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...
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
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.
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-
Wires (unless vehicle has DIS)
oil filter/ new oil
coolant flush and refill
Connect up scanner and look at fuel trim, O2 sensor voltages, response
of other sensors.
Check fuel pressure
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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 ?
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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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