Tampa Tire Repair

Most Tampa motorists have experienced a flat tire. You know it’s inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn’t just a big safety issue for FL drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high Tampa gas prices, we’ve all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to get the best possible gas mileage. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer. 

There’s another danger to under-inflated tires for Tampa drivers. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don’t just keep airing them up every few days. You want to avoid pricey tire damage.

Tires can also be damaged by road hazards in and around Tampa. Punctures, cuts and unfortunate encounters with curbs or potholes can also cause damage that could lead to tire failure. Sometimes, it’s something that a diagnostic examination would reveal. Try to remember to check your tires when you’re pumping fuel. Look for slashes, missing chunks, nails or screws in the tread or just uneven wear. Of course check the air pressure too.

Now tire damage can be on the inside where Tampa motorists can’t see it until it’s removed from the wheel. Such damage could come from a severe impact, driving on a flat around New Tampa or even just low pressure. Some punctures can cause internal damage that is too extreme to be repaired. You may see our Running Great Automotive tire professionals take the time to remove your flat from the rim and inspect the inside before repairing it, which means we’re just following best practices.

Of course, some tires just can’t be repaired at your Tampa service center or Running Great Automotive. A puncture may be too large to plug. Also, the puncture could be in a location that’s not safe to repair like in the sidewall or outer portion of the tread. So called run-flat tires should not be repaired because their design is such that internal damage can’t be detected by a visual inspection by your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive service professional.

Tampa car owners should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs – we have a whole team of them at Running Great Automotive. New Tampa folks can buy self repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you’re off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to Tampa civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it’s a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.

Here are some other considerations: A DIY flat repair may void your tire manufacturer’s warranty – just something to keep in mind. Also, if you repair a speed rated tire, you should not use it in any motorsports or operate it above legal speed limits. Your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive tire specialist will repair your tire whenever it’s safe to do so and he’ll advise you when it’s better to replace it. So watch those curbs and keep the air – on the inside.

Running Great Automotive
14513 N Nebraska Ave
Tampa, FL 33613

Shake It Up in Tampa!: Why Wheel Balancing

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Tampa motorists generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Tampa car owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive service professional spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Tampa auto owners are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Tampa auto owners can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your sedan — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the highway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the harmful vibration. When Tampa car owners’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and vital suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at Running Great Automotive in Tampa can prevent pricey repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your sedan as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your MPG. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Running Great Automotive, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Tampa vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your sedan. Balancing your tires is part of critical preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some costly ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Running Great Automotive. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Tampa drivers’ nerves.

A New Battery In Tampa

Hello Tampa drivers, let’s talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Tampa, here’s some auto advice to help you.

There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.

The New Tampa weather also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the sedan engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold FL weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.

So if you live in a cold climate, or in an area in FL where winters can get really chilly, it is important to have a battery with more cold cranking amps than if you live in a more mild or warmer climate.

The battery that was installed in your sedan at the factory may not have the appropriate number of cold cranking amps for your area. It is essential to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and get at least that number of cold cranking amps, but you may want to upgrade if you live in a colder climate.

Reserve capacity is the number of minutes your battery can maintain essential functions in your sedan without being recharged. There are two things that affect reserve capacity. The first is referred to as parasitic drain. Your sedan has power systems that must be kept running while the engine is off. These may include the security system, the remote start systems, and any computer systems. The number and power requirements of these systems has greatly increased over the last few decades. As a result, the need for reserve capacity in vehicles’ batteries has also increased. Very short trips around Tampa and Lutz do not allow a vehicle’s battery to recover the energy that was used to start the car. So these trips require reserve capacity as well.

Again, the reserve capacity in the battery installed at the factory may not be what you need for your Tampa lifestyle and driving habits. Again, use the manufacturer’s recommendation as a minimum, but consider upgrading if your sedan has a lot of parasitic power drain or if you frequently make very short trips around New Tampa.

Your honest and friendly. service specialist at Running Great Automotive in Tampa can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your sedan. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it’s a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.

Car batteries aren’t cheap in Tampa, so you may want to consider the warranty when purchasing. Pro-rated warranties will give you credit for a portion of the battery if the battery fails during the warranty period. The amount of credit will depend on how long the battery lasted. A free replacement warranty will replace your battery if it fails during the warranty period. Before you purchase a battery, make sure you know what you are buying.

Keep in mind that preventive maintenance and good car care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits is vital and can help you get the most out of your battery.

On Board Diagnostics For Your sedan

Make an appointment with Running Great Automotive to have your on board diagnostics analyzed.
14513 N Nebraska Ave
Tampa, FL 33613

Today we’re going to talk about on-board diagnostics and the questions we hear from folks around Tampa FL who need answers about diagnostic services. They want to know what diagnostics are, what’s involved and what the benefits are. They really want to understand the value of diagnostic scans by a trained technician in Tampa FL.

These are valid concerns. If you don’t understand something it’s really hard to know its value. Let’s start with some history.

Since 1996, all cars and light trucks in Tampa FL have been required to use a standardized diagnostic system to help repair technicians determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. The diagnostic system works with the vehicle’s Engine Control Module – the computer that controls many engine functions.

The computer monitors dozens of components and processes. Depending on what the sensors read, the computer will make adjustments to compensate for conditions and minor problems. When there is a condition that it can’t adjust for, the computer will turn on the check engine light.

It is also called the ‘service engine soon’ light on some vehicles. The warning light signals you to get into your Tampa FL service center so that the trouble code can be read and the problem can be fixed. Your service center will have a scan tool and powerful software that will help the technician diagnose the problem.

If you’ve searched for check engine light on the internet, you may have seen that you can buy an inexpensive scanner or go to an auto parts store to have the trouble code read to tell you exactly what’s wrong.

That’s a common myth. The code itself doesn’t tell you what’s broken. It starts you looking in the right place. It tells you what engine parameter is out of range – but it won’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it.

Let’s say you think your daughter has a fever. You take her temperature and it reads one 102 degrees. You’ve confirmed a fever, but you don’t know what’s causing it. Is it a 24 hour flu, an infection, appendicitis or leukemia? A fever is a symptom of all of these medical problems, but it takes a skilled physician’s examination and additional diagnostic tests to find out what is actually causing the fever.

An example of a trouble code could be: P0133, which reads ‘Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response’. This means that the front oxygen sensor has a slow response time to changes in the air-fuel mix. If that’s all you knew about cars, you would think your oxygen sensor was broken and would replace it. Now, it could be the oxygen sensor – but it could also be a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, exhaust leak, electrical problem, an intake manifold leak or any of a number of other things.

You can imagine a lot of oxygen sensors have been replaced because of that code. So the on-board diagnostics point the way to where the trouble lies, but it takes some skill and high-tech equipment to actually pinpoint the problem. The cheap scan tools that a consumer can buy do not have the ability to retrieve some of the operating history that’s stored in the engine control computer. That history’s very helpful in diagnosing the problem. Service centers like Running Great Automotive invest a lot of money in high-end diagnostic tools to help solve the mystery and get you back on the road as soon as possible without replacing a lot of parts that don’t need replacing.

So, on-board diagnostics provide a powerful starting place for a highly-trained, well-equipped technician to get to the bottom of your problem. When your check engine light comes on, get it checked at Running Great Automotive. If the light burns steady – don’t panic. Get in to Running Great Automotive soon to have the engine scanned. A flashing check engine light means that there is a severe engine problem. Get in as soon as you can – waiting too long can lead to very expensive damage.

And try to not drive at high speed or tow or haul heavy loads with a flashing check engine light.

Emergency Items For Your sedan

Local New Tampa roadside emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So you may want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car at all times and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.

Your close-to-home kit for around Tampa would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You’ll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.

Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.

People who live in areas with frequent severe weather or earthquakes may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.

For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you assemble your emergency supplies. You’ll need to have a source of light and heat and will want to provide protection against the elements as well as adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

Always tell people where you are going and have a plan for checking in at waypoints. Then if you run into trouble, you can be reported missing as soon as possible and rescuers will be able to narrow the search area.

The key to safe travel is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead, and let others know your itinerary.

Fuel Filter Replacement

Hello Tampa auto owners! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your sedan feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel efficiency. The fuel filter’s job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won’t start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your car will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow harmful particles into your engine.

A car with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around Tampa, but sputter and strain on the interstate because it’s starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in FL and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural FL, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.

And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from bargain New Tampa area stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that’ll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.

Of course, vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it’s a little more complicated than that for Tampa auto owners. Some vehicle manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or eighty thousand miles. So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Cars older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the sedan fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in an expensive repair.

As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money for Tampa drivers down the road by improving gas mileage and preventing expensive repairs. At Running Great Automotive in Tampa, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned-out sedan fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.

Emergency Items For New Tampa motorists

Safe FL travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Running Great Automotive. But there are other things Tampa car owners can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.

First, Tampa motorists should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some critical items you should carry in your sedan include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your sedan is only part of emergency preparedness. It is essential to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in FL and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other essential items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy FL season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your FL area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your sedan for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Tampa home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.

When you travel, it is vital to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.

The automotive professionals at Running Great Automotive want Tampa drivers to be safe
. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

Breathe Free In Tampa: Cabin Air Filter Replacement At Running Great Automotive

There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Tampa car owners’ vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.

A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Tampa. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our New Tampa atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Tampa prone to air pollution.

Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive technician to get it done. Check your sedan owner’s manual to find out if your sedan is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in Lutz, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in FL, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.

Most Tampa folks know that good car care includes keeping your sedan clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!

Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Tampa allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in New Tampa who just wants to breathe better.

The Running Great Automotive Guide To Custom Wheels

If you’re interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your sedan, there are a few things you should know first.

Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many Tampa auto owners have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don’t fit right and the tires rub against the sedan when they turn or go over a bump.

To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Running Great Automotive tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your sedan. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you’ll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.

But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you’re willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should seek a knowledgeable New Tampa professional’s help ahead of time. For example, if you want a bigger set of wheels on your pickup truck, you can get a suspension lift so they will fit the truck. A professional Tampa custom wheel shop can help you get the work done right.

The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your sedan are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason car owners should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Tampa. The new wheel and tire combo needs to match the height of the tires that came with your vehicle.

Your car’s computer gauges your speed by the revolution of your tires and sends commands to the brakes and traction control based on that speed. If you put larger or smaller tires on your sedan, your computer is calculating the wrong speed and, consequently, sending incorrect commands to the brakes and traction control. This can have serious consequences as it may result in expensive damage to your vehicle or, worse, an accident.

If you change the size of your wheels, you need to get your engine’s computer reprogrammed at Running Great Automotive to accommodate the new tire size. New wheels shouldn’t just fit your vehicle, they should also fit your lifestyle. There are hundreds of styles and sizes to choose from. You should do a little research about which wheels and tires will best fit your personality, give you the performance you want, and meet your handling needs. We’re not saying you shouldn’t personalize your ride, we just want you to be happy with the result. Talk to us at Running Great Automotive in Tampa.

After all, good car care isn’t just about preventive maintenance. It’s also about making good choices.

The Running Great Automotive Guide To Tire Specs

You know you need new tires, but you’re not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the Tampa service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.

Tire size can be confusing for many Tampa drivers. There’s so much on the side of the tire, and it’s hard to keep straight.

Even though there’s a lot on a tire – if you know what it all means, it’s actually more helpful than confusing for Tampa tire shoppers. Let’s start with the size number.

For example, let’s say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters – the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio – the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it’s a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index – it’s the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty sedan can be safe with a lower number, but you’ll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads around Tampa. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires sold in Tampa are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating – with the exception of H – it comes between U and V (don’t ask why).

There’s a lot of fine print that most New Tampa auto owners probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there’re the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line – a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within the vehicle manufacturer’s product line – Tampa auto owners can’t compare with other auto makers. And it’s essential to note that a lower rating might be just what you want – a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won’t wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners on twisting FL roads.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A – the best, B – intermediate, C – acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire’s resistance to heat build up in government tests. A, B and C – from best to acceptable.

It’s safe for Tampa drivers to go with the automobile manufacturer’s original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you’ll now be better equipped to communicate with your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive tire professional.