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

Bree Fealy
Bree Fealy

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 months ago

I went to Tom's yesterday to get my car diagnosed and it was a great experience. First, they were all booked with appointments but they still said to come by and they would try and get me in. Within 10 minutes, they informed me what the issue could be, looked up the warranty on my car and instructed me on how to talk to the dealership to get the issue fixed. I was impressed by the genuine care and empathy I received and I will definitely go back if I have another issue.


5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

My fiance took his Ford Escape in. They checked what was wrong, were very honest about the cost and still came in lower than expected for the inspection. I'll be bringing my Accord there this week to have it checked. Highly recommended!

Jodi Buschko
Jodi Buschko

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

After calling and asking lots of questions today I stopped in for a quick service and the everything was top notch. The gentlemen at the front desk and the tech that assisted me were both super friendly. I will be back for sure!