To make it easier to service your car, clean up the engine
compartment. You could use some kerosene or Diesel with
cotton waste. Take care to ensure that the engine is not
hot while carrying out this operation. Also ensure that
all the kerosene is wiped before attempting to start the
the alternator, distributor cap and coil with plastic bags,
securing them with string. Remove air cleaner and cover
the carburettor in a similar fashion. Wipe all over the
engine and engine compartment, avoiding electronic or electric
Allow it to soak in a few minutes, and then hose
it off. If the engine is not clean, repeat the procedure using a small
brush to work the cleaner into particularly dirty spots. If the engine
won't start when you've finished, clean any moisture from distributor
and coil wire cables, then spray them with a water displacing lubricant.
complete power plant maintenance procedure should be performed when
you first purchase a car (second hand specifically)and at regular
intervals thereafter. For cars with contact breaker (points) ignition,
plan on doing this service at 10,000 Km intervals, for cars with high-energy
electronic systems, perform the service at 15,000 to 20,000 Km intervals.
Some enthusiasts replace all high- wear items when they first purchase
their cars. This strategy will give you a baseline for future reference-you'll
know just how old these components are. Maintenance items include
air filter, PCV valve, sparkplugs, fuel filter, distributor cap and
rotor, ignition cables, and, in cars with contact breaker ignition,
points and condenser. Begin the maintenance tune up by removing all
of the sparkplugs. Carefully note the condition of the old plugs.
Depending on type of fuel used and model year of the car, their colour
can range from white to grey to light brown. However, it should be
clear that all of them were operating. None should be markedly darker
than the others and all of them should be dry.
some of the plugs look wet and oily, you should perform a compression
test. Before you can test compression, you have to arrange some means
of holding the throttle and the choke open. Then, disconnect the negative
wire from the coil and cover its terminal end with a piece of electrical
With a compression gauge held firmly in place or threaded into the
No 1 sparkplug hole, crank the engine five revolutions or until the
gauge goes no higher. Write down the compression reading and move
on to the next cylinder. Cranking the engine the same number of revolutions.
Continue until all cylinders have been tested, and compare your readings.
All should be within 75 percent of your strongest cylinder and each
should at least reach the minimum pressure found in the spec table
of your repair manual. If readings are not up to spec further diagnosis
will be necessary to determine the cause.
If your car has high-energy electronic ignition and if the plugs look
okay and are no more than 20,000 Km old you may want to clean and
regap them. Check for rounding of the sharp edges on both inner and
ground electrodes. If they look good and are all nearly the same colour,
clean them with a wire brush and a sharp knife,(ideally you could
have a broken hacksaw blade sharpned ) Use the awl to clean any deposits
from around the insulator. Take care not to break the ceramic/plastic
insulator body. On cars with contact breaker ignition, sparkplugs
should be replaced at 15,000Km intervals regardless of condition.
Before installing the plugs, check the
gap with a wire sparkplug gauge. Use the gap tool to bend the electrode
if the gap is not to specs. Don't try to close the gap is not by hammering
the electrode .You could crack the insulator.
Reinstall the plugs, starting each one by
hand to make sure it doesn't cross thread. If possible,
tighten them to 20 ft lb. With a torque wrench .In any case,
don't overt tighten them. If you can't reach the sparkplug
hole easily, try slipping a length of rubber hose over the
terminal end of the plug. This will act as an extension
handle. Inspect the plugs, starting each one by hand to
make sure it doesn't cross thread. If possible, tighten
them to 20 ft.lb. With a torque wrench. In any case, don't
over tighten them. Inspect the plug wires for checking cracks,
burns, brittleness or other visible damage.
Clean any corrosion from the terminals.
The boots must fit securely on both the plugs and the cap. Replace
the set if any are damaged. Silicone rubber jacketed plug wires- such
as those used on high-energy ignition applications-offer far better
heat and current-leakage protection than conventional wires.
the wires are installed, remove the distributor cap and clean the
inside with a dry rag. Look for cracks, fractures or any evidence
of carbon tracking. Carbon tracks are lines running from one outer
terminal to another or from one terminal to the centre terminal. If
tracking or physical damage is noted, replace the cap. If the cap
looks okay, clean all corrosion from the terminals. If it cannot be
scraped from the terminals with a small knife, replace the cap. Remove
the rotor and examine it. It should be replaced if it is cracked,
chipped or carbon tracked. Clean corrosion from the tip with a knife.
If the rotor is to the point where it cannot be cleaned easily, it
should be replaced.
On cars with electronic ignition, the distributor
service ends here, assuming of course that there has been
no ignition related performance problem. If an ignition
problem is affecting engine operation, diagnostic procedures
must be performed. This differs from car to car, and in
some cases substitution testing with known good parts is
part of the procedure. Therefore, you may want to let a
dealer or large independent service facility handle such
your car has a contact breaker ignition system, replace the points
and con- denser. Begin by rotating the engine until the rubbing block
of the points is on the high point of the distributor cam. Disconnect
the distributor's primary wire and the condenser wire from the points
before removing the points and condenser. Don't drop the screws or
you may have to spend hours recovering them. On most cars, the screws
that hold the points need only be loosened for removal. Install the
new points and condenser and attach both wires to the points. With
the rubbing block of the contact set touching a high point of the
distributor cam, adjust the point gap to specification using a feeler
Lubricate the distributor dam with a small
amount of cam lubricant or white lithium grease. A very
small amount is enough. Don't overdo it. If the distributor
is equipped with a lubricating wick( like a Maruti 800)
that touches the cam, don't attempt to oil it. Replace it
instead. Reinstall the distributor rotor and cap. If you
have a dwell meter, start the engine and check point dwell.
Readjust if necessary.
Remove the air cleaner and check the filter.
If it appears dirty replace it. Replace the fuel filter.
On most cars, it's in the fuel line or behind the inlet
fitting on the carburetor. Clean the choke mechanism and
linkage with carburetor cleaner. Ensure the choke cable
is free and the same same does not remain in an engaged
position. Carry out any adjustment as required.
the engine and check ignition timing with a timing light. On late
model cars, you'll, find specs and general instructions on the vehicle
information label under the hood.
Once you've checked initial
spark advance check vacuum advance by accelerating the engine
to 1,500 rpm. Then, while holding it at this speed, connect
the vacuum advance line to the distributor. Timing should
advance. If not, replace the vacuum diaphragm unit. Disconnect
the vacuum advance line and check centrifugal advance by
accelerating the engine to 3,500 rpm while watching the
timing marks with your light.Timing should advance. If it
doesn't, remove the distributor cap and check the centrifugal
weights for binding on applications where weights are located
directly under the rotor.
Where weights are not located
under the rotor, the distributor will have to be removed
and disassembled to service the centrifugal advance mechanism.
The latest engines have no vacuum or centrifugal advance,
as a computer controls engine timing.
the PCV valve and the PCV filter every 40, 000Km. Check and clean
then every 20,000. To check the PCV valve, remove it from the intake
manifold or rocker cover and start the engine.
Check for vacuum at the end of the valve
with your thumb. If you feel nothing, the valve or hose
is clogged. Replace any hoses that don't look good. If vacuum
is present and the hoses look okay, shut off the engine
and remove the valve. Shake it. You should hear the needle
rattle inside. If it doesn't rattle, the valve must be replaced.
Before you call your maintenance turn up complete, you should
check the condition and connections of all vacuum hoses.
If they're cracked or brittle, replace them. A vacuum leak
will make the best tuned engine idle roughly
you want to prolong the life of the engine, you should change your
oil at regular intervals. While some manufacturers recommend far longer
oil- change intervals, most mechanics will tell you that the best
thing you can do to make your engine last a long time, particularly
with an older car, is to change the oil frequently. Warm the engine
completely before changing the oil. Drive the car for at least 20
minutes. Idling it won't make it warm enough. The vehicle needs to
reach operating temperature. Once the engine is warm, shut it off
and raise the car on jack stands or ramps. To do the job correctly,
the car must be level. This means you'll have to lift the front and
rear. Getting the car up in the air will also allow you to inspect
the chassis components and other under car parts. Place a drain pan
under the car that is large enough to hold all the oil. Use a socket
wrench or box wrench to remove the drain plug. If the plug has a square
hole in its centre, use the square drive of a ratchet to loosen it.
Allow the warm oil to drain completely. While the oil is draining,
remove the filter. If your drain pan doesn't extend to the area of
the filter, use another pan to catch the filter spillage or wait until
the oil has drained. Don't shortchange the drain time, though. Make
sure the oil has stopped dripping from the plughole. Needless to say
if this may sound too messy or you may not have the space to carry
out this operation the same needs to be carried out at a local service
Use a filter wrench to loosen
the canister-type filters that are found on nearly all latest-model
vehicles. Make sure the old gasket comes off with the filter.
Clean the filter mounting area and partially fill the new
filter with some of the oil that will be used to fill the
crankcase. Lube the filter gasket with the clean oil as
well. Install the filter, tightening it according to the
directions printed on it.
Older model cars may have
a cartridge-style filter, contained within a metal canister.
The canister is held onto the mount by means of a bolt through
its centre. Remove the filter by loosening the bolt. Dump
the old cartridge into your drain pan and clean the can
thoroughly with solvent and a brush. Install the new filter
element in the can and lube the gasket with engine oil.
Make sure that the old gasket has been removed, and reinstall
the filter can. Once you're sure that the oil has drained
completely, reinstall the drain plug. Tighten it with moderation.
Don't make it as tight as you possibly can, this may result
in the nut slipping. In case this happens the repair would
need to be attended to by a proffesional service centre.
your owner's manual to determine proper refill oil if your car is
relatively new or under warranty. Carmakers recommend SF grade oils
for the latest petrol engines and SF/CC or SF/CD oils for the latest
Diesels. For older high-mileage cars, use a slightly thicker multi
grade oil. If your car has a new engine, use SF 2OW40 . Fill the crankcase
with the correct amount of oil and run it for a few minutes, checking
the leaks from the filter or drain plug. Shut it off wait for ten
to fifteen minutes and check oil level on the dipstick.