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Question on car tune-ups (1 Viewer)

Marvin

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I've just changed the air filter in my car ('91 Dodge Colt Vista) and it's no big deal to change the spark plugs. I've been getting the car tuned up by the dealer every 2 years (every 24K miles) but I'm wondering if I can skip that this year. Aside from changing the air filter and spark plugs, is there anything that gets done during a tune-up that would be unwise to skip?
 

Bill_Weinreich

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Marvin,

Alot depends on mileage. If the vehicle is over the 60K mark, I would suggest cap, rotor, plug wires and fuel filter(of course these are not always neccessary). Changing the plugs every 24K may be overkill but wont hurt anything. Your local dealer or garage should be able to give you a copy of recommended services for vehicle at certain mileages.

Bill
 

Scott Merryfield

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Air filters usually need changing more often than every 24,000 miles. Other things to consider having done: radiator flush every other year; transmission fluid flush every 50,000 miles; fuel filter (check your owner's manual for recommendation).
 

Sean Conklin

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I would never put 24,000 miles on my vehicles without changing plugs.
I do a Complete tune-up on my Barracuda every 5000 miles and oil changes every 2,000, the pay off: 375,000 original miles and still runs like new. :)
 
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There isn't likely to be damage if the plugs, cap and rotor or wires are left in too long. It would likely begin running rough or idle lumpy.

On the other hand, if you let your fuel filter go too long, it could clog and leave you stranded. A worn out air filter could pass dirt into the engine accelerating wear.

A cooling system that goes too long without a coolant flush can be a big deal too. A normally green coolant will turn rust colored and be attacking all the metal inside the engine. It's hard to get it out once gone that far. You can flush it and refill it and shortly thereafter it will be brown again. FAR better to not let it ever get brown. The same is all true for the transmission fluid. Change it while it still looks good.

MIKE
 

John Garcia

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Buy a Chilton's or Haynes manual for the car. That will tell you exactly what and when things need to be replaced. Typical basic tune up is more like 12K mi, not 24K. I recommend changing EVERY fluid in the car every 2yrs/24K. Most importantly the brake fluid, and as mentioned tranny and coolant.

For this particular car, I'm guessing it uses copper plugs which are no more than $2.00 ea. So there is no excuse for not changing them once a year, regardless of how they look.

If the wires do not have carbon trails or cracks in them, they probably don't need to be replaced, but it doesn't hurt.

I have yet to be stranded by a clogged fuel filter, or even know someone who has. My current car had 140K mi on it, on a very old looking filter, possibly 3+ yrs, and it still ran fine. When I replaced it though, the gas coming out was quite dirty. The previous owner didn't do very much maintenance.
 

Marvin

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Thanks for the responses, everyone. I've been changing the anti-freeze every other year (alternating with the tune-ups) and, recently, the (manual) transmission fluid too (but that's another story). As I mentioned, I changed the air filter and was wondering if changing the spark plugs would allow me to skip the tune-up this year. But from the responses, I probably don't want to do that unless I also check/change the rotor cap, gas filter, wires etc.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I have yet to be stranded by a clogged fuel filter, or even know someone who has. My current car had 140K mi on it, on a very old looking filter, possibly 3+ yrs, and it still ran fine. When I replaced it though, the gas coming out was quite dirty. The previous owner didn't do very much maintenance.
I've only experienced a clogged fuel filter once -- on my first car (a '73 Plymouth Duster). I was driving home from college on the freeway, and the car would stall when my speed hit about 65mph. Once the car slowed down to about 50mph, it would restart on its own.

I has evidently purchased some dirty gasoline, and it took about four filter replacements to get all the dirt out of the tank (it was easier than removing the tank and getting it cleaned out). It was one of the strangest things I've had happen with a car -- stalling and then restarting on its own.
 

Ted Lee

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my 94 accord has 120K on it and runs (imo) like a champ.

i've had all the work done by the dealer, but i am guilty of cheating. i usually don't do the minor services...but any of the major ones (approximately every 30k) i have it done. when i take it in, if i have to skip "up" to the next more comprehensive service, then i do that.

i just had the 120k done a couple of weeks ago. they changed EVERYTHING. every checkmark on the worksheet was marked off.

i also had some other maintenance work done (cv boots, power steering pump leak, etc).

i really feel one reason my car still runs so well is because of the preventative maintenance i've had done. i feel as long as you do this type of work, the car can last for a very long time.

i figure 600 bucks for maintenance is better than 400 bucks a month for the next 60 months.
 

Mike H

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Here's what I'd recommend:

1) Every 45,000 miles change the timing belt if it has a belt, just check the chain. Chains very rarely need replacement

2) Brake fluid once a year

3) Coolant every other year

4) Check the resistance on the plug wires. If it's in spec, don't change them. Autolite's and other brands like it usually fail with-in 2 years anyways.

5) Plugs are a once a year thing. 8-16 bucks isn't much.

6) Fuel Injector/Carb cleaner in the fill up prior to your oil change. The cleaners tend to dilute the oil.

7) Air filters a 12,000 mile item. They aren't expensive, and the OEM filters seem to run the best.

8) Fuel Injectors may need a service at 200,000 miles. It's between 40 and 80 bucks to have them serviced if you remove them yourselves.

9) Use a decent oil, and use OEM filters. I have yet to see a after-market filter that works as well as the oem.

10) Inspect hoses, suspension parts and exhaust parts once a year. Consider replacing cracked & worn hoses.
 

Brad_V

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Back to your original question, Marvin, depends on what mileage you're at. I doubt the dealer does much of anything during those visits that you couldn't easily do yourself on a saturday afternoon.

What you've been doing sounds fine to me... coolant and trans fluid every other year, air filter every year or two (or simply whenever it gets dirty), etc. Spark plugs should be done once a year for regular kind, (never heard a bad thing yet about NGKs, and they are the plug of choice for most turbocharged imports), or platinums can go longer and work fine on non-turbocharged and non-high-performance engines.

Just have to make sure you catch the main maintenance items such as the timing belt. If that goes, it will most likely trash all the valves. You should have a Mitsubishi 2.0 in that thing, so make sure to change the tbelt every 60k miles max, and if it has balance shafts then you MUST change the balance belt with the timing belt or else the bbelt could snap and take out the tbelt anyway. And only use Mitsu timing belts. And if over 100k miles, change the timing belt pulleys, too.
 

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