What’s a “Tune-up,” Exactly?

We get lots of calls asking for “tune-up” services. But, do you really need a tune-up? Or, are you looking for an oil change?

Several times each week, people call up and say, “I need a tune-up for my car.” What does that mean? “Tune-up” is a commonly misunderstood term, based on the days when a tune-up was a regular service. But today, the term doesn’t translate so easily. “Mechanics” used to perform a tune-up, but now “technicians” do them.

Depending on your car, you might have this work done at the 30,000-mile mark. Then again, for other types of cars, trucks, SUVs, and hybrids, the mile mark is 90,000 or more.

This service includes replacing spark plugs, fuel and air filters, the PCV valve, cleaning the mass air flow sensor, plus many other inspections and tests.

Spark plugs right now are really interesting. Many will last as long as 100,000- 110,000 miles. Like with tune-ups, it used to be you could inspect a spark plug and you can you see what the gap was on the spark plug. But if you’ve got platinum or iridium plugs you can’t tell anymore; you just can’t visually inspect these components. So, you might not know that plugs are bad until it’s too late.

Our version of today’s tune-up also includes a combustion chamber deposit cleaner. This, simply put, helps remove build up that occurs over time in modern cars, trucks, SUVs, and hybrids. We’d rather take a proactive stance and simply include it in our service to save you stress and keep your vehicle running at its best.

So, you may ask to schedule a tune-up, but what your vehicle really may need is an oil change service.

An oil change service includes…

Oil services are a regular maintenance item that’s usually done somewhere between 3k – 5k miles, depending on the oil. You change the oil and the filter regularly to maintain the longevity of your vehicle as well.

Note:  You’ll want to get in the habit of checking your oil just about every time you fill your car with gas, especially with the newer vehicles that are using a lot more oil than in the past, partially due to combustion chamber deposits mentioned above. A lot of manufacturers are saying it’s normal to burn up to a quart of oil every 500 miles.

Your best bet regarding oil is to check the levels frequently. We can’t say this enough, but we’ll stop for now.

You’re always welcome to call. We’re always glad to answer your questions.

Let’s keep your vehicle safe and running great for the long run ahead.


Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
Reviewed from Google

4.7 out of 5 stars

Katie Melton
Katie Melton

5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 days ago

I have nothing but good things to say about Tom's Auto! I had stopped by before and they helped with my windshield wipers, free of charge and without having been a paying customer before. That's just one example of many--they are incredibly professional, friendly and trustworthy, and they've 100% earned my business for life. They seem to genuinely want to help their clients, and to educate them on the problems. I've NEVER had a report with photos from any car-related company...ever! I love that I found a local business I can support, that I can trust and that's only a few minutes away 🙂 Thank you!

aliyah a
aliyah a

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 week ago

My car is older, a 2005 PT Cruiser and from what I was told by a previous mechanic not the easiest to work on. Tom's has kept it running very good since I started taking it there, much better than before. The professionalism and customer service are top notch as well. Never had one interaction that I could say was off or bad. And I love the lockbox option for your key if you have to pick up your vehicle after hours. I've lost my back up key so the lockbox was a lifesaver. Call or email them when you need something done. You'll be happy you did.

Lawrence Reid
Lawrence Reid

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 days ago

They were really great with their Covid set up/ distancing and cleaning measures as well as great communicating with me. Great experience all around.