How Often Does My Car Need a Tune-up?

Every driver or car owner understands that their vehicle needs regular oil changes, but many aren’t sure when they need to take their vehicles for a tune-up. What’s a tune-up? Well, you’ve probably heard your auto mechanic talk about doing an oil change and replacing your car’s engine air filter and other additional items, haven’t you? If yes, then you have an idea what tune-up means. The aim of having a tune-up is not to fix problems in your car but instead serves as preventative maintenance for your vehicle’s engine.

A tune-up usually involves changing oil, replacing distributor caps, engine air filter, spark plugs, fuel filters, belts, tires, PCV valve, and spark plug wires. Before performing a tune-up, your mechanic will want to know why you think your vehicle needs it. On today’s vehicles, tune-ups are performed based on mileage. That means you out to refer to your manufacturer’s guide which indicates the mileage intervals within which to replace the respective parts. As mentioned, tune-ups are performed to prevent parts from failing before replacement. Waiting till your car parts fail can result in serious issues. Here are signs that your vehicle needs a tune-up.

A Clogged Engine Air Filter

Many drivers don’t realize that a clogged engine air filter affects acceleration and performance of a car. Over time, your car’s engine air filter gets dirty which is why you must change it after the recommended mileage. If you live in areas with a lot of soot in the air, you may need to replace your air filter sooner. Consider replacing your fuel filter and cabin air filter after every 15,000 miles.

Hard Starting

Hard starting is one of the most common problems car owners encounter. Perhaps you’ve already experienced it as well. One of the causes is usually bad spark plugs. Consider replacing your spark plugs after every 60,000 miles. The same applies to your PCV valve, timing belt, and spark plug wires. Any starting failure could be as a result of a problematic electronic component in your ignition system. When you experience any sign of hard starting, it’s time to take your car for servicing.

Sputtering or Stalling

You’ll notice this when you’re either driving uphill or accelerating. If this happens, that’s a sure indicator that your vehicle needs some tune-up. Sputtering or stalling is a sign that there’s buildup of grime and dirt in your emission system.

Illuminated Check Engine Light

You know that something is not right in your vehicle’s emissions control system when you see a signal in your check engine light. Of course, this will depend on the exact problem. However, it’s important to note that the problem can affect the performance of your engine which is why you shouldn’t ignore it. You better see your mechanic immediately to diagnose and fix a minor problem than wait until it’s bigger and costly.

Running Rough and Poor Fuel Mileage

If your engine is running rough, especially when accelerating or idling, there’s a problem with your fuel system or the ignition system You may experience the same problem when driving at any speed. You could as well be getting fewer miles out of a certain quantity of gallons of gas. When this happens, it’s a sign that your vehicle needs to be tuned. A sudden decrease in your vehicle’s fuel mileage is a sign that you need to see your mechanic.

Your vehicle owner’s manual should always be your starting point. It’s what you need to prevent most of the problems your vehicle is likely to face. Refer to the manual to see how often your vehicle’s systems and parts need maintenance.