Exhaust Service at Parkway Automotive: Passing the Smell Test

November 18th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Little Rock auto owners realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All Arkansas folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That’s why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so vital. We can help you with that at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your truck passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Parkway Automotive for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other Conway, Arkansas roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your truck exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You’ll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn’t require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler’s job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter’s. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Little Rock auto owners don’t realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Little Rock with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn’t mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your truck engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your truck healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the truck, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn’t. If you don’t inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your truck owner’s manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it’s good health advice for all Little Rock car owners and their families.

Helping Little Rock Drivers Get the Right Tires

November 12th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

Every Little Rock vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy Arkansas roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Conway, Arkansas temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Little Rock weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in Arkansas and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in Arkansas, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second important consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at Arkansas tire stores. Little Rock motorists will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Parkway Automotive tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

Little Rock car owners who drive off-road around Arkansas may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Little Rock streets and highways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in Little Rock as a statement of style or to add personality to your truck. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your truck, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Parkway Automotive tech for more information about tires.

Emergency Items For Your truck

November 6th, 2014

Local Conway, Arkansas roadside emergencies can range from a flat tire downtown to being stranded in a snowy ravine for three days. So you may want to consider a basic emergency kit to keep in the car at all times and a travel kit tailored to a specific trip.

Your close-to-home kit for around Little Rock would have some basic items to work on your car: everything you need to change a tire, gloves, a couple quarts of oil, some antifreeze and water. A can of tire inflator is a great temporary fix for minor flats. You’ll also want jumper cables or a booster box, flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools.

Now for your comfort and safety: a first aid kit, drinkable water, high calorie food (like energy bars), blankets, toilet paper, cell phone, towel, hat and boots. Keep some change for a pay phone, emergency cash and a credit card.

People who live in areas with frequent severe weather or earthquakes may want to carry provisions for longer emergencies.

For trips away from home, consider the weather and geography as you assemble your emergency supplies. You’ll need to have a source of light and heat and will want to provide protection against the elements as well as adequate food and water for everyone in the car.

Always tell people where you are going and have a plan for checking in at waypoints. Then if you run into trouble, you can be reported missing as soon as possible and rescuers will be able to narrow the search area.

The key to safe travel is to keep your vehicle properly maintained, plan ahead, and let others know your itinerary.

Ferndale, Arkansas Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?

October 31st, 2014

Your browser does not support video

Improved fuel economy has two benefits for Little Rock motorists: less fuel is necessary and fewer emissions are released. Ferndale, Arkansas cars and trucks run cleaner than ever. Little Rock drivers may not realize that the first federally mandated pollution control device came out almost fifty years ago.

Arkansas auto owners that were around in the early 60′s may remember that the PCV Valve came out on 1964 model cars. PCV stand for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. Ferndale, Arkansas Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.

When fuel is burned in the truck engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.

Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to detrimental sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine leading to damage.

Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in Little Rock.

Enter the PCV valve. It’s a small, one-way valve that lets out the 
detrimental gases from the crankcase, and routes them back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the detrimental air out. As you can imagine, however, the valve gets gummed up over time.

Ferndale, Arkansas drivers that skip oil changes now and then will notice that the PCV valve gets gummed up even faster. If the PCV valve is sticking in your truck, the gases won’t circulate as well, leading to increased pressure in the crankcase. That, in turn, can lead to oil leaks. Fortunately, the PCV valve is very inexpensive to replace at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock. Some can even be checked by your honest Parkway Automotive advisor.

Your truck manufacturers usually recommend they be changed somewhere between twenty and fifty thousand miles. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some truck owner’s manuals, but at Parkway Automotive, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.

All of us Ferndale, Arkansas car owners can do our part for the environment. Watch that lead foot, stay on top of our important automotive maintenance and don’t forget to replace our PCV valve.

What Is A Differential And Do You Have One?

October 24th, 2014

With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Little Rock, Arkansas, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Little Rock auto owners don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind for our Little Rock customers. So it’s not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Parkway Automotive in Little Rock at 501-821-6111 for information about differential service, or stop by our Little Rock, Arkansas auto center at 708 Kirk Road 72223.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Little Rock high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function for us Little Rock motorists. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Little Rock, Arkansas area weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those critical parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

Your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Parkway Automotive service advisor can look up the automobile manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual. Give us a call at 501-821-6111 for more information about your differential service.

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Parkway Automotive

October 14th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

Hello Little Rock car owners. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Little Rock motorists?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious truck engine trouble. That’s why Conway, Arkansas drivers often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Parkway Automotive in Little Rock ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at Arkansas highway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result costly repair bills for Little Rock drivers who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Ferndale, Arkansas motorists. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Little Rock automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your truck in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Little Rock engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Little Rock auto repair center center or Parkway Automotive.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the truck engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the truck engine’s computer. Your technician scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the service specialist exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your truck’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific truck engine, for driving conditions in your Bryant, Arkansas area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Little Rock auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Conway, Arkansas mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your truck out of your Little Rock auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Cabot, Arkansas

October 10th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

There’s a segment of the Cabot, Arkansas population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Arkansas area over time. Many Cabot, Arkansas motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Cabot, Arkansas drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Ferndale, Arkansas The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your truck is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Parkway Automotive for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Cabot, Arkansas have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your truck will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern truck engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your truck engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Parkway Automotive, we have been taking care of all those little things for 13 years. Your truck still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Cabot, Arkansas did not go away.

The Parkway Automotive Guide To Custom Wheels

September 30th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

If you’re interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your truck, there are a few things you should know first.

Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many Little Rock auto owners have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don’t fit right and the tires rub against the truck when they turn or go over a bump.

To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your Parkway Automotive tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your truck. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you’ll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.

But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you’re willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should seek a knowledgeable Conway, Arkansas professional’s help ahead of time. For example, if you want a bigger set of wheels on your pickup truck, you can get a suspension lift so they will fit the truck. A professional Little Rock custom wheel shop can help you get the work done right.

The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your truck are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason auto owners should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Little Rock. The new wheel and tire combo needs to match the height of the tires that came with your vehicle.

Your car’s computer gauges your speed by the revolution of your tires and sends commands to the brakes and traction control based on that speed. If you put larger or smaller tires on your truck, your computer is calculating the wrong speed and, consequently, sending incorrect commands to the brakes and traction control. This can have serious consequences as it may result in expensive damage to your vehicle or, worse, an accident.

If you change the size of your wheels, you need to get your engine’s computer reprogrammed at Parkway Automotive to accommodate the new tire size. New wheels shouldn’t just fit your vehicle, they should also fit your lifestyle. There are hundreds of styles and sizes to choose from. You should do a little research about which wheels and tires will best fit your personality, give you the performance you want, and meet your handling needs. We’re not saying you shouldn’t personalize your ride, we just want you to be happy with the result. Talk to us at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

After all, good car care isn’t just about preventive maintenance. It’s also about making good choices.

Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service At Parkway Automotive In Little Rock

September 26th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

Most Arkansas motorists know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.

Why is it vital for Conway, Arkansas auto owners to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.

Little Rock folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won’t know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good car care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your truck air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.

The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system’s parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is an important practice and will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Conway, Arkansas days.

How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the auto manufacturer’s recommendation.

Here’s a good piece of auto advice for Arkansas drivers that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won’t dry out during cold Little Rock weather.

Your air conditioning system doesn’t just cool the air in your truck; it dries it out as well. So if you have trouble with a foggy windshield, flip on your air conditioning on the defrost setting. You may be surprised at how quickly it takes care of the problem. Of course, some vehicles can’t run the air conditioner and defroster at the same time; you should check your owner’s manual or with the vehicle manufacturer if you are uncertain whether this feature works in your car or not.

So, after learning about preventive maintenance for your A/C, you might now be wondering if your air conditioner is in trouble. Two early warning signs of a failing air conditioner are (1) the air just isn’t getting as cold as it used to and (2) there’s a strange noise when the air conditioner turns on. If you notice either of these symptoms in your truck, you should bring it to Parkway Automotive in Little Rock as soon as possible.

Just some good auto advice to keep you cool in Conway, Arkansas and keep you on the road!

Shake It Up in Little Rock!: Why Wheel Balancing

September 19th, 2014

Your browser does not support video

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Little Rock car owners 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, Little Rock auto owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor 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 Little Rock 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. Little Rock motorists 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 truck — 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 freeway, 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 Little Rock drivers’ 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 Parkway Automotive in Little Rock can prevent expensive repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your truck as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your fuel economy. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Parkway 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 Little Rock vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your truck. Balancing your tires is part of essential preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some expensive ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Parkway Automotive. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Little Rock motorists’ nerves.