Article by Guy’s Automotive
Tune-Up & Car Service Tips for all Type of Automobiles and Owners – Autos – Maintenance and Repair
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Tune-ups have been performed on cars since the old-fashioned car days. The old days maintenance tune-ups used points and condensers and today, that’s nearly non-existent. Most automobiles in the modern era use electronic ignition and fuel injection controlled by sophisticated electronic computers. These systems took over the basic electronic ignition systems that had vacuum advance distributors, pickup coils and an ignition module. Ignition systems used to have lots of adjustments and you could tinker with them, but today’s cars have computer programs and to tinker with these cars, you have to do computer remapping which requires advanced computer equipment, software and training.
The good thing is that all you need to really do is a normal tune-up on today’s vehicles. This means in short that all you must do for a tune-up is replace some normal maintenance parts. The computer systems use cam sensors, crank sensors, and a knock sensor with a basic computer program to determine the timing and engine idle specifications for your car. Most of these ignition systems use only spark plugs, spark plug wires and coils. Some cars also have variable cam shaft timing to further more the performance and increase horsepower and torque on the engine. Below are some common maintenance parts for your tune-up on your automobile that can significantly increase engine performance and reduce major repair costs:
Common Secondary Ignition PartsSpark Plugs: Spark plugs come in several types of metals like normal, platinum, iridium and double platinum. After removal, a mechanic can look at the tips to determine the engine’s firing conditions as well as the life expectancy of the tune-up. Spark plugs are also good indicators of engine condition. Just removing and inspecting the spark plugs can tell you things about the engine such as fuel burning, oil burning, coolant burning, major internal mechanical problems and even a cylinder or piston failure.
A great guide to replacing spark plugs is as follows. If your auto make specifies a particular brand such as Autolite, Bosch, Champion, Denso, Delco, Motorcraft, Nipendenso, or NGK you should try to stay with the correct brand. Using another brand that claims to be compatible may constitute a reduction in power and performance. The ignition systems are designed and tested to work with the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spark plugs and changing this may be devastating.
Spark plugs also have a recommended engine mileage as per automotive manufacturer. Some cars might require replacement at 30,000 miles, some might require replacement at 100,000 miles. Using the appropriate spark plugs with platinum or iridium will increase the mileage usage of the spark plug.
When replacing spark plugs, you should be careful to layout the spark plugs in the order of removal. This can help you determine which cylinder if any may have an internal problem. Always check the spark gap, especially if you drop the spark plug on the ground. As a bonus, you should apply some never-seize to the spark plug threads especially on an aluminum cylinder head to prevent the spark plug threads from seizing into the cylinder head.
Distributor Cap and Rotor: These plastic parts called the distributor cap and the rotor deteriorate with age and should be replaced every time the spark plugs are replaced. Cracks can develop, which allow moisture in. Corrosion on the metal contacts will cause misfiring or a no-start condition. The cost of the distributor cap and the rotor are usually inexpensive and will help prolong the rest of the tune-up life.Spark Plug Wire and Spark Boots: You usually will have either spark plug wires or spark boots, however there are some cars that will have both. You should always change these parts while doing the tune-up. The wear on these parts is usually internal but sometimes you can see indications on the external as well. Spark plug wires and boots can fail and cause misfiring and or coil failure. Continuing o drive on failed coils can even lead to engine computer (PCM, ECM, or ECU) failure which can be a skyrocketing cost on today’s vehicles. Common FiltersAir Filters: Typically air filters are changed around every 30,000 miles. These filters are specially designed to filter out dirt and other foreign particles from the air as it passes into the intake manifold or your engine. If you travel on dirt roads, you may have to change your air filter more frequently. Experts also agree that changing air filters on a regular basis may prolong your car’s longevity.Oil Filter: Oil filters should be changed every time you do an oil service on your car. They are designed to filter sludge, soot, rust and dirt within the engine and help prevent any unnecessary engine wear. Oil filters are typically changed every 3,000 miles, 5,000 miles or even 10,000 miles depending on the manufacturers recommendations.Fuel Filter: Fuel filters remove dirt form the fuel by trapping particles that pass through the filter element. They protect the carburetor in older cars, or the fuel injectors on newer cars. Preventing dirt from clogging the injectors or carburetor metering jets will ensure the drivability and fuel economy of your vehicle is optimal. If the fuel filter is clogged up, it can cause hard starting, reduced power and performance, or even a no start. Partially or completely clogged fuel filters can damage a fuel pump or the filter can burst and clog up the carburetor of fuel injectors.Cabin Air filters: Just like your home’s air conditioner has a filter to be changed, modern cars also have a filter called the cabin air filter. These usually should be replaced every 30,000 miles but if you live or drive on dirt roads, they may need to be replaced more frequently. Studies proved that the cars air conditioner components would get mold and cause allergic reactions and health issues. Now most cars will have this filter to help prevent unwanted health problems and keep your air circulation clean inside your car’s cabin area. PCV and Oil Breather Filter: The PCV and or oil breather filter assures that only clean filtered air is circulating within the engine. As your engine runs, it naturally creates blow-by gasses that are exhaust fumes that bypass the piston rings and go into your engine crankcase. The PCV and oil breather filter help remove these gases as well as any condensation that may develop on the inside of the engine. A clogged oil breather filter or PCV will help develop oil leaks and reduce performance. You should check your cars maintenance recommendations my the manufacturer to see when you should change these tune-up parts.Automatic Transmission Filter: Depending on the transmission fluid and vehicle, the transmission filter should be regularly changed as well as flushed with a transmission flush machine. Properly filtered transmission fluid prolongs the life of the transmission clutches, seals, and internal planetary gears and differential gears. A clogged transmission filter can cause transmission slippage, drivibility issues, and or engagement problems. Depending on your auto manufacturer, this filter may need to be changed every 15,000 miles, 30,000 miles or even 100,000 miles. Do not hesitate to perform these automatic transmission services to extend the life of your transmission.
Other Types of Maintenance Parts
Oxygen Sensor (O2 Sensor) or Air Fuel Ratio Sensors: Your oxygen sensor(s) or air fuel ratio sensors should be replaced at the manufacturers recommended intervals. These sensors are designed to monitor the rich and lean burning of your fuel to help the computer adjust the fuel mixture accordingly. Driving with worn oxygen sensor(s) or air fuel ratio sensors will drastically change fuel economy and engine performance. Air and Vacuum Hoses: All types of cars today monitor the air consumption within the engine. Air and vacuum hoses that leak will change the way the engine runs drastically. This will cause major system problems with air flow sensors or MAP sensors signals and the cars computer will not accurately adjust the outputs of the engine causing all sorts of drivability problems. All vacuum hoses should be checked and replaced as needed. Most auto repair shops can perform a smoke test to accurately pinpoint any types of vacuum leaks and repair them accordingly.Air and Engine Temperature Sensors: The air and engine temperature sensors can fool the computer into thinking it should run richer or leaner when bad. These sensors also can cause overheating on computer controlled fan systems which can lead up to engine cylinder head gasket failure or other major problems. These sensors can affect the fuel economy and cooling system performance.
Great advise for all auto owners is to follow the maintenance schedule that was invented for your type of car and engine. Doing preventive maintenance on your vehicle will ultimately benefit you. Get routine vehicle inspections to help predetermine any possible failures that may be about to occur on your automobile. Keep your engine and transmission oil leak free and clean. A clean engine runs cooler and is more likely to not cause premature failure of other car parts. Do all of your routine lubrications and rotate the tires every 10,000 miles. Do not ignore the warning lamps on your dashboard, get periodic engine diagnostics and vehicle diagnostic tests run to help ensure you have no mechanical or safety issues that need to be addressed. Have a great auto mechanic that is knowledgeable on your auto and has your beat interest at hand.
About the Author
Guy’s Automotive was established in 1995. For years, our highly skilled technicians have been servicing all American and Foreign vehicles including Audi, Volkswagen (VW), BMW, Mini, Cadillac, Chevrolet (Chevy), Pontiac, Oldsmobile, GM, Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, Lincoln, Mercury, Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Acura, Honda, Nissan, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Hummer, Saab, Isuzu, Suzuki, Subaru, Volvo and more
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