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Engine Tune Up Questions

A. The tasks involved in a tune-up depend on the age of the vehicle. A traditional tune-up consists of several time-consuming inspections and mechanical adjustments to engine parts such as the carburetor. This style of tune-up applies to vehicles made decades ago. Today, most engine parts are controlled and monitored electronically, leaving little to manually adjust besides the spark plugs. And as technology has evolved, so has the meaning of "tune-up."

At Midas, a typical tune-up on a more modern vehicle includes the following inspections and services:

  • Install new spark plugs
  • Check filters & fluids
  • Check timing chain (newer vehicles) or timing belt (older vintage)
  • Check battery
  • Midas Touch Courtesy Check1

And what if your vehicle is more vintage? We're just as happy to tune up your carburetor, ignition points, distributor (and cap, rotor, and spark plug wires), timing belt, and fuel filter.

A. How often to get an engine tune-up depends on your vehicle and driving conditions -- older vehicles are often tuned up every 10,000-12,000 miles or every 2 years. Modern vehicles with electronic engines and fuel injection have a wide variety of tune-up intervals, some as high as 100,000 miles. Check your vehicle owner's manual to learn the tune-up schedule for your make and model.

A. Depending on your vehicle, a tune-up should take about two to four hours. Tuning up a modern, computerized vehicle would fall on the faster end of that range. Tuning up an older vehicle (with many mechanical parts to adjust) would take more time.

A. Unusual noises and smells, exhaust smoke, warning lights, starting problems, reduced mileage and acceleration are all signs that your vehicle needs a tune up.

A. Traditional tune-ups are an important part of preventive maintenance on older vehicles -- their mechanical engine parts must be manually adjusted from time to time. Modern vehicles with computer-controlled engines do not need this kind of tune-up -- but they do need every service that's now commonly included with spark plug service in modern tune-up packages. Depending on your location, these services may include oil changes, tire service, battery service, timing chain service, and fluid and filter service. A tune-up package can be a convenient way to follow your vehicle's maintenance schedule.

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