Why you should recommend a 'tune-up' to your customers

Why you should recommend a ‘tune-up’ to your customers

Because of automated systems, many people overlook the basic maintenance that’s still required to keep vehicles running smoothly.

Your customers probably rarely ask for a tune-up. What used to be a common request from customers has turned into a relic of a bygone era.

Tasks like adjusting carburetors, fuel systems, and ignition systems are now largely automated by computer systems, and they do a pretty darn good job at it. Because of these automated systems, many people overlook the basic maintenance that’s still required to keep vehicles running smoothly. Maybe tune-ups aren’t dead after all…

Back in the day, tune-ups were popular for a lot of reasons. Fuel systems, especially carburetors, were inefficient and needed occasional adjustments. Spark plugs wore out quickly, requiring cleaning, gap adjustments or replacement. Points in pre-electronic ignition systems wore down, needing regular dwell adjustments and frequent replacements. Components like distributor caps, rotors and wires also required frequent replacements to maintain ignition system conditions. These issues led to noticeable drivability issues in older cars, which meant owners sought tune-ups themselves.

Common replacement items during tune-ups on older vehicles included air and fuel filters, crankcase ventilation filters, and PCV valves, alongside additional services like valve or belt adjustments. 

With that being said, modern vehicles still have parts that wear and need to be taken care of.

Modern spark plugs are a vast improvement over their predecessors, mainly because of longer lifespans of up to 100,000 miles. Despite their durability, they still wear out over time. As they do, the car’s computer adjusts fuel mixture and timing for optimal combustion, but this increased workload can lead to premature coil failure. Explain to customers that it’s important to replace plugs before reaching the recommended mileage to avoid potential issues and higher-cost replacements.

Modern ignition systems often utilize a coil-on-plug design, where each spark plug has a coil. These systems still degrade over time and may need replacement and if one coil fails, others will likely follow suit soon. Additionally, the boots connecting the coils to the plugs wear out similarly to traditional plug wires, though they’re often hidden within the valve cover. 

When these boots deteriorate, oil leaks from worn spark-plug-well seals can damage them. Regular inspection is crucial, and replacing valve-cover gaskets alongside plugs, coils and boots is advisable. Just because this wasn’t traditionally part of a tune-up in the past, it definitely should be now.

Even electric vehicles require tune-up maintenance. For example, battery-management systems may underestimate range due to driving and charging habits. Recalibrating the state of charge restores lost range. 

Ultimately, tune-ups, at their core, are about maintenance, which will always be a necessity in keeping vehicles running smoothly.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tire, service and shop operations videos.

You May Also Like

Important tips for wheel bearing service

Complaints like exhaust leaks to tire balance issues to vague statements like “it just doesn’t sound right” may mean bad wheel bearings.

TR-Continental-Important-tips-for-wheel-bearing-service

As technicians, noise complaints are among the toughest challenges you deal with. To accurately assess the issue, you likely ask customers detailed questions like – is the noise present when the car is stationary or moving? Does it change when cornering or under different loads? Is it a growl, squeak, groan or rattle? Wheel bearing noise is one of the toughest issues for customers to describe, often developing so gradually that they may not notice it until it's pointed out during an unrelated road test. Complaints ranging from exhaust leaks to tire balance issues to vague statements like "it just doesn't sound right" may be bad wheel bearings. In this video, let’s discuss some important steps to remember when servicing wheel bearings.

Three facts about modern electric power steering

EPS has enabled key vehicle advancements like stop/start systems, hybrids and advanced driver assistance features or ADAS.

SUV/CUV tires continue to grow and adapt

Ask the customer questions to learn their routine and the type of performance they look for in CUV or SUV tires.

TR-Continental-SUV-and-CUV-tires-continue-to-grow-and-adapt
Four important scan tool components

Considering a scan tool should involve a review of the internal and external components that impact the unit’s performance and durability.

TR-Continental-Four-important-scan-tool-components
Preparing your shop to service larger-sized rims

While large rims may enhance the appearance and performance of customers’ vehicles, it poses challenges for your shop.

Other Posts

Continental equips the Chevrolet Traverse with OE tires from its CrossContact series

Continental received worldwide original equipment (OE) approval for the CrossContact LX 20 in 20 and 22 inch sizes.

Continental_PP_Crosscontact-lx20
Sonic Tools USA offers tools to beat back the technician shortage

Andrew Coccari, VP of Sales and Marketing at Sonic Tools USA, delves into the causes of the technician shortage and offers some novel solutions to address the need for help around the country.

WT YT-Sonic-Tools-1400
Five tips for your next wheel bearing job

These practical tips are designed to save you time and frustration, ensuring a smooth, noise-free outcome for your customers.

tech iq
Sally Thomas taps into her tenacity to build on the success of her family’s tire business

Today, Sally Thomas and her brother, Bryan, operate eight retail stores, two commercial locations, three wholesale distribution warehouses, a Mighty Auto Parts franchise, and an e-commerce business.

sally-thomas-1400-REV