What do I get with a Car Tune-up & How Much should I be spending?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JasenP, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    I have just purchased a '93 Ford Taurus with only 60,000 miles and I need to have a tune-up performed. What I have gathered is that a tune-up can consist of many things, and mechanics don't all do the same things:

    1.Road test the vehicle if necessary to verify certain problems.
    2.Inspect hoses and belts, and replace as necessary.
    3.Check all fluid levels.
    4.Check cooling fan operation.
    5.Inspect the general condition of vacuum hoses and electrical wires.
    6.Clean battery terminals, and check cable condition.
    7.Perform battery load test, and perform battery hydrometer test if possible; determine battery condition.
    8.Check alternator maximum output and normal voltage setting; determine charging system condition.
    9.Check starting motor current draw; determine starting motor condition.
    10.Perform compression test or cylinder power balance test.
    11.Replace spark plugs.
    12.Test spark plug wires, and replace as required.
    13.Test and inspect distributor cap and rotor, and replace as necessary (distributor-type ignition system).
    14.Test maximum coil voltage; replace coil if necessary.
    15.Check ignition timing; adjust if necessary.
    16.Test fuel pump pressure, and replace fuel filter.
    17.Check and replace air filter.
    18.Check heated air inlet system operation.
    19.Check injector balance.
    20.Inspect fuel system for leaks.
    21.Clean injectors.
    22.Check emission devices such as PCV, EGR, and canister purge systems for proper operation.
    23.Check engine computer system for fault codes.
    24.Road test the vehicle to be sure there are no performance problems.

    My Father used to do this for me but doesn't anymore because of (and I am quoting here) "All the *%$#ing computers they put in cars today, you can't even work on them yourself anymore!"

    Should I have this done at a Ford dealership? Or do independent mechanics have the same computer diagnostic equipment?

    Any input is appreciated!
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Do you have records? Do you know the maintenance history of the car?

    What does the owner's manual say for the 60,000 mile service? I'd follow that, and go to either-
    a. the Ford dealer
    b. a well-known shop that specializes in Fords
    I suggest this since you seem to be a non "car guy." If you feel like going the DIY route, get a good shop manual, and go for it.

    Does it have a timing belt? If so, that'll need to be done, as well. Not a job for the inexperienced.

    Todd
     
  3. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    I am a semi-car guy. I can do the basics like an oil change, replace certain items like starters, check fluids and refill, coolant flush etc.. I'm not 100% comfortable diagnosing , not to mention I don't have that kind of equipment.

    How much should I expect to pay? I will almost certainly pay more at a dealership, but is it worth it?
     
  4. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    simple advice
    replace the cap, rotor, wires, plugs yourself, that clears up most so called "tune up" problems in a modern fuel injected car, just don't twist the distributer when taking the cap off
    at 60,000 miles, unless the previous owner used really crappy gas, you should not have fuel injector problems or fuel pump problems, go to midas, they will check the brakes and exhaust for free
    when you replace the plugs, make sure to put alittle anti-sieze compound on the threads
    going to the ford dealer will surely lighten your wallet by a large amount
     
  5. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I work in a car dealership service department and would echo what Eric just posted--replace the plugs, wires, and cap and rotor if your car has them (many late model cars have no distributors but still have plug wires). Get a bottle of Chevron Techron gas additive and dump it in the tank before your next long trip.

    If the above does not clear up any drivability problems you're having, then go to the dealer or a Ford specialist (lots of experience with YOUR make of car is essential to proper diagnosis of drivability problems). Tell them what the specific drivability problem is, and under what driving, temp. and road conditions it occurs and ask for a diagnosis and estimate for the repair.

    Often a drivability problem is caused by a sensor or other problem not covered under the usual "tune-up" procedure, so it's best to ask for a diagnosis of the specific problem rather than buying a "tuneup" in the hopes that it will fix your problem.

    If you have no service history on this car, I'd also strongly recommend getting the transmission fluid flushed (not just a drain and refill which only replaces a quarter of the fluid, not all of it). Early 90s Taurus transmissions are notorious for premature failure so give it all the help you can.
     
  6. Greg Kolinski

    Greg Kolinski Second Unit

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    In real life ,a lot of that stuff is not going to be checked if you dont specically ask for it.Ive been a dealer tech for 18 years,so I ve seen a lot of this stuff.Please dont go in and ask for a tune up while wanting a drivability issue resolved.Nowadays tune ups are ,plug,air,fuel filters,and if you are lucky,a scanner plugged up,depends on the store.A basic tune-up very rarely fixes anything now,its just mainanence.As stated earlier,when faced with a running problem,Its usually best to just bite the bullet and go to the dealer,it my not be as"homey,nice guy stuff"as the small independant ,but the chances of getting it fixed are way better.Do what things you can do your self,I would ask the dealer what parts THEY reccomend,so if there is a drivability issue,you dont end uphaving to throw away new parts.It happens,years ago Mazda was putting Champion plugs in their 323 cars,and they actually caused idle problems,Mazda had the techs toss them and install NGK plugs.I know this is a lot of disjointed comments,just trying to give you a little bit of everything to look /watch out for.If you need to Email me for specific questions

    Greg
     
  7. DougR

    DougR Second Unit

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    For some strange reason. Sometimes when you take a vehicle in for Servicing at a Dealership,you come out with More Problems ,than what you went in with ? [​IMG]
     
  8. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    Actually, I'm not having any problems. I just want a "fresh start" for my new car and because I don't have a service history I want to make sure everything is serviced correctly and at the proper intervals.

    I changed the oil (synthetic) and replaced the air filter. I've never replaced the cap, rotor, wires, or plugs. Is this something that I could easily do myself without buying new tools? I know I'll need a spark plug gapper but I have a full set of wrenches and AS sockets.


    Here are the car specs:

    1993 Ford Taurus GL 3.8L V6 Automatic
     
  9. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I believe that the taurus has a cap and rotor
    you will need a spark plug socket and drive, there are 2 standard sizes, don't ask me what they are, just big a little to me, you will need a screwdrive to change the cap and rotor and possibly some specailized pliers (spark plug wire pliers) to get the plug wires off the plugs, some times they are a pain
     
  10. Greg Kolinski

    Greg Kolinski Second Unit

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    That ,sadly ,is sometimes true Doug[​IMG] What people need to find is a dealer that is comitted to "fixing"cars along with selling them.Where I am,we bend over backward to do it right.Driving a car for 50-60 miles to try to duplicate a customers intermitant drivability complaint.You just have to find a dealer that has techs that care,and want to fix cars.
     

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