When Should I Get A Tune-Up? For Your Car

No doubt that our vehicles are our favorite thing to ride upon! Some of you may be wondering whether or not today’s vehicles require tune-ups or when I should get a tune-up?. What is the need to get one? And how often do you need them? Auto mechanics are an excellent resource for these answers. 

Let’s start by asking, what does it mean to get your car tuned up? Modern vehicles include tune-ups as a form of preventative maintenance to ensure that they continue to run smoothly. You can schedule your car’s performance and longevity if you schedule regular tune-ups.

What Does A Tune Do To A Car?

What Does A Tune Do To A Car?

The original definition of tuning was calibrating and adjusting the vehicle for a specific purpose. It requires you to replace the air filter with one that is less resistant, along with a less resistant muffler. If you calibrate the carburetor or fuel injection to deliver more fuel, it will ultimately produce more power, along with the surplus air. 

It is virtually impossible not to fine-tune a classical engine: You can polish the intake manifold, reduce pistons, rods, and crankshaft weight (which allows the engine to rev higher) and polish the intake manifold.

The bore and travel of the engine can be increased (which will require modifications to the engine block and the crankshaft) and so on.

Some lesser-known tricks include replacing the engine belt-driven radiator fan with an electric fan, only running them when necessary. Handling tuning aims to replace springs and shocks with stiffer ones, reducing ground clearance and improving handling. 

Some of the options available are Dome struts, stabilizers, a more extensive brake system, and wider tires. It is possible to reduce car weight by removing unnecessary parts (car stereo, air conditioning, rear seats, spare wheel) or replacing body parts with delicate plastic parts. Some people even replace car windows with thin plastic sheets.

Tuning is becoming more difficult since most cars are quite complex and use every legal margin at their disposal. The result is that hardly any sports exhaust today delivers more power, generating more noise.

What Does A Typical Car Tune-Up Include?

1. Filters

Air Filters

About once a year, you should replace the air filter. The engine may not receive enough air if the necessary replacements are not carried out soon. And it’ll ultimately hamper both the power and performance of the car.

2. Air Plugs

Ensure that the fuel filter and fuel injector are clean and that the fuel pump functions correctly by visually inspecting the engine’s fuel system components. It is essential to perform checks on the spark plugs, the PCV valve, the ignition timing, the air filters, oxygen sensors, distributor caps, and oil and coolant levels. Any component which is not working correctly should be replaced.

What Are The Signs That Your Car Needs A Tune-Up?

1. Difficulty starting your car’s engine

Difficulty starting your car's engine

Having trouble starting your engine may signal several problems, most of which are preventable if you are proactive with your tune-up schedule. There is a chance that your vehicle’s spark plugs are misfiring, which prevents the engine from starting. 

The simple act of replacing a spark plug at the mechanic can save you time and money. Tune-ups are essential to rectify these issues early, so you won’t have to deal with expensive repairs down the road. 

2. Defective Gas Mileage

You might not accurately determine your car’s fuel efficiency unless it is adequately equipped with an MPG monitor. Still, after driving it for some time, you should notice the drop in inefficiency. In determining your vehicle’s fuel economy, you must take several factors into account, including how the engine operates, the performance of your emissions system, and the way you drive. 

In addition to negatively affecting your vehicle’s gas mileage, poor wheel alignment may also signal other problems under the hood. You can avoid further damage by getting a tune-up according to a schedule previously described.

3. Unexpected Frequent Stalling

When you drive, safety is paramount, and the brakes on your car are just as critical as airbags. The brakes on your vehicle must have responsiveness functionality and, of course, be effective while you’re driving. There is no way to predict when you might need the extra braking capacity significantly since brakes degrade on their own gradually. 

Hence, it’s an ideal place to regularly bring your car for a tune-up. You can determine whether you need to service your brakes based on that information. Therefore, you should take your vehicle in for a tune-up before putting yourself and your vehicle at risk. As our vehicles age, their brakes continue to deteriorate, so you need to have them serviced regularly. 

4. Rough Idling And Knocking Sound

Have you heard any strange noises coming from your car while driving? Even though some of these noises may not be dangerous, they may very well indicate a problem with your car. 

To keep the machine running smoothly, it has a series of moving parts that are interconnected. If you don’t have your car serviced, these parts can become loose or broken, causing noises, which will become louder and worse. A thumping sound, for example, might indicate that a part is loose; a screeching sound could indicate low fluid levels. 


How Often Should You Tune Up Your Car?

A tune-up is usually recommended every 10,000-11,200 miles or once a year for older vehicles with non-electronic ignitions. The average modern car can go between 25,000 and 100,000 miles before requiring a significant tune-up because the electrical system and fuel injection are electronic.

How Long Does A Car Tune-Up Take?

Depending on your vehicle, tuning up your car can take between two and four hours. Older vehicles require more time to tune up (since many mechanical parts are to adjust). In the case of a modern, computerized vehicle, tuning would be on the faster end of the spectrum.

How Much Should A Tune-Up Usually Cost?

Most dealership service departments offer services at competitive prices, such as replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires for $40 to $150. Tune-ups that are more specialized can cost anywhere from $200 to $800, depending on your car’s exoticness. Even so, a shop that services all make and models may not be the best option for all vehicles. 

In other words, you would not recommend having your Ferrari serviced at the Kia dealership down the street. The reason is that they will likely lack the specialized tools and parts needed for the job.

How Much Does A $100 000 Mile Tune-Up Cost?

According to Edmunds data, people keep their cars for longer than ever before: about six years on average. This trend is partially due to economic factors, but it also has to do with the fact that cars survive longer on the road now: The average life on the road is around 11 years. Since the average American car now exceeds 75,000 miles and is approaching 100,000 miles, regular car maintenance is increasingly important to avoid costly repairs.

When you want to squeeze more mileage from your current car, you should know in advance how much it’s going to cost. For the ten best-selling vehicles in 2013, experts estimated scheduled maintenance costs (recommended services at specific intervals) and unanticipated repairs (unexpected problems). Further, they calculated how much maintenance would cost if you pushed the odometers to 100,000 miles.

Wrapping Up

Tuning a car entails changing the lookup table values in the ECU. The tuning will depend on whether you want it to be fuel efficient or performance. 

The new map will not work like the factory map with its proven values. However, operating on a new map will result in higher fuel consumption and potentially put more stress on the engine. 

If you tune the ECU, you will void your car’s warranty. Since it isn’t calibrated to operate on its factory’s default settings, it can potentially ruin your engine.

The engine mapping data is stored in your car’s ECU memory and is used to determine ignition timing and fuel mixture. You can find this information on your car’s computer. A characteristic map represents these data graphically.

A tune-up is recommended for older vehicles with non-electronic ignitions at about 10,000-12,000 miles or once a year. Electronic ignition and fuel injection systems allow cars to travel 25,000 to 100,000 miles before requiring a significant service.

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