Why Your Car Needs An Annual Tune-Up

It’s been said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and while the phrase was coined long before automobiles were invented, that maxim couldn’t apply more when it comes to our four-wheeled friends.

It’s often difficult in our busy lives to take the time for preventive auto maintenance, but waiting until something breaks to take the car to the auto repair shop means being without wheels until the repair is done, and perhaps finding the break-down wouldn’t have happened in the first place if there’d been better maintenance.

Here are six reasons your car needs an annual tune-up:

Your car needs clean air, too.

Your auto isn’t just fueled by the stuff you pump into the gas tank; it needs air to burn the gasoline. A mixture of air and fuel creates the environment for combustion that gives the car its power, so it needs to be able to breathe ? just like you.

The air drawn into your engine is cleaned by air filters, and as you can imagine, they become more and more clogged with dirt the longer they’re used. Dirty filters reduce the flow of air, throwing off the air-fuel ratio and causing the engine to run ‘rich’ which wastes fuel, gums up its insides, and pumps more pollutants into the environment. A good tune-up involves checking the air filter and replacing it if it’s time.

Flushing – it’s not just for the bathroom.

Your car has fluids. Lots of fluids. There’s transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and perhaps the most well-known – oil. Like the air filter, these fluids become dirty over time, and changing them regularly not only helps your car run cooler and more smoothly, it adds to the lifespan of your vehicle. Especially important is the oil. If you maintain nothing else on your car, maintain a proper oil level and get it changed at the intervals specified in your owner’s manual.

Even gas-powered vehicles need electricity.

Not everything in your car is powered by fossil fuel. You need electricity, too, and that’s why it’s important to have your battery checked regularly. Do you remember when your battery was last replaced? If not, you’re probably just about due. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent one.

Where the rubber meets the road, there could be problems.

The cavemen who first invented the wheel probably didn’t realize how much effort would be required to properly maintain it down the road.

If you pay close attention only to a couple parts of your vehicle, make it the oil and the tires. Regular tire care will keep you safer, save money on gas, and help avoid the hassle of a midday tire failure.

Check for excessive or uneven wear, and don’t give in to the temptation to be cheap. If your tread is down to or close to the wear bars, you risk the safety of yourself and your family. Better tires cost more, but they also last longer and are often less expensive in the long run.

Those belts could snap.

If you’re like most drivers, you probably don’t think about the belts on your engine at all. That doesn’t mean they’re not important to maintain; they’re essential for proper operation. For example, if a timing belt snaps, your engine could be ruined in seconds – literally. A mechanic examines the belts during a tune-up, and if there’s obvious wear or if you’re overdue per manufacturer recommendations, the belts should be changed.

Cars need to stop.

There are few things that could put yourself, your passengers, and others on the road in more danger than malfunctioning brakes. A mechanic will examine your brakes during a tune-up, checking the pads, rotors, calipers, brake lines and fluid. Once again, it’s worth taking your mechanic’s repair advice on something this important.