How Much Does a Car Tune Up Cost?
A car tune up is typically done once per year as a scheduled maintenance routine.
How much does a car tune up cost?
- For a minimal tune-up, the costs can range anywhere from as little as $50 to more than $150, depending on the mechanic. Usually, a minimal tune-up will only include a visual inspection and won’t include any replacements.
- For a standard tune-up, which will include changing the oil and replacing the sparking plugs, wires, rotor, fuel filter, distributor cap, PVC valve and air filter, will cost anywhere between $175 to $575, depending on the mechanic, what’s included with the tune up and the car’s make and model. Refer to our table below to see what may be included in a tune up and what each job will more than likely cost.
- A more complex tune-up, which may include more replacements than a standard tune-up, can cost closer to $700 to $1,100+
- With older vehicles that have more than 100,000 miles, a tune-up could be 20 to 40 percent more due to the higher chances of finding a repair during the inspections.
- Ultimately, the costs will depend on the car you’re driving, how many miles are on it and the shop you take it to. Referring to the chart below should offer an idea of when and what needs to be replaced at what time, along with the average prices.
Every 3,000 to 10,000 miles
|Air Filter Change||Every 10,000 miles||$15 to $30|
|Cabin Air Filter Change||Every 10,000 miles||$20 to $40|
|Oil Change||Every 5,000 miles||$25 to $65|
|Tire Balance with Rotation||Every 7,000 miles||$20 to $70|
|Wheel Alignment||Every 10,000 miles||$50 to $125|
Every 10,000 to 50,000 miles
|Distributor Cap||Every 50,000 miles or so||$50 to $125|
|Fuel Filter||Every two years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first||$50 to $100|
|PCV Valve||Every 30,000 to 40,000 miles||$25 to $65|
|Rotors||Every 40,000 to 60,000 miles||$250 to $350|
|Spark Plugs||about 50,000 to 75,000 miles||$100 to $200|
|Transmission Flush||Every 50,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first||$150 to $250|
Every 50,000 to 125,000 miles
|Air/Oxygen Sensor||100,000 miles||$100 to $250|
|Power Steering Fluid Flush||Every 80,000 to 125,000 miles||$50 to $100|
|Spark Plug Wires||Every 75,000 imles||$125 to $250|
|Timing Belt||100,000 miles||$200 to $800|
What is going to be included?
- Most tune ups will include replacing the air filter, running computer diagnostics to see if any problems arise with the car and checking the fuel filter, spark plugs, wires and basic engine parts. Depending on the service chosen, all parts or only the parts deemed worn will be replaced. All replacements will be made depending on the number of miles your car has and which parts need to be replaced at the time.
- Depending on what’s included, the average tune-up job will take two hours.
- These tune-ups can be done at all mechanic repair centers, car dealerships, Walmart and franchises such as Jiffy Lube, Firestone, Midas, Goodyear and Belle Tire.
What can be done
- Aligning the car tires: Through normal use, the tires may start to lean to one side or another over time, making it hard to steer, and this is all due to the suspension system be out of alignment. Properly aligned tires will increase the tire’s life and will help you even save money from purchasing new tires sooner than later. Aligning the tires should be about $50 to $125 and will be done electronically to bring it back to factory specifications.
- Changing the air filters: There will be two air filters located inside a car: one will be located in the engine chamber and the other filter will be located inside, usually within the glovebox. This filter will keep all dirt and debris from accessing the car’s system and can either be replaced by yourself for less than $15, or if you choose a professional, it could be double or triple the cost.
- Changing the oil: This is considered standard maintenance and is the lifeblood of your engine. It’s responsible for coating all of the metal components to allow them to work efficiently without any restriction. No matter what kind of tune-up you get, it will more than likely always include an oil change. Depending on the amount of oil your engine needs, most changes will be $20 to $40.
- Fuel filter replacement: These filters, designed to eliminate any particles suspended in the gas, will sit between the gas tank and your engine, usually located on its own or within the fuel pump. If this filter were to become clogged or block the fuel flow, it could result in either poor performance or combustion problems. Most repair shops will charge about $100 to replace this part.
- Changing the oxygen sensor: These sensors are designed to report air quality and the combustion exhaust oxygen levels to the computer inside the car to fine tune the air to fuel mixture and also confirm proper engine operation. When the “check engine” light often comes on, it will commonly be caused by a faulty oxygen sensor. A new sensor, with installation, can cost $100 to $250.
- Power steering flush: This hydraulic liquid will help turn the wheels, and as time goes on, the fluid will get dirty and may need to be replaced. Most of the time, adding the fluid to the fill line will be sufficient enough, but if it needs to be flushed, it will often be performed if there’s any squeaking while turning or there’s resistance while steering.
- Replacing the PCV valve: The PCV valve, known as the positive crankcase ventilation, will release tension from any gas that enters the crankcase. This part is commonly changed once per year when it either clogs or sticks and can cost about $25 to $65 to replace.
- Replacing the spark plugs: Spark plugs are designed to light the fuel and the air mixture inside the engine and are located at the top of each of the engine’s cylinders, connected to an insulated line, designed to carry electricity to create a spark. Usually, when a car fails to start properly, it could be a sign they need to replaced. Since the typical car engine will have four spark plugs, the total can be about $100 to $200 if they were all replaced. An SUV, which can hold up to eight, could be double the cost.
- Transmission fluid flush: This fluid is used as a hydraulic fluid, which provides the force necessary to lubricate and distribute the energy in the gears of the transmission. While some experts say it really isn’t necessary, it’s best to check the color to see if it really needs to be done. If so, it can cost $150 to $250.
What are the extra costs?
- Running an advanced computer diagnostics test, if needed, can cost another $25 to $100.
Tips to know:
- Check your owner’s manual to see when you should bring your car in for maintenance as there is no direct answer on when you should get a tune up. Every car will have a certain schedule and will be different based on the age and condition.
- Cars should come in for a professional tune-up every 30,000 to 45,000 miles.
- By getting a tune-up, this can help improve your gas mileage by more than four percent, saving you close to $0.15 per gallon.
- You will know it’s time for a tune-up when you notice things such as a decrease in gas mileage, a rough sounding engine, engine knocking sounds or the check engine light comes on. If any of these problems arise, it’s best to take it into the shop for further inspection.
- When working with a mechanic that you’re unfamiliar with, always make sure that they are ASE-certified.
How can I save money?
- Mechanics, car dealerships and auto repair shops are notorious for offering promotions and/or coupons. These can often be found on their social media pages, official website or even in local coupon booklets.
- With any car repairs or maintenance, it’s best to get at least two to three quotes before choosing a provider. Unfortunately, some shops may require repairs that really may not be needed.
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