How to Check the Distributor Cap

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Maintain the life of your car with regular maintenance and tune-ups. Learn how to check the distributor cap with expert auto maintenance tips in this important free car repair video.

Part of the Video Series: Basic Car Tune-Up
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Video Transcript

Hi! My name is Nate McCullough. In this clip we are going to talk about one of the items involved in a major tune-up or vehicle overhaul. The item we are going to discuss in this clip is the vehicles distributor cap. The distributor cap on this particular car is located right here, top and center. It is going to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer in several ways; location, mounting style and number of cylinders. This happens to be a 4 cylinder, so there are 5 wires. One for each cylinder and one for the ignition coil. We are going to go ahead and start unplugging them. You are going to note and label these as you unplug them to make sure there is no confusion during reinstallation. This is the ignition coil. We are going to pop that one off and get him out of our way. There is only one side he goes. We are going to remove this plug wire, remove this plug wire and remove this plug wire. This vehicle uses screws to mount one on top and one on bottom. Go ahead and unscrew it. If the screws aren’t molded to stay in, you are going to want to pull them out and set them on a magnetic tray or put them in your pocket. These are made to stay in, so you don’t have to worry about dropping or loosing one. There’s another screw on the bottom that looks just like the top one. Go ahead and pop your distributor cap off. Just for the sake of discussion we are going to assume that I am replacing this with a new part. The installation procedure is pretty much reversed as the assembly procedure. We are going to slide our new distributor cap on, run our screws back down or reattach our bolts or clips or whatever happens to be the particular mounting style for your vehicle. It is a good idea not to over tighten these screws. All right, we’ve got the screws run down. We are going to want to hook up the vehicles ignition cables. This one right here has number 1 cylinder; plug that one into the corresponding spot on my ignition coil or distributor cap for that matter. It is going to vary from make to model depending upon how your car was built and designed. This one right here is number 2; we’re going to plug it in right there to its corresponding location. This one right here is number 3; plug that in to its corresponding location. This one right here is number 4; put that in its corresponding location and our ignition coil. There you go. Those are a 1, 2, and 3 on remove and replace your distributor cap.

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