What is a Tune Up
, why does my car need one, and when does my car need it?
Primarily Tune Ups are focused on the vehicle's ignition system by changing the vehicle's Spark Plugs:
- Older vehicles with non-electric ignitions needed a tune up on a more frequent basis, ie: every 10k - 12k miles.
- Chrysler introduced electric ignitions to production vehicles in 1972, then GM and Ford followed in 1974.
- Newer cars with electric ignitions and fuel injection systems need tune ups less frequently, depending on the materials used by the manufacturer. For example, cars manufactured prior to the early 1990's, used to use Copper spark plugs. Copper is not very durable, and these plugs were supposed to be changed every 30k - 40k miles. Since the mid 1990's, all auto manufacturers started to use Platinum or Iridium spark plugs, which only need servicing approximately every 100k miles.
- According to Wikipedia, "A spark plug is a device for delivering electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber of a spark-ignition engine to ignite the compressed fuel/air mixture by an electric spark, while containing combustion within the engine." In layman terms, the spark plug is what makes your car start and keeps it running. A spark plug fires once for every 2 engine rotations, which means approximately 400 times per minute at a minimal idle.
The are a few other common components to be replaced and/or checked during a tune up:
- Engine oil and oil filter change - possibly and engine flush
- Cabin Air Filter and Engine Air Filter
- PCV Valve - PCV = Positive Crankcase Ventilation
- Fuel Filter
- Belts and hoses
- All vehicle fluids
Most manufacturers suggest a Tune Up every 80k miles to 100k miles. Tune ups are essential to the longevity and performance of all automobiles.