5 Common Signs That Your Vehicle Needs a Tune-Up

5 Common Signs That Your Vehicle Needs a Tune-Up

Whether your car is an old model or a brand new one, if you drive it long enough, at some point, it’ll require a tune-up. Typically, this includes bringing your vehicle to your local auto repair specialist for preventative engine maintenance, which involves the replacement of spark plugs, filters, wires, and other worn parts. In some cases, your vehicle will exhibit symptoms that indicate the need for a tune-up, but often there won’t be any symptoms at all until the eventual breakdown happens. No matter what the situation is, having a tune-up performed on time will ensure your car continues to operate smoothly.

Here are 5 signs that your vehicle needs a tune-up:

1. Difficulty When Starting the Car

If you find it difficult to start the car, it can point to many different issues, but it could potentially be an ignition problem that can be resolved by a simple tune-up. In this case, it’s best to have it inspected and diagnosed by a mechanic. Don’t ignore this symptom, whatever the case may be.

2. Occasional or Frequent Stalling

While the car is running, if it stalls, this often means dirty connectors or faulty spark plugs. Pay close attention to specific situations, for instance, does your car stall when it’s cold, or when it’s hot? Does it stall when the A/C is on? This information could prove to be of real help to your mechanic in identifying the problem.

3. Rough Idling/Acceleration or Knocking Sounds

While accelerating or climbing hills, if your vehicle knocks, this is often a sign of some inefficiency with your engine. Moreover, if the car seems to accelerate roughly or idle roughly, it may be due to the ignition failure of one or more spark plugs. A tune-up can fix this problem, or at least point to other necessary repairs.

4. Bad Gas Mileage

Low fuel efficiency is a clear sign that your car is not burning fuel the way it’s supposed to, which usually points to dirty or faulty spark plugs or issues related to the fuel injection. If this is the case, a tune-up should improve both the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.

5. Don’t Ignore the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Though there might be no signs of trouble, remember that your car still needs a tune-up at some point to prevent serious problems in the long run. Older vehicles that have non-electronic ignitions should be tuned up every 10,000-20,000 miles, while modern vehicles can go anywhere between 30,000-100,000 miles before a tune-up is required. Consult with your owner’s manual for your vehicle's tune-up schedule, and when uncertain, ask your mechanic.


You are not obligated to take your vehicle to the dealership for a tune-up service, your local independent auto repair shop can perform this service efficiently and often more affordable than the dealership.

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