Maintenance

You probably don’t need a tune-up

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If your mechanic says your car needs a tune-up, be wary. That’s because cars built in the past 10 to 15 years don’t really require a tune-up anymore.

The term used to refer to periodic adjustments of under-hood components, such as the distributor, ignition points, and carburetor, and the regular replacement of wear items, including the spark plugs and condenser. But many of those components aren’t used in modern engines, and others last a lot longer than they used to.

Fuel-injection has replaced finicky carburetors, and the electronic ignition has done away with some electrical components. So a tune-up is now essentially replacing the spark plugs, which routinely last 100,000 miles or more. To save money, stick to the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.

Learn how to make your car last 200,000 miles.

This article also appeared in the November 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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