Question about Hyundai Elantra

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I need to do a tune up on a 2003 Elantra. I already have the spark plugs and the air filter. Is there any thing else I need? Also I have never done a tune up before. I usually pay someone, but money is tight right now so I thought I would give it a try.

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  • Monica Whitman Nov 15, 2010

    You mentioned spark plug wires - I was told that there aren't any for this car. I bought the socket set with an extension piece. I'm confused about the "gap tool" don't I just put the plug right back where it was originally?

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Tune up is usually pretty easy, especially today with electronic ignition and automatic timing control. Aside from the Air Filter needing changed you should change your oil and filter every 3000 miles although some will go up to 7000 miles between changes. You need a spark plug socket to change your plugs with and if you plugs are set deep like they are on some 4 cylinder engines you'll need extensions to reach them. When you remove the spark plug wires remove them one at a time and replace the plug then put it back on and move to the next one. Make sure you feel the clamp in the wire boot end that goes over the plug click into place. Also, when you are removing the wires make sure you only pull on the boot end and not the wire itself. If you accidentally pull the wire apart from the boot buy a replacement set of wires and replace them all, again do this one at a time so you don't mix up the firing order. You'll most likely need an oil filter wrench to take the old filter off but when you put the new one in place tighten it down hand tight then give it a quarter turn to seal it up correctly. The whole job should take you roughly an hour to do the oil change, plug change and air filter change. When you change the oil it will take roughly 5 quarts of oil if you change the filter with it. I know some do oil drain and change only then the next change they change the filter, personally I do not recommend this but it is a choice you will have to make since it is your vehicle. When you change the plugs aside from the spark plug socket you will need a gap tool to verify your plug gap, If you get your plugs at Auto Zone or another Auto parts store they can tell you the proper gap for the plugs.

Posted on Nov 15, 2010

  • James Young Nov 15, 2010

    yes and no. In order to have correct firing of the spark plug they have to have the proper gap. For most vehicle it is somewhere between .32 to .40, notice the decimal point. The gap tool can either be the type that has several blades that flip out lip a pocket knife or the more common type that is about the size of a silver dollar. The gap you are concerned with is the distance between the piece that is bent over in an L shape over the contact that goes into the engine. You just need to verify that the gap between those two points is the correct distance. Too far and the plug fires late. Too close and the plug fires early either condition makes the vehicle run poorly. It is very easy to check with either gap tool and very easy to adjust. There are some plugs which are sold that you don't mess with the gap at all. These are the platinum and Double or Quadruple prong versions, Bosch is the leading producer of these. I believe they are marketed as Sure Fire or something like that. Most plugs come pre-gaped so don't sweat this a lot. Certainly there are some plugs out there you don't have to worry about and these are a little more expensive than the Auto Lite or Champion standard plugs most people buy. As an example, a standard plug that may need to be adjusted cost about $1.25 where one that wouldn't need that will cost anywhere from $4.00 to $7.00 each. So as you can see there is a wide range. My only concern was to make sure you where aware of this gap and to know what type of plug you purchased. If the Salesman at Auto Zone or where ever you bought them at told you that you didn't need to worry about the gap then you should be good. They are pretty good at knowing their product. Just don't go by what someone else is doing, they may have just gotten lucky over time, I on the other hand have experienced what happens when you forget to check that gap. Took me a week to figure out why my mileage was off by 10 MPG. Once I got the gap correct car ran great and my mileage was back up to 33 MPG City.

  • James Young Nov 15, 2010

    On the spark plug wire issue, Ford and a few others use a different type of system that essentially does away with Spark plug wires by placing an individual coil unit on top of each plug. If you have this type of system you won't have spark plug wires to worry about but there are still connectors to be sure you have good contact between the plug and that pack or the plug won't fire correctly. My advise is based solely on general Tune up requirements for most vehicles in that year model range.

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