Car Tune-ups - Everything You Need to Know
Written by DriveAxis.ca November 09, 2022
Like anything else man-made, cars are not invincible, and any contraption with as many moving parts and technology is bound to need maintenance from time to time. Your car is a well-oiled machine, but in order to keep it that way, you’ll have to take care of it. That means taking it to a reputable and trusted local or dealership mechanic, or doing the job yourself.
Many people opt for the former, simply out of convenience. Regardless of how savvy you are under the hood of a car, you’ll want to stick to a schedule that will keep it running in tip-top shape, each and every day. If you’re new to the concept of a car tune-up, here’s everything you can expect.
SPARK PLUG & IGNITION WIRE REPLACEMENT
Today’s spark plugs are a miracle of engineering, requiring replacements far less frequently than the days of old. In fact, modern spark plugs are known to run as long as 160,000km or more without requiring a swap out, as opposed to around 45,000km in the cars of yesteryear. Regardless, they’re going to need replacing at some point due to wear and dirt buildup.
Unfortunately, changing spark plugs has become more cumbersome and difficult over time, rather than less. In the old days, a car owner could simply lift the hood and do the job themselves, but these days, spark plugs are stuffed underneath a bunch of other components and covers, making them harder to reach. When in doubt, get a professional to do the job for you, or you could cause an unintended problem.
Similarly, you may need to replace the ignition wires if they are worn out, though this is also becoming less common, especially in the newest vehicles. Ignition wires do as the name suggests - they transfer electricity from the ignition coil to the spark plugs, themselves. Remember to have your mechanic check for coil back boots, as well. They should be changed during every tune-up, if needed, and they don’t cost much.
ENGINE AND FUEL FILTERS
Cleaning out your engine air filters and fuel filters is a great way to keep your car running at maximum efficiency. The former gets clogged over time as air is drawn into the engine for the purpose of combustion. The dirtier it is, the less efficient and powerful your engine performs on the road. Since they’re relatively cheap to replace, you should do them during every tune-up, if you haven’t already done so during your last oil change.
Fuel filters are similar, yet serve a different purpose. They are meant to filter out debris and dirt from fuel before it makes its way toward the engine, thereby preventing damage to the fuel pump. This has a direct effect on spark plugs, as well, so changing both during the same tune-up is an excellent idea.
TOP UP YOUR FLUIDS
Many car fluids can get swapped out any time you wish, but it’s wise to have them done during a tune-up. Brake fluid is vital to the safety of your car, and having it done improperly can lead to catastrophic results, up to and including your brakes failing on the road. Transmission fluid has a direct effect on your engine’s gear shifts, whether manual or automatic. Ideally, you’ll want smooth, clean and well-lubricated shifts in order to run your car in optimal fashion.
Differential fluid should be checked during a tune-up, as well. Typically, it doesn’t need to be changed as often as, say, brake fluid or engine oil, but it’s still wise to keep an eye on it. Differential fluid has a direct effect on how your car handles and takes corners, by lubricating and reducing heat caused by friction between moving parts of your car’s differential.
And finally, make sure to have your steering fluid and coolant levels checked as well, just to be safe. This will allow your car to perform properly in all conditions, with no unexpected - or nasty - surprises.
WHAT DOES A TUNE-UP COST?
Thankfully, regular tune-ups don’t cost all that much in the total lifespan of the car, and the regularly scheduled intervals. It’s a small investment that will help maintain your car, and prevent more serious and costly issues from popping up. Typically, the average Canadian driver’s tune-up is around $250 to $450 dollars, depending on the parts needed, the make/model of the car, and your mechanic’s hourly labor charges. Component costs are typically quite affordable, which is why no expense should be spared if any require changing.
Tune-ups are the same as a regular physical performed by your doctor. The objective is to make sure everything’s in proper order, while spotting and fixing any potential problems that might arise in the future. Being proactive is the key here, but many people seem to lose track of their own tune-up maintenance schedules. Make sure to set reminders so that you never miss a tune-up. Both you and your car will be better off for it.
At DriveAxis.ca, we offer thousands of high-quality pre-owned vehicles that have already undergone a rigorous inspection process. Buying a car from DriveAxis.ca means peace of mind the moment you drive it off the lot, and we’ll lay out your tune-up maintenance schedule for you, so that you can keep track of it. Contact us today for more information.