How to tune up an older car

How to tune up an older car

Tune-up time: Set of spark plugs and wires for a V6 engine, an air filter and a spark plug socket with a ratchet.

since there is nothing that can be adjusted and everything is controlled by a computer. In modern cars, a "tune-up" is a major service that includes an oil change, replacement of an engine air filter, spark plugs and possibly a few additional items.

A tune-up is usually recommended if a car starts running poorly (scroll down for symptoms), or when your spark plugs are due for replacement according to the maintenance schedule.

Spark plugs provide an electric spark to initiate combustion in your engine, so if the spark plugs are fouled-up or worn out, your engine won’t run properly.

How to tune up an older car

Spark plug.

There are two types of spark plugs: conventional and long-life (platinum- or iridium-tipped). Conventional spark plugs need to be replaced every 30,000-50,000 miles. Iridium- or platinum-tipped spark plugs can last for 50,000-120,000 miles. We posted several links where you can check the maintenance schedule online in this article.

Worn-out spark plugs can cause misfiring, lack of power and poor fuel economy. Even ignition coils are known to fail if spark plugs are worn-out. Most cars today have ignition coils installed right on top of the spark plugs, without spark plug wires (ignition wires). In cars that do have spark plug wires, they are usually replaced together with spark plugs, unless they are in a very good shape. Spark plug replacement costs $120-$260 in a 4-cylinder car and $160-$600 in a V6 or V8-powered vehicle. Read more: When do spark plugs need to be replaced?

A fuel filter used to be another major part of the tune-up. Thanks to improvements in technology and fuel quality, fuel filter replacement is not required in most modern cars. Again, your maintenance schedule will tell you, when if ever, it needs to be replaced. For example, if you have the 2009 Ford Mustang, you should change its fuel filter every 30,000 miles according to the maintenance schedule. However, there is no mention about the fuel filter in the maintenance schedule of the 2019 Toyota Camry.

Similarly, for the 2017 Honda Accord and 2018 Mazda 3, the fuel filter is not even listed. Nissan in its 2010 Service and Maintenance Guide says that “Fuel Filter is Maintenance-free item (in-tank type filter).” The main symptom of a dirty fuel filter is lack of power on acceleration or when driving up-hill. Replacing a fuel filter, if it’s installed outside of the tank, can cost from $90 to $160.

Diesel fuel filter. Diesel cars have a

How to tune up an older car

Diesel fuel filter, Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

fuel filter has a water separator. The water separator needs to be drained every 10,000 miles or sooner. Replacement intervals vary. For example, the maintenance schedule for the 2017 Audi model year recommends replacing the diesel fuel filter in TDI models every 20,000 miles.

An air filter is the one item that surely needs to be replaced during a tune-up. The main job of an air filter is to prevent dust and sand from getting inside the engine and damaging cylinder walls. An air filter is recommended to be replaced every 15,000-30,000 miles or sooner if you often drive on unpaved or dusty roads.

When the air filter is extremely dirty, it strains your engine – remember how a vacuum sounds when something clogs it up?

How to tune up an older car

Replacing an air filter.

Replacing an air filter is not very expensive ($25-$90) and it’s an easy project for any DIY car enthusiast. When you replace an air filter, your engine will “breathe” better. Read more: How often should an air filter be changed?

What else may need to be replaced or adjusted during a tune-up? Often in high-mileage cars, the throttle body may become dirty, with carbon deposits preventing the throttle valve from working properly. This issue might cause rough idle, stalling and your “Check Engine” light might come on as a result.

How to tune up an older car

Dirty throttle body.

Your mechanic may recommend cleaning the throttle body as part of a tune-up. This service may cost $100-$180. Read more: When does a throttle body need to be serviced?

Another often suggested tune-up item is the fuel induction service. To perform this service, a mechanic sprays a special cleaning solution or foam into the intake manifold. The main goal is to clean the carbon deposits on the intake valves and the pistons, which might cause problems in high-mileage engines with direct fuel injection. Manufacturers don’t include this type of service in the recommended maintenance. This service is more beneficial for problems in high-mileage engines; if your car is good on gas and runs fine, you won’t see much improvement. The price can vary from $90 to $180.

If your battery is getting weaker and it’s been a while since you replaced it last time, your mechanic may recommend having it tested. Typically a mechanic will run the test of your battery and charging system and if the battery’s capacity is low, he or she might recommend replacing it. Read more: When should a battery be replaced?

If your car suffers from poor gas mileage, your mechanic may suggest replacing a front oxygen sensor (or both in a V6 or V8). An oxygen sensor is one of the main components responsible for the amount of fuel used by the engine. Of course, if your car runs fine and your “Check Engine” light is not on, you don’t really need it. Typically an oxygen sensor is not required to be replaced as part of a scheduled maintenance.

If your car has a timing belt, it is also often replaced during a major tune-up. Not all cars have a timing belt; many newer cars use a maintenance-free timing chain instead. If your car has a timing belt, it will be mentioned in the maintenance schedule. Read more: When does the timing belt need to be replaced?

If your drive belt (serpentine belt) hasn’t been changed in a while, it could also be recommended to be replaced during a tune-up. A drive belt runs engine accessories and is usually replaced every 40,000-70,000 miles; read more: When should a drive belt be replaced in your car?.
For some cars, a mechanic may recommend valve adjustment, especially if the valves become noisy. This service is rarely done in newer cars, but might be beneficial for some vehicles.
Signs that a car needs a tune-up:
– Engine doesn’t start as easily as before
– Running rough, especially when started
– Occasional misfiring, especially in humid weather
– Rough unstable idle, stalling
– Lack of power
– Poor gas mileage
Tip: If you want to do a tune-up, let your mechanic know what concerns (if any) you have with your car, so the tune-up will be tailored to address those concerns.

The car engine is the heart and soul of any vehicle. It has a direct relation with almost every aspect of your car. If your car engine is not in good condition, the performance and fuel efficiency of your vehicle will definitely suffer. Your car engine needs some attention and a tune up quite frequently.

Simply taking your car to a mechanic for a tune up is not enough. Just like you will you tell the doctor what the issue is with your body before he can treat it, you need to tell your mechanic the issue with your car engine before can properly treat it and tune it up.

The best way to do is by telling the mechanic what happens when you start the car or what issues you face when you try to drive your car. For example, there are a few things that are very common when your car engine needs a basic tune up. These signs include your car not moving properly when it is cold, your car makes a strange noise or your car’s fuel efficiency is going down.

Here are some symptoms that are direct signs that your car engine needs a tune up.

Misfiring Engine Problem

You will have this issue when the spark plugs in your car ignite at the wrong time. This usually happens when the spark plugs in your car are foul or they are worn out. Such spark plugs are the reason behind bad fuel efficiency, sluggish acceleration and hard starting. Mostly, a good spark plug will last for more than 100,000 miles. The engine computers try their best to compensate for a bad spark plug, but it is still an unnecessary strain your car engine.

How to tune up an older car

Clogged and Dirty Air Filters

Dirty air filters are one of the main culprits of reduced acceleration. These don’t affect the fuel economy that much, but they do eat away at the acceleration of the car. Since the air filters get dirty overtime, you will not be able to identify it until your car is not accelerating properly. If you live in the UAE and you have not changed the air filters in your car, you need to check these before you make any decision. Since your car has to constantly battle bad weather with a lot of dust and sand storms, you need to change your engine’s air filters almost every year or sooner.

How to tune up an older car

Pesky Engine Deposits

If you regularly use low quality fuel or you keep your fuel tank on the low almost always, you may have this issue. If your fuel is contaminated in anyway, this could cause some big issues with the performance of your car engine. The fix for this problem is very simple, all you have to do is have your fuel system cleaned thoroughly by a professional. This can easily solve the issue.

Check Engine Light

If your car’s odometer is showing a check engine signal, this means that there is something wrong with the emission control system. This can directly impact the engine performance and fuel economy of your car. Another issue related to this sign is a faulty oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor is very important for better fuel economy, because without it the engine computer will not be able to set the right amount of air-fuel mixture.

The owners manual on every vehicle should state how often the manufacturer recommends that you tune up cars, but as a general rule it is every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. Driving under extreme temperature and weather conditions will make parts wear out faster, however. Among several items that must be taken care of with a car tune up are:

  • Replacement of the fuel filter. In cars with fuel injection, nothing needs to be done unless injectors are clogged.
  • Spark plugs need to be changed, but platinum spark plugs will work for 60,000 miles at least. Install a new set of spark plug wires, which on some models are permanently attached to the distributor cap and must be replaced.
  • Replacement of distributor cap and rotor, although some newer models have done away with them.
  • On older cars without electronic ignition, points and condenser must be replaced while at the same time checking and adjusting the ignition timing.
  • In cars without hydraulic valves, the valves must be adjusted and valve cover gasket replaced if oil leaks are found.
  • If any worn belts are spotted, they must be replaced.
  • All fluids topped or replaced, along with an oil and oil filter change every 3,000 miles.
  • Adjust the clutch on a manual transmission car, although some cars have self-adjusting clutches.
  • The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve makes for a rough-running car when clogged, and is easy to replace.

A timely car tune up is necessary preventive maintenance that will detect potential problems before they become an expensive repair.
Scheduling tuneups when recommended will also ensure that the vehicle gets the best gas mileage possible, and help the catalytic converter reduce air pollution.

Driving to Yellowstone National Park for a summertime getaway with the family? Jumping in the car for a Fourth of July beach trip? If so, you’ll be sharing the road with millions of excited road-trippers.

To make your summer road trip as smooth as possible, you’ll want to take care of your car so that it can take care of you. Tackle these five important maintenance services before you head out on a long drive to help ensure you reach your destination without a hitch.

1. Maintain the exhaust system.

Never thought to check the condition of your exhaust system? The middle of nowhere isn’t a place you want to wish that you had. A faulty exhaust system could mean poor fuel efficiency, decreased power, and sometimes, improper venting of the poisonous gases that your engine produces.

If you’ve been hearing engine noises like popping and hissing, checking your exhaust system is vital to road trip success. The noises could signal problems with the exhaust manifold, muffler, tailpipe, or catalytic converter.

And if you’re not hearing engine noises? It’s still a good idea to have a technician look at your car’s exhaust system before a long trip.

"Vehicles that are 5 or more years old should have their exhaust systems checked by a professional every year or two, even if nothing feels or sounds bad," advises Cars.com.

You don’t want to exhaust yourself having to get a broken-down car fixed during your vacation.

2. Adjust the steering and suspension.

There’s more to a smooth drive than keeping the kids entertained. (But hey, we have that covered, too! Check out these crafty kid-friendly games and road trip activities that are actually fun for the whole family.)

Loose steering parts, damaged shocks or struts, broken or worn-out mounts or bushings, and vehicle swaying or bouncing could throw a wrench in your summer plans—and make for a really bumpy trip.

Before you hit the road, point your dash in the direction of a professional who can examine your car’s steering and suspension system to ensure a smooth ride to your vacation destination.

3. Examine the tires and alignment.

Get your kicks on Route 66. Not a flat tire.

Getting a flat tire is one of the most common reasons that drivers call roadside assistance. To help prevent a flat-tire disaster, ask a trained technician to inspect your alignment and tires, including the spare.

Among other things, a tire check includes a look at:

  • Tire Pressure: Is the tire pressure set to what’s recommended in your owner’s manual? An under- or overinflated tire can lead to a variety of issues, such as a bumpy ride, premature wear, overheating and, worst of all, a tire blowout.
  • Tire Wear: Is your tire tread in good condition? Are the tire wear patterns uneven? You can’t depend on your tires if the tread isn’t deep enough or there’s too much wear to gain traction on the road.

A tire inspection could also reveal misalignment, which can decrease the lifespan of your tires and reduce fuel efficiency.

4. Give your brakes a break.

The braking system is one of the most critical safety features of your car. But like many other car parts, it can overheat and put your family at risk—especially if it hasn’t been serviced in a while.

Make sure the braking system is in tip-top shape before you and your family hop in the car and head out for a summer drive. You never know what kind of conditions you might encounter on a long road trip, from stop-and-go city traffic to animals crossing the desert highway.

A thorough brake check can get to the bottom of brake warning signs like grinding, squeaking, steering-wheel shaking, and sponginess when the brake pedal is applied. This includes an examination of the brake pads, rotors, drums, hoses, and brake fluid.

5. Perform general maintenance.

Don’t overlook the seemingly little items that could put a roadblock in your summer road trip. Among other things, a trained technician can check your car’s:

  • Fluid levels, like engine oil and coolant
  • Spark plugs
  • Cabin, fuel, and air filters
  • Battery charge

Once you address these five maintenance tasks—whether they result in tweaks, repairs, or replacements—you can relax and truly enjoy your long summer road trip. Pro tip? Take care of everything with a Complete Vehicle Inspection at Firestone Complete Auto Care. And if you need us during your journey, we’re probably not far. We have more than 1,700 locations across the country.

A car tune-up is a type of preventive maintenance performed on a vehicle to ensure it continues to perform well. A tune-up is typically regularly scheduled — once a year is a very soft rule of thumb — and offers the chance for you to get all of the preventive maintenance your car needs at that time. Getting a car tune-up regularly will help you maintain your car’s performance and extend its life.

When you have a tune-up performed, it will typically include the replacement of several important wear-and-tear parts. Failure to replace these parts can result in decreased performance and other problems. For example, the air filter will typically need to be replaced at least once per year. If a dirty air filter is not replaced, the engine may receive less air than it needs to run properly. If this problem is not addressed, the air-fuel mixture will continue running richer, which means there is not enough air and too much fuel in the mixture. This can ultimately result in the failure of other parts and a waste of fuel. The tune-up should also include cleaning or replacing the spark plugs and, on older cars, the distributor cap and rotor. Tune-ups may also include replacement of the fuel filter, oxygen sensor, PCV valve, and spark plug wires. If your vehicle contains platinum spark plugs, they may not need to be changed as frequently. Vehicles with an electronic ignition rather than a distributor will not need to have the distributor cap and rotor replaced.

In some instances, your vehicle may also need maintenance that is not typically included in a basic car tune-up. An annual tune-up also provides the opportunity to check your vehicle’s systems, including the car brakes and clutch as well as oil and fluid levels. The air-conditioning system should generally be checked if the tune-up is performed in the spring or in the early summer. If you are not sure what type of maintenance your vehicle may need during a tune-up, you can check the owner’s manual.

Your vehicle will need some types of maintenance more than once a year. This includes an oil change. Oil change intervals are typically based on the number of miles driven. The frequency with which your vehicle requires an oil change can depend upon a number of factors, including the type of vehicle you drive, the vehicle’s age, and your own driving habits. If you are not certain how often you should have an oil change, it is a good idea to check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations. If your vehicle provides diagnostic readings, they may also indicate when the oil should be changed. Failure to have the oil changed when necessary can affect the performance and life of the engine.

Once you get into the habit of keeping track of your car’s maintenance and its regular maintenance schedule, the idea of a tune-up will become comforting rather than intimidating. And it always feels good to have a properly maintained automobile.

How to tune up an older car2020 Lincoln Aviator
How to tune up an older car2020 Toyota Corolla
How to tune up an older car2020 Ford Explorer

How to tune up an older car

Modern engines use computer-controlled factory-preset self-adjusting ignition systems that never change their timing, have no moving parts and never need maintenance. Yay! A generation ago, every teenager, every mechanic and a lot of vehicle owners understood the theory and practice of changing points and setting the timing. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of older vehicles, outdoor power equipment, boats and tractors that need periodic adjustment or replacement.

The distributor on these older vehicles performs two related tasks. The first uses a simple on/off switch, the ignition points, to provide properly timed pulses of 12-volt electricity to the ignition coil. In the coil, essentially a transformer, it’s stepped up to 10,000 to 20,000 volts. Then, the high-voltage electricity from the coil returns to the distributor, where the rotor inside parcels it out to the correct spark plug to ignite the fuel/air mix.

There’s a lobed cam on the distributor shaft that pushes on a small rubbing block on the movable side of the points. As the cam and distributor rotate, the points open and close constantly. As they close, current from the ignition switch flows through the contacts into the coil’s primary windings and then off to ground. This current generates a magnetic field in the coil’s iron core. When the points open a few degrees of crankshaft rotation later, the current is interrupted, causing the magnetic field to collapse. This induces electrical current into the secondary windings of the coil, where the current is raised to 20,000 volts or more. The high voltage now travels over to the distributor, where the rotor metes the high-voltage pulses out to the correct spark plug.

All that current flowing across the points doesn’t like to stop suddenly, and can initiate a small arc, which eventually erodes the tungsten contacts. The condenser cushions that arc, making point life much longer. But not infinitely long. As the contacts and the plastic rubbing block, which contacts the point cam, wear, the ignition points’ clearance and timing constantly change. After thousands of miles, the timing has shifted enough to affect performance, and the ritual of changing the points and setting the timing becomes necessary. How often? Some vehicles need to have the timing adjusted as often as every 10,000 miles to maintain peak performance. High-revving engines will need premium points with a high-pressure spring to keep the points from bouncing at increased revs. Some points assemblies include the condenser, yet for others, it’s a separate part. Condensers are inexpensive enough that it makes no sense not to replace them with every set of points. They should last as long as a set of points, 20,000 miles at least.

Ignition timing refers to the ignition system that allows the spark plug to fire, or ignite, a few degrees before the piston reaches top dead center (TDC) on its compression stroke. In other words, ignition timing is the adjustment of the spark produced by the spark plugs in the ignition system.

When the piston travels to the top of the combustion chamber, the valves close and allow the engine to compress the mixture of air and fuel inside the combustion chamber. The ignition system’s job is to ignite that air/fuel mixture to make a controlled explosion to allow the engine to rotate and produce power that can be used to move your vehicle. The ignition timing or spark is measured in the degrees the crankshaft is rotating, bringing the piston to the top of the combustion chamber, or TDC.

If the spark comes before the piston reaches the top of the combustion chamber, also known as advanced timing, the controlled explosion will work against the engine rotating and produce less power. If the spark comes after the piston starts traveling back down the cylinder, known as retarded timing, the pressure created when compressing the air/fuel mixture will dissipate and create a weak explosion, not allowing the engine to produce maximum power.

A good indicator that ignition timing may need to be adjusted is when the engine runs too lean (too much air, not enough fuel in the fuel mixture) or too rich (too much fuel and not enough air in the fuel mixture). These conditions are sometimes shown by the engine backfiring or pinging while accelerating.

Having the correct ignition timing will allow the engine to efficiently produce maximum power. The number of degrees will vary between manufacturers so it is best to check the service manual for your specific vehicle to determine exactly what degree to set your ignition timing.

Part 1 of 3: Locating timing marks

Materials Needed

  • Distributor wrench of the appropriate size
  • Free repair manuals ­ Autozone provides free online repair manuals for certain makes and models Autozone
  • Repair manuals (optional) Chilton

Older vehicles that have a distributor ignition system will have the ability to fine-tune ignition timing. Typically, timing will need to be adjusted due to the normal wear of moving parts in the ignition system. One degree may not be noticeable at idle, but at higher speeds this can cause the vehicle’s ignition system to fire a little early or late, which will decrease overall performance of the engine.

If your vehicle uses a distributorless ignition system such as coil on plug, timing cannot be adjusted as the computer makes these changes on the fly when necessary.

Step 1: Locate the crankshaft pulley. With the engine off, open the hood and locate the crankshaft pulley.

There will be a mark on the crankshaft pulley along with degree mark(s) on the timing cover.

  • Tip: These marks can be observed while the engine is running by illuminating this area with the timing light to check and adjust ignition timing.

Step 2: Locate the number one cylinder. Most timing lights will have three clamps.

A positive/red and negative/black clamp is hooked up to the vehicle’s battery and a third clamp also known as the inductive clamp, clips around the number one cylinder’s spark plug wire.

  • Tip: If you do not know which cylinder is #1, consult the factory repair information for the firing order.

Step 3: Loosen the adjusting nut on your distributor. If ignition timing needs to be adjusted, loosen this nut enough to allow the distributor to rotate so timing can be advanced or retarded.

Part 2 of 3: Determining if adjustment is needed

Materials Needed

  • Distributor wrench of the appropriate size
  • Free repair manuals ­ Autozone provides free online repair manuals for certain makes and models Autozone
  • Repair manuals (optional) Chilton

Step 1: Warm up the engine. Start the engine and allow it to rise to an operating temperature of 195 degrees.

This is indicated with the temperature gauge needle reading in the middle of the gauge.

Step 2: Attach the timing light. Now is a good time to attach your timing light to the battery and number one spark plug and shine the timing light at the crankshaft pulley.

Compare your readings to the manufacturer’s specifications in the factory repair manual. If the timing is out of spec, you will need to adjust it in order for the engine to run at maximum performance.

  • Tip: If your vehicle has vacuum-assisted ignition timing, disconnect the vacuum line going into the distributor and plug the line with a small bolt to prevent a vacuum leak while the timing is being adjusted.

Part 3 of 3: Performing the adjustment

Materials Needed

  • Distributor wrench of the appropriate size
  • Free repair manuals Autozone provides free online repair manuals for certain makes and models Autozone
  • Repair manuals (optional) Chilton

Step 1: Loosen the adjusting nut or bolt. Return to the adjusting nut or bolt on the distributor and loosen it enough to allow the distributor to rotate.

  • Tip: Some vehicles require you to install a jumper wire on an electrical connector to short or break the connection with the vehicle’s computer so timing can be adjusted. If your vehicle has a computer, overlooking this step will prevent the computer from accepting the adjustments.

Step 2: Rotate the distributor. While using the timing light to look at the timing marks on the crank and timing cover, rotate the distributor to make the necessary adjustments.

  • Note: Each vehicle may vary, but a general rule of thumb is, if the rotor inside the distributor spins clockwise with the engine running, rotating the distributor counterclockwise will advance ignition timing. Rotating the distributor clockwise will perform the opposite and retard ignition timing. Use a steady gloved hand to slightly rotate the distributor in either direction until the timing is within the manufacturer’s specifications.

Step 3: Tighten the adjusting nut. Once timing has been set at idle, tighten the adjusting nut on the distributor.

Have a friend blip the throttle. This involves quickly pushing on the accelerator pedal to increase engine RPM and then releasing it, allowing the engine to fall back to idle, therefore confirming the timing is set to specifications.

Congratulations! You have just set your own ignition timing. In some cases ignition timing will be out of spec due to a stretched timing chain or belt. If, after setting timing, the vehicle is showing symptoms of untimed, it is recommended you consult a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, for further diagnostics. These professional technicians can set your ignition timing for you, as well as make sure your spark plugs are up to date.

How to tune up an older car

Have you made an appointment for your vehicle’s first check-up…er, tune-up?

Cars need occasional visits to the mechanic just like people need yearly physicals with their doctors. If you wait until there’s a problem to take your car to the shop, it’s already too late. Routine maintenance can address many potential issues before they become a huge expense.

Most automobile experts recommend that vehicles undergo a basic tune-up once every thirty thousand miles or approximately every two years. If your vehicle was brand-new when you purchased it from a dealer, you may have a service warranty that covers routine maintenance. In any case, check with that dealership’s body shop to see if they offer a discount on first-time tune-ups. If you purchased a used car or an older model, ask your friends and family for recommendations of a trusty mechanic to look over your vehicle. No matter where you decide to take your car for a tune-up, there is a general list of things that the mechanic will be inspecting. Here’s what is typically included in a tune-up and why each inspection is important to the well-being of your vehicle:

8 Things That Require Routine Tune-Ups

Air Filter

How to tune up an older car

Although it is recommended that air filters be replaced every other time you change your oil, the mechanic will look for an old or clogged air filter and replace it if necessary. A bad air filter can reduce gas mileage and cause your engine to stall because of lack of oxygen.

Fluids

How to tune up an older car

Antifreeze, power steering, brake, and transmission fluids are essential to your car’s performance and longevity. During a tune-up, the mechanic will check each of these fluid levels and top off if needed. The mechanic will also check the condition of your radiator and coolant levels.

Oil and Oil Filter

How to tune up an older car

While your vehicle is in the shop, you might as well have the oil changed by a pro. If you usually do this task yourself, having a professional mechanic inspect the oil pan and surrounding parts isn’t a bad idea.

Battery

How to tune up an older car

Newer car batteries are designed to last for around a decade and require little maintenance; however, inspection of the battery and surrounding area is still an important part of routine tune-up. A mechanic will check the condition and life of the battery and will remove any battery acid that has built up around the hardware.

Belts and Hoses

How to tune up an older car

A professional mechanic will inspect all your vehicle’s belts and hoses during a tune-up. He will ensure that the clamps holding the radiator hoses in place are secure and that all belts are in good condition. Any belts that display cracking or splitting will be replaced before they have a chance to snap. If you have noticed a high pitch whining noise when your engine is on, you’ve probably got a bad belt. Make sure to tell your mechanic so that he can determine which of your vehicle’s several belts is defected and replace it.

Windshield Wipers

How to tune up an older car

If you’ve been ignoring that annoying squeak each time it rains, this is a great time to get your windshield wipers replaced. The mechanic will also top off your windshield wiper fluid so you’ll have a sparkling windshield with the push of a button.

Wheel Bearings and Alignments

How to tune up an older car

During a tune-up, the mechanic will inspect your vehicle’s undercarriage and axles for any potential problems. Each of your car’s wheel bearings will also be inspected and each wheel will be aligned. This will prevent abnormal wear and tear and make your ride smoother. If needed, the mechanic can also rotate and balance your tires and replace any that have worn treads.

Headlights, Tail lights, Break lights, and Blinkers

How to tune up an older car

Didn’t know you’ve been driving without a left blinker? During a routine tune-up, each of your vehicle’s lights will be thoroughly tested and replaced if needed.

If your vehicle’s check engine light comes on at any time, call your dealership or mechanic to schedule a tune-up as soon as possible.

That being said, regular tune-ups can prevent the types of mechanical issues that cause major engine problems. A Saturday spent at the repair shop might not sound like fun, but it’s definitely time well spent. A tune-up will prevent issues that could keep your car in the shop for weeks and cost hundred or even thousands of dollars. You can expect a professional tune-up to cost between $75.00 and $150.00. Any replacement parts or repairs will require an additional fee. Consider this money an investment in your vehicle and insurance against future repair bills.