Archive for October, 2010

Tire Maintenance In Little Rock, Arkansas

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

With the recent focus in Little Rock, Arkansas on improving fuel economy, we’ve been told how important it is to maintain our tire pressure.

Everyone in Little Rock, Arkansas knows that tires wear out, but we all want to make them last as long as possible because they’re fairly expensive to replace. In addition to saving gas, properly inflated tires last longer. Under-inflated tires will wear out more quickly.

Some people in Little Rock, Arkansas wonder if there is benefit to adding a few extra pounds of pressure when they fill up their tires. But actually, there isn’t. In fact, there are very good reasons not to over-inflate your tires. For one, the middle of the tread will wear unevenly because the full tread is not contacting the road properly. That also adversely affects your handling.

Come in and see us about tire maintenance for your Little Rock, Arkansas vehicle.
Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Every vehicle in the Ferndale, Arkansas area has a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb that tells you the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. This recommendation is an integral part of the vehicle’s suspension tuning. A lot of engineering actually goes into the recommended tire pressure, so it’s important to follow it.

What else do we need to know about tire maintenance? Tire rotation and balancing are very important. Let’s start with rotation. Because the front tires handle the brunt of turning forces, the shoulders of the front tires wear more quickly than the rear tires. We rotate the tires so that they all get to do some duty on the front and they’ll all wear evenly over their life.

For most vehicles, front tires are rotated to the rear and vice versa. Others recommend a cross rotational pattern. Some vehicles use an asymmetrical tire so those tires need to stay on either the right or left side – it’ll say which on the tire. Some high performance cars have asymmetrical tires and different sizes on the front and rear. These can’t be rotated at all. Your owner’s manual will have details for your car.

How often should you rotate your tires? Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation. Your service advisor at Parkway Automotive can do a visual inspection to let you know if it looks like it should be done. The interval is typically around 5,000 miles.

You know, some people don’t think new tires need to be balanced. What they aren’t taking into account is the wheel. Between the wheel and the tire – even a new tire – there’s enough variation to require balancing.

When you add the valve stem and tire pressure monitoring sensors required on new cars, balancing is definitely in order. When a tire’s out of balance, it’s actually hopping down the road. You’ll feel the vibration through the steering wheel if a front tire’s out of balance and through your seat if it’s a rear tire.

Proper wheel balance promotes tire life and increases safety. Historically, lead weights have been attached to the wheel to bring it into balance. Lead gives some environmental concern, so steel weights are starting to be substituted.

Also, always use the same size tire on an axle. Different size tires on the front or on the back can lead to some real handling problems. And tire manufacturers recommend that when you get two new tires, they be installed on the rear because that’s where you need the most traction to avoid spinning-out.

Shocks and Struts

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

If you’re like most of us, you want your car to handle well. That’s the job of your suspension system.

There are different types of suspension systems, but they all work on the same basic principles. First, there are the springs, which bear the weight of the car. The most common springs are coil or leaf – although we see air springs and torsion bars more often. The springs do most of the work.

But if all you had were springs, your vehicle would be bouncing around like a bobble head. That’s where the shocks come in. They control the rebound of the springs and smooth out the up and down motions. They also keep the tires on the road, and you in control. Some cars use struts. Struts are a combination of shocks and springs, together in a more compact system.

Shocks wear out slowly over time, so it’s hard to notice when they get badly worn. One way to tell is to look for an uneven, cupping wear on your tires. If the shock or strut is leaking fluid, it needs to be replaced. If your car feels floaty in turns or if the front end dips a lot when you stop, it is time to get your shocks checked. Your owners’ manual will tell you when your shocks should be changed – it’s usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles or 24,000 and 50,000 kilometers .

When you replace a shock, be sure to replace all four. Then your car will have an even suspension and will handle much better. You can talk with a service advisor at Parkway Automotive about how you drive. No, not your traffic violations, but how often you carry heavy loads, tow a trailer or drive in rough terrain. If you do a bunch of that, you’ll need a heavy duty shock. You can reach Parkway Automotive at 501-821-6111 or stop by at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock.

Regular shocks use hydraulic fluid and air as their dampening system. Premium quality shocks and struts use compressed nitrogen gas instead of air. Gas shocks don’t get air bubbles that affect the performance of regular shocks. If you do a lot of high performance driving, Arkansas off-roading or just want added comfort and control, think about getting premium gas shocks or struts.

Replacing your struts may take your car out of alignment, so be sure to get an alignment at the same time. So, to smooth out the bumps on the road of life, change your shocks and struts when they need it.

22 Ways to Find a Great Repair Shop #5 & #6

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

They can get me in right away! Oh really, then they must not be that busy. If that is so then maybe they are really not that good? Sometimes a good shop can get you in quickly. Often they are booked up for a day or two in advance due to their reputation though. This could really backfire on you if you end up in a shop that is never busy because they are doing terrible work. Getting your vehicle back soon is important. But, getting it fixed correctly is even more important. Wouldn’t you agree?

They can get it done right away
. A good job takes some time. A good shop can reduce that time but they cannot eliminate it. Most people do not realize the amount of time their vehicles must be in the shop for certain jobs. Choosing a shop based primarily on this criteria is usually a mistake. Some shops will, unfortunately promise anything to get the job. That does not mean that they will necessarily deliver on that promise once the job has started.

Little Rock Customer Detective Work

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock Arkansas is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Little Rock Arkansas technician find clues to what’s wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Parkway Automotive and your car is making a funny sound.

  • Q: Where’s the sound?
  • A: Around the right front wheel.
  • Q: What kind of sound?
  • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
  • Q: When do you hear the sound?
  • A: When I turn and accelerate.
  • Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…

Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Little Rock Arkansas technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

Your Little Rock Arkansas technician at Parkway Automotive will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

Air Conditioning Service

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Working up a sweat is a great thing to do in a gym, but not in your car. When your car’s AC System has a problem, you’ll often feel it right away. The question is, how long do you put up with it? You know, the old comfort versus cost dilemma. But a more comfortable drive has a lot of benefits, and keeping the AC System well maintained can help prevent expensive repairs.

A common cause for AC failure is water and air in the system. The system does not work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the A/C components. Also refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system, making it work harder to try to cool the air. That is why periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system so it cools better and lasts longer.

You should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in the winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out. The seals can crack and that leads to leaks. Your owner’s manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Some Little Rock automotive service centers also have this information as part of their computer databases. A service advisor at Parkway Automotive can give you more information. Call 501-821-6111 to schedule an AC check.

Of course, if your AC currently isn’t working right, then now is the time to get it checked. Many service centers can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This goes a long way to avoiding having to bring your air conditioner in for major repairs.

Recent environmental laws have stopped the manufacture of Freon, a refrigerant that was common in cars made before 1993. There is a very limited supply of Freon so the price is very steep. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older Arkansas vehicle that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new EPA-approved R134a refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run.

22 Ways to Choose a Repair Shop #3 & #4

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Don’t pick a shop just because they look like “good old boys”. Poor choice. Some of those good old boys are great. Others have never moved out of the past and can’t cope with today’s vehicles very well. Get recommendations and proof of qualifications rather than looking for a good old boy shop.


Choosing a shop based on a low “labor rate”. This is one of the worst ways to choose a shop. Price shopping for a service this way just does not make sense. There are just too many variables. Only one of those is the price. And the final price may not be even remotely related to the “labor rate”. If you need an idea of cost just ask for that and not the labor rate. If you base your buying decision on the “labor rate” you may find a shop that gives you a low rate, takes longer and charges you more for the job than you would have paid at a higher rate shop. The end result could be a shoddy job for about the same price as you could have paid for a professional one.


Can Car Scent Keep You Safe On Arkansas Roads?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Here’s a travel tip that’ll I’ll bet you didn’t know, and, it might keep you safer…

The average American commuter in Arkansas spends two and a half hours daily in their car.

The government says a hundred thousand auto accidents yearly are caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. (Aggressive driving is the number one traffic safety concern.)

So what does this have to do with how your car smells while you’re driving around Arkansas?

Well, which scent did you think makes drivers more alert?

Is it:

  • A. Strawberry
  • B. New Car
  • C. Pine
  • D. Warm Vanilla Breeze

It’s C. Drivers are more alert and have less fatigue with pine scent in the car, according to AroMetrics.

And, drivers were less angry with overall improved driving performance with strawberry and pine scents.

And you thought they just smelled nice.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In Little Rock

Friday, October 15th, 2010

About 90% of our Little Rock Arkansas driving decisions are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.

Everyone in Little Rock Arkansas has experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our windshield is just dirty. In fact, it’s estimated that 46,000,000 motorists from Conway, Arkansas and across the nation are driving with wipers that can’t adequately clear their windshield in a storm.

It seems like your wiper blades are always at their worst when you need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Conway, Arkansas area. 78% of drivers only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.

We need to change our thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as an important safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.

You really ought to replace your wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of Arkansas, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.

Winter blades are designed to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing conditions, if your car has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can just shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.

Your wiper blades live outside; freezing cold and blistering sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard; they can also scratch your windshield. That may require replacing the entire windshield – a big cost for such a little part.

AutoNetTV recommends you replace worn blades right away. Your local service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. They cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included at the service center.

Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their work. Even though Parkway Automotive will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle in the car if you’re on a road trip.

Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn’t cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won’t do as good job of cleaning your windows.

So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road.

Find us at:

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

My Dealer In Little Rock Closed: What Do I Do?

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

My Dealer Closed: What Do I Do? New car dealership closings are all over the news. Nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships canceled. About 1,100 GM dealers’ contracts will not be renewed after October 2010. And record numbers are just shutting down because they aren’t selling enough cars and trucks to stay in business.

It’s estimated that some 40,000 dealership service bays could be taken out of service in the next year or so.

Of course, this is a tragedy for those who work at our local Little Rock dealerships and the owners that risk losing much of their life’s work. Our Little Rock communities will lose some of our best corporate citizens. Think of all the youth sports team, service clubs and Little Rock community events that have been sponsored by our local new car dealers.

One question we hear a lot at AutoNetTV is, ‘Who will service my car?’ Little Rock folks are concerned that they will not get the care and attention they need. They’re wondering where they will find trained technicians in the Little Rock area. Will they be able to get quality replacement parts for their vehicles?

Fortunately, the Little Rock automotive aftermarket is ready to fill the need. As one of over 200,000 independent service and repair facilities in North America, Parkway Automotive is here to help. Parkway Automotive has been the backbone of the automotive service and repair industry for Little Rock and will continue to provide this vital role.

My Dealer Closed: What Do I Do? Parkway Automotive has the latest diagnostic and repair equipment, access to parts and repair databases, and a commitment to the highest standards of technician training. The reality is that our independent service center in Little Rock is ready to service all your vehicle’s needs – and we always have been. We don’t have to ‘step up’ to the task – we’re ready now.

Many consumers in Little Rock have known this about the local Little Rock independent service and repair industry and have used it for all their non-warranty work. And they have enjoyed greater convenience and have saved quite a bit of money along the way: The average independent service and repair center in Little Rock costs 34% less than the dealership.

And of course, Parkway Automotive has access to the very same replacement parts as the dealership as well as a selection of superior parts for greater reliability and enhanced performance. And we can source parts that may help with a tight budget as well.

So in the midst of uncertainty surrounding dealership closings, know you can turn to your local Little Rock independent service center to take care of your family’s safety and to keep your vehicles performing well. You’ll save some money too. And that’s good news in these times.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Coolant Antifreeze Service

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

You may know that most automotive failures are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause for vehicle failure? Nope, it’s not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But, if you take good care of your coolant system, it will take good care of you.

A car’s engine creates a lot of heat – so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and repair bills. But when everything is working right, your engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

The right mix of water and antifreeze protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Service technicians at Parkway Automotive can check the manufacturers’ recommendations, and tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. See They can also perform a coolant system service.

Even the best antifreeze cannot completely protect the coolant system from harmful deposits forever. The anti-corrosion additives are used up over time, so the coolant must be replaced. A coolant service cleans out the system and replaces the old fluid with fresh coolant. A coolant system service is a low-cost way to protect against major engine repairs down the road. Prevention is the key. Be sure to watch out for the two main warning signs: if your temperature gauge is in the “hot” zone or if you get a message warning you to check your coolant. If you take a look under the hood, you will see the coolant overflow bottle. You can see there are lines that indicate the proper level of coolant … if your engine is cold – or if it is hot.

You can add water or antifreeze to that bottle yourself, but be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to your Bryant, Arkansas or Ferndale, Arkansas auto service center immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner’s manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze, or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your service center where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze. You will need to check your owner’s manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. If you’re not sure, ask your Conway, Arkansas area service technician for guidance.