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.

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Parkway Automotive
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
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

The Parkway Automotive Guide To Servicing Your Differential

October 29th, 2015

Differential? What’s that? And what’s it for? I’ve been told by my service specialist that I need to get it serviced, but is that on the level?

Do these questions sound familiar? They’re not uncommon for Little Rock motorists. A lot of us in Little Rock don’t know what a differential is or what it’s for. Every vehicle has a differential, and, yes, it does need to be serviced. In fact, it’s more critical to the operation of your truck than the air conditioner or windshield wipers.

A differential allows your truck tires to move at different speeds. This happens more than you think. The best example is when a vehicle is turning. The inside wheel travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel during a turn. This means the outside wheel has to move faster than the inside wheel. Without a differential, your tires would hop and skip while turning. They would also lose traction in sand or snow.

The location of your differential depends on what kind of vehicle you drive. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located in the back. For a front-wheel drive vehicle, it is located on the front, but it is usually called a transaxle. Four-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials: one on the front, one in the back, and one in the middle. This center differential compensates for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Your differential contains strong gears that need to be protected from dirt, debris, water and other contaminants. A differential is sometimes referred to as a “gear box.” The work of these gears is to transfer power from the truck drive train to the wheels.

Your differential needs fluid to lubricate and cool the gears. This fluid, even though enclosed in the “gear box,” can get dirty because the gears grind down over time, releasing tiny bits of themselves into the fluid. Also, the additives in the differential fluid break down and need to be replaced. That’s why important preventive maintenance for your truck needs to include servicing the differential.

Your owner’s manual can give you recommendations on how often to service your differential. But you should also consult with your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor. Parkway Automotive can give you some good auto advice on whether your vehicle needs to be serviced more frequently. For example, if you drive in hot or cold Little Rock weather conditions, your differential will need to have its fluid changed more often.

Severe conditions will also affect your car care routine, and your differential. Check your owner’s manual for a definition of “severe service” conditions that affect your vehicle. Examples may include driving with frequent stops and starts, a lot of short trips around Conway, Arkansas, hot or cold Arkansas weather conditions, and towing.

Off-roading is particularly hard on a vehicle’s differential. If you are an off-roader, especially if you cross Arkansas streams or waterways, it is important that you service your differential more frequently than the recommendations suggest.

Properly servicing your differential will extend its life and keep you out of Little Rock auto repair shops. A smooth ride for Conway, Arkansas motorists is the result of proper preparation and smart choices.

Parkway Automotive Auto Tips and Car Care: Making Your A/C System Last Longer

October 28th, 2015

Little Rock motorists know that if their air conditioning system isn’t making cool air like it used to, there is a problem. It may be as simple as adding more of the right kind of refrigerant.

Your A/C requires special compressor oil, which circulates through the system along with the refrigerant, to lubricate and protect expensive components and keep seals and gaskets from drying out. If refrigerant has leaked out – so has the compressor oil. This oil needs to be replenished whenever refrigerant is added.

An air conditioning analysis will uncover any potential problems and identify any needed repairs needed to get Little Rock car owners on the road to cool air once again.

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Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Super Slick at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock: Synthetic Oil

October 16th, 2015

When you get an oil change, it’s always a safe bet to just use the type of oil the auto manufacturer recommends. But sometimes we’re asked if we’d like conventional or synthetic motor oil. We glance at the price tags on the two options and choose the cheaper one. But in this case, the more expensive oil might be the better bargain for Little Rock drivers.

Conventional oil is made from petroleum. Its molecules form long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil is either more highly refined petroleum or completely man-made. Its molecules are more uniform. This provides important advantages over conventional motor oil.

First of all, the molecular structure of synthetic motor oil makes it more slippery than conventional oil so it lubricates better. This translates to better wear protection for Little Rock drivers, cooler operating temperatures, more engine power and increased gas mileage.

Further, synthetic oil is more heat-resistant than conventional oil, and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It provides better protection for severe conditions like stop-and-go driving around Little Rock and very hot or freezing Arkansas temperatures.

Also, synthetic oil doesn’t generate harmful oil sludge like conventional oil. This prevents small engine passageways from becoming clogged, which can significantly extend the working life of your truck engine.

Manufacturers are aware of the advantages of synthetic oil, and many of them are using it to fill their trucks before delivering them to be sold. Many automobile manufacturer’s owner’s manuals now come with the recommendation to use only synthetic oil. Because synthetic oil wears better and protects better than conventional motor oil, it can be changed less often. If your truck came with a recommendation for synthetic oil, you may have noticed that the recommended period between oil changes is longer than what you’re used to. However, if you switch to conventional oil, you need to be aware that you can’t follow this longer service interval. You’ll have to change your oil more often.

On the other hand, if you are using conventional oil and you switch to synthetic oil, you may be able to lengthen the time between oil changes. You can speak with your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist. He can offer you good auto advice about oils and service intervals based on your driving habits and requirements.

Oil changes are the hallmark of important preventive maintenance at Parkway Automotive. All Little Rock drivers need them. So we should get excited about a product that reduces how often we need them. Synthetic oil is more costly, yes, but it can pay for itself by lasting longer than conventional oil. And when you add in the hidden savings of an extended engine life and improved fuel efficiency, not to mention increased engine power, there’s a good chance that synthetic oil actually saves in the long run. All Little Rock drivers pay for car care. But understanding what we’re paying for can make us more savvy shoppers.

Time Out: Suspension Problems in Little Rock

October 7th, 2015

Your vehicle’s suspension system has two critical jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump.

To see your suspension system, you’ll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle’s frame is part of the suspension system. They’re heavy-duty parts that work hard while you’re driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for a diagnostic examination is every time you get your alignment checked.

If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. If the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn’t as smooth as it should be, or if your vehicle handles poorly, you should get an inspection of your suspension system. Uneven tire wear can also indicate worn parts in your suspension system. If your shocks are leaking oil then they definitely need to be replaced. All in all, if you don’t feel in control when you’re driving, go get your suspension inspected.

Shocks and struts wear out. Wheel bearings may need to be repacked every few years. Some parts of your suspension may need to be lubricated whenever you change your oil. Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle under control. Good car care can prevent accidents for Conway, Arkansas drivers.

If you are in an accident, even a minor one, it can damage your suspension system or knock your wheels out of alignment. Even hitting a curb, pothole or large rock can damage your suspension. A wheel balancing or alignment won’t correct a suspension problem, and after any suspension work, you’ll may need to get an alignment.

At Parkway Automotive, we advise Little Rock motorists never to procrastinate important repairs to their suspension system. A damaged suspension system can lead to loss of control of a vehicle in an emergency situation and serious accidents.

Potholes are unsightly nuisances around Little Rock, but they’re also a major cause of suspension damage for Little Rock car owners. To avoid this, Little Rock motorists should always keep their tires properly inflated. This gives the tires maximum resiliency. When you’re driving around the Conway, Arkansas area, avoid potholes if possible. If you can’t avoid one, then slow down before driving over it. Slower speeds limit pothole damage. But if you’re a little late detecting a pothole, don’t brake on top of it. This will throw the vehicle’s weight forward and increase the damage.

The suspension system may not be pretty to look at, but it provides Little Rock drivers with a safe, comfortable ride — as long as they maintain it properly. You don’t have to show it off, but you should be proud of it.

Vehicle Maintenance Videos by Parkway Automotive: Rotor Problems

October 1st, 2015

The brake rotor, or disc, is attached to your wheel. The brake pads rub on the rotor to slow your automobile.

Rotors can warp, crack or become misaligned. They can also be damaged by worn out brake pads that scratch grooves into the surface. These conditions result in less contact surface for the brake pads, leaving you with reduced braking power.

Over time and miles, rotors can also wear down below safe specifications. It is important for Little Rock auto owners to know that simply replacing brake pads on a wheel with a bad rotor will not solve the issue. Depending on their condition, rotors may be resurfaced or replaced.

Brake noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal are signs of potential brake troubles that should be addressed right away. If you have any brake concerns, please have your honest Parkway Automotive tech carry out a thorough examination.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Automotive Tips from Parkway Automotive: Signs of An Alignment Problem

September 25th, 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. Conway, Arkansas auto owners often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object.

While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Little Rock driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

Moreover, your auto  can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, Parkway Automotive in Little Rock can return your wheels to the vehicle manufacturer factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Good Timing: Proper Timing Belt Replacement Saves Money for Little Rock Drivers

September 18th, 2015

Knowing how their engine works can help Little Rock motorists make informed decisions about car care and prevent pricey repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.

An engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.

All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.

Not all vehicles in the Little Rock area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many automobile manufacturers use them to save money.

Timing belts wear out and break, so an essential part of preventive maintenance for Little Rock motorists is to replace the timing belt on schedule.

The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Little Rock motorists. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly harmful situation depending on where you are driving around Little Rock when it breaks, but it won’t cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren’t any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.

The timing belt doesn’t even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.

Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles, but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles. If your owner’s manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles, however, don’t wait until 65,000 miles to get it done. Remember what you’re risking.

Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Little Rock drivers. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.

For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your honest Parkway Automotive technician. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.