What is a tune up? Over the years we’ve heard all kinds of things that customers think should be included with a tune up, including replacing valve cover gaskets, oil changes, wiper blades and even tire rotation. Although we don’t include these things with a tune up we will be more than happy to perform these services while we do your tune up. Manufacturers are now claiming that your first tune up is not due until 100,000 miles, this may or may not be true, since they are talking only about the spark plugs. Here’s what we think should be done at tune up time. First and most importantly we need to talk to the customer and find out if he or she has any specific concerns, then test drive the vehicle to verify the concern.
We’ll need to analyze the computer for codes or signs of a problem with the fuel and ignition controls. If applicable we will look at the secondary ignition system on an oscilloscope and check cylinder balance. Then replace tune up parts found bad or at the end of their serviceable life, including spark plugs, spark plug wires, PCV valve, distributor cap and rotor, fuel filter, air and breather filter as applicable. We also need to clean throttle bodies or carburetors [yes we still work on carburetors, including rebuilding them], also we clean the mass air flow sensor if needed, clean the battery cable connections and make any necessary adjustments. Next we will reanalyze our work on either the computer scan tool or oscilloscope as required and finally test drive the vehicle to verify the repair.
Keeping your tune up fresh prevents bigger problems down the road. It also makes you waste less fuel and keeps the air we breathe cleaner. Even the newer cars with platinum plugs will need several tune up related services before the plugs are ready to be changed and a computer analysis now and then will let you know if something is going amiss before the check engine light comes on