What is involved in a tunup other than changing the spark plugs for my car? (ie, 2002 Subaru Impreza

subaru

#1

I have a 2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport with 127,000 miles on it and would like to have it tuned up. I was thinking that the price of a tuneup these days was just over a hundred dollars to change the plugs and do something with the points too to have it run well. When I called my favorite mechanic who specializes in Subaru’s his quote for a tuneup on this car was $300-$400. I am confused about how they arrive at those figures to change spark plugs and adjust the points if that is what they are essentially doing. Any ideas or suggestions about how to get a less expensive tuneup? The car is running well as is. I just want to increase the mileage and try to get rid of the pinging sound when accelerating too. Thanks for your help.


#2

this is a perfect question for this or any website. have you done anything to 12yr old car? ever? this is almost an existential comment. what can i, or anyone, do over time to maintain my car? sparkplugs, wires, air filter, any and all fluids. trans, diff, brake, coolant and so on. your car does not have a point style ignition. might not even have a distributor.


#3

Pull out the owners manual and see what is needed at your miles to bring service work to date. All depends on what you’ve done in the past.


#4
I have a 2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport with 127,000 miles on it and would like to have it tuned up. I was thinking that the price of a tuneup these days was just over a hundred dollars to change the plugs and do something with the points too to have it run well.

Sorry, but your car doesn’t have points. Points haven’t been used in production cars for a few decades.

For a tune-up these days…Spark plugs and air filter. Things like trans fluids and coolant…you should have been keeping up on them so they shouldn’t be needed at tune-up time.


#5

If you take a look at the Subaru maintenance schedule–which, hopefully is sitting in your glove compartment–I can guarantee you that the words “tune-up” are not mentioned anywhere.
That terminology went out of fashion sometime around the end of the disco era. ;-))

However, there is extremely detailed information in that booklet regarding what maintenance should be performed at “major intervals”, such as 90k miles. Although you should follow precisely what the mfr specifies in that maintenance schedule, as a 3-time Subaru owner, I can pretty-well summarize what needs to be done at 90k miles:

Change oil & oil filter
Change air filter
Change fuel filter
Change spark plugs
Change coolant
Change brake fluid
Change transmission fluid
…and of course, tire rotation, which is supposed to be done every 7,500 miles

Additionally, you might want to consider replacing the spark plug wires, as they are now pretty old, and the insulation on them may be cracked.

Depending on where you live and where you go for service, you should expect the above maintenance list to cost somewhere between $350-600.

However, beyond the maintenance that I listed above, there is an even more vital service that needs to be performed on your engine, namely the replacement of the timing belt–which is supposed to be done every 105k miles or 8 years, whichever comes first. So, if this extremely important maintenance has never been done on your engine, it is now approximately 4 years overdue, and that equals a ticking time bomb when the timing belt snaps–without warning.

So, I would strongly suggest that you prioritize things this way:

Have the timing belt (and the water pump, and the serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners) replaced first, as the timing belt job is so far overdue. Expect to pay…probably…$400…or slightly more for this list of jobs.

Then, have the other maintenance items taken care of. All told, this work is going to be expensive, but skipping the timing belt is not an option if you want to prevent the engine from self-destructing. And, the other items are even more expensive, but…maintenance is invariably cheaper than the repairs that result from lax maintenance.

Let us know if you have any further questions!


#6

Taking about points and 100 dollar tune ups it makes it seem like they just rescued you from the last manned moon mission and you haven’t been around for a while.

Be sure to use NGK plugs in the engine. If that doesn’t clear up the pinging and you are using a cheap brand of fuel then try changing brands with at least 87 octane.


#7

When I worked for Subaru a thorough tune-up (somewhat of a misnomer actually) meant that the valve lash was also inspected and adjusted as necessary.

With distributorless systems changing the plugs, running a compression test, servicing engine filters and PCV, and performing the valve lash chore would be a minimum.

The pinging you hear is probably due to an EGR system fault; more than likely clogged EGR passages. At 14 years of age an EGR fault is not a rare event.
If the pinging is chronic and severe then this is an issue which needs to be cured as it can lead to engine damage or outright destruction.