Cool Running In Little Rock

May 12th, 2015

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your truck engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the highway in Little Rock waiting for your truck engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at Parkway Automotive, your service professional will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your truck owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your honest tech will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the truck radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need a diagnostic examination regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your truck cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your truck cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your service specialist will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at Parkway Automotive is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Little Rock for 13 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Conway, Arkansas repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in Arkansas.

At Parkway Automotive, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Easy Miles ‐ Do Little Rock Driving Conditions Affect Service Intervals?

May 5th, 2015

 

Have you ever noticed that your car maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.

Let’s look at the critical parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Little Rock are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Conway, Arkansas are less than four miles, you should reflect on using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock will help prevent the formation of sludge.

Each truck engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of Arkansas highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Little Rock all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why fuel efficiency ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.

Most of us Little Rock motorists think of severe Arkansas weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Conway, Arkansas area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.

Hot Little Rock weather is also detrimental for trucks. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot Arkansas weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.

Another vital element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Little Rock areas are detrimental to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Little Rock, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.

So, in the end, most of us Little Rock auto owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Little Rock car owners will ask themselves the question: “Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?” An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.

Viva la Differential At Parkway Automotive In Little Rock

April 28th, 2015

There are a lot of Little Rock people who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in Arkansas these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Little Rock folks 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. So it’s not uncommon for Little Rock people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any Arkansas high school. 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 truck wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a truck moving goes through the differential. Most cars 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 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 break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

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

Your Parkway Automotive service advisor can look up the truck manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual.

At Parkway Automotive, we’ve been providing quality automotive service for our valued Little Rock customers for 13 years. If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at 501-821-6111.

Wipe Out! New Wiper Blades For Little Rock Drivers

April 21st, 2015

When Little Rock car owners talk about vehicle safety, they think of tires and brakes. But do we think about our windshields? Isn’t the ability to see a prime safety factor when it comes to driving around Arkansas? Yet we often don’t even notice our windshields until we can’t see through them, or until our wiper blades fail.

It’s estimated that around 46 million people are driving with wipers that won’t keep their windshields clear during a storm — that’s 46 million people with impaired vision during a storm. For safety’s sake, Little Rock drivers need to change the way they think about wiper blades. Most of us, 78% in fact, only change our wiper blades after they fail. In other words, we don’t get new ones until the old ones become a harmful safety hazard. Instead, we Little Rock auto owners need to make wiper blades a vital part of our preventive maintenance routine.

Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. In Arkansas areas that experience harsh winter weather, special blades are available that prevent ice and snow from collecting on the wiper. Ask your honest Parkway Automotive tech about wiper blades that repel ice and snow.

No matter what blades you use on your vehicle in the winter, don’t expect them to clear the ice and snow from your windshield after your vehicle has been parked for a while. Using your wipers will shred your blades and may even damage your wiper motor. And don’t drive on Little Rock roads with a frosted windshield. That’s a serious safety hazard. It can cause accidents, and you could be held liable.

Wiper blades are subjected to harsh conditions in Little Rock. They’re out in the Conway, Arkansas sun and in the cold. Over time, they become hard and brittle and lose their flexibility. Then they start to tear. Without flexibility, wipers just can’t clear a windshield of water or snow. And torn wipers can actually scratch your windshield. Then the entire windshield has to be replaced — along with the wiper blades. It’s a prime example of how preventive maintenance could have saved you a steep repair bill.

Little Rock drivers can purchase new wiper blades at an auto service center or at any Little Rock auto parts store. They cost about the same. But the auto service center will throw in the installation.

Once you have good wipers installed, don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid. If you take your vehicle in for a full-service oil change at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, your washer fluid will get topped off then. But it’s good auto advice to purchase a jug of washer fluid to keep at home — just in case. And pack it in the car when you go on long trips.

While we’re on the subject, Parkway Automotive advises Little Rock auto owners to always fill their washer fluid reservoir with window washer fluid. Don’t ever use water. Water can freeze in the reservoir, which can damage it. It can also freeze onto your windshield. Besides, plain water just can’t get a windshield clean. Think about it. Do you use plain water to clean your bathroom mirrors? And a bathroom mirror doesn’t get exposed to anything near the gunk that can end up on your windshield. Windshield washer fluid was designed to do one thing — to clean windshields. Let it do its important job.

A clean windshield is not just good car care for Little Rock auto owners — it’s an essential safety feature. Let’s keep it that way.

Parkway Automotive Advice On Buying New Tires

April 15th, 2015

Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Little Rock driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Arkansas seasons.

Little Rock off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Little Rock? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Parkway Automotive tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Little Rock drivers shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at Arkansas tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some vital adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the truck. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your truck with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your truck on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Little Rock a lot longer.

Battery Basics For Little Rock

April 8th, 2015

Conway, Arkansas Battery Service

It’s important for Little Rock car owners to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold Arkansas weather. Most Conway, Arkansas motorists think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold truck engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Little Rock trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Little Rock drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the Arkansas summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your truck alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your honest Parkway Automotive tech for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your truck alternator.

Give us a call

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

Fresh Air Inside Your Car in Little Rock

April 1st, 2015

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern Little Rock world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There’s a filter that cleans the air going into our truck’s engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?

Foreign and domestic auto manufacturers haven’t been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Ferndale, Arkansas auto owners who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don’t have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.

Cabin air filters are still fairly new in Conway, Arkansas, so you’ll have to check your truck owner’s manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your vital preventive maintenance. The owner’s manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in Arkansas is particularly dirty or if you’re prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.

Your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Conway, Arkansas area. They’re the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.

There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Little Rock auto owners can usually find them in the truck engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into Parkway Automotive and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.

However, if you have a newer truck, it’s good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your truck will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Conway, Arkansas car owners discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!

Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy, and stay on the road in Little Rock.

Breathe Free In Little Rock: Cabin Air Filter Replacement At Parkway Automotive

March 24th, 2015

There are a lot of new features, both optional and standard, on Little Rock motorists’ vehicles these days. One you may not have heard of is called a cabin air filter. Simply put, its job is to keep the air in the passenger compartment of your car nice and clean.

A cabin air filter is similar to the filter you use on your furnace at home in Little Rock. Cabin air filters can catch particles down to three microns. By comparison, a grain of sand is 200 microns. So cabin air filters are effective against dust, dirt, pollen, mold spores and most pollutants in our Conway, Arkansas atmosphere. Good news if you suffer from any types of allergies, or if you live in an area in Little Rock prone to air pollution.

Cabin air filters are generally located in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can be tricky to access and replace, so you’ll probably want to go to your honest Parkway Automotive service professional to get it done. Check your truck owner’s manual to find out if your truck is equipped with a cabin air filter and how often it should be changed. Recommendations vary, but generally a cabin air filter should be changed every twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

Of course, if you are an allergy sufferer in Cabot, Arkansas, you may want to replace it more often. Also, if you do a lot of driving in polluted or dusty areas in Arkansas, you’ll also want to shorten the cabin air filter replacement period. Dirty air filters just don’t work well, and they can exude an unpleasant odor if ignored for too long.

Most Little Rock folks know that good car care includes keeping your truck clean, including the air inside the passenger compartment, so changing your cabin air filter should be part of your routine preventive maintenance. It’s good auto advice as well as good medical advice that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You really shouldn’t wait until the interior of your car starts to smell and your eyes start to water before you change your filter. And trying to cover it up with a dangling green pine tree is not the right answer, either!

Cabin air filters can be a welcome relief to Little Rock allergy sufferers, but they’re also a great idea for anyone in Conway, Arkansas who just wants to breathe better.

Problems with Suspension Solved at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock

March 20th, 2015

A vehicle’s suspension system is tough. It can last for years and tens of thousands of miles for Little Rock motorists. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.

Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Little Rock drivers to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during a diagnostic examination. An ineffective suspension system will diminish the driver’s control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous and expensive accidents.

The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks diminish the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.

The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.

Your truck might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.

Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a vital safety feature of your vehicle, it’s always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.

There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of vital attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other important signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it’s time for new shocks. Your honest Parkway Automotive service professional will check your shocks visually. If they’re leaking, they need to be replaced.

Any of these symptoms warrants an automotive analysis of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Little Rock auto owners should never put off suspension repairs. If you actually experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.

When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to or better than the original shocks on the truck. The original equipment was established for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Little Rock auto owners should never downgrade.

Upgrading, however, is another matter for Little Rock drivers. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your truck’s handling performance, then you should consider upgrading to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Little Rock or tow a trailer, then you should definitely look at getting heavy-duty shocks.

Most Little Rock motorists are not likely to show off their suspension system to anyone admiring their truck, but it’s important just the same. In the end, it’s something all of us Little Rock car owners can be committed to.

Following Recommended Intervals For Your truck

March 10th, 2015

If you’re reading this article in Little Rock, Arkansas, then you probably care about your car and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your honest Parkway Automotive technician tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say “no”, you might be harming your truck or risking your family’s safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner’s manual. But it is not like you want to keep your truck auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Cars are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Little Rock drivers to keep them running well. That is why car makers have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your truck performing efficiently and prevent expensive breakdowns. In a typical owners manual you’ll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning, and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks – yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn’t a test: Little Rock car owners don’t need to have it memorized. Your honest Parkway Automotive technician has access to your auto manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t be surprised when your tech at Parkway Automotive reminds you something vital is due. Your automobile manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Parkway Automotive help you stay on top of vital maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We’ll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.