What exactly is a "tune up"? And when does my car need one?
by Visitor in Frisco, TX on March 31, 2011
The term "tune up" is subject to interpretation these days.
In decades past, a "tune up" was maintenance for your engine's performance. A mechanic would replace your spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor cap, rotor, points, set your timing, adjust your carburetor...etc...etc...
These days, since vehicles have evolved so much, a "Tune Up" is limited to replacing spark plugs, checking your throttle body for contamination, checking your air filter...and that's about it. You could get into plug wires and a cap and rotor if you have them still.
Finally, some folks refer to any mileage maintenance service (like a 30,000 or 45,000 mile service) as a "tune up". This would include basic maintenance like oil changes, etc...
When does your car need a tune up? It's best to refer to your owners manual and maintenance guide for the appropriate intervals of all maintenance service.
Go to that link to find a way to obtain a manual if you do not already have one handy.