Do Engines Need a Tune Up?

Older cars and engines may need a tune up every 30,000 to 45,000 miles. The machining of engine parts has greatly improved over the years. New cars made today, do not have points, caps and rotors, or spark plug wires. Most modern cars do not need a tune up in the traditional sense. The reason is that nothing can be adjusted because computers control it all. A tune up for a modern car mostly includes services such as spark plug replacement, air filter and fuel filter replacements, and a few other tasks. If you notice the vehicle running poorly, lacks power going up a hill or when you feel that quick drop out like the engine misses a beat, it time to get to the shop to see what is going on. 

Preventive maintenance of replacing spark plugs, per the vehicle maintenance schedule based in the owner’s manual, is very beneficial.  Most spark plugs last 100,000 miles. Yet, at Robinwood, we see many cars with 150,000 miles or more and spark plugs haven’t been replaced. What’s happening here is the spark plug keeps working but the little gap at the end of the spark plug gets bigger and bigger. As the gap grows, the ignition coil must deliver more electrical power to jump the gap. So, when you feel the engine miss firing it could be the ignition coil has gotten so weak it can’t do its job anymore.  Now the ignition coils and the spark plugs must be replaced, leading to a more costly repair.

Another issue we have seen is if the engine is driven too long with a miss fire condition, the catalytic converter is damaged. When the engine miss fires, it raises the exhaust temperature that flows into the catalytic convertor. Over time, this increased temperature will start to melt the material inside the converter. It can get to the point where the exhaust is clogged up and the car has no power to go up hills.  If the miss fire condition is corrected early, bigger and costly problems can be avoided.  When you notice the engine isn’t running right or the check engine light comes on, don’t wait too long. 

Modern cars last longer because sensors constantly control fuel flow and spark, so the engine has good fuel economy and low emissions. When things go array, the computer can’t do its job. At Robinwood, we support the importance of routine service and maintenance to keep your vehicle reliable and keep you safe on the road. In the long run save you money when you get your vehicle serviced routinely.

We hope you are enjoying the summer and are creating some great family memories!


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