Auto Pro https://autoprogo.com We Keep Your Car on the Go! Thu, 21 Mar 2019 20:22:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://autoprogo.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/cropped-auto_pro_512x512-32x32.png Auto Pro https://autoprogo.com 32 32 Transmissions https://autoprogo.com/transmissions/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 20:22:52 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=706 Transmissions are heavy duty pieces of equipment that are designed to last a long time for most Tampa drivers. But like any other machine, they’ll eventually wear out and need repair. So let’s focus on what FL drivers can do to push that day off as far as possible.

The first thing Tampa drivers can do is to make sure their transmission always has enough fluid. Transmission fluid cools and lubricates the transmission. When there’s not enough fluid, the transmission will run hotter and wear out sooner.

The transmission fluid also provides the pressure needed to transfer power from the engine to the transmission. Not enough fluid, and your transmission won’t shift properly.

The team at Auto Pro in Tampa can check your transmission fluid level with a full service oil change and top it off if needed. If you see any transmission fluid on the driveway – it’s a reddish color – have us inspect it for a leak. A gasket, hose or seal could be leaking and may need to be repaired.

The next thing you can do to prolong the life of your vehicle transmission is to replace your transmission fluid on schedule. As you can imagine, all those gears grinding on each other result in lots of little bits of metal in the fluid. The more there is, the faster the transmission parts will wear out.

Transmission fluid also contains detergents and other additives to protect your transmission. These additives are depleted over time, so old fluid doesn’t protect as well as new fluid. Your vehicle owner’s manual or Auto Pro will have a recommendation for when you should have a transmission service.

If your vehicle transmission isn’t shifting as smoothly as it should, or if you suspect a transmission leak, let Auto Pro take a look at it. And ask if it’s time for a transmission service. Regular maintenance and taking care of small leaks right away will help your transmission last as long as possible.

]]>
Items Most Stolen From Vehicles https://autoprogo.com/items-most-stolen-from-vehicles/ Wed, 13 Mar 2019 20:58:38 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=702 What item is most often stolen from vehicles?

Is it:
(A) Stereo
(B) Wheels
(C) Air Bag
(D) DVD System


Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft – approximately 50,000 a year nationally in the United States. New airbags cost about $1,000 for Tampa but go for $50 to $200 on the black market. Stolen airbags are making their way back into vehicles that have been in an accident in Tampa. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely a part you don’t want to take a chance with, so we recommend following the following guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center like Auto Pro in Tampa that employs ASE certified mechanics.
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the Tampa repair shop purchased the airbag from a FL manufacturer, dealer or recycler.
  • If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer or recycler.

You will see the SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) light when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, then you know there is a problem with the airbag system.

]]>
The Auto Pro Guide to Buying a Used Vehicle https://autoprogo.com/the-auto-pro-guide-to-buying-a-used-vehicle/ Mon, 25 Feb 2019 19:41:27 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=698 Used vehicles are certainly an economical choice for budget-conscious Tampa drivers. But how can we know we’re getting a good used vehicle and not just inheriting someone else’s problems?

There are good used vehicles for sale in the Tampa area. Cars are sold when families upsize, when families downsize or even when someone just wants a new car. So the used vehicle may be just fine. But some Tampa used car owners sell vehicles because they don’t want to deal with developing or existing problems.

When you’re considering buying a used vehicle in Tampa, ask for service records. Check to see if the recommended schedules for preventive maintenance have been followed. If so, you probably have a great used vehicle on your hands. If there aren’t any service records, then assume the worst.

Check the vehicle for obvious signs of problems. Kick the tires if you want to, but definitely check them for uneven tread wear. This can indicate alignment problems, worn shocks or suspension issues. Listen to the engine for unusual sounds and pay attention to unexpected odors. Take the vehicle for a test drive and make a list of any concerns you might have.

When thinking about buying a used vehicle, take it to Auto Pro for a full-service oil change. This inspection will reveal many basic or developing problems. Auto Pro’s friendly and knowledgeable service advisor will show you a check list and tell you the good things about the vehicle and about concerns with the vehicle.  After the evaluation and talking with the service advisor you will definitely have heads-up on needed repairs or maintenance needed.  This will make your decision on buying or not buying the used vehicle much easier and give you some peace of mind.

]]>
Thermostat https://autoprogo.com/thermostat/ Wed, 06 Feb 2019 17:39:43 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=695 The thermostat is part of your cooling system. Tampa residents’ vehicle thermostats perform a similar function to the thermostats in their homes. At home, you set your thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature range. When your home gets too hot, the air conditioning kicks on and when it gets too cool, the heater turns on.

Now your engine also has an optimal temperature range: warm enough to run efficiently and not so hot as to cause engine damage. Your vehicle’s thermostat is a valve between the engine and the radiator. When Tampa residents first start a cold engine, the valve (thermostat) is closed, allowing the coolant surrounding the engine to warm up to the proper operating temperature. As the coolant gets hotter, the thermostat opens, allowing coolant to flow through to the radiator to be cooled. The thermostat opens and closes to keep the engine within a certain temperature range.

Now thermostats are rated for a specific temperature depending on the engine – not a one size fits all proposition. Thermostats are subject to normal wear. Proper operation depends on a special wax that expands as it heats up to open a spring-loaded valve. A worn thermostat could stick in the open position causing the engine to run too cool. This is inefficient and could affect performance and fuel economy. If a thermostat sticks in the closed position, the engine can be subject to the results of overheating.

There isn’t a specific routine for Tampa residents to maintain their thermostat, but maintaining the cooling system by changing the coolant/antifreeze on schedule will make sure the coolant has enough corrosion inhibitors to protect the thermostat and other system components. Cooling system experts and the team at Auto Pro in Tampa recommend replacing your thermostat when you do a coolant flush or exchange. Also, thermostats usually wear out faster than your hoses, so if a worn hose replacement is perfomed, replace the thermostat at the same time.

If your temperature warning light comes on, have an inspection of your cooling system right away. This could be a thermostat . The thermostat could also be the culprit for Tampa residents who aren’t getting hot air when they turn on their heater.

The thermostat is a relatively inexpensive part that stands guard between you and catastrophic engine damage. Follow your owner’s manual instructions, or check with your friendly and knowledgeable Auto Pro service advisor to see if it’s time for a cooling system inspection or service.

]]>
Fuel Economy https://autoprogo.com/fuel-economy/ Mon, 17 Dec 2018 17:41:39 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=689 The US government has a website dedicated to helping Tampa  drivers use less fuel. It presents the cost savings in a way we can all relate to, no matter what kind of vehicle we drive. Here’s an example:
Having your engine properly tuned, can save up to 4%. If you’re paying $1.50 for a litre of gas in Tampa, you could save six cents a litre.

Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve by up to 40 percent. That’s a whopping savings per litre.

Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput, your Check Engine light will come on. Now, any number of things could cause your Check Engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it’s on, it’s wise to get it checked out as soon as you can. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Auto Pro .

Here’s an easy one. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save Tampa three percent on a litre. Even a little drop in pressure will hurt so check your tires every week.

Your vehicle manufacturer has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced fuel economy, or up to six cents a litre.

Here are some free gas saving tips from Auto Pro in Tampa: Don’t drive aggressively, drive within the FL speed limit and remove excess weight (junk in the trunk) from your vehicle. These can add up to quite a bit per litre.

]]>
Heat and Traffic Jams https://autoprogo.com/heat-and-traffic-jams/ Wed, 21 Nov 2018 21:16:11 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=684  

 

Question:
What is a severe service maintenance schedule?

Auto Pro Answer:
When I was a kid in Tampa, Sunday meant having a bath, getting dressed for church and then hanging up my Sunday clothes soon as we got home. Mom didn’t have to wash those clothes but once a month or so.

Now, Saturdays were another story entirely: catching lizards, splash contests in mud puddles and crawling through the brush with GI Joe. Those clothes went straight into the laundry basket. My Sunday clothes – easy use. My Saturday clothes – hard use. They required a different laundry schedule. Severe service maintenance schedules are kind of like that for Tampa drivers. “Normal” driving has a regular schedule; “hard” driving has a severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe schedule.

Most owner’s manuals will describe severe service as:
Stop and go driving
Short trips
Low speed driving
Extreme hot or cold
Dusty conditions
Carrying heavy loads
Towing

For most people in Tampa, some “severe” driving is part of their everyday routine. You can ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Auto Pro about how you drive around the Temple Terrace area and see if your routine is closer to the regular or severe definitions and adjust your service intervals for things like oil changes, transmission and cooling system service.

]]>
Serpentine Belt https://autoprogo.com/serpentine-belt/ Thu, 13 Sep 2018 21:40:38 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=679 Your serpentine belt is powered by the engine as it turns. Your alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump depend on your serpentine belt to run. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan and power brakes.

If your serpentine belt breaks, your battery won’t last long. If it runs your fan or water pump, your engine could overheat before your battery dies. Steering and braking would also be affected. Hopefully, we’ve made a good case for replacing your vehicle’s serpentine belt when it’s worn out.

Your owner’s manual will advise you when to replace your serpentine belt. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Auto Pro can inspect the belt as well to determine if it’s close to failure.

You may have heard that it’s a good idea to check for cracks in your belt to see if it’s time for a new one. However, with the newer belts, belt thickness is a more reliable indicator of the status. At Auto Pro, we use a nifty tool to measure the depth of the grooves to see if a replacement is in order.

A worn belt can cause problems even before it breaks. It can slip out of place and put undue stress on the accessories it runs.

There’s a tensioner pulley on your engine that puts pressure on the belt to keep it at the right tension. Since the spring on the tensioner wears out like any other part, Auto Pro recommends replacing the tensioner pulley when you switch out the serpentine belt.  Replacing your serpentine belt on schedule will save you from a dangerous breakdown.

]]>
Oil Change https://autoprogo.com/oil-change/ Thu, 23 Aug 2018 20:10:05 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=675 An oil change at your local Tampa, FL, auto shop sounds simple, but there are some pretty important things to know about preventing oil sludge.

Oil eventually starts to turn into jelly, literally: petroleum jelly. Sludge clogs up oil passages and keeps oil from getting to some areas of the engine, causing parts to wear out prematurely. And that means expensive engine repairs.

That’s why you need to change the oil and oil filter on schedule — to get the old oil out before it turns to sludge. Your manufacturer will have a recommendation for how many miles/kilometers you can go between oil changes. They also usually have a number of months between recommended oil changes. That’s because the detergents and other additives in the oil break down over time.

Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for time and distance, but you need to remember that it’s based on using the recommended weight of oil. And if your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended intervals assume you will continue to use synthetic.

Also, how you drive around Tampa, FL, can have a big effect. Most owner’s manuals will have a list of driving conditions that are harder on your vehicle — things like stop and go driving in Tampa, short trips to Temple Terrace, driving in very hot or very cold weather, heavy loads and towing. If some of your driving fits these patterns, you may need to change your oil and do other maintenance on a more frequent schedule.

This may sound complicated. Some vehicles in FL have an oil life calculator that takes all of these factors into account and tells you when you should change your oil. Otherwise, talk with your FL service advisor at Auto Pro about how you drive and get his/her recommendation for when to take care of your service.

If the picture of a Sludge filter makes you cringe, how do you think your vehicle feels?! Don’t forget your oil and filter service!

]]>
Check Engine Light https://autoprogo.com/check-engine-light-2/ Mon, 02 Jul 2018 23:01:03 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=671 When your Check Engine light comes on, you may be torn between utter panic and just wanting to ignore it and hope it goes away. That’s perfectly understandable. That same Check Engine light could come on for anything from a serious engine or transmission problem all the way down to a loose gas cap.

There’s a very common misconception that the trouble codes stored in your engine computer when your check engine light comes on will specifically identify a problem. It’s really more like pointing to the symptoms of a problem.

Call Auto Pro at 813-866-7411 for help with your Check Engine light.

Think of taking your temperature. Say it’s 101°. Your heat sensor – the thermometer – tells you that your temperature is out of the normal range. But it doesn’t tell you why you have a fever. Is it the flu or a sinus infection? You need more information, more tests.

For any given trouble code, there could be a number of causes. So your trained technician takes the trouble code as a starting point and begins a diagnostic process to determine the cause of the problem. And some problems take longer to solve than others.

When your engine management system logs a problem and illuminates the check engine light, your Tampa service technician at Auto Pro will plug in a scanner, download the trouble codes and go to work tracing the cause of the problem.

That’s just the first step. That’s when our Auto Pro technician’s training, equipment, databases and skill get put to work diagnosing the problem and fixing it.

If your check engine light is flashing, it means that the problem could lead to serious damage. You should get to Auto Pro as soon as possible to get the problem solved. If it’s on but not flashing, you have some time to get in at your convenience.

]]>
Air Conditioning Service at Auto Pro https://autoprogo.com/air-conditioning-service-at-auto-pro/ Mon, 02 Jul 2018 22:47:51 +0000 https://autoprogo.com/?p=668 Most Tampa people don’t service their vehicle air conditioning until after it fails. Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well.

Along with the refrigerant, a special oil circulates in the system. The oil lubricates air conditioning components and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the vehicle air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all Tampa know that Tampa AC can be costly.  Affordable AC service at Auto Pro in Tampa starts with a thorough visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or wear.

The vehicle air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If an air conditioning leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired and the system is retested. Your friendly and knowledgeable Auto Pro will also perform a temperature drop test. If needed, the old refrigerant is evacuated and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test insures that the vehicle air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way. How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, your Auto Pro can tell you. It’s typically every two years.

 

]]>