|It's Time for the 21st Century Tune-up
Times are changing...cars are changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive
industry is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask 10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up
and chances are there'll be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of
the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs; today's modern vehicles still need
tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.
The tune-up was historically associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system
parts like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments to help "tune"
the engine. Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove the car
manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition points in the '70s, along with
the carburetor in the middle '80s. This eliminated the need for the replacement and
adjustment of a growing number of ignition and fuel system parts.
As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-
up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm,
using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management
functions. Things that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically
through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.
Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care Council has
introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed to help re-define and
educate motorists as to what a tune-up should consist of on today's modern vehicles.
"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't need tune-ups because they
never break down, but that simply is not true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car
Care Council. "If you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more work
done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're
not going to get where you want to go."
As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems
should be inspected:
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