For most cars manufactured in the 21st century, the traditional auto tune-up has become obsolete thanks to computers, longer-lasting parts, and the modern fuel injection system. But don’t be fooled: your car still needs regular maintenance! A car care checklist simply looks different these days.

In an older car, tuning service includes replacing the spark plugs, filters, ignition coil, and a host of other parts every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Nowadays, many of those parts don’t even exist in modern cars while others last 100,000 miles.

But that doesn’t mean you only need to tune up your car or truck every 100,000 miles. Even a brand new car will have parts that need to be inspected, replaced, or adjusted much sooner than that.

Why You Don’t Need a “Tune Up” Very Often

Tune Up

If your car was built in the last 15 to 20 years, it has onboard computers that automatically make adjustments for things like the ignition timing and air-fuel ratio. More durable parts such as “lifetime” fuel filters also help stave off maintenance. Most of the parts that would get replaced in the past have much greater longevity now.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t just drive a car for a decade without ever seeing a mechanic!

Instead of getting a full tune-up every two years or so, you only need to bring the car in for a quick inspection and minor tuning.

How Often to Tune Up a Car or Truck

Check your owner’s manual for the recommended service intervals. Then watch the odometer, listen to the engine, and expect to schedule a vehicle tune-up or maintenance visit as needed.

Most people can get all the auto maintenance they need by asking to “tune up” the car when it’s time for an oil change. There’s no harm in finding a top-reviewed local mechanic to visually inspect car parts that need to be replaced.

What’s Included in a Modern Tune Up

Spark plugs and wires still need to be replaced occasionally—often sooner than every 100,000 miles, even if that’s what the manufacturer said.

Other items in a standard tune up checklist can include:

  • Air filters
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Radiator fluid
  • Wiper blades
  • Timing belts
  • Serpentine belts
  • Radiator hoses
  • PCV valve

For good measure, your auto shop can run an OBD-II diagnostic test to catch any problems with the emissions, oxygen sensor, coolant, misfiring, or any lingering dashboard warning lights.

Don’t Skip Out on Auto Maintenance

If your car lurches or revs in high gear, or you’re getting worse fuel economy than usual, you probably need a regular tune-up no matter how old your car is. Otherwise, you should still come in for an auto maintenance check-up at least once a year to prevent breakdowns and expensive repairs later.

Take care of your car without wasting money on towing fees or emergency repairs. Schedule a tune up in Windsor, CA, at a local auto repair shop that knows how to keep your car running efficiently and reliably.