Tune ups well worth the time, effort and cost

The importance of tune ups after a long cold winter

Two weeks ago I insinuated vehicles still need tune ups.  Even if there is no such thing anymore.  Like I said, most owner’s manuals make no reference to a tune up.

So if you go in asking for a tune up what are you going to get, an Italian tune up?  I must say an Italian tune up has its merits.  After a long cold winter where your engine spent more time idling than singing at the higher end of your tachometer has probably left a little excess carbon in the engine. Some good full throttle runs to redline on the old tachometer would probably clean some of that up.  There are better more effective ways to remove carbon though.

Your manual says you don’t need new spark plugs until 160 000 km and you are only at 50 000 km now.  A few articles ago I suggested there are no adjustments anymore.  You are starting to think that tune up thing is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.  Not so!

A modern day tune up starts with a road test.  It still requires some touch and feel.  Your technician has to have a feel for driving and engine performance.  On this same road test a real professional will take a scan tool.  The scan tool communicates with the engine control computer. Your engine controller has a component to it that is constantly running diagnostic tests.  Any failed tests will set a diagnostic code.

The scan tool will query for these codes.  Not all codes turn the check engine light on so the driver will be unaware of these problems.  The check engine light does not have to come on unless the problem will increase emissions.

Many vehicles have inoperative knock sensors that result in reduced engine performance. Turbocharged or supercharged engines can operate in reduced power modes when they are unable to control boost pressure properly.

Many times these problems do not alert the driver to their existence.  Knock sensor issues are particularly hard to notice but fixing them is worth some percentage points in increased mileage and horsepower.

Loss of boost pressure is usually more apparent to the driver but the mechanic will know right away when the scan tool produces a diagnostic code.

Codes are definite indicators of an existing problem but live data analysis also available from the scan tool can flush out some other issues.

A sharp technician can identify a dirty throttle body, a dirty mass air flow sensor, a restricted fuel filter, a failing fuel pump, a slow oxygen sensor, or failing air fuel ratio sensor.

Scan data analysis can provide this information that even the most sensitive driver could not pick out.

Once the analysis is done the tune up can be accomplished.  Throttle bodies can be cleaned, mass air flow sensors can be cleaned, fuel filters or fuel pumps replaced, oxygen sensors or air fuel ratio sensors replaced.

A tune up will thus as ever make your vehicle run better.  Admittedly it may be tougher to recognize the benefits but if you track your fuel mileage or measure the power your vehicle produces you will be suitably impressed.  The tune up lives on!

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. He will write every other Thursday. E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net


Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read