Tuning Up Your Car Yourself
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated May 28, 2010)
It is highly recommended that your vehicle get a tune up (which is also known as a major service) every two years, or every 30,000 miles depending on which comes first. While this task is something that needs to be done regularly, you don't need to pay someone else to do it. Tuning up your car yourself is something anyone can do, and here's how.
- Fuel filter
- Complete screwdriver set
- Oil filter
- Air filter
- Transmission oil filter (
- Spark plugs
- Spark plug gapping tool
- Distributer caps
- Car repair manual
- Ratchet & socket set
- Adjustable wrenches
- Fuel Filter. Unless you have a fuel-injection system, you need to replace the fuel filter. Fuel-injection systems do not need fuel system cleaning but it wouldn't be out of line to go ahead and replace the fuel filter.
- Spark Plugs. Change your spark plugs every 30,000 miles unless you have platinum spark plugs. When you are changing these, take a look at the wires and the connectors as well.
- Belts. While you are rooting around under the hood, take some time to look at the belts. If and when you see any that are worn or damaged, replace them.
- Distributor/Ignition. If you have an older car that does not have an electronic ignition system (typically anything prior to 1980), take a look at the ignition timing sequence. This is covered in a repair manual for most vehicles. At the same time, replace the distributor cap and the rotor as well (if your car has them since some of the new vehicles have what is known as a distributorless ignition system).
- Air Filter. Typically a vehicle needs to have its air filter changed every 15,000 miles. One of the best times to take care of this is when you are tuning up your vehicle.
- Fluids. Check the fluid levels including the oil, brake, transmission, and wiper fluids.
- Battery. Look at the battery posts and the connectors to ensure that there isn't any corrosive buildup. Also make sure that all of the connections are tightened properly and that the battery's fluid level is where it should be. Add some distilled water if it is not. If you have a sealed battery, you don't need to check the fluid level.
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