How much does a tune up cost?

Automobile manufacturers keep reiterating the importance of a vehicle tune-up. This term can be used to describe a number of services, leaving people to wonder – how much does a tune up cost? It all depends on which services are being provided. 

In this guide, we evaluate what’s included in the tune up and how much you can expect to spend. Also, we look at signs that your vehicle needs a tuneup.

Índice de Contenido
  1. What's a tune up?
  2. What is the Average Cost of a Tune-Up?
  3. Are There Any Services That Can be Part of a Tune-Up?
    1. 1. Oil change 
    2. 2. Replace Spark Plug
    3. 3. Air filter change
    4. 4. Replace your fuel filter
    5. 5. Replacement of PCV Valve
    6. 6. Brake Pad Repair
    7. 7. Transmission Fluid Flush
    8. 8. Cooling system flush
    9. 9. Power Steering Flush
    10. 10. Oxygen Sensor Replacement
  4. There are signs your car is in dire need of a tune up
    1. 1. Make sure your engine light is on
    2. 2. Lower fuel consumption
    3. 3. Trouble stopping a vehicle
    4. 4. Erratic Shifting
    5. 5. Strange Vibrations
    6. 6. Strange Sounds and Smells
  5. What if I want to do my own tune up?
  6. Tune Up FAQs
    1. What's a "full tune up"?
    2. When should you have a check up?
    3. How long does it take to get a tune-up done?
    4. How are fluids changed in tune up?

What's a tune up?

A tune-up is an umbrella term that describes the process of maintaining your vehicle at its best. It all depends on how many miles you have on your vehicle. You may need to do a couple of simple services or complete overhauls. 

Most manufacturers provide a suggested maintenance schedule which will tell you when to get various services. You can find this information in the owner’s manual.

What is the Average Cost of a Tune-Up?

Basic tune ups can cost between $50 and $250. While advanced maintenance could cost $500 to $500, the price of an appointment for more extensive services may be higher. Prices vary depending on the services you need, which vehicle you have and what shop you go to for maintenance. 

If you can perform the tune up yourself, it’s possible to save a lot of money. The only thing you'll need to cover for a DIY tune-up is the cost of parts and equipment. 

RELATED : 11 Car Maintenance Tips to Increase the Lifespan of Your Vehicle

Are There Any Services That Can be Part of a Tune-Up?

1. Oil change 

Engine oil changes are one of the most important tune-up services. It’s also the one that occurs most frequently. You should change your oil every 3000 to 10,000 miles depending on the type of oil you use.

You could save as much as $40 on your oil change if you did it yourself. For most vehicles, the cost of an oil change can be less than $75 even if you take it to a professional. 

RELATED: How much does an oil change cost?

2. Replace Spark Plug

Each cylinder requires spark plugs to ignite its air-fuel combination. Spark plugs that are not properly maintained over time will eventually wear down and become too clogged. 

It depends on which type of spark plugs are used, the interval between replacement might be 30,000- 100,000 miles. Replacement spark plugs will typically cost between $100 and $200, including labor. 

3. Air filter change

You must change the air filter in two parts of your car. The cabin air filter as well as the engine air filter may be easy to access and change by yourself. Plus, they aren’t expensive. 

The average cost of most air filters is between $10-20. The engine filter needs to be changed every 15,000-30,000 miles. While the cabin filter must be changed every 15,000 miles.

4. Replace your fuel filter

Fuel filters protect the engine from contaminants and debris. When the fuel filter becomes clogged, it reduces engine performance because the motor isn’t getting the gas it needs.

The majority of fuel filters must be replaced between 20,000 and 30,000 miles. The cost of a tune-up can be done by you at a price around $25. 

RELATED: 5 Symptoms of a Clogged Fuel Filter (& Replacement Cost)

5. Replacement of PCV Valve

The positive crankcase ventilation valve is part of the car’s combustion system. This valve helps reduce excessive combustion emissions and maintain the right pressure. 

The PCV valve should be replaced every 30,000 miles to prevent it from getting clogged. It should cost between $10 and $20 to replace the PCV valve yourself.

6. Brake Pad Repair

Your car’s brake pads are responsible for slowing down the wheels to stop the vehicle in time. The effectiveness of the brake pads decreases with age. 

Every 10,000 to 20,000 mile, brake pads must be changed. Rotors can last from 50,000 to 75,000 miles. The cost of a complete replacement for both the brake pads and rotors could be anywhere from $400-$600. 

7. Transmission Fluid Flush

The transmission must be properly lubricated to ensure it runs at its best. The fluid will eventually start to degrade and cause excessive friction in the interior parts. 

Most manufacturers recommend that a transmission fluid flush be performed every 3000 miles. This fluid flush can cost anywhere between $150 and $300 on average. 

8. Cooling system flush

Coolant circulates antifreeze in the cooling system to maintain engine temperature. It is possible for the coolant to become contaminated and need to be flushed out periodically in order to maintain the engine's temperature.

A coolant flush should be done every 30,000 miles on average. The cost of this service could be $50-250. 

9. Power Steering Flush

The power steering fluid is another fluid to be looked at. It can become dirty and contaminated which decreases the fluid's effectiveness.

The service may be required every 50,000- 75,000 miles. On average, it should run between $40-150. 

10. Oxygen Sensor Replacement

To monitor levels of the mixture air and fuel, oxygen sensors are employed. This information is sent to the ECU for any necessary adjustments. 

Before there are any problems, you should change the oxygen sensors once every 60k-9k. The average cost to replace oxygen sensors is $125 

There are signs your car is in dire need of a tune up

1. Make sure your engine light is on

There are many possible problems that could arise when your Check Engine Light goes on. You can use your code scanner tool to determine which part needs replacement and which is defective.

Many times, the problem is simple and can be repaired with a tune-up service. Either way, you should stop driving so further damage doesn’t occur.

2. Lower fuel consumption

When the engine isn’t running as intended, fuel efficiency decreases. The engine will work harder and your car will consume more fuel.

The average tune up doesn’t cost too much. Consider the cost savings from the fuel economy and you will be able to make more money at the pump. 

3. Trouble stopping a vehicle

The brake pedal should allow you to stop your car quickly. If it’s taking longer to get the vehicle to stop, you want to have the brakes looked at.

This problem can get worse if it is not dealt with quickly. Although you may only require a replacement of your brake pads, it could cause more damage, which will cost you even more. 

4. Erratic Shifting

You will experience shifting issues if the transmission fluid is contaminated. The transmission fluid is not properly lubricated, which can cause permanent wear to the components. 

Regular transmission fluid flushes will ensure that your transmission is longer-lasting. The transmission will perform at its best, giving you greater control of the road. 

5. Strange Vibrations

It is important to not ignore vibrations that may be coming from the vehicle. If you are holding on to the steering wheel and feel a shaking sensation, something isn’t right.

You might have a misfiring engine or need to service the steering system. Either way, it’s best to have it checked out before the vibrations affect the handling. 

6. Strange Sounds and Smells

It’s important to use all of your senses to ensure on-road safety. It is important to get any odd odors checked, like oil, smoke or coolant.

Additionally, strange sounds can often help you determine what’s going wrong. You should listen out for strange sounds like pinging, clicking, creaking, or knocking. 

RELATED: 8 Car Odors & Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

What if I want to do my own tune up?

If you want to save some money, it’s possible to perform your own automotive tune up. A lot of basic services such as an oil change and filtering require very little knowledge or expertise. You might need to have more advanced skills or unique tools for some of these services. Before you proceed, make sure that the manual is read. 

A professional mechanic can help you with the tune-up services if needed. You should always trust the experts if you aren’t sure how to handle the service outlined in your owner’s manual.

Tune Up FAQs

What's a "full tune up"?

There is no fixed “full tune up” that consists of the same procedure everywhere. All parts and oil are checked during a tune up. A full tune up may include changing the filter and brakes as well as changing the oil. It also includes a complete inspection of your vehicle.

When should you have a check up?

It is not a set time for a tune-up, and the timing will vary depending on what car you drive. It is a good idea to have your car checked every 10,000 to 12,000 miles.

How long does it take to get a tune-up done?

A tune-up may take between 30 and 6 hours depending on what type of tune-up is performed, as well as the number of parts needed to be replaced. Before they start the tune-up, ask your mechanic about the estimated time.

How are fluids changed in tune up?

Most often, the only fluid that is changed in a basic tune up is the engine oil. All other fluids are checked and topped off. The mechanic will request that you replace any contaminated fluids during the basic tune-up.

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