Today, a strong argument could easily be made that the term “tune-up” no longer applies to today’s auto park. Today’s vehicles are now equipped with electronic ignitions and several onboard computers that control all of these functions and more.
The term “engine performance maintenance” is probably a more accurate term to use when talking to customers.
1. Explain Engine Performance Maintenance
It’s helpful to point out to your customer that today, an automotive tune-up consists of an orderly process of inspection, diagnosis, testing, and adjustment that is periodically necessary to maintain peak engine performance or restore the engine to original operating efficiency. Also point out that they can and should still replace normal maintenance parts on a timely basis to maintain engine performance.
2. Understanding Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are good indicators of engine condition. Removing and inspecting spark plugs will tell you a lot about how well the engine is running, and what may be causing problems.
All spark plugs should be removed and checked every 50,000 kilometres. Even though most OEMs recommend changing spark plugs at 100,000 kilometres, this prevents the plugs from seizing in the block, causing expensive repairs down the road.
3. Oil Filter
Oil filters are easy to replace and help prevent unnecessary engine wear. The job of the oil filter is to remove soot, rust particles, and other solid contaminants from the oil. The oil filter capacity and filtering characteristics should be compatible with the type of oil to be used in the vehicle, whether it is semi-synthetic, synthetic, or mineral oil.
4. Air Filter
Air filters should be replaced every 20,000 kilometres (more often if you live or drive in dusty areas). Any filter that looks heavily loaded should be replaced regardless of the number of kilometres, as should any filter that shows any type of damage.
5. PCV Breather Filter
The PCV breather filter assures only clean, filtered air is drawn in through the PCV breather. A clogged breather filter prevents the PCV from siphoning away the blow-by gases and moisture created by engine combustion, resulting in oil breakdown and sludge build-up. The PCV breather filter should be replaced every 30,000 kilometres; however, yearly replacements are a good preventive measure.
6. Fuel Filter
If the fuel filter is not replaced regularly, fuel flow to the engine will become restricted, resulting in stalling, loss of high-speed power, and hard starting. The fuel filter should be replaced every 30,000 km; however, professionals recommend a yearly fuel filter change and a change whenever other fuel system parts are replaced.
7. Automatic Transmission Filter
Properly filtered transmission fluid transmits energy, plus it cools and lubricates the moving parts of the transmission. A clogged transmission filter can produce transmission slippage, engagement problems, and hesitation. Experts recommend this filter be changed every 12,000 to 15,000 kilometres to extend the life of your automatic transmission.
8. Other Maintenance Parts
Many maintenance parts are mistakenly seen as non-critical to many customers. While they may not be considered true “tune-up” parts, the functions of these parts can definitely impact the benefit of any tune-up. Plus, as emission laws continue to become more stringent, these parts have become more essential.
9. Oxygen Sensors
Oxygen sensors should be replaced at the recommended intervals. A worn oxygen sensor drastically changes engine settings.
10. Vacuum Hoses
1any major systems depend on a manifold vacuum for signals and function. All vacuum hoses should be checked and replaced as needed. Even a slight leak can cause major problems with performance; in some cases, the car won’t even run if there’s a vacuum leak.
11. Temperature Sensors
Temperature sensors regulate various engine functions. They control the fuel injection system, cooling system, and even the exhaust system. And they can definitely be a cause of poor performance problems.
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