ARA of Madison Blog

To Tune or not to Tune, that is the question.

WHAT IS A TUNEUP ?:  Engine tune up vs preventive maintenance has raised many questions.  To tune means to adjust, modern computer controlled, fuel injected engines have no adjustments and are, by definition, non tuneable.     

So often we are asked to perform a tuneup because the CHECK ENGINE light has come on.  If not a tuneup, then what do I need?  Most likely some form of evaluation to find a fault or preventive maintenance services will resolve the concerns.

A tuneable engine is one from an earlier era which had a points style distributor and /or an adjustable carburetor. These systems, generally found in the marine and early auto & truck applications required some form of adjustments or tuning to enhance how well the engine would idle, accelerate and perform in general. Which engine do you have?

All sorts of definitions have been loosely associated with a tuneup, including oil change, new brake pads and even taking the distributor apart to replace the shaft bushings.

Post tuneable engines from the marine and automotive industries now use recommended service schedules done every so many months or miles by their respective manufacturers.

These procedures include: Fluid replacements for ALL fluid operated systems. Filter replacements. Ignition parts replacements. Thermostat (very important) replacements. Belts and hoses replacements. Tire and wheel rotations (including the spare). Inspections. Computer code scans. Software updates. Recall bulletin monitoring.

A top shop will keep the customer up to date with this information and make recommendations for what to do and when.  Two outcomes are are available,  be proactive and plan ahead for time and monies OR wait until a failure and deal with the consequences of time and monies. The majority of failures are usually preventable.