Car Maintenance

What is a tune up? The most important things you should know

If you’re a new car owner, it can be overwhelming to hear that your car needs an engine tune-up, especially if you haven’t heard the term before. However, the truth is that engine tuning is part of a car’s routine scheduled maintenance. It’s easy and it’s something that shouldn’t stress you out.

What goes into a tune-up?

Technically, a car tuning is not really new. It is an outdated service that involves replacing parts of the car to ensure the vehicle’s maximum efficiency and performance.

However, a modern tuneup includes changing the cabin air and new spark plugs. The two are part of your car’s maintenance schedule. You can think of it similar to the schedule you follow when changing your oil or checking your tires

Well, why these two?

Cabin filters are not that critical to the performance of your car engine. However, since they can become clogged and create really poor airflow to the dashboard vents, they need to be checked and replaced regularly.

Spark plugs, on the other hand, are present in all vehicles. They typically need to be replaced every 100,000 miles. If they are not replaced, it can cause many problems in your car.

In addition to these two parts, there are modern vehicles that still require routine care for certain things.

The list includes countless fluids required to run a car, such as transmission fluid, engine oil, and coolant.

Routine maintenance should also include evaluating your car’s battery and environment. The mechanic should check the battery life and condition, and whether there is any battery acid near the hardware.

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Your car’s belts and hoses should also be checked. Your mechanic should ensure that the clamps holding the hoses in place are intact and secure. The same goes for the straps. They shouldn’t have any chips or cracks. If the belts are defective, they should be replaced before they even snap and break.

When tuning, don’t forget your wipers. You don’t want to deal with that annoying squeaking of broken wipers when it rains. Also, have your mechanic refill the wiper fluid. It helps you keep your windshield clean and shiny with just a push of a button.

Your taillights, headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are important parts that your mechanic shouldn’t miss either. They must work well when driving to avoid accidents and problems.

Signs that your car needs service

Just like visiting a doctor, the first thing your mechanic will do is ask you about the changes in your car’s driving that caused you to request a service. In most cases, the following signs and symptoms may indicate that fine tuning is needed:

engine deposits

This is often caused by contaminated or poor quality gasoline causing problems with your car’s drivability. The best way to solve this is with a fuel system cleaning.

Clogged engine air filter

This often results in a small but steady loss of performance. If not addressed immediately, it will leave you with a car that runs like a turtle.

Engine misfire

A worn or fouled spark plug typically causes engines to misfire. In addition, bad spark plugs can also lead to jerky acceleration and hard starts.

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Low fuel consumption

If you find yourself getting fewer miles per gallon, there’s probably something wrong with your spark plug or your air filter is already clogged and dirty. If you notice that the low fuel consumption comes with a strange noise, you should schedule a service immediately.

Check engine light comes on

Before you panic, a check engine light doesn’t really mean there’s anything wrong with your car. There are actually a handful of reasons why it would turn on. In some cases, it is simply caused by a faulty gas cap.

If you now notice the light flashing, you should consider taking your car to a workshop soon. It is usually an indication of a malfunction in the system.

How much does a tune up cost?

Typically a minimal car tune can cost you about $40 to $150. If you’re looking for a standard tune, prepare as much as $200-$800. This price includes the cost of replacing the wiring, rotor, spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter, oil change and vehicle systems inspection.

Aside from the cost of fine-tuning, expect a small fee for the mechanic’s hourly rate. It usually costs between $40-$90 at garages and around $80-$150 at dealerships.

The prices mentioned may change depending on the location, parts to be replaced and the required hourly rate.

Before you open and have your car checked, it is best to ask about the estimated cost of the tuning. This will ensure you are not surprised by the total cost you will have to pay. Don’t hesitate to ask for discounts too.

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Also, get involved as much as possible. Even if you’re new to car ownership, that doesn’t mean you can completely rely on your mechanic or workshop. You can’t expect everyone to be honest with you all the time.


Regardless of whether you own a new or a used vehicle, vehicle care is required. It is a fundamental part of your car’s routine maintenance. As a new car owner, you should have a clear idea of ​​what a tuning is, what the process entails, how much it costs and what to expect afterwards. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to how your car drives as much as possible. This way you will be able to spot the signs that your car needs servicing.

Chloe Rimmer
Tv geek. Content practitioner. Creator. Wannabe beer nerd. Thinker. Passionate explorer. Proud bacon trailblazer. Travel fanatic. Award-winning introvert.

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