COMPLETE TUNE UP
As it says "tune up", and it means making sure your engine performs to its fullest capacity, smoothly, responsively, and to the best mileage per gallon. This takes checking many components within your vehicle and adjusting or replacing faulty parts. Then, what should a complete tune-up include?
- A complete tune-up should combine elements of preventive maintenance, adjustment and performance analysis. One of the main reasons people bring a vehicle in for a tune-up is because they are experiencing some kind of drivability problem.
- Hard starting, stalling, hesitation, misfiring, poor fuel economy, or lack of power are seldom cured by a new set of spark plugs and a few turns of a screwdriver. Every tune-up should include a comprehensive performance check to verify that no drivability problems or trouble codes exist.
- Another item that should be included is an emissions check. Thirty-five states now have some type of annual vehicle emissions inspection program, and all but two include a tailpipe emissions check. Most mechanics will check EGR valve operation, the PCV valve, and make a visual inspection of other emission control components and plumbing. But unless an actual emissions performance check is made at the tailpipe, there is no way to know whether or not the vehicle will meet applicable emission standards. An emissions check is a must.
- The best guide to tune-up frequency is probably the recommended spark plug replacement interval in a vehicle's owner’s manual.
- Our list of items that should be included in a "complete" tune-up include:
- Replace spark plugs
- Replace distributor rotor button
- Check distributor cap (replace if necessary)
- Check timing (adjust if necessary)
- Check ignition wires and ignition coils (replace if necessary)
- Check ignition performance (firing voltage and ignition patterns)
- Check idle speed (adjust if necessary)
- Check choke (carbureted engines)
- Clean fuel injectors
- Check compression and/or power balance (identifies bad fuel injectors as well as compression problems due to faulty piston rings or valve seals)
- Check manifold intake vacuum (reveals exhaust restrictions)
- Check battery/charging voltage
- Check exhaust emissions (verifies fuel mixture, ignition performance and emissions performance)
- Check vehicle computer for trouble codes
- Install new air filter and cabin air filter
- Replace fuel filter
- Replace PCV valve
- Check all emission controls (EGR valve, air pump, etc.)
- Check all vital fluid levels (engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brakes, power steering)
- Check belts and hoses Check safety items such as lights, wipers, tires (including inflation pressure), horn, etc.
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