When To Get A Tune-Up For Your Car?

An engine tune-up is one of the maintenance cultures you must learn as a car owner. If it weren’t so, your car manufacturer’s manual wouldn’t have captured the information of the interval recommended for you to perform a tune-up on your car.

As a car owner, you ought to know when to get a tune-up for your car to enable your car to run efficiently without any glitches. Accurate information has been captured in this article to show you everything you need to know about getting a tune-up for your car. You should take a moment and go through this article of information to avoid engine problems such as engine knocking.

What does a Typical Car Tune-Up Include?

Knowing when to get a tune-up for your car is one of the smart knowledge you could have as a car owner. A car tune-up will enable your car to run efficiently and will deliver optimum satisfaction while driving. It will enable you to avoid the stress that comes with the unpleasant experiences projected by your car when you fail to get a tune-up according to your vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendation. A typical car tune-up includes the following.

Read Also: What Does Change Engine Oil Soon Warning Light Mean

where to get a tune up


Contamination and blockage of the various filter components related to your car’s engine can result in diverse kinds of problems that alter the proper running of your vehicle’s engine. Clogs can cause dirt to be trapped in the filter, and a dirty filter can lead to a fuel pump failure, higher oil pressure, etc.

A clogged fuel filter can lead to inefficiency in fuel consumption, difficulty starting your vehicle’s engine, inconsistent acceleration, etc. You should get a tune-up after every 10,000 to 12,000 miles, or you can design a yearly schedule to do so. It would help to clean up every dirty or contaminated filter of your vehicle.

Spark Plugs

The spark plugs partly handle your car’s combustion, and as such, they must be kept in good shape to enable them to spark up the ignition process that starts your car’s engine and keeps it running without frequently stalling. Since they are consistently under high temperature and pressure, they tend to wear out over time. Hence, they should be replaced periodically.

A tune-up that includes the complete replacement of your vehicle’s spark plugs should be carried out every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or once a year so that the new plugs can work efficiently instead of your car stalling every moment while you drive due to a faulty spark plug.

Some manufacturers recommend that if you own a new car, you could get a tune-up after about 100,000 miles. However, it would be best to get a tune-up for your new car after every 30,000 to 50,000 miles to be on the safer side. If you were wondering, “How often do you need a tune-up” the information above is a perfect recommendation depending on whether you drive a new car or an old one.

how often do you need a tune up

Also Read: Service Engine Soon Light: Meaning, Causes, and Fixes

When to Get a Tune-up for Your Car

Whether you pay attention to your vehicle service notifications or not, your car will depict some signs that let you know it’s time to get a tune-up. The following are warning signs of a tune-up.

Difficulty starting your car’s engine

There are several reasons why your car’s engine may refuse to start; it could be due to a bad fuel pump, dead battery, bad spark plug, etc. Besides these, you can also experience difficulty starting your car due to an ignition problem that a tune-up could fix.

Defective gas mileage

If you find your car’s fuel consumption abnormal, it is a sign of bad gas mileage, which is usually attributed to bad injectors, faulty spark plugs, etc. A simple tune-up for your car’s engine can fix this issue.

Unexpected frequent stalling

If you are not learning how to drive a car, another reason why your car would occasionally stall is because of dirty connectors, bad spark plug, etc. This frequent stalling will stop if you take your car to an auto mechanic for a tune-up.

Rough idling and knocking sound

Do you find it hard accelerating up a hill while driving? It is most likely an engine inefficiency problem. If your car accelerates roughly or experiences a rough idling, it could be that one or more of your car’s spark plugs are not igniting properly. Also, whenever you experience your car’s engine knocking, it is obvious you need to take your car for a tune-up.

Read: Service Emission System – What Does It Mean & How to Fix It


Q: How do I know when my car needs a tune-up?

Every car needs a tune-up as time goes on, irrespective of whether it was bought as a brand new car or an old one. The following are some signs to look out for to enable you to know when your car needs a tune-up.

  • Reoccurring stalling
  • Difficulty starting the car’s engine
  • Rough acceleration and knocking sound
  • Defective gas mileage
  • Time frame as recommended by your car’s manufacturer

Q: What happens when your car needs a tune-up?

Many symptoms prove that your car needs a tune-up. Most of these symptoms are the same for many vehicles, and they are as follows.

If you are asking, “Does a tune-up make your car run better?” It is obvious by now that a tune-up would make your car run better and more efficiently because all of those challenges outlined above would have been dealt with through the tune-up.

Q: How much does an engine tune-up cost?

An engine tune-up cost is estimated between $50 and $150 or thereabout for a minor tune-up, which only includes replacing spark plugs and inspecting the spark plug wire.

Meanwhile, a major/standard tune-up includes; spark plugs replacement, wires, fuel filter, rotor, distributor cap, air filter, PVC valve, changing of oil, inspection or diagnosis of the fuel, ignition and emission systems, and dwell adjustment, fuel mixture, as well as the timing of vehicle’s engine to standard specification.

The cost is estimated between $250 and $850 or more, while the labor cost varies between $40 and $100 or $85 – $155 at a standard repair shop. Some service providers could also help you change motor oil with a good quality synthetic oil.

Q: What happens if you don’t get a tune-up?

Suppose you fail to take your car for a tune-up as your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends in the manufacturer’s guide. In that case, you are likely to have some unpleasant experiences such as difficulty in starting the car’s engine, unusual stalling, unusual vibrations, bad gas mileage, bad catalytic converter, etc.

You will be endangering your car if you fail to carry out a tune-up on it at the interval recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Why not save your energy, time, and money by taking your car to an auto mechanic’s shop for a tune-up when you need to do so. Problems are usually easier to solve at their initial stages.

Q: How long does a tune-up take?

If you have been contemplating taking your car for a tune-up because you are a busy person and may not have all day to spend fixing your car, a tune-up does not take the whole day; it only takes around 2 to 4 hours.

Performing a tune-up for modern cars with computerized components takes more time than doing so for older cars. If you are asking, “Where do I get a tune-up near me?” You may want to find out the closest auto mechanic to your neighborhood online.

Q: Is a tune-up worth it?

Yes, you need to take your car for a tune-up within the interval recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Driving your car without a tune-up will make it run poorly without delivering optimum satisfaction, but a vehicle that has undergone the tune-up process will run efficiently and deliver maximum satisfaction to the driver. However, if you are wondering, “Can I still drive my car if it needs a tune-up?” Yes, but you will experience a lot of challenges driving the car.

Q: How much is a car tune-up at Walmart?

If you are thinking of where to get a tune-up for your car, you may consider Walmart. A standard tune-up at Walmart costs about $50 to $200, and if you are considering a tune-up that involves a more complex operation, the cost could be estimated between $500 and $900.

Q: How much is a tune-up at Autozone?

If you are asking, “How much does a tune-up cost?” Here’s feedback from Autozone. A basic tune-up that only includes spark plugs replacement and spark plug wires inspection costs around $40 to $150; a standard tune-up that covers most components within the engine compartment costs around $800 or more at Autozone.

Final Words

It is essential to know when to get a tune-up for your car to enable you to avoid unnecessary headaches; this information is usually documented in your vehicle’s manufacturer’s manual. Ensure to take a look at it for your awareness.

Never run the risk of driving your car all along without paying attention to ascertain when a tune-up is needed. However you choose to run your vehicle, the components will always show you that it’s time for a tune-up if you pretend not to be aware that it is needful. Take proactive action before you begin to get unpleasant experiences.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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