Although tune ups have changed considerably since the days of carburetors, the basic idea remains the same – tune ups are periodic maintenance procedures done to make sure your vehicle’s engine runs smoothly and efficiently. These days they also help make sure you are ready for your emissions test and that your Check Engine light doesn’t come on.
What needs to be done and when depends on the vehicle, its age, the mileage, and how it is driven. The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of tune ups is spark plugs. Although plug condition is still crucial to a properly functioning engine, for the most part, today’s spark plugs last much longer than they did even ten years ago. Many platinum plugs will last 160,000 kms, and so may only need to be done once in the life of the vehicle.
Many other things require more frequent attention. Cleanliness is crucial! Residue from oil, fuel, and the combustion process builds up in a number of places – throttle bodies, fuel injectors, pcv valves, and intakes can become coated with sludge, gum, and carbon. We can clean these things in a variety of ways. Fuel filters can become restricted, starving the engine of fuel and overloading the fuel pump. Sensors too can get dirty or degrade over time, giving the engine computer bad information about how to deliver fuel. Oxygen sensors in particular are often overlooked, and should be replaced at about the same time as spark plugs.
You should think about a tune up roughly every 60-80,000 kms, depending on driving conditions. Vehicles that make a lot short trips may require tune ups more often. We assess each vehicle individually and make suggestions based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the vehicle’s condition.
If your vehicle is running poorly, especially if it’s and intermittent issue, instead of just asking for a tune up, describe the problem to us. It may or may not be related to something covered in a tune up, and we’d hate to overlook it.
Regular tune ups save fuel, reduce emissions, prevent break downs, and extend the life of your vehicle. Give us a call, we’d be happy to take a look and give you a full report on your vehicle’s needs.