Why Does My Car Need a Tune-Up?

Most drivers know that regular oil changes are important to keep their cars running well, but there’s more to engine maintenance than just replacing the oil and filter. Tune-ups are another type of engine maintenance that’s essential for maximizing performance and drivability. 


What’s Involved in a Tune-Up?

In the past, tune-ups involved manually adjusting and cleaning various engine components like the distributor cap, ignition coils, and breaker points. With today’s vehicles, these adjustments are controlled by the onboard computer—but that doesn’t mean that tune-ups aren’t still necessary. Today, a tune-up may include:

  • - Replacing the fuel filters
  • - Replacing the engine air filters
  • - Replacing spark plugs or spark plug wires
  • - Inspecting or replacing the PCV valve
  • - Inspecting the distributor cap
  • - Replacing the oxygen sensor
  • - Fuel induction service

Routine tune-ups are important for your car because they can help us spot minor issues before they can become more expensive problems. Although your vehicle might be running well, investing in a tune-up and minor repairs is a great way to help you save money down the road. Inspections and tune-ups also help you stay safer, prevent breakdowns, and improve your fuel economy—not to mention, your vehicle will last longer with regular care. 

How to Know You Need a Tune-Up

Several signs can indicate your car needs a tune-up. These include:

  • - Frequent stalling
  • - Poor fuel economy
  • - Difficulty accelerating, poor acceleration, or other drivability issues
  • - Unusual vibrations in the frame or steering wheel
  • - Engine misfires
  • - Overheating
  • - The check engine light or other dashboard warning lights are on
  • - New noises coming from under the hood, like thumping or screeching
  • - Difficulty starting the engine

Although manufacturers’ recommendations can vary, here are some general guidelines for how often you should expect to schedule a tune-up; keep in mind that how often you drive your car and your typical driving conditions also play a factor. 


Many older vehicles that have non-electronic engines should get a tune-up every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or every year. Newer vehicles with electronic ignitions and fuel injection systems can go anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 miles between tune-ups. For specific recommendations for your vehicle, check your owner’s manual or ask one of our friendly service advisors. 


If your car is coming due for a tune-up, or you’ve noticed any of the above signs, visit the experts at RPM Automotive Services! As an ASE and ASCCA-certified repair shop, you can rely on us for all your auto care needs. We also provide a 2-year/24,000-mile warranty on all repairs. Contact us today at (707) 800-4586 or request an appointment online.

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