Car running rough? Try a tune up

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2014

To keep a vehicle operating at its best may seem like a daunting task.

But there are three simple things you can do to help your ride stay reliable for a long time.

First, check and change the oil frequently. To check the oil open the hood, look for the oil dipstick and pull it out. Having a rag handy will help keep drips from occurring.

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If the oil is light brown and semi transparent it’s still good. Ensure the dipstick shows the oil level is within the operating range.

If it is low add some, but be careful not to add too much. Too much oil can cause bubbles to build up in the oil, and potentially lead to engine damage.

Second, keep the plugs and wires in good condition. Spark plugs and wires ignite the gas in the combustion chamber.

If your plugs are fouled, or the wires are damaged, the engine will misfire, causing it to run poorly and reduce fuel economy.

To determine if a plug is good, remove the wire boot from the plug and use a spark plug wrench to remove the plug.

Look for a clean ignition surface, if the diode shows signs of damage such as a black coating or degradation replace the plug.

Also check spark plug wires for signs of degradation. If they are cracked or the boot shows signs of damage, replace them as well.

If you were running fouled plugs and/or faulty wires, you will notice a boost in engine power once they are replaced.

Lastly keep the air filter clean. Air is required to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber.

If the filter is dirty less air is entering the engine, which leads to reduced fuel efficiency.

These are just a few tips that can help keep your vehicle running at tip-top shape.

Other things you should keep an eye on include tire pressure, windshield wiper condition and coolant levels.