Tuneup 1999 Dodge Dakota SLT 3.9L

I was going to try and tuneup my truck myself. When I researched the parts necessary to do this I found what I expected; wires,distributor cap, distributor rotor, etc. But, when I looked under the hood I found an odd variety of electronic connections the like of which I had never seen before. Is it possible to still tune up a vehicle yourself or must I take it to a professional?

Is this the first time you looked under the hood?

There’s really no such thing as a “tune up” any more. The engine computer continually adjusts things like ignition timing and air/fuel ratio to meet the conditions reported by the various and sundry sensors.

All you do is replace the parts that wear out over time, like the spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor, etc. You’re not “tuning” anything, you’re just giving the computer new components to work with. This is a good thing.

You can still replace these items yourself. Just be careful, replace one thing at a time, and make sure everything is correctly connected when you’re finished.

I recommend a service manual, such as Haynes, to help you take care of your vehicle. These books don’t cost much, but they contain a wealth of information for the do-it-yourselfer.

Factory manuals are best, but unless you’re planning to overhaul the engine, or don’t mind spending the extra money, a generic manual will do.

Yes, closely. I have relied on professionals to this point, but, now that I’m retired I’m much more value conscious. Also, I can’t recognize the wires, cap, rotor,etc. I can’t even find them. When I was eighteen, under the hood was a whole bunch different. Thanks for your encouragement,but I think I’ll save up for a pro.

All cars come with a very very important accessory. Far too many people ever even see it. It should be found in the glove box. It is an owner’s manual and it will list all the maintenance that a car will normally need. (Note I generally recommend replacing an automatic transmission’s fluid at 35-50,000 miles. No flush, just replace and clean or replace any filters.