General Car Maintenance

How Often Should You Tune Up Cars


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The owners manual on every vehicle should state how often the manufacturer recommends that you tune up cars, but as a general rule it is every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. Driving under extreme temperature and weather conditions will make parts wear out faster, however. Among several items that must be taken care of with a car tune up are:

  • Replacement of the fuel filter. In cars with fuel injection, nothing needs to be done unless injectors are clogged.
  • Spark plugs need to be changed, but platinum spark plugs will work for 60,000 miles at least. Install a new set of spark plug wires, which on some models are permanently attached to the distributor cap and must be replaced.
  • Replacement of distributor cap and rotor, although some newer models have done away with them.
  • On older cars without electronic ignition, points and condenser must be replaced while at the same time checking and adjusting the ignition timing.
  • In cars without hydraulic valves, the valves must be adjusted and valve cover gasket replaced if oil leaks are found.
  • If any worn belts are spotted, they must be replaced.
  • All fluids topped or replaced, along with an oil and oil filter change every 3,000 miles.
  • Adjust the clutch on a manual transmission car, although some cars have self-adjusting clutches.
  • The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve makes for a rough-running car when clogged, and is easy to replace.

A timely car tune up is necessary preventive maintenance that will detect potential problems before they become an expensive repair.
Scheduling tuneups when recommended will also ensure that the vehicle gets the best gas mileage possible, and help the catalytic converter reduce air pollution.

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