I have a 1999 Dodge Dakota SLT. I want to do a simple tuneup ( plugs, wires, distributor cap, distributor). My wife says she has read that one should not do their own tuneups(I’m not the world’s best mechanic.) on newer vehicles. Since I’m not dealing with the computer I don’t see why not. Please give me some input. Thanks.

Your wife is partially right; I trained as a mechanic years ago and can’t be bothered trying to fish the plugs out of an overhead cam engine.

If you don’t routinely do difficult things, I would forget about it, even if there are no computer problems. The only plugs I change now are in my lawnmower.

I would let a professional do this; they will also analyze the engine in the process to see if everything is working the way it should.

Your wife is right. Even if your wife is wrong, your wife is right.

Find a reputable independently owned and operated shop. Don’t go to a chain place.

I agree. But ‘tuneups’ have changed. Now’s a good time to get your your Dakota’s maintenance guide and make a list of everything that is needed. If you haven’t done plugs and wires, do them, even if it doesn’t list them. But there may be other items, like belts, etc, it needs. Fluid changes are just as important.

Do it yourself. There is no magic, and changing plugs and wires is not rocket science. Just ensure you don’t allow anything to fall into the spark plug hole, and that you replace the wires one at a time. A 1999 vehicle is 10 years old and not that complicated. (if it has the V8 motor, it is just tight in the engine compartment.)But it will give you the confidence to press on to bigger and better things, otherwise you’ll always be a slave to the auto repair shops, and always at their mercy. In this case, I’m going to disagree with your wife. Mind you, I didn’t say she was wrong, I only said I’ll disagree with her.

I don’t agree. Get that Dakota maintenance manual, read it and jump right in there. You’re not going to hurt anything. If the timing sounds wrong when you’re done, take it to a shop. Life is full of stuff others think we’re not suppose to do. They can be right or wrong and so what? You want to do it, so do it.

The foregoing message does not apply to dentistry, surgery and the practice of law.

It would take about a 1/2 hour to change the plugs on my 95 Dakota, very easy to work on. I had the 3.9 V6 and there was plenty of room under the hood. I can’t speak for the 5.2 V8 or the OHC V6 (3.7) and V8 (4.7).

Ed B.