Parkway Automotive Auto Service and Maintenance Videos: Battery Testing

January 15th, 2016

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Little Rock auto owners and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your Parkway Automotive service advisor can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for Arkansas car owners because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Automotive Guide for Little Rock: Serpentine Belt System Wear

December 31st, 2015

The primary job of the serpentine belt is to provide vital traction to spin the accessories. As the belt wears it loses some of its grip and the accessories may not spin at prime speeds. For example, if your alternator doesn’t spin fast enough, the battery will not completely recharge while you’re driving and you could end up stranded with a dead battery.

In short, a worn serpentine belt will stress all of the accessories it powers leading to premature wear and possible early replacement. When as little as 5% of belt material is lost, the serpentine belt cannot provide the proper traction for the accessories. Your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist can inspect your belt for excessive wear and replace your serpentine belt system if it’s excessively worn.

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Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Vehicle Maintenance Videos by Parkway Automotive: Serpentine Belt Overview

December 24th, 2015

Your serpentine belt drives important engine accessories like your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering. In some automobiles it may also power the power brakes or water pump. The serpentine belt is powered by the engine and winds around pulleys and the accessories. Some vehicles have two serpentine belts.

The serpentine belt, the belt tensioner (which maintains the appropriate tension on the belt) and the idler pulleys are together known as the accessory drive system.

Now your serpentine belt and the belt tensioner will just wear out over time – that’s why your auto manufacturer has a scheduled belt replacement interval. The team at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock can review your serpentine belt for wear and get it replaced if it’s time.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Tire Tread Depth for Little Rock, Arkansas Drivers

December 17th, 2015




Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Parkway Automotive; (just call 501-821-6111) to find out what your requirements are in the Little Rock, Arkansas area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give Little Rock drivers enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the critical issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Little Rock auto owners also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Little Rock Arkansas, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in Little Rock over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a detrimental condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Little Rock auto owners will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Little Rock motorists follow that far behind the truck ahead? Obviously, this is an essential safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do Little Rock auto owners know when their tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most motorists in Little Rock, Arkansas want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223
501-821-6111

Are There Blind Spots In Little Rock Arkansas?

December 11th, 2015


All Little Rock motorists have blind spots – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that you really don’t sing like Adele. I mean the areas of the road that you can’t see when you’re driving around Little Rock.

First let’s talk about our own blinds spots, and then we can talk about others…

To begin, we can greatly reduce blind spots by properly adjusting our mirrors to give the widest coverage possible. Make the adjustments in your truck before you start to drive.

First, Little Rock auto owners should adjust their rear view mirrors to give the best possible view directly to the rear of their truck. Conway, Arkansas folks don’t need it to get a better view of either side of the car, the kids in the back seat or their dazzling smile. It’s pretty manageable, the rear view mirror should reflect the rear.

Next, lean your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Adjust your side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Now, lean your head to the middle of the car and adjust the outside mirror so that you can barely see the right side of the car.

When Little Rock motorists adjust their mirrors this way, they’ll have maximum coverage. Of course driving is a dynamic process – things change every second on Conway, Arkansas roads and busy freeways. So it’s wise to take a quick look to the side when passing to make sure that another truck hasn’t moved into an area you couldn’t see in your mirrors.

Depending on the kind of vehicle you drive (truck?), you may still have some blind spots. All vehicles have an area behind them that’s blind when backing up. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. A pick-up or SUV can hide a small child – an RV, bus or tractor-trailer can hide an entire vehicle. So be careful out there on our Conway, Arkansas streets and in your driveway at your Little Rock home!

As you drive around the Conway, Arkansas area, avoid staying in other drivers’ blind spots. You can’t count on them to be watching their mirrors and looking out for you.

Let’s talk about safely sharing our Arkansas roads with heavy trucks and buses. In crashes involving a truck and car, the driver of the car is to blame for about 40 percent of the accidents. But 78 percent of the fatalities are with the car. The laws of physics are against the smaller vehicle, so it is essential for Little Rock motorists to take extra precautions around trucks and buses.

Heavy vehicles have huge blind spots: to the rear, on both sides and up front. They also can’t maneuver like a car. They take twice as long to stop and need twice as much space as you do in your truck or other type of car. You need to keep wide margins when driving around one of these big rigs on Conway, Arkansas area interstates.

Here are some tips for passing a heavy vehicle in the Conway, Arkansas area:

Avoid the blind spots. If you can’t see the Little Rock drivers’s face in one of his mirrors or in a window, he cannot see you!

Don’t follow too close. If you can’t see one of the truck’s mirrors, you’re too close.

Make sure there is plenty of room to pass. Trucks are long and take time to get around. If you’re on one of our local Little Rock, Arkansas two-lane highways, wait for a passing zone.

Don’t linger when passing. Because the blind spots are so big on the sides, you want to get through them quickly. If you can’t pass quickly, drop back.

Pass on the left whenever possible. A trucks’ blind spot is much larger on the right.

Be attentive and wear your seat belt while driving anywhere around Little Rock, even for short drives. Don’t be aggressive when driving around trucks. Because of their size, they appear to be going slower than they really are. Cutting it short around a truck could be disastrous.

Use your turn signals when starting to pass. Once you can see the full truck in your rear view mirror, it’s safe to signal and move over. It’s essential not to cut it short or slow quickly when you pull in front of a truck.

Be careful passing a truck at an intersection in Little Rock. Trucks need to turn wide to maneuver through Little Rock streets. Squeezing between a truck and the curb could put your car in your Little Rock body shop or Parkway Automotive. Look for the truck’s turn signals.

The team of automotive professionals at Parkway Automotive want you to watch those blind spots – but feel free to sing in the shower all you want.

Parkway Automotive
We’re on 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock, Arkansas (72223)
Call us to make an appointment at 501-821-6111.

Parkway Automotive Car Care Advice for Little Rock Motorists: Serpentine Belt Tensioner

December 8th, 2015

The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining prime tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. The service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner impedes the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise.

Your auto maker has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner and any idler pulleys your vehicle might have. Your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist can review your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Auto Videos for Little Rock Drivers: Wiper Blade Options

November 26th, 2015

Wiper blades are critically important to Little Rock car owners for good driving visibility and safety. When it’s time to replace your wiper blades, there are a number of different wiper blade designs and grades. Little Rock car owners should always use at least the design or grade that came with their vehicle.

If you live in Arkansas where there is a lot of wet weather, flying insects, or do a lot of highway driving, you may want to upgrade to a more advanced design or premium quality wiper blade. Your honest Parkway Automotive technician can share the options available for your vehicle and help you decide which wiper blades are best for you.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Parkway Automotive Vehicle Maintenance Tips and Videos: Tire Replacement Overview

November 20th, 2015

Tires are a significant purchase so knowing when tires should be replaced is important for Little Rock motorists. Tires will just wear out with normal use. The depth of the tread on your tire determines how well it will stop, start and steer – especially in wet conditions. 4/32th of an inch of tire tread is considered a safe amount of tread.

Uneven tread wear can be a symptom of other problems and simply replacing your tires will not prevent the same uneven wear from happening to the new tires. We can review your tires for excessive or uneven wear. Unusual wear may lead to further examination of steering, suspension or alignment issues. We can help with necessary repairs and with getting you the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Gear Up: Transmission Service at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock

November 18th, 2015

The transmission system in your vehicle allows you to change gears. Lower gears are power gears. They get your vehicle moving and get it up hills. Higher gears get the vehicle up to speed and get it rolling faster. If you have a standard transmission, then you have to do the work of shifting gears yourself. But with an automatic transmission, the vehicle shifts gears on its own. It automatically starts out in low gear and automatically shifts to high gears as it gets rolling. Again, it will automatically shift to a lower gear to climb hills or when you need a burst of speed.

How does it know when to change gears? Today’s automatic transmissions are computer-controlled. The computer gathers information about what the vehicle is doing, and changes the gears as needed.

Automatic transmissions are becoming more sophisticated all the time. More gears, or “speeds” are being added. Almost all vehicles have four at least speeds. Five or six is common. Some car makers are even increasing to seven or eight – up to ten. Adding gears has a lot of advantages for Little Rock motorists: it improves fuel efficiency and increases performance.

But there is a drawback for Little Rock drivers: more gears equals more parts and a more complex transmission system. Plus, all those parts need to fit into the same space as older, less complex transmissions. This means that today’s transmissions are engineered to much tighter tolerances. In other words, they demand meticulous care from Little Rock auto owners. Transmissions are designed for durability. But that durability can be compromised if they aren’t given proper care.

That’s why changing transmission fluid is such a critical part of preventive maintenance for Little Rock drivers. Transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and keeps it in good working order. But if the fluid runs low, transmission parts will wear out quickly or suffer costly damage due to increased friction. The transmission can even fail.

Dirty transmission fluid can clog the small passageways in the transmission, blocking lubricant from reaching all of its parts. Again, this can lead to increased wear, damage or failure.

New transmissions aren’t cheap. Repairing them isn’t cheap either. But changing transmission fluid is fairly inexpensive for Little Rock auto owners at Parkway Automotive. That’s why responsible car care includes maintenance on the transmission system at Parkway Automotive. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that periodic fluid changes aren’t just good auto advice, they actually pay for themselves by preventing pricey transmission repairs.

The Parkway Automotive Guide for Little Rock Drivers: Causes of Wheel Misalignment

November 7th, 2015

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. Little Rock drivers 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 car can lose alignment over time with just normal driving.

When your wheels are out of alignment, the team of automotive professionals at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock can return your wheels to the factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest an automotive analysis every year or two.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
501-821-6111
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223