TUNE-UP ?

I saw an ad from the local auto repair shop;
TUNE-UP $89.95
A tune-up used to be; new plugs, points, air-filter, check/adjust timing, adjust carb, etc.
On new cars; No points, no carb... even the plugs are a 100k item. I don't think you can even adjust timing any more. Other than "change air filter", what else is there to do ?
????
<rj>
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It seems on a new car, all you have to worry about is oil changes every 3-6K, unless you go buy the oil change timing computer. Then I think every 3 years flush the trans and coolant. At work they are always selling power steering and brake flushes, but who knows if they are really needed. I'd at least run a bottle of fuel system cleaner every oil change too. then at 100K, spark plugs...
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Not every vehicle is running 100k platinum plugs, what about fuel filters, cleaning the throttle body on many vehicles.

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I think every single car manual I've seen has had different intervals for the fuel filter.
I just did the one on my car because I know it hadn't been done before, and it hit 97Kmi, so before I START to have problems, I figured I'd just reset the timer. Interval time you would think should be set by miles, since more miles, the more fuel has been cycled through it.
Air filters they say every year, and out in AZ its pretty dusty so that seems about right. Cleaning the throttle body is easy, just get a can and DIY, otherwise the dealership charges $40 or something rediculous. Probably would be a good idea to check the air filter every oil change for abnormalities, and then inspect the throttle body while your taking stuff apart under the hood.
Filters and cleaning fluid is cheap, rebuilding broken stuff isn't, and alot of newer cars tend to have a pretty comprehensive maintenence schedule in the book.

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Shep wrote:

Even if you do run these great plugs whats the point? The plugs may not be bad, but they may still need to be inspected and possibly cleaned. Which means they have to come out anyway.
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CL Gilbert
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<RJ> wrote:

RJ, you seem to be out of touch with what a modern vehicle involves. The parts are different and the tools way more expensive than points and a screwdriver. Ask what they are doing for $89.95. Many places state what they do in writing, usually smaller print. You can't expect a lot for $89.95 these days.
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I know what they used to do to tune up older cars.
The question was;
How do you "tune up" a modern car ? ( there's really nothing to "tune" change, or replace.)
<rj>
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Plugs are NOT really 100k items. If you leave them in that long and drive in an area where snow and salt are around they will be so rusted that they will probably break off before they come out.
Modern tune up-
Plugs Wires (unless vehicle has DIS) Fuel filter air filter oil filter/ new oil Injector cleaning coolant flush and refill Connect up scanner and look at fuel trim, O2 sensor voltages, response of other sensors. Check fuel pressure
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The 3.8 GM and the 2.8 series with DIS had changeable wires.
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89.95 won't even cover labor alone for all you've mentioned, anywhere. A number of things you're mentioning is not "tuning" in any shape, fashion or form. ............ Jonny
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Depends on the shop and what they charge.
Plugs - Obvious item - Worn plugs mean that timing alters as the spark gap increases, deposits on the plugs reduce thermal transfer of heat and this erodes the plug further.
Wires - Again obvious item, wires do wear, the external insulation breaks down and allows energy to escape (less energy to fire the worn plugs) as well as internal breakage of the conductors and connector/conductor areas.
Fuel filter - Blocked flow through a bad filter can cause the engine to run lean as well as cause undue wear on the pump. Lean fuel mix causes less power.
Air filter - Without clean air the engine doesn't like to run for a long period without increased wear to the rings/ cylinders/ valves/ bearings. Since an engine is air powered (air is what really makes an engine provide power, without it an internal combustion engine will not function)
Oil Filter - new oil - Oil filter because they are cheap compared to major engine work. New oil for a similar reason, fresh oil lubes better, reducing wear and allowing the engine to work easier providing more power.
Injector cleaning - Falls under efficiency of the engine. poor injector pattern makes an engine produce less power and can result in the computer showing a misfire and cutting performance as a result.
Coolant flush/refill - Engines produce HEAT, just a fact of combustion, that heat causes many problems if not carried away from areas like the heads and around the cylinders. Also older coolant does not transfer heat as well and can become corrosive if left in the engine. End result, dead engine.
Scanner check - Makes sure that the sensors that are there are all working and sending the correct info back. Worn O2 sensors will provide incorrect data to the computer causing increased fuel economy and loss of power, Bad temp senders can cause the computer to think the engine isn't warm when it is and cause it to burn more fuel when it shouldn't. Same thing with many of the other sensors.
Fuel pressure - Bad pump or blocked line/filter or will cause the engine to run lean and result in damage. It can also leave you stranded.
So which ones are not considered to be a tune up item? Tune ups were and are all items intended to improve the performance and reliability of the vehicle. I have done the entire list on a vehicle in less than an hour. How?
Pull vehicle into shop. Open hood, connect up FP tester to the port. Check fuel pressure. If within spec OK fuel filter change can only raise it some, Leave tester connected to drain off pressure in system. Connect up coolant flush unit and start it. While it runs change out plugs/wires/cap/rotor. Change out air filter. Change coolant flush to fresh water and reverse flow. Lift vehicle up. Pull drain plug and allow oil to drain. While it drains change out fuel filter and grease fittings where available. Change oil filter and reinstall drain plug with new seal washer. Lower vehicle and shut down coolant flush, Fill with correct coolant mix and recharge system. Disconnect coolant flush unit. Start engine and check oil pressure and for any leaks in fuel filter/oil filter. Remove rad. cap and make sure coolant is full (air gets trapped in the system sometimes so you need to burp it), If required add sealant pellets or more coolant, test cap and replace if it fails. Reinstall if OK. Connect up injector cleaner and allow it to cycle through. Remove it and connect FP tester and scanner. Watch for any abnormal readings. If OK take vehicle out for short test drive through car wash and park it where customer can find it easily, attach oil change reminder sticker. Fill out paperwork listing parts (oil filter, oil (amount, weight, brand and type), air filter, plugs, wires, cap/rotor, coolant (amount and type), fuel filter, injector cleaner) any misc. parts that were needed (like the blown bulb in the marker light or tail light) . Note any items of concern IE: worn brakes, rusted brake/fuel lines, driveline problems, worn steering parts, whatever, to be brought to the attention of the owner for their consideration. Hang keys on rack and start on the next one. Repeat as needed.
Steve W.
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I'm inclined to agree.
An oil/filter change, and a coolant flush wouldn't be part of a tune-up.
PLUGS ?? My BUICK manual sez; "Change at 75K"
BTW; How do you "clean injectors" ??? Can of STP in the fuel tank ?
<rj>
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Around here, they advertise their $89.95 tune up as spark plugs and computer scan plus several other things like adjust timing. All these other things are "as needed". On modern cars most of these other things aren't needed, so basically, all you get is spark plugs and a diagnostic. They will be happy to do an oil change and lube--at extra cost. Same with all the other things you listed. And fixing anything the diagnostic turns up will also be extra cost. If your CEL has been coming on, it's not a bad price for plugs and a diagnostic, IMO. If everything you listed was included, it would be a steal.
Dave
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I live in upstate NY where we use salt every winter, and I've gotten 100K out of plugs on more than one car. Had no problem replacing them at 100K, either.

But... of those items listed, the plugs do not need to be changed at any tune up interval - as mentioned, they go for 100K these days. Same goes for wires.
Fuel filters - it's been my experience that they are good for well over 50K.
Air filters are an item I find I can get several years out of before they are dirty enough to require a change. Hardly what I would consider a tune up item. I'd put that in the category of an infrequent maintenance item.
Injector cleaning - given the work involved in getting the injectors out, I can't see cleaning them as a tune up item anywhere. Not a bad practice, but not something that I could see being done at any regular interval. I've had lots of injectors out while replacing gaskets in GM motors and have never found an injector that would have benefited from any regular cleaning schedule. I've replaced injectors for reasons of failure, but that's a different story.
Coolant flush and fill - if it's got Dex-Cool in it, then a flush and change over to green anti-freeze would be appropriate in my opinion. Beyond that, changing the coolant every other year should be more than adequate for most drivers.
Scan the car - maybe. That's a judgment call in my opinion. Certainly can't hurt, but today's cars are so informative that if there is a problem it's going to show up on the dashboard so scanning isn't going to show much of anything that would be noteworthy.
Fuel pressure - again, not a bad thing but not an essential. Changing the filter occasionally will keep most low fuel pressure problems at bay. The other big gotchya in the GM world is failure of the fuel pump and checking the fuel pressure isn't going to show an eminent failure. These pumps tend to catastrophically fail with no warning.
Most of what you listed are good maintenance items at some interval or another, but hardly qualify as tune up items. Like one poster said - there just isn't squat to tune up anymore. A lot of the scanning and checking that can be or is done today is quite unnecessary given the informative dashboards that exist in most cars. Service Vehicle Soon has become a pretty good indicator of when it's time to look at an area of the car.
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You have been lucky. I get to see a lot of vehicles that the plugs are rusted and stuck in the heads. And unless they are platinum plugs they wear just like they always have. The newer gasoline additives do keep the plugs cleaner. If you are going several years on an air filter you are not doing the engine any favors. You do not have to pull injectors to clean them. Unless the engine is having a problem that will require you to check the pattern just a good solvent cleaning will do wonders for many of them. Nothing wrong with Dex as long as you pay attention to it. Show me a car that shows you O2 sensor voltages, fuel trim, timing, TPS response, misfire info, MAF / MAP data on the dash. Never seen one. The scanner WILL show that and allow you to see if there is a problem starting. True, GM pumps fail (so do everyone else's) however the pressure check can tell you if the pump is starting to go or if there is a problem with the filter, regulator. As far as trusting a light to tell me when something is wrong, NOPE. Seen it show problems when there are none, and not show problems when the vehicle was running like crap.
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Steve Williams
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Perhaps, but at my age and with the number of cars I've worked on, luck no longer enters the picture. At this point it's called experience. Not to suggest my experience is better than or greater than yours, but it stands on its own. Luck is not part of the equation.

I'm doing all of the favors the engine needs. I check my filters periodically and change them when needed. I clean them if appropriate as well. If you're changing filters on a scheduled basis instead of visible need, then you're wasting filters. It's quite easy to see if a filter needs a change. Changing them before they require is just a waste of money.

That is far from a tune up component Steve. Beyond that, you have no indication whether the injectors even need cleaning and less indication if your approach accomplished anything. Again - you're throwing money and stuff at something that has not indicated a need for it. Waste.

And drain it before it gums up in the cooling system. It's the worst thing to come along in the world of anti-freeze. It's caused more problems in less time than the traditional glycol coolants ever caused.

Of course the car does not show you that, but it does show you those problems as they become an impact upon the performance of the car. That's time enough to pay attention to it. These come as warnings before they come as catastrophic failures in most every case, so the value of see the problem starting is neglgible at best. Costly to the car owner, with little or no real return.

In theory yes, but it seldom works that way. Yes the filter clogging will show up, but the filter should be a routine maintenance item and as such gets replaced on a cycle that will typically not grossly affect the performance of the car. Just like the way we replace oil filters at an interval. There's no need to pay money to be told to change your fuel filter at 30 or 40 or 50 thousand miles. Wasteful. No value.

Sure. I agree with the fact that the lights are not fool proof. They are reliable enough and enough of an early warning to get the car scanned at that point. Scanning the car on some regular basis offers no real world advantage over trusting the lights. Yes - I do scan my cars and I do have a good feel for what shows up, when, and of what value that information is.

Where abouts near Cooperstown Steve? Syracuse area on this end.
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Good list plus "Record the mileage and charge for shop supplies".
Only the plugs could normally be classified as tune up, the rest is general maintenance. It does make for good ad material though.
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