Are tune-ups a thing of the past?

–G-Jun Yam / AP

The shop manager told me they don’t do tune ups anymore. Is it true that tune-ups are a thing of the past?

Q. My 2011 Chevrolet Silverado has been running a bit rough lately. I called a local repair shop and told them my concerns and that I wanted to bring the truck in for a tune-up. The shop manager told me they don’t do tune ups anymore and asked if the check-engine light was on. Is it true that tune-ups are a thing of the past?

A. The term “tune-up” has outlived its usefulness. There was a time where cars had tune-ups twice a year. At that time, spark plugs, ignition points, and the condenser were replaced. The shop would also look at the ignition wires, distributor cap, and rotor then change what needed to be changed. Today, spark plugs can last 100,000 miles or more, and there are fewer moving ignition parts that can wear out. That doesn’t mean, however, that the spark plugs in your truck are not showing signs of wear. Spark plugs should be changed every 100,000 miles, and if you drive an average amount, at seven-years-old, they are most likely due for replacement. A good technician should also check the entire ignition system, filters, and other emissions components and replace what is necessary.

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John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.