If you intend to save some money on the upkeep of your car by doing the maintenance yourself instead of sending it to the garage, it’s often best to know how to tune a car. Also known as a major service, a tune up should be carried out every 30000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first. Knowing how to tune your car is not a guarantee that it will never need replacement parts, but at least you will be able to keep the cost down and extend the life of your vehicle.
During car tuning, the fuel filter has to be replaced. You will also probably need to change the spark plugs if they are not made from platinum. If your spark plugs are indeed made of this material, then it is acceptable to change them after the next 30000 miles. Spark plugs should be removed and replaced one at a time to prevent the risk of misfiring or mistiming. Ensure that each new spark plug is properly gapped before installing it.
Spark plug wires should be changed whenever a tune up is carried out. The spark plug wire retainer clip or clips will have to be removed. These serve to keep the wires apart and under control, and prevent contact with undesirable components like drive belts and the exhaust manifold. The clips should be cleaned and inspected before you move on to the wires proper. Plug wires are usually arranged by length. Like spark plugs, they should be installed one at a time. As the wires may be permanently attached to the distributor cap, this will also have to be replaced.
A distributor cap separates the ignition spark produced from the ignition coil, splitting in to each spark plug while it rotates within the ignition distributor. On the other hand, some vehicles have a non-distributor ignition system, which precludes the need to replace the distributor cap and ignition rotor. In cars with a distributor ignition system, the rotor relays the spark from the ignition coil to the terminals on the distributor cap. You should determine the ignition system you have before carrying out the tune up to ensure you have the relevant parts.
The positive crankcase ventilation valve (PVC) should be replaced, especially if it’s clogged, so too the valve-cover gasket, especially if oil is visible on top of the engine. Timing belt, fan belt and the clutch must also be checked and replaced if they appear worn out. Additionally, replenish any fluids under the hood as required, while the oil, oil filter and air filter should also be checked and changed. Top up the battery with distilled water if needed and clean the terminals and cable ends.