What Is Included In A Tune-up

What Is Included In A Tune-up

A tune-up is a routine, preventative maintenance performed on a vehicle. 

The tune-up maintenance can include a variety of services, depending on what the vehicle needs. The recommended timeframes for when to get a tune-up will also differ depending on several contributing factors. Older cars with non-electronic ignitions should be tuned yearly or every 10,000 to 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Whereas newer vehicles with electronic ignition and fuel injection systems may only need a major tune-up every 25,000 miles to 100,000 miles. The vehicle owner’s manual will provide the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule. It behooves the owner to follow the recommendations to ensure his or her car is working at its peak efficiency. 

Tune-up Checklist

There are a variety of items that can potentially be addressed and/ or serviced in a vehicle tune-up. Some car parts and systems that are commonly checked in a tune-up include the following:

    • Overall condition of the engine: including battery performance check 
      • Battery voltage/ charging voltage
      • Engine vacuum to check for leaks and/ or exhaust restrictions
      • Check exhaust emissions
      • Verify idle speed
      • Check ignition timing
    • Ignition system: check the electrical components that ignite the air/ fuel mixture in the vehicle’s combustion chamber
      • When needed, replace spark plugs, plug wires, and/ or coils
  • Fluids: check all levels of the various fluids in the vehicle, refill, and/ or replace fluids
        • Motor oil
        • Coolant
        • Automatic transmission fluid (ATF)
        • Power steering fluid
        • Brake fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Oxygen sensor: faulty O2 sensors in a vehicle can lead to significant drivability issues
  • Oxygen sensors should be replaced every 100,000 miles, but can be preventatively replaced during a tune-up to avoid failing an emissions test
  • Brakes: assure brakes and brake pads are properly functioning
        • Follow the brake pad replacement schedule provided in the vehicle owner’s manual (usually brake pads need to be replaces after about 50,000 miles)
        • Make sure brakes do not give off any unusual smells or sounds
  • Fuel injector cleaning: fuel injectors accumulate dirt which can reduce the flow of fuel to the engine leading to idling problems
  • Remove contaminants to restore engine power
      • Fault codes: a mechanic will hook up the vehicle to a computer that will identify any fault codes
        • Many vehicle issues begin without any noticeable symptoms; fault codes are sent by sensors in the vehicle to illuminate any issues that may otherwise go undetected, until they develop into large problems. Checking the fault codes provides the mechanic conducting the tune-up with information from the inner workings of the vehicle that can subsequently offer the owner with an opportunity to repair any minor issues before they develop into larger, more costly repairs. 

      Newer vehicles will require less frequent tune-up services than older vehicles, but they will require tune-ups nonetheless. Regular oil and filter changes remain necessary regardless of the age of the vehicle. Experts recommend changing the oil and filter every three to six months or at the 3,000-mile interval, whichever comes first. The recommended air filter tune-up service will depend on environmental factors (i.e. driving on dirt roads) as opposed to mileage intervals. 

      Tune-up Cost

      The cost of a tune-up can range from $50 to $1,000, depending on which maintenance items need to be completed. What is revealed in a vehicle evaluation and inspection will greatly affect the fees charged for a tune-up. While the recommended maintenance schedules will vary between vehicle models and vehicle years, every single vehicle must be tuned up to assure safety and remain functional. The average cost of a standard tune-up is $50 to $200, and the more complex maintenance tasks associate with major tune-ups can cost from $500 to $1,000. Although it may seem costly, taking the proactive steps to provide a vehicle with preventative maintenance services can save a vehicle owner a significant sum of money and extend the life of a vehicle.

      Further Information

      As an automotive parts and supply shop with decades of experience we have access to extensive inventory. Northstar Automotive is staffed with incredibly knowledgeable professionals, dedicated to provide topnotch service to all its customers. Let us help you make sure you are equipped with everything you need to ensure all of your vehicles are in excellent shape. Please feel free to contact one of our sales associates for more information. We can be reached through our website’s contact us page. We look forward to connecting and providing you with outstanding assistance.



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