I do the maintenance on my Dodge Stratus myself. With the high cost of auto mechanic labour, it makes sense to do as much as possible of the upkeep and maintenance on your vehicle yourself.
The auto parts store is a good place to start to get the items you need to do the job. They can offer helpful advice, if you have any questions about the maintenance jobs you plan on doing.
I usually replace spark plugs once a year. The clerk at the auto parts store needs specific information about your vehicle to be able to provide you with the correct parts that fit your car. He needs to know the year the car was made, the car manufacturing company, the car model and the car’s engine size.
Sometimes the parts are not kept in stock, so they have to be ordered from a distributor, but they usually arrive the next day. When they do arrive, I pick them up and pay for them.
Replacing spark plugs is not difficult, if they are located in a place on your engine block where you have enough room to reach them with a socket wrench. I usually start by taking out the first plug on the left side of the engine block. The spark plug wire is carefully removed. Then I put the socket wrench over the spark plug and turn the wrench counter clockwise until the plug comes loose.
The new spark plugs need to be checked to see that the space between the two electrodes, the “gap”, has the correct distance. This does not have to be a difficult procedure. By gently sticking a screwdriver into the gap of the old spark plug you removed from the car you can mark the spot where it fills the gap. Place the same screwdriver into the gap of the new spark plug and either bend it tighter or gently bend it looser until the screwdriver fills its gap in the same spot as it did for the old spark plug. Then make sure the new plug has the sealing ring in place at the top of the threaded area. Place the new spark plug in the hole on the engine block. Turn it by hand in a clockwise direction to start with and once it is turning correctly, finish tightening it with the socket wrench. Then reattach the spark plug wire. That’s it. Do the same for each of the remaining spark plugs.
Remember to reattach the spark plug wire right away, as soon as the new plug is tight in place. Your engine will not run properly if the spark plug wires are mixed up, connected to the wrong plug. When everything looks correctly connected, and all the old plugs have been removed from the engine area, start the car and check that it is running smoothly.