How to Tune up a Mazda

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Performing a tune-up on your Mazda is a routine part of regular car maintenance. Performing a tune-up at regular 30,000-mile intervals will keep your automobile in good working condition and prevent serious problems from arising. A tune-up can become very expensive very fast if done at the dealership, or very affordable if you know how to do it yourself. Use this guide to help you learn how to tune up a Mazda yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Basic tool set
  • 5 quarts oil
  • Oil filter
  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter
  • Spark plugs
  • Spark plug gapper
  • Spark plug wires
  • Distributor cap
  • Rotor
  • Valve cover gasket
  • New belts
  • Serpentine belt
  • PCV valve
  • Distilled water
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

How to Tune Up a Mazda

  • Change the oil and oil filter on your car. The oil that you use should be what is recommended in your owner’s manual. You typically need 5 quarts of oil to top off the engine, as well as an oil filter.

  • Replacing the air filter is probably the easiest part of the tune-up. Simply loosen the bolts on the air filter cover, remove the old air filter, insert the new air filter, then tighten the bolts on the cover.

  • Remove the old fuel filter and install a new one. If your Mazda uses a fuel injector, it is not necessary to change it on a regular basis, unless your injectors get clogged with debris.

  • If you have the more expensive, platinum spark plugs in your Mazda, you can wait until the 60,000-mile tune-up to replace them. If you have standard spark plugs, they should be changed each time. You will need to use a gapping tool to set/space your spark plug head properly. It should be gapped to the measurement that your owner’s manual recommends.

  • Inspect your spark plug wires for any cuts or tears, and replace if needed. If your spark plug wires do need to be replaced, it is worthwhile to spend the extra money for a high-quality set of wires. In some models, the wires are permanently attached to the distributor cap, meaning they will be replaced every time.

  • Replace your distributor cap and rotor. The distributor cap is how power is transferred from the distributor to the spark plug wires to the spark plugs. The rotor is a component inside this part. Both of these are in constant use and susceptible to normal wear and tear. They should be replaced each time you tune up your Mazda. Note that some models do not use a distributor in the ignition system, in which case you can skip this step.

  • Remove the valve cover and adjust the valves as recommended by the manufacturer. Be sure to use a new gasket when replacing the valve cover to prevent oil from leaking onto the top of your engine.

  • If there is significant damage to your belts, replace them to avoid being stranded at an inconvenient time. Most newer Mazda models have a single serpentine belt that controls everything. While this means you only have one belt to replace, it can sometimes be a frustrating experience to get it installed.

  • Replace the PCV valve. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. This is an inexpensive part to replace on the car. If it is neglected and becomes clogged, the car will run rough and you could discover oil spillage on the engine.

  • Check the fluid levels inside the battery. If they appear low, you can refill the cells with distilled water. You should also use a knife to clean any dirt or corrosion off of the battery posts and cables.

  • Check and top off your power steering, transmission, engine coolant, break and windshield washer fluids. If it is winter and you live in a cold climate, add an anti-freezing agent to your engine coolant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although this may seem like a lot of work, most of these items are very simple maintenance tasks as long as you stay calm and take things one step at a time. Performing the tune-up yourself will save you several hundred dollars.
  • Photo Credit tinou bao, Flickr.com Creative Commons License
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