Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Tune Up: Getting The Full Service

What constitutes a tune up will differ somewhat depending on a number of factors. Who you ask, what kind of car you're talking about, and the maintenance service shop performing the procedure. Some experts even claim that newer model cars have no need for this kind of service. For those that don't buy into that or that want to make sure their older car gets the attention it needs (or who simply have a different understanding of the term), any maintenance is good maintenance. Here's a look at the concept, what is often entails, and why it is good for your car.
The tune up has changed somewhat as cars have been built differently. But while many things about the modern vehicle are quite different than those of even fifteen years ago, the combustion engine has not changed substantially. The basic nature of the car needing clean gas and air driven towards the cylinders remains the major component of the combustion process. When fuel injectors get clogged up, filters get dirty, and spark plugs begin showing signs of corrosion, you're not going to get as much out of your engine as you used to. A good tune up will address these issues and have you back on the road with an engine that's good to go.
If you're not sure whether or not you need a tune up, you might want to look at your owner's manual and see what the manufacturer recommends pertaining to scheduled maintenance. If you have a regular mechanic or take your car to the dealership for maintenance, they may also be able to keep you on the right track. Otherwise, you should just become accustomed to listening to your car. It will usually tell you when it needs work. Signs and symptoms such as decreased gas mileage, loss in power, a check engine light, or just rough running can be signs that you need to get it in front of a mechanic.
Most service shops offering a tune up will offer a few different packages, with varying prices. You can decide what you want based on how bad your car sounds, your mechanic's recommendation, and how much you're willing to spend. Even the most basic package, however, should include a full visual inspection, new spark plugs, and air and fuel filter replacement. If you think more is needed, talk to the technicians and see what else they can do to make sure you can get many more problem-free miles out of your vehicle.

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