Looking Down the Road – Headlamps

September 12th, 2014

If you’ve ever been driving around Little Rock and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Parkway Automotive. We’re at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock, Arkansas 72223. Or give us a call at 501-821-6111

Experts in Little Rock recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Little Rock winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Little Rock friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Little Rock service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.

You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

The Right Fluids for Your Vehicle

September 4th, 2014

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Little Rock car owners’ current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.

It’s important for Little Rock drivers to always use the right type of fluid for their truck. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.

Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s essential to know exactly which one your truck needs.

Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among auto makers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your truck needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.

Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some Little Rock motorists mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your truck is designed for just one of them.

Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Little Rock auto owners still need them to be highly durable.

That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, essential function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.

Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your truck has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and vital additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Little Rock car owners should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.

Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. Arkansas vehicle owners should take care to learn their truck’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Little Rock motorists is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our trucks become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.

Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Parkway Automotive

August 27th, 2014

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When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock is a lot like buying shoes, except that Little Rock auto owners’ vehicles don’t have changeable apparel and don’t need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of Arkansas road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Conway, Arkansas area drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around Little Rock need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough Arkansas mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the Conway, Arkansas area tire market, although prices don’t vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Little Rock often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires, but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in Conway, Arkansas are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don’t hesitate to ask your Parkway Automotive tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the Arkansas tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don’t have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, Little Rock folks get what they pay for.

At Parkway Automotive, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40-thousand-mile tire,” or a “60-thousand mile tire.” This refers to the number of miles a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you’re really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It’s always better for Little Rock auto owners to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you’re driving on Tier 3 tires, it’s a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That’s the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires, and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Conway, Arkansas drivers.

So, some good auto advice for Little Rock auto owners would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you’ll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to purchase tires as often.

Good car care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

Budget For Maintenance in Little Rock

August 21st, 2014

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Sometimes busy Little Rock residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Conway, Arkansas in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Little Rock car owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Little Rock drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Little Rock car owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Little Rock area auto service centers.

Little Rock motorists should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Little Rock is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Arkansas drivers can avoid many costly truck repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Edmunds.com has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Conway, Arkansas motorists can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Cabot, Arkansas motorists know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your truck will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
225      
794     
1767  
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Parkway Automotive: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Arkansas auto insurance with an older Little Rock vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for important preventive maintenance in Arkansas, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less pricey!

Blind Spot Safety For Little Rock Driving

August 14th, 2014

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Blind spots may be a good thing when it comes to a spouse’s annoying habits, but when driving an automobile in Little Rock, they are definitely to be avoided. So, while it’s not good marital advice, it’s good auto advice to minimize your own blind spots and stay out of other Conway, Arkansas auto owners’ blind spots, especially when it comes to large, heavy vehicles like trucks and buses.

First, minimize your own blind spots. Do this before you pull out of the driveway or parking space. Adjust your rearview mirror so that you see as much of the area behind you as possible. And, no, this doesn’t include the passengers in the back seat. The rearview mirror isn’t designed to be a baby monitor.

Next, lean to the side until your head almost touches the driver’s side window. Now adjust the driver’s side mirror so that it just catches the side of the truck. Then, lean to the middle of the car and adjust the passenger’s side mirror in the same way. These adjustments will ensure you the widest possible view behind your vehicle.

Of course, you can’t eliminate blind spots entirely. There is always an area behind any vehicle where the driver just can’t see what’s there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Toddlers are just the right size to hide in a pickup’s or SUV’s blind spot. The blind spot on an RV or tractor-trailer can actually hide your crossover! You should always check behind any vehicle before getting in and backing up. And if you sit in the truck for a few minutes before backing up, it is vital to get out and check again, especially if you are pulling out of a neighborhood driveway in Little Rock. No precaution is too extreme if it saves the life of a child.

Once you have taken care of your own blind spots, be aware that other Little Rock motorists have them, too. And avoid them. Trucks and buses have large blind spots, and they have blind spots on all four sides, so they should always be given extra room on Ferndale, Arkansas roads. They are also heavy, which means they need more room to stop, and their length means they need a wider area for turns, and their large size makes them less maneuverable than a car.

Trucks may cause about 60% of the accidents involving a truck and a car, but 78% of fatalities in such accidents are with the smaller vehicle. The number of fatalities in Arkansas, as well as the number of crashes, could be cut significantly if Little Rock drivers learned to properly share Arkansas roads with trucks.

Never follow a truck too closely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in his side mirror, then he can’t see you. If you need to pass a truck, it is critical to make sure you give yourself enough time to pass the rig. Wait for the right opportunity rather than “cutting it close.” On a two-lane Arkansas highway, it’s always a good idea to wait for a passing zone if they are available. A little patience could save your life or the lives of others. Turn on your turn signal so the truck knows what you’re planning, and pass on the left whenever possible. Remember those blind spots? They are much larger on the right side of a truck.

Once you’ve committed to passing the truck, don’t muck about. Pass it quickly and give yourself plenty of room to move back over. It is important to wait until you can see both headlights in your rearview mirror before pulling back in front of the truck. Once again, use your truck turn signals. After you pull in front of the truck, decelerate to the regulated driving speed slowly. Remember that the truck has a long stopping distance, which translates into a long slowing distance. And, since trucks are so big, we often perceive them as traveling more slowly than they really are. Trucks are a lot of weight moving at a high speed, and we need to treat them accordingly.

Never pull to the right of a truck at an intersection unless you are absolutely certain it is not going to turn. Check if its turn signals are on or if it has angled to the left or right. (Trucks often begin a right turn by angling to the left to widen their turning area.) Trucks need a lot of room on city streets, and they probably can’t see you if you pull along their right side. Too many cars have ended up in Little Rock body shops because the drivers thought they could beat that truck to the right turn, or they only noticed the seemingly open lane, and not the truck angling into a turn.

While learning to share Conway, Arkansas area roads and highways with trucks and other large vehicles may not seem like preventive auto maintenance, it does, in fact, go hand-in-hand with good Little Rock car care. Keeping your truck out of the body shop can save you big bucks and prevent the stress of a major accident, along with the injuries that could come with it.

The team at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock urges you to stay safe, and stay on the road!

How to Know When to Change Your Oil At Parkway Automotive

August 5th, 2014

Today in the Parkway Automotive auto care blog, we’re going to talk to Little Rock motorists about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Parkway Automotive customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered truck engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Little Rock drivers.

The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Little Rock expressways. Time and miles take their toll on motor oil. But now, you could have a different oil change recommendation for every car or truck you own.

Little Rock car owners are like everybody else, they have a tendency to follow the oil change schedule of the vehicle with the longest interval. Of course, that can lead to problems. How to Know When to Change Your Oil At Parkway AutomotiveFor example, recently four of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles.

In real world Little Rock driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance. Quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging truck small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

The vehicle manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval, and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.

So here’s the bottom line for Little Rock drivers: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge.

But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in Arkansas, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Little Rock conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Parkway Automotive advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.

So check your truck owner’s manual or talk with your Parkway Automotive service advisor about where and how you drive in Little Rock. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.

Let me give you an example of this. Some newer trucks have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage, and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.

Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles to almost 7,000 miles. It’s typically just over 4,000 miles. Clearer sometimes, we’re driving easy miles that are easy on the truck – like a long road trip. Sometimes, we’re driving hard Arkansas miles – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it’s a combination of both.

Once again, it’s up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at Parkway Automotive to protect your truck engine. Another place where Arkansas car owners can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Little Rock owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let’s just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.

But it also costs quite a bit more, so some Little Rock people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your automobile manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.

But getting back to the problem, if your truck came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can’t use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.

A Cool and Smooth Transmission in Little Rock

July 31st, 2014

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When it comes to preventive maintenance on our vehicles, most of us Little Rock drivers remember to get our oil changed. But Parkway Automotive services that occur at longer intervals — like transmission service — sometimes get overlooked. Yet transmission service is a vital part of car care for Little Rock car owners. A poorly maintained transmission will diminish fuel efficiency and lead to expensive repairs.

The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels. When it’s clean and well – lubricated, it gives maximum fuel efficiency. But when it gets dirty or worn down, your gas mileage will suffer. Your transmission relies on transmission fluid to keep everything running well.

Transmission fluid has two jobs: to cool and lubricate the transmission. The transmission operates at high temperatures. It can get 100-150°F degrees hotter inside your transmission than inside your engine. Transmission fluid transfers some of the heat away from the transmission. Transmissions work hard. Their parts need constant lubrication to prevent excessive wear and keep them running smoothly for Little Rock car owners.

The constant shifting and movement of gears inside the transmission cause bits of the gears and clutch material to wear off. These bits of detrimental grit get into the transmission fluid. This grit increases friction inside the transmission and causes even more wear – it’s like liquid sandpaper. Also, the high temperatures inside the transmission cause the transmission fluid to break down over time, making it a less effective lubricant. The fluid can actually become sludgy, which can gradually plug up the maze of passages inside the transmission. Gradually, the transmission loses efficiency and stops operating smoothly. Eventually, the transmission will be damaged or fail altogether.

This is why the transmission fluid must be changed periodically. Your owner’s manual will give you a recommended time schedule for this vital service. Or, you can meet with your honest Parkway Automotive tech. Generally, the interval is around 35,000 miles (55,000 km) or every two years. But the interval for your truck may be shorter or longer.

Of course, if you give your transmission a real workout, you’re going to have to change the fluid more often than the auto manufacturer recommends. If you drive in hot, dusty Arkansas conditions, if you tow a trailer around Little Rock, if you haul heavy loads or if you do a lot of stop-and-go Conway, Arkansas driving, then you need to change transmission fluid more often. Also, if you demand frequent bursts of speed from your engine — especially shooting away from stops — your transmission is working harder and will need more frequent care. Check your owner’s manual for the “severe conditions” service interval.

Transmission fluids vary from vehicle to vehicle, so you’ll also need to check your owner’s manual to know what kind your truck needs, or communicate with your honest Parkway Automotive technician.

At Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, transmission fluid can usually be changed while you wait and is simple and not particularly expensive. Compared to the cost of expensive transmission repairs or a new transmission, it’s downright cheap! So take some good auto advice from the team at Parkway Automotive and take care of your transmission. It will pay you back in improved gas mileage and a longer, smoother ride.

Maintaining Your Diesel in Conway, Arkansas

July 25th, 2014

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Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven’t been as common in Conway, Arkansas because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Little Rock car owners driving diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV’s.

Diesels are popular in Little Rock because they get better gas mileage than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you’re not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don’t produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in Arkansas as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Conway, Arkansas, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Little Rock drivers’ dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles perform as well as other passenger vehicles, also. Most Ferndale, Arkansas people don’t notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in Bryant, Arkansas, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don’t all Conway, Arkansas drivers drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven’t told me about. That’s true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in Arkansas. The better fuel efficiency of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more costly to drive in Conway, Arkansas. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in Arkansas, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for Little Rock auto owners depends now on the current price of fuel in Arkansas and how many miles you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Conway, Arkansas area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in Arkansas becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive in Little Rock than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Little Rock are similar. Wait, you may be thinking, but you just told me that filters are more expensive and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Parkway Automotive auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the Little Rock driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

Tire Rotation and Balancing at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock

July 21st, 2014

Tires do a lot of key work for Little Rock motorists. They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts while driving around Little Rock. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such critical work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly pricey, you want them to last as long as possible.

There are three keys to long, even tire wear for Little Rock motorists:

  • Proper tire inflation
  • Proper wheel alignment
  • Regular tire rotation and balancing

The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That’s especially true of front wheel drive vehicles whose front tires steer, and put the power to the road.

SUVs and pick-ups, especially four wheel drives, also tend to wear their tires more unevenly than cars because of their suspension and drivetrain set-up. Your owner’s manual will likely contain a schedule for tire rotation. It’s usually every 5,000 miles or so.

Also, there are different rotation patterns for different vehicles. Parkway Automotive will know which is right for your vehicle. That brings us to wheel balancing. When wheels are balanced, they spin on the axle evenly. When they are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear unevenly and may transmit a vibration to the car. Your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist puts weights on your wheels to balance them out so that they turn true and smooth.

Tires are a big investment for Little Rock auto owners. They’re key for keeping you safely on the road in Little Rock. The cost for regular rotation and balancing is more than made up in extended tire life. And, can you really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers?

Straight And True In Little Rock: Wheel Alignment

July 11th, 2014

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Most Conway, Arkansas folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by Little Rock auto owners is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more costly than an alignment check in Little Rock. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Conway, Arkansas.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents, and can seriously damage your truck. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident, since the truck may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your truck can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Little Rock street. An accident, even a minor one, that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday Ferndale, Arkansas driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your truck, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any Parkway Automotive service professional will give you that piece of auto advice. But good car care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner’s manual or Parkway Automotive service professional can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot, then you may want to consider a diagnostic examination more often. Ask your honest service professional for a recommendation.

If your truck is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your truck pulls to one side when you drive around Conway, Arkansas. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Little Rock auto owners should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get a diagnostic examination, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for Bryant, Arkansas auto owners, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Little Rock residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.