Are Tune-ups Still A Thing For Today's Cars?

Are Tune-ups Still A Thing For Today's Cars?

If you want to sound like you know what you're talking about the next time your car needs service, don't tell your mechanic it needs a "tuneup." That's because the phrase tuneup explicitly refers to maintenance that most modern cars don't require. Traditional tuneups on older vehicles preserve them in good condition and allow for optimal gas mileage. Tuning up your car entails making necessary tweaks to various engine components. At the same time, typical wear items such as spark plugs and condensers are replaced. However, the engines in many newer-model cars no longer contain these components, and engine parts today are engineered to survive considerably longer than those in the past.

So, what you think is a tuneup on a new automobile is probably not, because your car is far more evolved. According to Consumerist, the cut-off year for determining whether or not your automobile need a standard tuneup is 1999, however there may be some wriggle room on either side of that year depending on other criteria. However, if your vehicle was manufactured within the last 20 years, you should use the preferred term "regular maintenance" or "planned maintenance" rather than tuneup. Routine maintenance should be performed every 30,000 miles or as recommended by your car's owner's manual.

Is Tuneup Different From Routine Maintenance

Tuneups actually require "tuning," or physically inspecting and adjusting engine parts to optimize engine timing, idle, and other functions. A tuneup necessitates some mechanical competence as well as a grasp of how an engine operates. The following are the parts and services that are often included in an older car tuneup. Remember that these normally do not apply to today's contemporary automobiles:

  • Cleaning the throttle body
  • Cleaning or replacing carburetor
  • Cap, rotor, and spark plug wires
  • Fuel filter
  • Timing belt
  • Inspecting oxygen sensors
  • Inspecting electronic control module components
  • Inspecting and adjusting engine timing and idle
  • Inspecting and adjusting

Most of this physical effort is no longer required for modern automobiles. They instead necessitate routine maintenance, which often consists of replenishing fluids and simple parts. It should be noted that some of these pieces, such as particular belts and hoses, may have been eliminated in the most recent vehicles on the market or in certain types of vehicles, such as electric vehicles:

  • Change engine oil
  • Change transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid
  • Replace coolant
  • Inspect belts and replace them when necessary
  • Inspect hoses and replace them when necessary
  • Replace the cabin air filter

According to Consumer Reports, "getting a tuneup" is a popular upsell by mechanics, or a charge that may be tacked on to your bill arbitrarily to make you spend more than necessary. In other words, be skeptical if your mechanic or shop thinks your automobile needs a tuneup. Especially if it's a recent model. Nonetheless, certain mechanics or businesses may continue to use that word. Pricing for normal maintenance, on the other hand, varies greatly depending on a number of factors. These considerations range from where you reside and the type of automobile, certain cars may require more expensive parts to whether you visit a dealership, a chain or an independent shop, or do the work yourself.

The suggested maintenance regimen for late-model autos eliminates much of the guesswork. If you stick to your car's maintenance plan, you should be fine, but there are always situations that can cause a fluid to become gunky or a part to wear out sooner than intended. In short, if your car was manufactured within the last 20 years, you don't need to bother about tuneups in the classic sense. Simply follow the maintenance schedule outlined in your owner's manual and deal with problems as they arise.