Automobile maintenance is nothing like it used to be. Thank God! In the past, your vehicle required regular replacement of a variety of parts: spark plugs, ignition wires, PCV valves, distributor caps, ignition rotors, and more.

With the exception of spark plugs, technology has replaced most of these with advanced, integrated ignition systems. Nevertheless, vehicle maintenance is still vital. So what does your vehicle really need in order to maintain it? Put another way: “What am I paying $300, $400, $500 for anyway?”

Given the abundance of car maintenance questions, let’s put the general requirements of today’s vehicle maintenance management into two categories:

  • Tune-Ups
  • Regular Vehicle Maintenance

IMPORTANT: always refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for your car or truck maintenance information.

Tune-Ups, Car Maintenance and Problems

Let’s start with tune ups. Tune-ups are a thing of the past. As mentioned above, most of today’s vehicles are equipped with advanced technology, which has replaced many wearable parts. While there are still many vehicles on the road with the above parts, they are fading fast.

Today’s tune-ups are incorporated into regular vehicle maintenance. In the past, they were often considered separate auto maintenance.

This is helpful. If you’re wondering when you need a tune-up, just follow your manufacturer’s maintenance interval. More importantly, find a shop that will actually follow your manufacturer’s maintenance interval.

What makes up today’s tune-up?

There are generally only four primary tune-up components, many of which have extended replacement time intervals (auto extended maintenance). For example, some fuel filters last the life of the vehicle, others last 60,000-miles. Today’s platinum spark plugs easily last 100,000-miles.

This reduces primary tune-up components down to only two:

Air Filters: Some air filters can last 60,000 miles. Although most last between 15,000 to 30,000 miles. There are lifetime performance air filters, but these require maintenance.

Cabin Filters: Cabin filters filter the incoming air of dust and debris, helping to keep your interior clean and dust free. They require replacement starting around 10,000 miles. Not every vehicle is equipped with cabin filters.

Following is a break-down of today’s most common tune up parts:


1. Air Filters

2. Fuel Filters

3. Cabin Filters (also called dust filters, or HVAC filters)

4. Spark Plugs

Now, if we add tire maintenance–rotation, balance, replacement, and alignments, that about covers the extent of vehicle maintenance services for today’s vehicles. Then there are various maintenance inspections: brakes, front end, under-carriage, belts, hoses, and battery. Lastly, we can’t forget wiper blades and miscellaneous lubrication services.

But generally, that’s it!

Important Note on Tire Rotation: many manufacturer maintenance sheet guidelines neglect the importance of tire rotations, which creates confusion. To keep it simple: rotate your tires approximately every 5,000 miles, as applicable.

Car Maintenance Online Help & Car Maintenance Schedule

Vehicle Maintenance Management procedures are variable, pending the year, make and model. Again, I have separated vehicle maintenance from the Tune-Up section above for clarity. Today, tune-ups and maintenance procedures are performed together during service intervals.

Follow your factory maintenance interval and you’re set!

Below is a general break-down to five vehicle maintenance services:

General Vehicle Maintenance:

1. Oil and Oil Filter Service

2. Coolant/Antifreeze Flush

3. Brake System Flush

4. Transmission Fluid Service

5. Differential/Gear Box/Transfer Case Services

And that’s about it!

So…if auto maintenance has been drastically reduced by technological advancements, why are the prices still so high?

The answer: You’re getting ripped off!

98% of ALL repair facilities are price-gouging you, the service customer.

It’s considered normal.

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