As Good as New: Taking Your Old Vehicle to a Tune-Up

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As the weather gets warmer, many of us are dusting off our old vehicles and getting them ready for a summer of fun. But before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is in good working order. A tune-up can help ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly and efficiently.

First of All, What Is a Tune-Up?

A tune-up is a service performed on a vehicle to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. This may include replacing the spark plugs, adjusting the idle speed and fuel mixture, and checking the ignition timing. On newer vehicles with fuel injection and computer engine controls, a computer makes these adjustments, so no tune-up is necessary.

Base timing refers to the timing of the ignition system in an internal combustion engine. It is the point at which the spark plugs fire in relation to the position of the piston in the cylinder. Most engines have their base timing set at the factory, and it is not adjustable. However, some engines have a factory software update that allows for the base timing to be adjusted. 

Preventative maintenance, like replacing your spark plugs, can help improve your car’s performance in a number of ways. New spark plugs can make it easier to start your engine, improve fuel economy, and lower emissions. If your old spark plugs are worn or fouled, replacing them can also restore lost power and pep. However, if your engine is not running well because of some other issue, a new set of plugs alone won’t help. In this case, you’ll need to have your engine tuned up to identify the problem.

The Main Differences between Traditional Tune-Up and Modern Day Tune-Up

1. Traditional Tune-Up

A tune-up back in the day would involve taking a look at the air filter, the distributor, the rotor, the points, the distributor cap, and the ignition wires. If any of these things needed to be replaced, they would be. This would all be done to ensure that the engine was getting the right amount of fuel, air, and fire.

Back in the day, people regularly cleaned their plugs, ensured the gaps were even and reinstalled them. They would check and replace the spark plug wires and coil if the engine wasn’t running well. They would also check the generator or alternator belt and set the engine’s ignition timing and idle speed. If they noticed certain signs, they would test the compression in each cylinder.

2. Modern Day Tune-Up

Today’s cars and trucks have engines that are computer controlled. This has changed what a tune-up encompasses. Modern cars typically don’t have a distributor. Instead, the ignition is set off by timing wheels that are connected to the engine’s crankshaft. Many vehicle engines still have a single coil, while others have a coil that is shared between two cylinders. Some engines have a coil for each spark plug.

The only things that need to be replaced regularly on a modern car’s ignition system are the spark plugs, ignition wires, fuel filters, PCV valves, and air filters. Most of the ignition system’s functions are controlled and adjusted by the car’s computer. However, it is still a good idea to test the cylinder compression when the plugs are removed to ensure the engine is running properly.


Indeed, it is definitely worth taking your old vehicle to a tune-up! Not only will it improve the vehicle’s performance, but it can also help to prevent larger, more expensive problems down the road. Plus, it’s a great way to show your car some love and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

If you are looking for a company that offers engine tune-ups in Surrey, look no further than our services here at Grace Automotive. We offer a wide range of services that are sure to bring out the best performance of your vehicles. Visit our nearest branch today, and let us tend to your car engine in no time!

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