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What Is a Tune Up?

Close-up of auto mechanic using laptop

While many drivers and even some mechanics still use the phrase “tune up” when they talk about working on a car, the fact is that it’s actually a bit outdated. Vehicles used to require a tune up to make sure that all of the engine’s components were working as intended, that nothing had gone out of whack, but auto engineering has reached the point where this isn’t really required anymore.

Now the tune up has taken a whole new direction, and when you bring your car in to Fisher Service and ask us for a tune up, we take a look at the parts of your vehicle that you might neglect maintenance on a bit. Most drivers know to get their oil changed and their tires rotated regularly – the tune up covers the rest:

  • Spark plug cleaning/replacement
  • Distributor cap inspection
  • Fuel injector timing
  • Cylinder compression ratios
  • and more

Spark Plug Inspection

Changing sparkplugs

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be tough to inspect your spark plugs on your own, and that’s why we check them in our tune ups. We’ll take a look and make sure that the spark plug gaps are at all the right distances – that your plugs are still in great shape and free of corrosion. We’ll also make sure you’re using spark plugs with the right heat range for your driving (long-distance drivers should use “cold” plugs, which dissipate heat faster).

In case you don’t know just how important your spark plugs are to your engine, here’s a quick rundown:

  • Your vehicle’s electrical system connects to an ignition coil(s).
  • Wires lead from the ignition coil to your spark plugs and provide a current.
  • A spark plug is an electrode wrapped in ceramic insulation with a gap at one end.
  • When it receives a current, electricity arcs across the spark plug’s gap and ignites your engine’s combustion reaction, pumping a cylinder that helps send you on your way.

So, you see, spark plugs are some of the most important parts of an engine, and although the average spark plugs last about 30,000 miles, yours could go out sooner or be built to last longer. It takes a trained eye to know when you need new spark plugs before they go out on you.

And if we see a problem with your spark plugs, we offer one of the most competitive spark plug replacement costs, starting at just $121. We’ll replace your old, worn out spark plugs with fresh, OEM parts that fit your model perfectly.

Distributor Cap Inspection

Whenever one of our drivers has an issue with their distributor cap, most of them aren’t quite sure what it even is, let alone what it does for your car. Like with the spark plugs, this is an element of your vehicle we know the average driver just doesn’t have the time to inspect on their own.

On every tune up, we will visually inspect your rotor and distributor cap for corrosion and burns, including the often overlooked underside terminals. If these underside terminals have burn spots or corrosion, they could lead to an engine misfire. We’ll sand smooth any excessive corrosion or burning on contact points and replace them if necessary.

While we do our best to keep you from needing to replace your distributor cap and rotor, if the spark plug wires have hit the point that they need replacing, we usually recommend a new cap and rotor as well.

Injection Timing Inspection

Your engine’s fuel injectors are almost universally controlled by a computer these days due to the precision needed to deliver the peak performance for your car. So if anything is even slightly off, it could cause your engine to harness only part of the power of its combustion reaction and make your car far less efficient. This is particularly important at higher speeds, as an increase in engine performance causes the pistons to move faster and requires the spark plugs to ignite more frequently.

If we notice that your engine’s injection timing is off, we will make adjustments to ensure that it is firing at the right timing. Someone has to make sure your computer is doing its job right, right?

Get a Professional Car Tune Up in Boulder Today!

It’s good to get your car tuned up about once a year or so, particularly before winter sets in or after a long harsh winter has just ended. The cold can do nasty things to our cars, and a tune up is one of the best ways to make sure that you won’t be caught with a nasty, expensive surprise as when your engine’s electrical system malfunctions.

As your Boulder area service center, we at Fisher Service should be your first thought when you need a tune up. Schedule yours today.