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What is a tune up?



What is a tune up? You probably heard your Dad or Grandpa Mention that it was time for a tune up on their vehicle when you were little.  Back in the day, this was a practice that was done in many garages at home by a Do – it – Yourself type guy who would go down to the auto parts store on the corner, pick up new spark plugs, wires, a new distributor cap and rotor and replace them all himself just as he would do his own oil changes. Replacing these items, along with a handful of other items, would be considered good preventative maintenance. 

However, the traditional ‘tune up’ has largely become a thing of the past.  Yes, there are still preventative maintenance practices for your vehicle, but the Do – It – Yourself option has become less and less over the years.

 

Spark plugs used to be easy to reach and could be removed with just a ratchet and socket.  Now many engines sit sideways under the hood and many times, spark plugs may require special spark plug sockets to remove or other engine parts like the intake manifold may have to be removed before they can even be seen.  On several V-6 Engine configurations the front 3 plugs are easy to get to but the back 3 are buried and hidden and can take hours to get to.

 

Instead of a single mechanically driven distributor that had plug wires that ran to all of the spark plugs, today’s vehicles’ spark plugs are fired when the vehicles engine computer (ECM/ PCM) is programmed to. Multiple or Individual coils deliver an electrical charge to one or more spark plugs instead of one coil for all. Also spark plugs used to be copper and very inexpensive; today most plugs are Platinum or Iridium and can last 70 or 80 thousand miles before needing to be replaced. Spark plugs and wires do still need to be replaced based on certain manufacturer recommended schedules or when they wear out or become damaged or inoperative.  Checking with your Service Writer at Jammin’ J Auto on a regular basis to know when it is recommended is the best system long term.  When we perform regular maintenance and repairs on your vehicle, we will be regularly checking the life of these parts and the physical condition to make recommendations as to when to expect that they need to be serviced or replaced.

 

Will you never need a ‘tune up’ on your modern vehicle?  Yes, you may.  But, the individual vehicle that you have, the age of the vehicle and the mileage all work together to help us determine what a ‘tune up’ looks like for you.  New spark plugs, maybe new coil boots, maybe new wires, that is a great place to start. We will also want to look at the condition of your oil to discuss some cleaning flushes and procedures that are available to you as well here at Jammin’ J Auto.  Induction cleanings (or flushes) can not only keep things running smoothly for now, but can reduce long term wear inside the piston itself and keep that engine running smoothly for a much longer time in the future.  We offer different services that can all help optimize your maintenance dollars and hopefully prevent costly repairs in the future.

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