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How to replace spark plug wires

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If your car starts to misfire and is starting to get lousy gas mileage, it might be your spark plug wires. Old or damaged ones can cause voltage to leak into your engine, resulting in poor performance.

You can change spark plug wires yourself in about an hour. If you have a smartphone or a camera, take a photo of the wires first to make a record of how they are arranged and attached. This will make the job much easier when it comes time to attach the new wires, according to Family Handyman magazine.

Next, invest in a good set of wires. They’ll last much longer and will fit better. Avoid high-performance wires which are made for racing cars and don’t work with conventional vehicles, warns Popular Mechanics. At the same time, buy a wire puller, also called boot pliers, to remove the old wires. This will also make your task go faster and easier. You just grab the coil/distributor boot with the puller, rotate it left and right, then pull straight out, says Handyman.

Try to buy wires that are precoated on the inside. If not, precoat it yourself with silicone grease, which keeps the boots from sticking to the plug or distributor, acts as insulation, and makes removing them easier in the future. Remove the old wires one at a time, matching it to the replacement wire, says Handyman. Route each new wire exactly like the old one it replaces, then push the boot onto the plug until it clicks. Do this with each wire. It’s important to follow the exact route because it affects engine performance. This is where taking a picture before you start comes in handy.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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