Times are changing...cars are
changing. One of the biggest changes in today's automotive industry
is the perception of a "tune-up." Ask
10 vehicle owners their definition of a tune-up and chances are there'll
be 10 different answers. The classic "tune-up" was once the
heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs, today's
modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the
most efficient levels.
The tune-up was historically
associated with the routine replacement of key ignition system parts
like spark plugs and ignition points, along with some basic adjustments
to help "tune" the engine.
Mounting pressure for increased fuel economy and lower emissions drove
the car manufacturers to adopt electronics and to do away with ignition
points in the '70s, along with the carburetor in the middle '80s. This
eliminated the need for the replacement and adjustment of a growing
number of ignition and fuel system parts.
As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform
a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition
and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers
to control critical engine and transmission management functions. Things
that were once handled mechanically are now controlled electronically
through the widespread use of onboard computer technology.
Because vehicles have changed so much over the years, the Car Care
Council has introduced the 21st Century Tune-up. This program is designed
to help re-define and educate motorists as to what a tune-up should
consist of on today's modern vehicles.
"There is a misconception that today's modern vehicles don't
need tune-ups because they never break down, but that simply is not
true," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "If
you're at work and your computer goes down, you can't get any more
work done. It's the same with your vehicle. If the vehicle isn't being
properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go."
As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the
following systems should be inspected:
battery, charging and starting
power train control (including onboard diagnostic checks)
Vehicle owners ask for tune-ups for a variety of reasons, including
improving performance, maintaining reliability, planning a vacation,
preparing for winter/summer or because they're giving the car to a
friend or family member.
To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car
Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary
to become familiar with their vehicle from every aspect. Study the
owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of
all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.
"The 'Be Car Care Aware' campaign is about helping motorists
make informed decisions about their vehicles' care and maintenance," said
White. "With the 21St Century Tune-up, we will continue to help
vehicle owners make great strides in reducing vehicle neglect."
A new brochure is available
that familiarizes motorists with the opportunities for preventive
maintenance in and around their vehicle. The brochure contains information
about the "Be Car Care Aware" campaign,
a full-size schematic of vehicle parts, components and maintenance
recommendations. For more information, visit http://www.carcare.org/Industry/BCCA_brochure.shtml.