Today’s cars require maintenance at longer intervals and with much less physical work than their predecessors. A lot of the work done by an engine and its parts in the past is now done electronically, such as ignition and fuel-injection, reducing the overall wear-and-tear and need for manual adjustments. Contrary to our preconceptions, mechanics today will plug a computer diagnostic tool into your dashboard, or a port underneath it, which will tell them almost all they need to know about your car’s performance, and sometimes even let them make adjustments through the device.
This isn’t to say, however, that the mechanics aren’t doing as much. In fact, they are doing a much more thorough and consistent job of checking for problems in your car. These problems may have been unnoticeable to you but still logged by your car’s computer program. Of course, there is still plenty of hands-on work to be done by mechanics, both through inspection and physical tuning-up. A typical tune-up still includes the classics, such as checking the spark plugs, ignition and starter, fuel-injector, emissions levels, air filters, and fluid levels, as well as the cleaning and adjustment of many other parts and settings.
Modern cars should be taken to a mechanic for inspection about once every 30,000 miles, or whenever you notice small problems with starting, braking, gear-changing, or anything out of the ordinary at all. A tune-up should be thought of as maintenance for your car just like an oil change or tire rotation.