As you drive your car several hundred miles or so, you’ll probably notice deteriorating performance from your vehicle. The most common sign for this is when your mileage isn’t as high as before. This could be a sign that you need a tune up or if you have scheduled tune-ups every 6 months. At this point, you could be wasting fuel since you’re running a shorter distance per gallon or liter. Here are some of the things that are usually done during a typical tune-up. We do this every year since we don’t use our car that much which also reminds me that I’ll be having my car’s tune-up next week or by the 1st week of August.
The first and most important part of a tune-up is the oil change. Over time, especially if you use your car everyday or if you travel long distances, your engine oil becomes inefficient. You can easily notice that since the oil would usually turn dark and if it’s completely black in color, change the engine oil as soon as possible. It most certainly cannot lubricate your engine well anymore.
The first thing that has to be done is to drain the engine oil. It takes a while depending on your engine. When you drain the old engine oil, residues may still be in the engine. Mechanics would usually use a liquid flushing agent which cleans the residue. Sometimes, they just blow pressurized air into the engine to completely drain the oil. Once done, the engine is now ready to be filled with brand new engine oil. Just make sure that the engine oil you are using is compatible with your engine. Older carburetor engines usually can’t take advantage of high performance engine oils. So make sure to ask the mechanic, or better yet your car dealer, what’s the best engine oil to use for your car.
During the draining process, you can do the other parts of the tune-up process. If you have stock air filters, it is usually replaced. But if you have replacement/aftermarket filters such as sports and racing air filters, cleaning it with pressurized air will suffice. The oil filter will also be replaced since it probably has residue from the old engine oil. It can’t be cleaned so a replacement should be purchased.
Take your time in checking other stuff such as your brake fluid, power transmission fluid and the water in your radiator or for the wipers. Check for leaks while you’re at it. If you have a manual maintenance battery, check the fluid levels. Inspect your tires and make sure the treads are still good. Also, you can have your car lifted up while draining oil so you could inspect your chassis. Just make use of the time while draining the engine oil. For our car, it usually lasts for more than 30 minutes which is more than enough to do the other stuff.
Not to worry though, there are lots of places where you can get a bundled tune-up package. There are gas stations, car repair shops and even your car dealer’s own tune-up package. The latter is usually the most expensive but then, you can be more assured of the quality since they made your car in the first place and they most certainly know what’s best for your car. You can do it yourself but make sure you have the proper tools.
So there you have it. That is the typical tune-up process for vehicles. Although depending on the vehicle, there may be some extras such as for race cars and heavy duty machinery. But in any case, make sure you tune-up your car regularly and on schedule. Always inspect your engine oil and see if it is still clear and at the minimum level.