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3.
Driving a vehicle (particularly the engine) hard for a few minutes, getting everything fully warmed up and loaded, for the purpose of improving its state of running. Has some theoretical and empirical validity to it (in certain cases, it does actually work), but it can also be an incompetent hackjob substitute for actual mechanical skills and effort (in these cases, it usually makes things worse).
An Italian tuneup is the machinery getting exercise.

That shadetree shop down the road was supposed to fix my engine, but all they did was go for an Italian tuneup, only to stuff it into a tree.
by Guava888 April 14, 2011
 
1.
When the driver of a motor vehicle runs the engine up to near full load and speed for an extended period of time to burn off built-up carbon in the combustion chamber. The term originates from Ferrari mechanics who would drive cars around a race track several times after a tune up to get the engine hot enough and subsequently burn off the carbon. Many Mercedes-Benz Diesel owners also use this same technique, too.
After replacing the distributer cap, rotor, and spark plugs and tuning the carburetor in my AMC Concord, I performed an Italian Tune Up to finish off the job.
by Gerald C. Meyers March 22, 2009
 
2.
When someone tries to fix a car by over-revving an engine for a long period of time. The idea is to burn whatever the problem is with your engine.
Also used by shady mechanics to rip people off when nothing is really wrong with the car.
I got ripped off by the mexican repair shop. All they did was give my van an italian tune up and charge me 180$.
by Jorge Valdez August 16, 2007
 
4.
When bad mechanics, usually greasy italian guys, rev the shit out of your engine to try to fix a problem. Usually results in more damage.
Vito's not a real mechanic, all he does is give italian tuneups and say its fixed.
by Max Tr November 07, 2008