When is tuneup needed, 2007 Corolla

My car is 11 years old, but only has 41,000 miles on it (I don’t drive much). The dealer wants to do a tune-up, but I wonder if I really need it. The car gets the same mileage it always has, runs smoothly.

Also, do you need to rotate tires every year, if you only drive 3,000 miles a year?
Thanks for any response.

Tuneup these days is changing the plugs and probably the plug wires.

Yes, I’d do that. Short trips are bad on plugs and the insulation on the plug wires degrades with time, not mileage. I’d also check any rubber hoses for cracking.

As to the tire rotation, I’d skip that. But check your tires carefully for cracks, they are beyond the usual 10 year limit. If you live in a hot climate, I’d get 4 new tires. Better safe than sorry.

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Thanks! I’ll do that.

Tune up is not a well-defined term any more. You’d do better to see what your owners manual or maintenance manual recommends for scheduled maintenance: what to do and when (by time, or by miles driven.) I’d be less concerned about plugs and wires if the car is driving well, and focus on things like coolant change, transmission fluid change, maybe brake fluid, and timing belt if your engine has one.

Good points, specially about the timing belt.

Thanks, Can the mechanic tell by looking if those fluids need changing? The book says timing belt at 90,000 miles.

Read the book again, it usually says something like 90k miles OR 9 years whichever comes first.

I think you are overdue for a timing belt change and running a major risk. I’m surprised the dealer doesn’t flag this.

Same for items like fluid changes. Time or mileage whichever comes first. A visual check can tell if they are grossly bad, but then can be on the edge of their life and appear OK visually. go by time/mileage.

Go through the manual and check out each maintenance item. Most have both a miles and a time limit, it’s a good idea to obey both. Do NOT let the dealer do a ‘tune up’, he may try to do lots of things not needed. But you have an 11 year old car, if you want to keep it for several more I’d have all the fluids changed (if they haven’t been lately) and the timing belt done (I bet there’s a time limit to go along with the 90,000 miles, and it’s less than 11 years).

Actually, the book has only a mileage for the timing belt. But I’ll add that to the list, as well as the fluids. Thanks.

I think all manuals also have a mileage and time figure for all service items . But the others are correct, you are way past time for a timing belt.

The timing belt may also have a time frame …“or 7 years, whichever comes first.” Same with fluids. These are preventative maintenance things, so the idea is to change stuff before it is so degraded it starts to do damage. There are ways to analyze coolant chemically and to “read” transmission fluid by comparing its color to a chart, but that’s overkill for scheduled maintenance.

Gates doesn’t list a timing belt for your 2007 Corolla, it must have a chain. What item were you reading about?

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The scheduled maintenance book is for various 2007 models, hence the timing belt info at the back.
Does a chain need replacement?

Not unless it wears out, which is pretty rare. Google “2007 Corolla maintenance schedule”, you’ll get a link to the Toyota web site with your car’s schedule that you can download (.pdf).

Plug Wires? Are there vehicles built in the past 10 years that still have plug wires?

good point.

Toyota parts also lists a chain, for the 1.8L engine:


Skip the tune-up.

The vehicle doesn’t have enough miles on it.

If the vehicle needed a tune-up, the Check Engine light would be on with a misfire code.

I’d be more concerned with the age of the tires.


Your 2007 Corolla DOES NOT HAVE A TIMING BELT. Older Corollas do.

I have a 2007 Corolla and follow the owner’s manual, not what the dealer is trying to tell me.

Aside frorm oil changes, which I do every 5000 miles, the car had had a cooling system flush at 48,000 miles, and will have a transmission drain and filter change (the second one) at 60,000+ miles. Tires are rotated seasonally with winter tires going on in October and taken off in April.

The car runs like new and has only had the front brakes done and the serpentine belt replace. Current mileage is 61,000.

Spark plugs don’t needed changing till 100,000 miles.

You are driving one of the most bullet-proof cars ever built; keep on motoring.

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My 2007 Corolla still has the original tires, supplemented by Michelin XICE winter tires. I inspect regularly and have no cracks.