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I need a tuneup

I have a 2000 Chevy Cavalier and the engine just started shaking a lot. Sometimes it stalls and sometimes I don’t get power under 25 mph - only temporarily, then the gas pedal works again.

The guys at the shop said it needs a tuneup and I’ve never had one. Is this something that I can do myself and if so, where can I find out how? Do I need any special tools?

Tune up can mean different things to different folks. Pull out your owner’s manual and see what services you should have done, based on the mileage your car has been driven, from the maintenance schedule. It may include spark plug replacement, air, gas filter, PCV replacement. Bring your maintenance up to date, and see if that resolves the issue – it may not, but the maintenance needs to be caught up anyway.

Get a Haynes manual and it can guide you through the process. I don’t recall Cavaliers being very difficult to work on. Spark plug socket, ratchet wrench with some different sized extensions, and some other basic tools like pliers, etc, should get you through, with the help of the manual.

Check engine light on? If so, get the codes read from a place like Autozone or Advance Auto for free and post them here. That may help narrow down the real performance issues.

Awesome advice, thanks much!

An average 10 year old car would have about 100,000 miles on it and if you have not been doing regular maintenance now, ?. Well I sure would not want to buy a car from you.

Look in your owner’s manual and make sure everything listed there is done on schedule from now on.

Good Luck

You might also want to find out what exactly is causing this engine to run poorly. If it’s worn spark plugs and a clogged air filter fine, but other things can cause problems too.

What “shop” ? Chain oil change/ tire place? Or a trustworthy mechanic with skillful technicians on his payroll?

Have you done all of the maintenance required by the owner’s manual? If not, what has been skipped?

Yeah I’m lucky enough to have a trustworthy mechanic.
As for that last one, all maintenance (that I can do without jack stands) has been done according to the Chilton book. I bought it from a dealer, had it checked out by a mechanic before I bought it a year ago who confirmed that it probably had just had a tune up. It has over 100K now and I bought it a year ago. I’ll change the wires, plugs, oil and oil filter, fuel filter and check out the fluids again (they may never have been done). If it still kicks like a mule, then perhaps this thread will be revived…