Archive for January, 2011

Fuel Filter Service in Little Rock Arkansas

Friday, January 28th, 2011

There are a surprising number of small, inexpensive parts that can lead to expensive engine damage when they fail. It doesn’t seem right.

Fortunately a lot of those things can be taken care of in routine maintenance. They may not be easy to remember, because it is a long list, but your service center at Parkway Automotive can help you know what’s scheduled to be taken care of.

Some of us in Little Rock Arkansas really don’t look forward to going in for an oil change and then getting a list of the other things the manufacturer recommends.

But automotive maintenance is all about prevention, and addressing small problems before they get big. Let’s take the fuel filter for example.

You may not know this but the median age for private vehicles on our Little Rock Arkansas roads is over nine years. When cars get older, five years or so, they’ve accumulated a lot of dirt and rust in their gas tanks. If that dirt gets into the engine it can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. So somewhere between that dirty gas tank and the price of a great vacation – is the lowly fuel filter: a very inexpensive part that doesn’t cost too much to replace. And your car’ll just run better too.

A clogged fuel filter can’t let enough fuel through. You might notice at first that your car is running fine around town, but struggles or sputters on the Little Rock Arkansas freeway or when you accelerate. Enough fuel can’t get through to meet the demands of higher speed. If it gets bad enough your engine might just shut off or not start at all, which could be dangerous.

Some fuel filters have a bypass. When they get clogged, they allow dirty fuel to move around the filter element so dirt ends up in the engine. We’ve already talked about how expensive that can be.

The fuel filter is even very important for newer cars. The fuel is still dirty even if there isn’t rust in the tank. It’s just that the fuel filter will need to be changed more frequently as the vehicle gets older.

How often should you change your fuel filter? Check your owner’s manual. Your Little Rock Arkansas service advisor at Parkway Automotive can tell you as well. It’s usually around thirty thousand miles or so. Ask if it’s time for a full fuel system cleaning as well. They often go hand in hand.

It’s good to know that your Little Rock Arkansas service center has your back. When you’re motivated to maintain your vehicle’s performance and to reduce operating costs, you’ll think of Parkway Automotive as your ally – and maybe even your memory.

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

Friday, January 28th, 2011

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

Deep Clean Your Fuel System At Parkway Automotive

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Having trouble with your fuel system? Bring your truck into Parkway Automotive for a check up.
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Today we’re talking about fuel system cleaning. The first thing to know is how important it is to have a clean fuel system. You need fuel to go, and the cleaner your fuel system, the more efficiently the fuel will burn. That means more power and better fuel economy.

A clean fuel system saves money at the pump. We guess you could say, it all starts and ends at the pump. One of the most important things you can do to keep your fuel system clean is to buy good quality gas. Major brands have detergents that keep gum and varnish from rapidly building up in the fuel system.

So buying cheaper gas can actually cost you in the long run. Now, most cars on the road are more than five or six years old. That means they’ve had time for some dirt and rust to start accumulating in the fuel tank. This junk needs to be filtered out of the fuel before it hits your engine. That’s the fuel filter’s job.

When the fuel filter is clogged, the dirty fuel will bypass the filter and go on up to the engine where it can clog fuel injectors and get into the cylinders. That could do some damage. So you should have your fuel filter changed when recommended. Check your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor if your fuel filter is due for replacement.

The fuel then goes up into the throttle body. This is another area where varnish and gum can accumulate. A professional fuel system cleaning will use a combination of special cleaning chemicals and old fashioned swabbing to clean out the throttle body. Now, the fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel delivery system.

It’s real important to keep those fuel injectors clean. The fuel injectors need to deliver a precise amount of fuel, at exactly the right time, in a particular spray pattern. They just can’t do that if they’re dirty. Dirty fuel injectors really rob power and waste fuel.

It is important for the fuel system proper, but there are a couple other things that will help keep your engine clean as well. Of course, air is mixed with the fuel before it’s burned. Dirty air means dirt gets into your engine, so you need to replace your engine air filter when it’s dirty.

The PCV value routes unburned fuel that escapes into the lower engine back up into the intake system to be burned. A sticky PCV valve needs to be replaced to make sure that system is working properly and the breather filter needs to be replaced if it’s dirty as well.

Do all these things and your engine’s air and fuel will be as clean as possible. You’ll get much better fuel economy and better power


The “Auto Guy” is moving to KTHV Morning Show

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Starting Feburary 4th, 2011,  The “Auto Guy”, Mike Davidson, will move from KATV Daybreak  to the Morning Show on KTHV Channel Eleven.  See the “Auto Guy” in HD.

Instead of answering questions on the air, Mike will be giving you important and helpful information about auto care and maintenance. As always,  you may reach Mike at Parkway Automotive by calling 501-821-6111 or by email at

Service to Improve Fuel Economy

Friday, January 21st, 2011

The price of gas has got everyone talking. It seems that people who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are especially hit hard. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve fuel economy.

First let’s start with how we drive. People may not realize that they can really save on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts – you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don’t drive with one foot on the brake. That’s also a drag on fuel economy, and it wears out your brakes faster too.

Another thing is to drive slower – but only when it’s safe. Sometimes on the highway we drive an extra five … ten . . . twenty … over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave a little bit earlier, save some money and arrive more relaxed.

You can also try and group all of your errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow – you can save some time and money.

Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving at a constant speed really improves fuel economy. Be sure to only use your cruise control under safe conditions – you can look in your owner’s manual for some good tips on using your cruise control.

Did you know that reducing the weight in your vehicle saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry around a lot of stuff you do not need in the car. If you live where there is snow and ice, clear it off your car. They add weight and mess with aerodynamics too.

Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going – just take it easy for a couple of miles.

Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.

Now, let’s start talking mechanical. Bottom line – the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in fuel savings before your next oil change – and will keep saving you money after that.

A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power – so you can’t go wrong with that.

Some of us ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.

And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your fuel economy. Don’t overlook the routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your manufacturer’s recommended service intervals in the owner’s manual, or ask your Parkway Automotive service advisor for the schedule.

Don’t forget your tires. Underinflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment you won’t get the economy you need.

None of these things are very complicated or expensive to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today, and prevent costly repairs tomorrow.

What To Do In Case Of An Accident

Friday, January 21st, 2011

If you’ve ever been in a car accident around Little Rock Arkansas, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It’s hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let’s review what you should do in case of an accident in Little Rock, Arkansas:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime in Arkansas – even if it’s not your fault. And hit-and-run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your driver’s license or even jail time in our local Little Rock lockup.

Most states, including Arkansas require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able.

Warn other Little Rock motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood.

Call 911 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

Always file a police report. It’s tempting to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you won’t have an objective report to help defend yourself.

Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don’t. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of Arkansas law, the other guy may be responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as “I was going 35 miles per hour” not “I wasn’t speeding”. Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you.

Also get the officer’s name and badge number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most insurance companies don’t record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track the vehicle.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can’t wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary.

Always call your insurance agent or your Arkansas auto insurance company’s 800 number.

Call or see your local Little Rock physician if you think you may have been injured.

We here at Parkway Automotive hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy travels.

Go Straight: Wheel Alignment

Friday, January 21st, 2011

You may have an alignment problem if your car drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel’s off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn’t feel like it handles right as you travel around Arkansas.

When all of your Little Rock vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other Little Rock street hazard are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

Driving for an extended time when you’re out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.

At the very least, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.

The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

Now, let’s talk about some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

So, what is involved in an alignment check at Parkway Automotive? First, there’s an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated.

From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and we take an initial alignment reading.

If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s centerline. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.

Like most things, your Little Rock vehicle manufacturer has suggested a mileage interval for having your alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that’s given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive. It’s better to have your alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked when needed is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety.

Come in to Parkway Automotive for an alignment inspection and we’ll let you know how things look. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling 501-821-6111.

Let us know if you enjoy our Auto Tips Videos


Power Steering: Keep Headed in the Right Direction, Little Rock

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Power steering is standard on nearly every car and truck in Little Rock, Arkansas these days. Now there are some exotic, new types of power steering systems, but for the most part, the heart of the system is a pump that’s driven by a belt powered by the engine.

Contact us at Parkway Automotive for questions about your power steering.

The pump generates boost that assists you as you steer your truck around Little Rock, Arkansas. Power steering systems use hoses to move pressurized fluid back and forth. These hoses can develop leaks so it’s a good idea to inspect them at every oil change.

A check of the power steering fluid level is on the list for every full service oil change because low fluid can damage the power steering pump. And the fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so you need to use the correct type –just ask your service consultant at Parkway Automotive.

In addition to providing boost, the fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. The lubricants and detergents are depleted over time so you need to replace your old fluid with clean, fresh fluid periodically.

Excess moisture can collect in the power steering fluid as well. That can lead to rust and corrosion as well as reduce the effectiveness of the fluid. Many manufacturers specify power steering service intervals in the owner’s manual. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the maintenance schedule. When in doubt, every two years is a good fallback.

Your auto service center in Little Rock, Arkansas will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with the good stuff.

Now, if you are experiencing high steering effort, erratic power assist, loud whining coming from the pump you may have a power steering problem. Another sign is that you have to frequently top off the fluid.

Holding the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time can wear your pump out real fast. AutoNetTV wants you to be sure to service your power steering system regularly to keep you headed in the right direction.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Service Center Standard and Procedures

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

All pilots have checklists for every aspect of flying. They always use their checklists even if they only have two steps on them. They do this simply because a checklist is a great way to not forget important steps. It is also how you can assure a predictable outcome.

That is why Cabot, Arkansas and Bryant, Arkansas automotive service centers have procedural standards for each service they perform. Technicians are trained step by step. And they perform the procedures step by step, the same way each time. By training to procedural standards, centers can assure a quality outcome. The job is done right every time and you are happy with how your car performs.

Each company trains its technicians to standards. The industry as a whole is very committed to standards of excellence and encourages individual service center operators to apply them to every vehicle they service.

An example is how service technicians grade problems and communicate their recommendations. If a technician tells you that a repair or replacement is required it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The part no longer performs its intended purpose
  2. The part does not meet a design specification
  3. The part is missing

The technician may suggest repair or replacement if:

  1. The part is close to the end of its useful life – just above discard specifications or likely to fail soon
  2. To address a customer need or request – like for better ride or increased performance
  3. To comply with maintenance recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer
  4. Based on the technician’s informed experience

Here are some examples:

An exhaust pipe has rusted through and is leaking. Replacement is required because the part has failed. If the pipe were rusted, corroded or weak, but not leaking, the technician may suggest it be replaced because it is near the end of its useful life and replacing it now may be more convenient for the customer.

Suppose a customer wants to improve his car’s handling, but his shocks haven’t failed. The technician may suggest replacement of the shocks to satisfy the customer’s wishes.

Under these guidelines the service center must refuse partial service of a required repair if the repair creates or continues an unsafe condition. Let’s say a customer has a cracked brake rotor. This is a dangerous condition that must be repaired. If the customer does not want to replace the rotor, but instead just wants new brake pads installed, the shop must ethically refuse the partial repair. That can be an upsetting conversation, but understanding that service centers operate under service standards and procedures is comforting. You want your service to be done right and to have confidence in your technician’s recommendations.

The automotive service industry and Parkway Automotive want the best for you and for you to keep coming back. AutoNetTV is committed to providing automotive maintenance information to help you be confident in your service decisions.

Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Little Rock?

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Little Rock?

Is it:

  1. Stereo
  2. Wheels
  3. Air Bag
  4. DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Little Rock – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Little Rock.

Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

Contact Parkway Automotive for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 708 Kirk Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223
You can reach us by phone at: 501-821-6111

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely one car part you don’t want to take a chance with, so Parkway Automotive recommends following these guidelines:

  • Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Parkway Automotive).
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
  • You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.

For more information, contact Mike at Parkway Automotive by calling 501-821-6111.