Put On The Brakes: Brake Service At Running Great Automotive

When it comes to preventive maintenance and car care, most Tampa car owners know how vital it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.

The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction, which stops the vehicle. It’s no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and that brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.

Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn’t mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.

But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt and other road spatter. A brake inspection in Tampa at Running Great Automotive includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive technician can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.

The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at Running Great Automotive as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture build-up inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at Running Great Automotive in Tampa, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris and dirt.

It is critical to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your sedan tires are worn, you won’t get good stopping power. Traction is the gripping power of your tires to the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with a good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.

This is particularly vital on wet Lutz roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet FL roads or dry. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the sedan passes over the wet road, thus maintaining contact between the tire’s surface and the road, which maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly the loss of control.

Braking depends on two things: the weight of your sedan and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.

Regardless of what kind of car you drive in Tampa, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident and worry-free.

Auto Videos for Tampa Drivers: Alignment Inspection

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Tampa drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.

When doing an alignment inspection, the technician will survey your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He’ll also compare your current alignment with the automobile manufacturer’s settings.

Your vehicle owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in accident, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Tampa, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your Running Great Automotive technician complete a key alignment check.

Give us a call

Running Great Automotive
14513 N Nebraska Ave
Tampa, FL 33613

Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Tampa

A lot of people get custom wheels in Tampa. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don’t fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Running Great Automotive tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Tampa driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your sedan, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Tampa people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Tampa drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your sedan anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your sedan engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in FL. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your honest and friendly. Running Great Automotive tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your sedan. Your Running Great Automotive service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Tampa.

Save Fuel By Watching Your Weight

Most Tampa car owners are all talking fuel efficiency right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. FL folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Tampa drivers all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum gas mileage. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Tampa car owners can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Tampa to Lutz to Carrollwood. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Tampa? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Tampa neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your sedan: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around Tampa all the time.

After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money

Deciphering the Running Great Automotive Menu Board

Let’s talk about deciphering the auto service menu board. Tampa, FL service centers like Running Great Automotive have a board that lists the routine services they provide. But some people don’t know what these services really are unless they ask. Let’s go down a typical list, in alphabetical order, starting with air conditioning service.

Feel free at any time to give Running Great Automotive a call at 813.971.0642 to learn of the many services we offer, or stop by our Tampa, FL auto center at 14513 N Nebraska Ave 33613.

First remember that all of these services are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. They set how often or at how many miles the service should be done.

Air conditioning service involves purging the old refrigerant and capturing it for proper disposal. Then fresh refrigerant is installed. The fresh refrigerant will lubricate the system and will also help it cool better.

Alignment. Service centers like Running Great Automotive make sure all four wheels are lined up and track with each other. This reduces tire and suspension wear and improves safety and handling.

Battery service. Service centers like Running Great Automotive inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks or damage. Test the battery’s ability to hold a charge. If the battery’s still strong, clean it up. If not, replace it.

Brake service. This could be two things. A brake inspection to see if the brakes are working well mechanically and to see if the pads are still safe. If not, replace the pads and make any repairs that might be in order.

The other thing is to evacuate the brake fluid, clean out the system and replace it with fresh fluid. This is important, but often over looked.

Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is the filter that cleans the air that comes into the passenger compartment. It works like the filter on your furnace at home. It gets dirty and needs to be changed often.

Cooling system. This is the cooling system for your engine. Replace the old coolant with fresh to protect your radiator and other cooling system components from corrosion.

Differential service. Every vehicle has at least one differential. They don’t require service very often, so people don’t think of them much. The differential transfers power from the drive train to your wheels. Drain the old fluid and add fresh lubricant.

Engine air filter. This filters the air that’s burned in the engine. It also gets dirty and needs to be replaced often.

Fuel filter. This filter cleans the fuel before it gets to the engine. Like the other filters, it too gets clogged and needs to be replaced in order to maintain good flow.

Contact Running Great Automotive, your Tampa, FL auto repair center, by calling us at 813.971.0642.

Professional Auto Maintenance at Running Great Automotive: Causes of Wheel Misalignment

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Tampa car owners often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like a major crash, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object. While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well. Your automobile can lose alignment over time with just normal driving.

When your wheels are out of alignment, the team of automotive professionals at Running Great Automotive in Tampa can return your wheels to the factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest a diagnostic examination every year or two.

Give us a call

Running Great Automotive
14513 N Nebraska Ave
Tampa, FL 33613

What is That? Check Engine Light Service At Running Great Automotive

Okay. You went to your local Tampa car wash and while your sedan was under the dryer, the check engine light started flashing. Panic! What did you just do? Something is seriously wrong with the sedan! You head for the nearest Tampa service station, but on the way, the check engine light stops flashing, and just glows red. Hmm. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. You decide to wait until payday to take your sedan in to get serviced. In the meantime, the check engine light goes off. What? You decide the light must be faulty, or that when it comes on it doesn’t mean anything, or that it’s just in your sedan as some sort of scam to get you to pay for unnecessary pricey repairs. You’re glad you didn’t take your car to the Tampa repair shop and resolve to ignore that engine light in the future.

Whoa! Let’s look at what really happened. Your sedan was under an air dryer. Your air intake sensor measured too much air running through the engine. It sent its report to the engine computer, where a warning was triggered: there shouldn’t be that much airflow when the sedan engine is idling. This is a serious problem that could cause permanent engine damage. Warning! The check engine light starts flashing, letting you know you need to take immediate action to prevent that damage.

You drive out from under the dryer, and the air intake sensor sends a new message to the computer. The computer realizes that everything is normal and tells the check engine light to stop flashing. The sedan doesn’t need immediate attention; but there was a problem, and it should be checked out by your service specialist. After a few days the computer senses that the problem is gone, so it turns off the warning light.

You may think this story illustrates the uselessness of a check engine light, but you should remember that a computer can’t think for itself, it can only follow its programming. It doesn’t know the difference between a car wash air dryer and a serious malfunction in your sedan engine. That doesn’t make it useless. It just means you have to be the smart one.

Being smart doesn’t mean ignoring your sedan check engine light. It lets you know when something is wrong, and you can prevent a lot of damage to your vehicle by paying proper attention to it.

Your engine computer is constantly collecting data about what is going on inside your sedan engine. It knows what parameters are normal, and when a reading may indicate a problem. It uses the check engine light to let you know when something isn’t right. It then stores a code in its memory that a service professional can retrieve that indicates which reading was abnormal.

The service specialist uses this code as a starting place to find out what’s wrong with your sedan. It’s like going to the doctor with a fever. The fever is the reading that is abnormal — your temperature is too high — but the doctor still has to figure out what’s causing it. It’s probably an infection, but what kind? Sinus infection? Appendicitis? Flu? The problems and their solutions are quite different. But a fever also tells a doctor what’s NOT wrong with you. Fevers don’t accompany stress headaches, ulcers or arthritis, so there’s no sense in testing for those conditions.

Your Tampa service specialist responds to a trouble code in your sedan’s computer in the same way. The code doesn’t say exactly what’s wrong, but it does give the technician a good indication of where to start looking —and where he/she doesn’t need to look.

Now, you wouldn’t consider diagnosing yourself with a serious medical problem; good medical advice — unless you’re a doctor. So you shouldn’t consider trying to diagnose your vehicle’s troubles by yourself; good auto advice — unless you’re a trained mechanic.

There are cheap scanners available on the market and some Tampa auto parts stores offer to read trouble codes from your sedan engine computer for you, but these are really not good alternatives to taking your vehicle to a qualified service center such as Running Great Automotive in Tampa. Your engine’s computer has both short-term and long-term memory, and there are some codes that are specific to a particular make of vehicle. Cheap scanners can’t read an engine computer’s long-term memory nor can they interpret manufacturer – specific codes. That’s why manager Glen Yudman at Running Great Automotive spends a lot of money on high-end diagnostic tools.

It’s as if you had a choice between a doctor who had a tongue depressor and a thermometer and one who had all the latest medical diagnostic equipment on hand. Honestly, which would you choose?

Getting your codes read at your New Tampa auto parts store isn’t really a money-saver, either, unless you’re a trained mechanic. You’ll end up with a code that tells you a symptom. What usually happens next is that the New Tampa parts store sells you something that directly relates to the symptom. It may or may not fix the problem. It’s actually cheaper to just go to the Running Great Automotive in Tampa and get things fixed right the first time.

Remember, a fever can indicate a sinus infection or appendicitis. An antibiotic may be okay for that sinus infection, but it won’t help your appendicitis. Is it really wise to wait around to see if the antibiotic helps when you might have appendicitis?

Part of good car care is knowing where you can get a problem fixed, and fixed right. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping you out of the repair shop, but eventually, we will all have a problem that needs fixing. Let’s do it right the first time at Running Great Automotive. In the long run, it’s actually the less pricey choice.

Saving Lives In Tampa With Tire Pressure

All new passenger vehicles on our Tampa FL roads now have tire pressure monitoring systemsTPMS for short. They are designed to alert you if your tires are under inflated. Since they are fairly new, a lot of people have questions about TPMS.

First off, the most important thing is that you still need to check your tire pressure every week – or at least every time you gas up. The TPMS system alert comes in when your tire is twenty percent below the factory recommendation. So if the recommended pressure is thirty five pounds per square inch, the TPMS warning won’t come on until the pressure is at twenty eight pounds. That’s significantly under-inflated. Enough to raise safety concerns.

The worst is tire failure. A severely under inflated tire can overheat and fail. Also, handling degrades to the point that you may not be able to steer out of trouble. Also under-inflated tires wear out faster and they waste fuel. So it’s costly to not stay on top of proper inflation.

What’s the practical value of the TPMS system? Well, it’s twofold. First, it can alert you when your tire is losing pressure due to a puncture or a bent rim. That’s an important warning that you might not have gotten until next time you gassed up.

The second is that we all occasionally forget to check our tire pressure. So it’s a failsafe system to let you know there’s a problem brewing.

Other things can cause your TPMS system to go off. The system also monitors itself. The sensors that are mounted in the wheels have little batteries that send a signal to the monitor. The batteries go dead over time and the TPMS system will let you know. And the sensors could break. Also road salt from our Tampa FL roads can ruin them.

There’s also a hassle factor that your Tampa FL tire center has to contend with. For example, when you have your tires rotated in Tampa, the TPMS system has to be re-calibrated so that it knows which tire is on which corner of the car. Same is true for when you have new tires or winter tires installed. Flat repairs, as well.

That takes extra time. And it requires the right equipment and training. Special – and expensive – tire change machines need to be used with some sensors. It’s all complicated by the fact that there are a number of different TPMS systems in use so the tire professionals at Running Great Automotive need equipment and training for each kind. Tire centers have had to raise the price of some of these basic services to offset their increased costs.

Also if you add custom wheels on your sedan, you need to put in new TPMS sensors if your originals won’t work on the new rims. If you don’t your TPMS light will be on constantly and you won’t have the benefit of the warning system.

All in all, the mandated TPMS systems will save lives, so they’re worth the added hassle and expense.

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.