Archive for November, 2013

Upsizing Wheels and Tires With Parkway Automotive

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

At AutoNetTV we love doughnuts. So let’s pretend you have three doughnuts right in front of you for today’s discussion about upsizing wheels and tires. Hey, don’t eat them now – your going to need them later.

Many Little Rock car owners want to accessorize their car – you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs at Conway, Arkansas area tire shops to get you the look you want. And for many Cabot, Arkansas car owners, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.

So let’s talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It’s not exactly a DIY project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your truck suspension, you’ll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.

Let’s think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They’re all about the same size. So if we pretend they’re tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we’ve made the hole bigger on some. That’s like having a bigger wheel – but the rolling diameter is the same.

It’s important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the truck wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won’t work properly.

Some drivers have cars with electronically controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let’s think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.

Low profile tires from top automakers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you’ll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there’s more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of Little Rock folks with trucks or SUVs love the extra control.

Arkansas auto owners need to watch out that the contact patch isn’t so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we’re talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional at Parkway Automotive can help you get this right. He’ll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels, and get you rolling.

Also, if you drive off-road in Arkansas a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional at Parkway Automotive knows how to help.

And don’t forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you’ll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment at Parkway Automotive after you get your new shoes. AutoNetTV wants you to safely have the look you want.

Stop by Parkway Automotive to learn more about how you might upsize your wheels or tires.
You’ll find us at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock, Arkansas 72223.

Nighttime Visibility In Conway, Arkansas

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

There are a number of factors that contribute to the high nighttime accident rate in the greater Conway, Arkansas area, things like drowsy driving and a higher rate of impaired driving. Without a doubt, visibility is a major contributor. Let’s focus on visibility…

It’s said that 90 percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. Nighttime driving has the effect of reducing 20/20 vision to the equivalent of 20/50 vision. What you could clearly see at 50 feet in daylight can’t be seen until you are just 20 feet away at night.

Too make sure your headlights are giving you the greatest visibility, visit us at Parkway Automotive. you’ll find us located on 708 Kirk Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223. Please give us a call to make an appointment: 501-821-6111.

Accident avoidance is dependent on reaction time. Reaction time deteriorates measurably in low light conditions. One thing we can do to improve visibility is to make sure our headlights are as bright as they can possibly be.

Headlamps dim over time. They dim so gradually that you may not notice it. Many experts suggest replacing your standard or halogen headlamps once a year.

If your vehicle has standard headlamps, consider upgrading to halogen lamps. They make a big difference. And there are upgrades available within the halogen category as well. This once-a-year expense is very modest compared to the safety benefits.

Some trucks come with high intensity discharge – or HID – headlamps. These lamps should last for the life of your car. They are very bright and are clearly the best option for nighttime driving. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Talk with your Conway, Arkansas service advisor at Parkway Automotive about options for your car.

Another startling fact is that 90 percent of trucks on the road have dirty or yellowed headlight covers. Dirty is easy to fix. Just run the window washer over the headlight cover when you stop for gas. Get those bugs and dirt off the cover.

Now plastic headlight covers can yellow or become hazy over time. They can be restored to clarity with a special polishing process. Parkway Automotive can help you with this service.

It’s also vital to keep your windshield clean and streak free when driving at night. Make sure you have plenty of washer fluid and that your windshield wipers are in good working order.

We recommend replacing wiper blades twice a year – in the spring and fall. Fall is also a good time to replace headlamps so you’ll be ready for those long winter nights.

Ethics of Automotive Repair in Little Rock

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

We’re going to be talking about the ethics of automotive repair. It seems like news outlets really like hit-and-run reporting; they hit everyone from groceries stores to retail to physicians. And the Little Rock automotive service and repair industry hasn’t been given a pass either.

Unfortunately, every profession in Little Rock has some bad actors that hurt the reputation of everyone else. On the automotive side, industry associations and professional licensing organizations are very committed to high ethical standards.

Yet some people remain uncomfortable with Little Rock automotive service and repair. It may start with the fact that our vehicles are a big investment and we rely on them for so much in our lives. That alone guarantees our attention. And how well we understand the recommendations really impacts our comfort level.

If we understand what’s recommended and the benefits of taking care of the work – and the pitfalls of putting it off – we’ll have more trust in the recommendation. So communication is key. It’s like going to the doctor; If she’s using medical jargon and takes a lot of basic medical knowledge for granted, we have a hard time following her train of thought. It can be like that with your Little Rock service advisor too. He’s so familiar with all things automotive, he may forget you don’t know a PCV from an EGT.

If you don’t understand what your doctor’s talking about: ask some questions. If you don’t understand what your Little Rock automotive advisor’s talking about: ask some questions.

Let’s go back to those ethical standards; when we hear a repair recommendation, we always ask ourselves, “Is this really necessary?” Well, here’s the industry standard:

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

For example, it you take your car in for a grinding noise when you step on the brakes, you may just think you need new brake pads. After the inspection, the technician at Parkway Automotive says that you have a cracked rotor and need to replace it.

If you tried to get him to simply put new pads on, he would say that if you didn’t want to replace the rotor; Parkway Automotive would ethically have to refuse the repair.

To just put pads on a cracked rotor would have been very wrong. The brakes could’ve failed at anytime and needed to be repaired – not just have a band-aid slapped on them.

Now, looking at something not so serious, 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

Of course, the technician has the burden of making ethical recommendations and properly educating their customers. For the customer, if you are uncomfortable with a recommendation, ask some questions. More information is always a good thing.

Differential Service At Parkway Automotive: Vive ala Difference

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

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Every truck on Arkansas highways has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle, but most Little Rock car owners don’t have a clue what it is.

The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the truck must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Differential Service At Parkway Automotive: Vive ala Difference Have you ever seen the large bugle-shaped object in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That’s the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You’d be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the critical job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don’t want your differential to seize up. That results in pricey damage to your truck.

So you need to have your truck differential serviced regularly. It’s not a complicated job. At Parkway Automotive in Little Rock we’ve been servicing differentials for 13 years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Little Rock service center will ensure you are getting what your truck needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner’s manual or Parkway Automotive to find out how often your truck differential needs to be serviced.

Generally, however, front-wheel drive vehicles need their differential serviced more often than rear-wheel drive vehicles. Also, if you spend a lot of time off-road or on Conway, Arkansas area dirt or gravel roads, or if you drive through water, you will need to service your differential more often than the standard recommendation – check with your honest Parkway Automotive technician.

Preventive maintenance for your differential is good car care that can spare you costly repair bills. Knowing what your differential is and how it operates is key and will help you understand why this is good auto advice. Remember, take care of your truck, and it will take care of you.

Little Rock Arkansas Winter Prep Service For Your Auto

Friday, November 1st, 2013

When winter approaches in Little Rock Arkansas, we break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for winter conditions. Your vehicle needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing you want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your vehicle to be safe and reliable. It’s a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime – but the stakes are higher in the winter.

There are some specific things that we need to do in Little Rock Arkansas to have our vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can’t properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.

In the cold months around Little Rock we always worry about being able to stop in time when it’s slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your service consultant to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.

It is a really good idea to have your battery tested. A battery’s cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to winter. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.

Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is a good precaution if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Winter in Little Rock Arkansas always makes us think of our windshield wiper blades – usually during that first storm when they aren’t working right. That’s why it’s a really good idea to replace your blades in the fall before the winter storms. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.

The final thing to consider is your tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time – up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80 degrees outside when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it’s 40 degrees out, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That’s enough to be a real safety issue and it wastes gas too. You may need special winter tires as well. Your tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your expected road conditions.

If you’re getting winter tires, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, have them put on the rear – even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle.

This is a very important safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should always be on the rear.