Driving Tips: Where To Get A Tune-Up

If you're not sure where to get a tune-up for your car, here are some places to check for quality service at a fair price.

For those who are not mechanically oriented, car maintenance may seem like foreign duty. Yet, it is important to have your car checked each year. Generally, a check-up may include a tune-up as routine maintenance to keep your car running well. Be sure to get your car tuned up by professional vehicle experts who will keep your vehicle running reliably. Where do you find experts that won't charge an arm and a leg?

1. Contact an auto repair school. Many high school vocational programs include courses for certification in auto mechanics. Under the supervision of a trained and licensed instructor, students in training will perform the needed inspection and tune-up at less cost than you will pay at an auto dealership. Check the yellow pages or telephone the local trade school to find out if there is an auto mechanics program in your community.

2. Take a non-credit auto mechanics course and do it yourself. You don't have to know how to rebuild an engine to perform a tune-up. One or two basic courses may be all you need to do this service for your car. Think of the money you can save over several years' time when you can check your car's belts, timing, and spark plugs and make needed repairs without consulting a professional. You can also check a service manual, but this may be harder to follow than a classroom instructor.

3. Ask a mechanically-oriented relative, friend, or neighbor. Every family has at least one: someone who knows cars and enjoys working on them. For a modest fee or a home-cooked meal, you may be able to have your car tuned up and back in service in no time. Find out if the person you have in mind knows about your model and make of vehicle and feels comfortable performing the tune-up. You don't want to pressure someone into doing this task, only to get hurt because of doing it the wrong way.

4. Check the local car garage. A small area repair station may be able to do a tune-up for a modest fee, especially at a time when business is slow. Call to find out how much the company charges and when might be a good time to bring your car in. Keep an eye on newspaper ads or check the yellow pages for special deals on this service. You also can browse online Web pages to find the best price before making an appointment.

5. Visit the dealership. If you drive a deluxe model, a foreign-made car, or one with special modifications, it may be in your best interests to visit the car's site of purchase. No one knows your type of vehicle better than the manufacturer or seller, so find out if you can pay a reasonable fee to have this important service performed on your vehicle. If you don't want to pay an exorbitant fee, ask the dealership for a reference to a lower-priced service garage.

You may have to spend some time initially to find the best place for your tune-up. But each one afterward will be easier, and you'll have an idea of how much time to schedule for your appointment as well as the approximate cost you will have to pay.

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