Welcome to VE.
Though not exactly your model number does your unit look like this:http://www.vinylengine.com/library/jvc/jl-f45.shtml
Follow the instruction manual for setup instructions. This turntable should perform adequately allowing you to listen to the vinyl collection you have inherited.
What cartridge do you have on this tt? Have you set up this cartridge correctly according to protractors available on this site?
Start with listening to this tt with music you are familiar with compare this to CDs of the same music and/or against a friend(s) tts.
After you live with this tt and it's sound for a while you can identify what you may be missing in your sound / setup.
Unless the auto mechanism is interfering with the free movement of the tonearm (it should not), I would leave it intact. In case you do want to upgrade and sell it at a later date, it will be worth more if the tt functions as intended.
In the meantime, check out this thread:http://www.vinylengine.com/phpBB2/viewt ... &start=510
You may find your existing cartridge in the discussion and a flavor for a cartridge you may want to move up to in an upgrade without a large investment.
Good luck and happy listening.
Music is Everything....Except Predictable....WFUV Fan.