Whether you are a new car owner or an experienced driver, you might be wondering: What is a tune up? Do I really need one for my vehicle?
Simply put, vehicle maintenance is extremely important. Through regular maintenance, you can catch small problems before they become much larger. This not only saves money, but it also keeps you safe. Regular maintenance also helps you increase the life of your vehicle, so you can drive your vehicle longer or get a higher price for it when you trade it in. Engine tune ups are an important part of an optimal maintenance plan.
So, What Is a Tune Up? What Kind of Maintenance is Included?
The term “tune up” generally used to mean an engine inspection and replacement of worn or dirty parts. In the past, mechanics would replace engine parts and then adjust the carburetor (aka, “tune” it) to be in perfect working condition. This was truly an art form, not just a matter of replacing parts based on a standard set of instructions. That said, there was also a lot that could go wrong, even with an expert working on your car.
Today, your vehicle still needs maintenance and parts still need to be replaced. However, your car’s computer ensures everything is running properly. So, mechanics no longer need to manually “tune” your vehicle, but they do need to perform inspections and replace parts as needed.
When you bring in your car for a tune up, we’ll look for issues with the following:
- Belts and hose
- Fluid levels and filters
- Spark plugs and other ignition parts
We can also test your battery, check your brakes, make sure your tires are in good condition, and change your oil at the same time. This is a good opportunity to make sure your car is in complete tip-top shape beyond just the engine. You can even get a professional car wash before you leave, which keeps your paint job looking great.
Annual Inspections – Are They a Replacement for Tune Ups?
Here in North Carolina, we’re all required by law to have our vehicles inspected annually. This helps to ensure your car is safe to drive. What many people don’t realize, however, is that it doesn’t really protect you from experiencing a break down. Annual inspections are more focused on the safety of your vehicle, rather than how it is functioning.
Since you have to come in for an annual inspection anyway, this is a great time to schedule the rest of your maintenance. We’ll go through the state’s required checklist, but also go beyond to look at other potential problems with your car.
Your Vehicle Maintenance Records
We recommend all drivers keep a log of their vehicle maintenance. Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly when you need to inspect and replace certain parts. By keeping a log, you never have to guess if you are due for maintenance.
You can keep a log in your car by simply purchasing a small notebook to put in the glove compartment. Whenever you change the oil, replace a filter, or have other maintenance performed, make a note in your book along with an estimated date for when your car will need maintenance again. If you aren’t sure, our mechanics can help! We have experience deciphering vehicle manuals to ensure you don’t miss any maintenance recommendations.
Some people also like keeping a log digitally. Instead of a physical log book, you can keep a note or file on your phone or computer. Just make sure it is backed up regularly so you don’t lose your vehicle maintenance records if you lose your device.
We Help You Protect Your Valuable Investment
You may have heard that a new car loses half of it’s value the moment you drive it off the lot. This can absolutely be true. A vehicle is an investment, but one that loses value over time. We can help protect this investment so it retains as much value as possible.
Regular maintenance can prevent some huge, expensive problems. For example, let’s say that you don’t change your oil regularly. Dirty oil makes your engine work harder and your filter could clog, causing your engine to seize. This doesn’t happen overnight, but if you ignore it long enough, your engine will be completely destroyed. In contrast, if you perform regular maintenance, you can actually help your engine last much longer.
FAQs About Engine Tune Ups
Here are a few tune up questions we get regularly, along with the answers. If you have more questions, we would be happy to answer them for you.
How often do I need vehicle maintenance?
Some parts need replacement every 10,000 miles. Other parts need replacement every 100,000 miles. Most parts are somewhere in between! We can help you get on the right scheduled based on your specific vehicle.
How do I know I can trust my mechanic?
There are a lot of inexperienced, low-quality mechanics out there. We recommend working only with licensed mechanics, such as those who work at Kernersville Auto Center. You can also read our recent reviews to see what real customers are saying about the quality of our work.
I just bought a used car. What kind of maintenance does it need?
If you purchased the car from a dealer/lot, ask for the maintenance records. This might not be available if you purchase from a private owner. Either way, we can help. We can take a look at the vehicle to give you an idea of when parts will next need to be replaced. When in doubt, come in to our shop.
We’re happy to answer other questions you have about your car maintenance. Click here to set up an appointment today.