Engines required a lot more maintenance in earlier times. You'd have to have your spark plugs, wires, rotors, caps, distributor points, fuel and air filters changed periodically. There were mechanical adjustments of a vehicle's timing, dwell, spark gap and idle mixture, too. Unless you like to tinker with old cars, a lot of those terms won't mean much to you.
That service was called a "tune up" back then, and you can see why. But now, computers have reduced the number of maintenance items, and a tune up is a whole lot different than it used to be. In fact, in some vehicle service facilities, that term is also a thing of the past.
A tune up of today would more accurately be called simply periodic maintenance. Now, most vehicles still have spark plugs and wires, fuel filters, air filters and PCV valves, and they should be inspected tested and/or replaced at regular intervals. Your vehicle's manufacturer has made recommendations on how often that should be. But it depends on your driving habits. Do you regularly tow a trailer? Do you drive on dusty roads often? Are you driving mostly stop and go in the city? Depending on your answers, to those maintenance intervals might have to be more frequent.
Your service advisor will likely remind you about those "must check" items such as spark plugs and wires, air filter and oxygen sensor. And now that the old-fashioned tune ups don't require you to take your vehicle in for maintenance as often, you can get the same benefit from scheduled oil changes or tire rotations. When your vehicle is in for those, a technician can keep an eye on your other systems (fuel, emissions, ignition) to make sure they are operating correctly.
One thing to remember. When you take your vehicle in for regular service or a specific issue, don't ever hesitate to ask you service advisor to explain what's being done and why. Hey, "In Sync" may have been a boy band of an earlier era, but it's always good for you and your service advisor to be "in sync" when it comes to what maintenance is good for your vehicle.
The Auto & Tire Doctor Inc
12000 PIONEER TRL
TRUCKEE, CA 96161