The term "tuneup" dates to the time when Henry Ford was working on his first automobile prototype.

In Ford's simple ignition system, there was one ignition coil for each spark plug. If there were four spark plugs, there were four ignition coils, which needed to be adjusted to provide the same spark intensity for better idle and acceleration. As these ignition coils worked, they made a buzzing sound, and when they were adjusted properly, they all buzzed in "tune." The term "tuneup" stuck and became associated with replacing spark plugs and correcting rough idle problems effecting engine performance.

Once the distributor was developed, the term "tuneup" had no meaning, but the consumer who was used to hearing this term around a garage still associated poor running quality with the need for a "tuneup."

Today's automobiles do not require "tuneups." The term indicates the need for routine maintenance and should not be associated with poor performance. Automobile manufacturers have developed recommended routine maintenance schedules, which specify intervals for replacing spark plugs, PCV valves, fuel filters, etc. These schedules also specify intervals for checking or adjusting ignition timing, idle speed and other items related to engine operation, as well as emission control related devices.

If you experience any operating or performance problems between maintenance, let us perform an engine analysis. Make an appointment today!

Spark plugs, wires, distributor caps and rotors break down and fail over time, due to exposure to moisture, oil, grease and under hood temperatures that can reach as much as 550 to 700 degrees.

Here's what happens:

Worn spark plugs cause higher voltage requirements, forcing the ignition module and coil to produce higher and higher voltages to overcome the resistance. The higher voltage breaks down the spark plug wires' insulation, creating an easier path to ground. This causes the ignition module and coil to produce even more voltage, creating even higher current temperatures within them. (Remember that higher resistance correlates to higher current temperatures and that electricity always finds the easiest path to ground.) This higher than normal resistance weakens transistors and electrical insulation within modules, coils and computers, resulting in intermittent and premature failure.

What does all this mean to you?

If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles on it and you haven't replaced your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, you may experience a variety of drivability problems that are often difficult and very costly to diagnose and repair. In fact, ignition modules and vehicle computers range in price from $200 to $450, plus labor!

That's why you should replace your spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor after 60,000 miles. (On distributor-less ignition, the spark plug wires should be replaced.) Take care of your vehicle, and your vehicle will take care of you!