6 On Your Side Answers: Are car engine tune ups a waste of money?

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Frequently you see ads that urge you to take your car in for a service tune up, but is this service outdated if you follow the new mileage-based requirements?

Joan from Madisonville asks: “Are these so called ‘tune up’ specials a waste of money if I have a new car?”

At one time, prior to the 1980’s, frequent engine tune ups were required if you wanted your car to run properly. That’s when older model cars came with a carburetor and distributor and the timing needed to be adjusted manually, or “tuned” as mechanics called it.

Modern cars come with fuel injection and electronics and they’re controlled by computers, making frequent adjustments unnecessary.

Today’s new car owners are told to focus on preventative maintenance. That means replacing the air filter at specific mileage intervals and inspecting the drive belts about every 15,000 miles.

Replacing spark plugs and checking the cooling system are generally scheduled every 60,000 miles if necessary.

If you have a relatively new car, it likely has platinum spark plugs. They’re durable and last for as long as 100,000 miles.

Spending money on those much-advertised tune up specials can be a waste. Car owners with newer vehicles do not require manual adjustments or tuning.

Ask the service shop exactly what services will be performed. If you stick to your maintenance schedule, which you can find in your owner’s manual, your engine and its parts will last longer.

You can see Don Dare’s 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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