A Simple Guide to Engine Tune Ups

feat image engine tune ups

Why Engine Tune Ups?

Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure reliable operation and long service life for your car. Performing engine tune ups at regular intervals will protect your investment and reduce the likelihood of costly repairs.

Engine tune ups are a good opportunity to check other important components of your car as well.


What Parts Are Checked During an Engine Tune Up?

An array of tests and inspections are carried out during a tune-up to determine the engine condition. The following components must be checked during the procedure:

  • Battery voltage and charging voltage: This is particularly important in view of extensive onboard electronics

battery voltage

  • Dynamic compression or power balance: This can help identify various mechanical issues like worn rings, exhaust valves, damaged cams, head gasket problems, etc. These issues can have an adverse impact on engine performance
  • Engine Vacuum: Exhaust restrictions and air leaks can be detected this way
  • Fuel feedback operation: Checking this ensures that the during engine warm up, the system undergoes problem-free closed loop operation
  • Fault codes: Scanning for fault codes is done to confirm their presence, if they are present, the problem should then be diagnosed and resolved
  • Exhaust emissions: Checking this issue will allow your vehicle to meet the standards of your area’s emissions testing program, this will also help to identify ignition and engine performance issues

exhaust emissions

  • Idle speed: Even if the ignition is computer controlled, the idle speed should still be checked. This may help to determine potential Idle Speed Motor issue
  • Idle mixture: This is inspected for carburetor engines, for newer vehicles the injectors must be inspected to verify seamless feedback fuel control
  • Ignition timing: Even if this parameter is not adjustable, it should still be checked to ascertain potential sensor or computer problems
  • EGR valve

egg valve

Various fluids must be checked as well to ensure adequate liquid levels. They should be visually inspected to confirm acceptable condition and appearance. These fluids include brake fluid, power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid, engine coolant and motor oil.


Common Replacements during Engine Tune Ups

Certain parts should be replaced periodically as a part of preventive maintenance. Small investments in this direction can prevent the development of catastrophic and expensive issues in the future.

  • Spark Plugs: You can also consider the installation of long life plugs to benefit from a long service life. They can last for up to 100,000 miles. They will cost more as they are made from expensive metals or alloys. They can range anywhere between $10 and $50.

spark plugs

  • Distributor cap and/or rotor: These can wear down quite quickly due to heat and electrical current. Hence, they are often replaced during tune-ups. You can expect to pay $88 and $123.

distributor cap

  • Air filter, fuel filter, breather filter and PCV valve: These parts may be replaced when the need arises. Other parts such as wires, hoses and belts should be checked for wear.
  • Oxygen sensors: These sensors have an important role in control feedback loop of your engine. This can be anywhere between $113 to $478, depending on your mechanic and car type.

oxygen sensor

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