replacing the air and fuel filters.
- Checking and cleaning the fuel injectors, and seeing if the compression and power balance is fine.
- Checking, cleaning, and recharging the batteries.
- Checking the exhaust emissions by examining emission and ignition performance, manifold intake volume, along with the fuel mixture ratio.
- Checking the vehicle computer for car trouble codes.
The cost of a car tune-up will usually depend on the type of engine, i.e, 4,6, or 8 cylinders, and the type of tune-up that needs to be done. The higher the number of parts that need replacing, the more the cost will be. A complete tune-up done by a professional mechanic should cost somewhere around USD 300 – 400. If there is extensive damage, major tune-ups can cost much more, and can go above USD 1,500. On the other hand, if you are confident of your mechanical skills, you can do a tune-up by yourself, and it will cost you somewhere between USD 150 – 300. But keep in mind that you use only good-quality, original parts, which will ensure that they last for a long time.
Each car has different requirements in terms of how often an engine tune-up is needed. This is usually determined by the mileage of the vehicle. It is recommended that you stick to the maintenance schedule provided in the user manual by the vehicle manufacturer. On an average, most tune-ups should be done after 30,000 miles, or every 2 – 3 years. However, basic oil changes and filter cleaning should be done at least 2 times a year.
If you prefer to tune-up your vehicle by yourself, it is recommended that you carefully go through the user manual for the list of service checks. Now that you know what is involved in a standard car tune-up, it should be easier for you to maintain your vehicle, and keep it running smoothly for many years to come.