Normal daily driving subjects cars to a lot of wear and tear. Even a small malfunction of one part makes a huge difference in performance and safety. Recommended tune up intervals vary depending on the age and model of the vehicle. Check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations.

Most newer vehicles need a tune-up every 30,000 miles. Check older vehicles every 10,000 to 20,000 miles. Tune-up the car more often if it pulls heavy load or if it is used for a lot of stop-and-go driving.

A typical tune up involves flushing and filling vehicle fluids, checking all belts and hoses, checking the battery, installing a new air filter, adjusting or replacing spark plugs, and checking fuel injectors and other components. Mechanics also use modern automobile diagnostics that reveal other maintenance issues.

• The “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” lights come on and stay on after starting the vehicle.

• The car stalls frequently, indicating a spark plug or electronic sensor issue.

• The engine idles roughly, or it runs unevenly during acceleration. Sputtering while accelerating or going uphill indicates the car needs a tune up. Often a dirty emissions system causes cars to sputter or stall.

• The car becomes harder to start. This may indicate problems with the starting system, battery, fuel system, ignition system, or electronic equipment.

• The vehicle suddenly gets lower gas mileage than usual. Dirty fuel filters, bad fuel injectors, and spark plug problems commonly cause unexpectedly low gas mileage.

• The car makes a loud squealing noise when the steering wheel is turned, or the steering feels very stiff. Low fluids affect how the steering mechanism operates.

• The vehicle makes a sudden jerk when shifted from park to drive gears. This indicates the car needs the transmission fluid and filter changed immediately. Failure to fix these minor items leads to very costly repairs in the future, including transmission replacement.

• The brakes feel soft or spongy, or squeaking or squelching noises occur when pushing down the brake pedal. This indicates low brake fluid. Consistently low brake fluid indicates worn out brake pads.

• A “rotten egg” exhaust odor indicates a dirty or clogged catalytic converter. A tune up checks and cleans the catalytic converter. A clogged catalytic converter also affects gas mileage and overall vehicle performance.

• Chugging or “dieseling” after the car is shut off indicates the vehicle needs a tune up. Other causes of dieseling include buildup of carbon in the combustion chambers. Poor quality gas cause chugging and dieseling in some engines.

• Knocks and pings from the engine compartment result from carbon build-up in the combustion chambers. These noises may indicate a need to replace the fuel injectors.

• The car emits black smoke or a burnt fuel smell from the tail pipes. This may be the result of a clogged O2 sensor.

Tune-ups let the car’s ignition system, fuel system, emission system, and computer systems work together properly. This leads to optimum combustion chamber efficiency, better performance, and better gas mileage. The car runs its best and emits the minimum amount of pollutants when it has regular maintenance, including tune-ups.

Crompton Brothers is a family owned business since 1994. We are focused on providing the best possible customer service experience when servicing or repairing a customer’s vehicle. We strongly believe in customer education and regularly show the customer what needs repairing. We are very involved in various community activities and believe in giving back to the community who has supported us for almost 20 years. For more information please visit Crompton Brothers Auto Repair.