Emergency Items For Conway, Arkansas car owners

April 16th, 2014

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Safe Arkansas travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Parkway Automotive. But there are other things Little Rock auto owners can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.

First, Little Rock drivers should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some essential items you should carry in your truck include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your truck is only part of emergency preparedness. It is critical to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in Arkansas and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other key items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses, and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy Arkansas season, some salt, a hand shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your Arkansas area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your truck for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Little Rock home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave, and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light, and food.

When you travel, it is vital to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.

The automotive professionals at Parkway Automotive want Little Rock car owners to be safe
. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

Check Your Shocks and Struts at Parkway Automotive

April 8th, 2014

Today we’re talking to Little Rock motorists about shocks and struts. They’re so easy for Arkansas folks to forget about because they last so long and wear out so slowly. But your shocks are really responsible for keeping your tires on the road – so they’re very .

Without shocks, your wheels would be bouncing over bumps and lifting in corners. The shocks push the tire down to the road to maximize traction. Good shocks equal good ride quality and safe handling for Little Rock auto owners.

Visit Parkway Automotive to have your shocks and struts inspected by a professional service specialist. You can find us at 708 Kirk Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223
Or give us a call at 501-821-6111 to make an appointment.

There’s a difference between shocks and springs. Springs support the weight of the vehicle, keeping it suspended up off the axles. The shocks moderate the rebound motion as wheels hit bumps. Now a strut combines a shock and a coil spring in one compact unit.

When your shocks are worn out you may notice degraded handling as you drive around our Little Rock streets. Your vehicle feels squirmy around corners and floaty over bumps. Little Rock motorists may notice the rear end squatting when they accelerate or the front end diving when you brake. Your car might even be sagging at one corner. 

Uneven tire wear can also be a a key sign of worn shocks for Little Rock auto owners. Of course, if your shocks are leaking or have a big dent, they need to be replaced. Talk to your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist.

Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to replace the shocks and struts on your truck. It’s usually between thirty and fifty thousand miles. Of course, if you tow a lot, regularly carry heavy loads or do a lot of driving on bumpy Little Rock roads, your shocks might wear out faster.

If those Conway, Arkansas area driving conditions apply to you, you can get special shocks that are better suited to your driving.

The shocks that come from the factory are designed for the way most consumers are expected to drive that particular vehicle. If you have different needs for your driving around Little Rock, Arkansas, you can get premium shocks that improve performance handling, off-road abilities or towing comfort. Your Little Rock, Arkansas technician at Parkway Automotive can help you determine your needs and then give you some options.

It’s best to replace all four shocks at the same time. That way you’ll have even, predictable handling at all four corners. Anything less could be dangerous.

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

April 3rd, 2014

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Little Rock Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Little Rock.

  • Some cars in Little Rock no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Little Rock if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Little Rock service advisor at Parkway Automotive to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Little Rock, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Parkway Automotive. You’ll find us at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock, Arkansas 72223. Just give us a call at 501-821-6111.

Maintenance Free Myth

March 27th, 2014


Sometimes we hear Little Rock motorists say, “What’s up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don’t break down.” While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Little Rock car owners don’t realize how high tech automotive fluids have become. Fluids like, engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today’s automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle’s components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and miles march on for all of our cars. Please don’t think we’re using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance – but here are some personal stories from AutoNetTV staff members to emphasize and show how essential it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and bucks. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

The first comes from a staffer who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in Arkansas and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced – just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundred of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. Our staffer took his SUV in for the Arkansas safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Little Rock inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind – over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little money on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Little Rock car owners: don’t skip your essential annual inspections. The irony is that many Little Rock service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy’s little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn’t get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire – so it was vigorous enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later – and then an alignment.

Situation: son and wife with cars from the same auto maker with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son’s maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done – it cost several hundred dollars. His wife’s car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed and the entire head was shredded and had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the auto maker’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does – every time he passes a big-screen TV.

The team at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better and is more economical to operate in Arkansas. Remember to save those maintenance records. It’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren’t any, assume that the maintenance hasn’t been done and take it to your Bryant, Arkansas or Ferndale, Arkansas service center or Parkway Automotive in Little Rock for an inspection. Take care of unperformed critical routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

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

Getting New Tires In Little Rock?

March 18th, 2014

best tire shops in Little Rock

There are so many tire choices in the Little Rock, Bryant, Arkansas, and Ferndale, Arkansas area, selecting the right one can be a bit overwhelming for Conway, Arkansas car owners. And even though it’s kind of fun to have new tires on your truck, they’re a significant investment for most Conway, Arkansas folks so you want do it right.

Tip: talk with your honest Parkway Automotive tire professional. He’ll help you sort through the choices.

Here are some of the critical issues you’ll talk about: One is size – you know, all those numbers on the side of the tire. The right size is key. All new vehicles are required to have stability control which, along with other important safety systems, is calibrated to work with specific tire sizes. Your Little Rock tire professional can help stay within auto manufacturers’ specifications or program a different tire size into your truck’s computer.

And you’ll want to discuss how and where you drive in Conway, Arkansas to determine the type of tire you need: summer, winter,  all season tires or all-terrain. There are tires for every Little Rock auto owner’s needs.

Like we said, tires are a big investment, so you want to get a good value on tires. Now that doesn’t always mean the cheapest tire. A top tier tire from Parkway Automotive will last a long time and give Little Rock drivers good performance throughout its life. Tires sold in Little Rock bargain tire shops may not live up to that promise. Again, your honest Parkway Automotive tire professional can give you options that offer the best long-term value within your immediate budget.

Last, with a 2-wheel drive vehicle, it’s essential to always replace both tires on an axle. Modern sensors and computer safety systems for truck brakes, stability and traction control need both tires to have the same amount of wear to work properly. And always put the new tires on the rear so you don’t fishtail in a turn. With all-wheel drive you should replace all four tires at the same time.

Schedule a tire inspection at Parkway Automotive to see how much life is left in your truck tires and seek the help of a professional when choosing new shoes for your vehicle.

Give us a call

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

Save Fuel By Watching Your Weight

March 12th, 2014

Most Little Rock auto owners are all talking fuel efficiency right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Arkansas folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Little Rock car owners all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum gas mileage. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Little Rock drivers can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel efficiency. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Little Rock to Cabot, Arkansas to Bryant, Arkansas. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Little Rock? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Little Rock neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your truck: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around Little Rock all the time.

After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some cash
.

Fuel System Cleaning at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock for Better Performance

March 6th, 2014

A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.

Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.

The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.

Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine.

Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel economy and loss of engine performance.

So it’s critical to keep your fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name Arkansas fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel than do bargain stations in the Conway, Arkansas area.

The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.

Check your owner’s manual or Parkway Automotive in Little Rock to find out how often you should change your fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle, your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use.

If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock that will result in better gas mileage and improved vehicle performance.

Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.

Keep Your Cool In Conway, Arkansas: Air Conditioning Service

February 27th, 2014

Most Little Rock motorists don’t even think about their car air conditioning system unless it fails. That’s because many Little Rock and Bryant, Arkansas motorists don’t really understand that auto A/Cs need periodic service. Let me share some of the reasons why they fail.

First, like every machine, the truck air conditioner parts need – you guessed it – lubrication. The lubricant is actually mixed in with the refrigerant (that’s the stuff that makes the air cool). Remember that even if the air conditioner is still blowing out cool air, the oil that lubricates the parts may be used up: and unlubricated parts can fail in all Arkansas cars.

Keep Your Cool In Conway, Arkansas: Air Conditioning Service

Now here’s a tip for Little Rock car owners: Run your air conditioner every so often during Arkansas winters. This circulates the lubricant to help keep the seals from drying out.

The air conditioner actually removes some of the moisture in the air. So if you have trouble with fogging on your truck windshield during Arkansas winters or during a rain storm, running the A/C on the defrost setting should help. Now on some Little Rock cars you can’t run the A/C at the same time as the defroster. Don’t ask me why, but I suspect lawyers were involved.

Also, air and water can get into the A/C system. That can reduce the efficiency of the system and also lead to corrosion that causes damage. Conway, Arkansas auto owners should periodically purge the system and replace the refrigerant to remove the air and water.

Little Rock drivers would be wise to learn the critical early warning signs of A/C trouble: 1) The air’s not as cold as it used to be. 2) Unusual noises when the A/C cycles on. Those are signs to get your vehicle into Parkway Automotive in Little Rock before the damage gets worse.

By following the recommended service intervals in your truck owner’s manual, you can help prevent mechanical failure of your air conditioning system. Your A/C system contains some pricey components like the compressor, condenser, dryer, etc. Anything Cabot, Arkansas and Bryant, Arkansas car owners can do to lengthen the life of their A/C is well worth it.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

February 20th, 2014


 

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Little Rock car owners and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us Little Rock auto owners.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause important engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at Arkansas highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Little Rock service center.

Why is My Check Engine Light On?

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your honest Parkway Automotive technician to get it checked out.

Some more Little Rock information on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative for Little Rock car owners. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the truck’s Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your truck looked at. Your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

Why People In Little Rock Hesitate to Get their Vehicle Serviced

February 14th, 2014

A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on our Little Rock Arkansas roads have one or more service or repair that’s needed, but hasn’t been taken care of. Now that’s a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.

There are several reasons why we hesitate to take care of recommended services; especially services that our Little Rock Arkansas automotive advisor recommends when we’re in for something else, like an oil change.

The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don’t always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course you love your truck, but if you don’t have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you’re not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.

Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Little Rock Arkansas service advisor. People who don’t know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don’t want to look ignorant.

It’s human nature. But, there’s so much to know in this world, we can’t all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It’s very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it’s your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Your auto technician at Parkway Automotive wants your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.

That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don’t always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.

At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Little Rock service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.

In other words, “you don’t have to trust me, you can trust your owner’s manual”.

Your Little Rock service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer’s recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don’t need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner’s manual to know what to do.

Basically, the engineers who designed the car say “here’s when you need to have it serviced”. That’s who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He’s just reminding you.

Now you do need to trust your Little Rock technician’s experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concern and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.

That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn’t usually on either of those lists.

Look, everyone who works at Parkway Automotive has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.

Service centers like Parkway Automotive invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes and so on.

We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That’s the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we’re not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won’t come back and the service center won’t be around for long.

When there is a real budget concern, your Little Rock service center can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.

Let’s say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That’s a safety concern so a technician can’t ethically say, well, let’s put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.