Engine Tune Up

An engine kept in good repair will run efficiently and pass emissions inspections consistently, regardless of age. The best way to keep an engine in good repair is through an engine tune up. The type of tune up a car needs depends on the age and condition of the vehicle. While some aspects of the job can be completed by the owner, it is important that proper care is taken to avoid damaging the engine.

History

Since the invention of the car, mechanical engineers have tinkered and improved engine performance. In fact, the term engine tuning actually refers to the process completed on these older cars, which involved actually tuning the combustion system to run at maximum efficiency or power. As vehicles evolved, so did the processes for improving engines. In fact, even the oldest engines can now be overhauled or rebuilt with new components to run in an as new state. The key is optimizing a car to perform in a desired fashion, whether that is better mileage, more power, or a quieter ride.

Modern Vehicles

While older vehicles could be tinkered with for maximum efficiency, those settings are now automatically adjusted by a vehicle's internal computer. In fact, most modern mechanical engineers have stopped using the term engine tune up for this very reason. Instead, the modern term used for improving engine performance is simply “engine performance maintenance.” Thankfully, along with the change in name comes the opportunity for more of the work to be completed by vehicle owners without the fear of ruining the vehicle.

Timing

Engine performance maintenance is an ongoing process with a vehicle and requires work at various intervals, depending on the task. For instance, all older vehicles and those used for short trips—usually seven miles or less—should have an oil and filter change every 3,000 miles, whereas a newer vehicle used for highway driving only requires an oil and filter change every 7,000 miles. A vehicle’s transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles in order to prolong the life of the transmission. If the fluid has been left for a long time, it can be left alone.

Mechanics

While most repairs can be done by the vehicle’s owner, some still prefer to have a tune up handled by a professional. While expensive, the best place to take a vehicle for engine performance maintenance is the dealership. Dealerships specialize in that particular vehicle and can recognize whether the efficiency issues warrant a tune up or whether something else is wrong. For those who do not like taking their vehicles to dealerships, the next alternative is a national chain mechanic such as Midas or Firestone Auto Repair.

Engine performance maintenance ensures that a vehicle has a long life with fewer expensive repairs. While some things inevitably break in an engine, a vehicle with less buildup and smoother running parts will simply last longer. The old saying is as true for vehicles as it is for people; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.