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What Is a Tuneup and Why Should You Get One?

Wiping off an oil dipstick on a cloth

Regular tuneups go hand in hand with diligent vehicle maintenance, as they play a key role in keeping your car healthy. So, what is a tuneup? Learn about why tuneups are important, the steps in the process and how often you should get one.

Why Are Tuneups Important?Car tuneup

Essentially, a tuneup is preventative vehicle maintenance. Tuneups protect some of your car’s most important components and may also optimize fuel economy. For example, regular tuneups can help prevent engine damage that could lead to repairs later down the road. Sticking to a regular tuneup schedule provides your car with the care it needs to deliver service that’s smooth and reliable and can help extend the life of your vehicle.

What Is a Tuneup?

In a tuneup, your service technician will typically tackle the following tasks:

  • Ignition System Repair: Your car’s ignition system is made up of components such as spark plugs, wires, coils and various electrical parts. These components can wear down over time, which can impact vehicle performance. For example, worn ignition coils could cause engine misfires. During this part of the tuneup, your service technician will examine your car’s ignition system and replace any parts that show signs of wear.
  • Filter Replacement: Your vehicle relies on several filtration systems to filter the air that travels through the engine and the cabin, and they prevent contaminants from polluting your car’s fuel and oil. Each system plays a crucial role in supporting the way your car performs. For example, if your car’s oil filter isn’t replaced at regular intervals, it could cause dirty oil to clog your engine. Your tuneup technician will take a look at your car’s filters and make the necessary replacements.
  • Belt and Hose Replacement: Your car is home to several belts and hoses. The hoses move fluids throughout the engine, and the belts support parts such as the alternator and water pump. Over time, heat and cold — as well as daily wear and tear — can cause these belts and hoses to crack or break. Over the course of your tuneup, your mechanic will check your car’s hoses and belts and replace those that show signs of wear.
  • Fluid Replacement: Liquids such as engine oil, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid are your car’s lifeblood. They need to be kept clean if parts such as the engine and transmission are to function properly. During your tuneup, your service technician will examine these fluids and drain and replace them if they show signs of contamination.

Vehicle Tuneups: Next Steps

Read through the maintenance section of your car’s owners manual for a recommended tuneup schedule, which can vary from vehicle to vehicle. In many cases, manufacturers advise tuning up your car once every year. Getting regular tuneups might seem like a hassle, but they’re worth the time and effort to prevent damage down the line.

Check out all the tuneup kits available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on tuneups, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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