Auto Tune-Up Checklist

by Amanda Rumble

Maintaining your vehicle ensures that it will last longer, whether you purchased it new or used. Complete a basic tune-up on your vehicle every 30,000 miles. The focus of a tune-up is to keep your engine in good condition and running smoothly. Replacing basic parts saves you money over time, since you may prevent a larger, more costly repair.

Spark Plugs

Change your spark plugs every 30,000 miles to prevent build-up in the engine. When you change the plugs, change the wires if they show any signs of corrosion or wear. Some people prefer to wait until 100,000 miles to change them, in which case you want to pull them out to check them. Look for anything besides a light brown or tan coloring on the plug. If it is black, wet or yellow you may have a problem with the engine that needs further investigation.

Distributor Cap and Rotor

Since the distributor cap and rotor are plastic, they have a tendency to age over time and get cracked or worn. Replace your cap and rotor whenever you replace the spark plugs. If you have a bad cap and rotor or spark plugs, your car may misfire or experience other problems starting.


The oil, air and fuel filter keep your car running smoothly and prolong its life. Change oil and filter more often than every 30,000 miles. Manufacturers recommend between 3,000 and 6,000 miles. The air filter is responsible for trapping dirt and debris before it has a chance to get to the engine. Ideally check or change the air filter earlier than your spark plugs, particularly if you drive on dirt roads or live where dust is prominent. Replacing the fuel filter prevents dirt from getting inside the engine and improves gas mileage.

Oxygen Sensor

An oxygen sensor affects a vehicle's emissions and is crucial for regulating the fuel, getting good gas mileage and reducing harmful gases released into the atmosphere. The largest impact a bad oxygen sensor has is reducing the life of your catalytic converter, which may cause engine stalling and build up inside the converter.

About the Author

Amanda Rumble has been writing for online publications since 2000, primarily in the fields of computing and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Buffalo in information technology. Rumble also focuses on writing articles involving popular video games and Internet culture.

Photo Credits

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