What’s Involved in a Car Tune-Up?

What’s Involved in a Car Tune-Up?

What’s in a modern tune-up service? What should you expect when you bring your car in for one? On this blog, we’ll explain what’s in a modern tune-up and how each of these things can help your car run better as well as extend its lifespan.

Tune-Up Checks

A tune-up consists first and foremost of some important inspections on your vehicle to make sure nothing is wrong in some important systems. First, your battery voltage. Modern batteries are designed to offer a lot of voltage right up until they can’t sustain it anymore at which point they die almost immediately. It’s not uncommon for you to turn on your car one morning and have it start just fine, and then come out the following day to find it incapable of even getting the starter to move. With all of the electronics on today’s vehicles, a good battery is important.

The mechanic running the tune-up will also conduct a number of other checks, including:

  • Power balance or dynamic compression: this test allows your mechanic to see if there are any problems like worn rings, leaky valves, a bad gasket, etc. which could affect your car’s performance
  • Fault codes: your mechanic will hook a machine to your car’s on-board data (OBD) port, which interfaces with the car’s computer to figure out if there are any known faults in the vehicle
  • Engine vacuum: this test checks for air leaks and exhaust restrictions
  • Idle speed: this allows your mechanic to see if there are any problems with your fuel system or the computer that controls it
  • Hoses, belts, and fluids: your mechanic should inspect all of your hoses and belts to make sure they’re in good condition, free from fraying or tearing, and all fluid levels are appropriately topped off and are not dirty or in need of replacement

Tune-Up Replacements

Next, your mechanic may need to replace a number of parts that are wearing-out. First, and perhaps the most common, is your spark plugs. Over time, the dozens of millions of times where your spark plug fires to ignite the fuel and power your vehicle, the electrodes that create the spark eventually grow old and wear out, which limits their ability to fire. Fresh plugs fire far better, especially those that are made from a corrosion-resistant material like platinum or a gold-palladium alloy.

They’ll also check and replace your rotor or distributor cap if these parts appear as though they’re approaching the end of their useful lifespan. If your vehicle is over 100,000 miles old, the chances of needing this replacement are higher.

Finally, your technician will likely go through and replace the various filters in your vehicle. While your oil filter is likely replaced every time you change your engine oil, few people change their other filters often enough. Your mechanic will check your air filter, cabin air filter, PCV valve, and breather filter.

There’s one more important part on a modern vehicle that receives attention during a tune-up service: your O2 sensor. Has your car recently failed a smog inspection and that’s why you’ve been sent to get a tune-up? The EPA estimates that 70% of vehicles fail an emissions inspection because of an O2 sensor problem. A faulty sensor can cause a lot of driveability problems and prohibit your engine from functioning correctly. If your car is equipped with an OBDII port (which was required on all vehicles from 1996 or newer), then it’s recommended you replace this sensor every 100,000 miles.

About Christian Brothers Automotive

Christian Brothers Automotive has been providing reliable, honest, and transparent car repair and maintenance services since 1982, and today we continue to abide by the same mission that’s motivated us since the day we opened: love your neighbor as yourself. Now with hundreds of locations in 22 states, we’ve continued to try to change the way customers think about car care. We go above and beyond to make sure your experience is a memorable one in the best way possible, including offering a free shuttle service and a comfortable waiting area until your car’s work is complete.

Call your local Christian Brothers Automotive today at to schedule your own tune-up service for your vehicle!

Posted by, Christian Brothers Automotive