Signs that Your Car Needs a Tune-Up

Tune-up interval varies from one car to another. Many older cars with non-electronic ignitions need to be tuned every 10,000 to 12,500 miles or annually, whichever comes first. Newer vehicles with fuel injection systems or electronic ignition are designed to go from 30,000 miles to as many as 120,000 miles without requiring a major tune-up. Refer to the owner’s manual for most optimum tune-up intervals, but you should be aware that even if it tells you that the car doesn’t need scheduled tune-ups frequently, it is in your best interest to periodically ensure that your car is working at peak efficiency. If you use your car to pull heavy loads (like a boat or camper) or stop-and-go driving, the ignition system should be tuned more often. These are a few symptoms that indicate that the electronic ignition system must be adjusted or tuned:

  • The car stalls frequently. The spark plugs may be worn or fouled, the spark plug electrodes gap may need proper adjusting, or the electronic sensing device should be adjusted. Car stalling also can be triggered by problems in the fuel system. If you are having difficulty pinpointing why your car is stalling, you may help the automotive specialist diagnose the exact problem by paying better attention to whether the car engine stalls when it is cold, hot, or when your air conditioner is running.
  • The car engine is running roughly when you accelerate or when idling. Chances are the car needs a tune-up.
  • Your car gets harder to start. It can be caused by problems in the starting system (e.g., a weak battery), in the fuel system (e.g., fuel pump failure), in the ignition system malfunctions, or can be caused by the electronic component failures.

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