Archive for May, 2014

Parkway Automotive Maintenance Tips: The Belt Goes On

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Today’s Parkway Automotive auto maintenance article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power essential automotive systems. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your truck air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in Conway, Arkansas.

Next, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your truck’s electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Parkway Automotive Maintenance Tips The Belt Goes OnAll Conway, Arkansas motorists know that without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. And, on many trucks, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within normal operating temperatures for Conway, Arkansas auto owners. (On some trucks, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.)

So you can see the serpentine belt does a lot of work. And it if breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why auto makers and your service advisor at Parkway Automotive have recommended that it be changed every so often so that it doesn’t fail.

honest Parkway Automotive service professional can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.

Your serpentine belt works in tandem with a spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its critical job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Parkway Automotive, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s a key art for the function of your truck. And it’s not that costly to replace at Parkway Automotive – so bring in your vehicle if it hasn’t been checked in a while.

Getting the Right Tires And Wheels In Little Rock

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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A lot of people get custom wheels in Little Rock. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you’re not careful. Sometimes, once they’re mounted, they just don’t fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don’t want that.

Consulting your Parkway Automotive tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he’ll ask you a series of questions about your Little Rock driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don’t want to make any modifications to your truck, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some Little Rock people like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Little Rock drivers don’t realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – that’s, like the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your truck anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn’t know what changes you made so it can’t tell how fast you’re going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your truck engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in Arkansas. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your honest Parkway Automotive tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your truck. Your Parkway Automotive service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Little Rock.

Fuel System Cleaning at Parkway Automotive for Better Performance

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

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Hi Little Rock motorists. Let’s talk fuel injectors. 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 truck 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.

Fuel System Cleaning at Parkway Automotive for Better PerformanceVehicles 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 efficiency and loss of engine performance for Little Rock motorists.

So it’s to Little Rock motorists’ advantage to keep their 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 fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel to Little Rock drivers than do bargain Conway, Arkansas area service stations.

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.

Little Rock motorists should check their owner’s manual to find out how often they should change their 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 between Little Rock, Cabot, Arkansas and Bryant, Arkansas , your filter will need to be changed more often.

You can also purchase cleaners at Parkway Automotive 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 fuel economy 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.

Timing Belt Replacement in Little Rock

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Today we want to talk to Little Rock car owners about timing belts. They’re something that many Little Rock drivers don’t know much about and yet your vehicle won’t run if it’s broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner’s manual, it’s not the kind of thing that most Conway, Arkansas car owners remember because it’s not well understood.

Let’s review what a timing belt does. As most Little Rock auto owners know, the engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It’s called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.

Now, not all Cabot, Arkansas and Bryant, Arkansas vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. The leading manufacturers started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now Little Rock auto owners and Parkway Automotive service professionals are left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of automobile manufacturer engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous for auto owners depending on where they are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.

Interference truck engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it’ll cost a chunk of bucks to repair the truck engine.

So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren’t any. There aren’t tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from Parkway Automotive may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that’s in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the expensive damage it’ll cause. There’s no middle ground.

So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner’s manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles, ask your Parkway Automotive service advisor right away if your vehicle manufacturer requires a timing belt replacement.

Contact Parkway Automotive to learn more about your car’s Timing Belt
You can find us at:
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223
Or call us at 501-821-6111

Sometimes Little Rock car owners can go quite a while without a failure, but we’ve seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It’s not worth the risk.

What does it cost to replace a timing belt in Little Rock or Ferndale, Arkansas? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it’s usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn’t a cheap procedure, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost to repair the expensive damage caused by a failure.

At Parkway Automotive in Little Rock we’re all about trying to prevent costly repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. Thanks to AutoNetTV for their great auto video tips.

Suspension Service At Parkway Automotive In Little Rock

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Suspension systems function effectively for many years and tens of thousands of miles. Eventually, however, truck suspension components do wear out, but how long that takes depends a lot on how you drive around Little Rock and Bryant, Arkansas.

As you can imagine, if most of your driving is on smooth Arkansas highways, your shock absorbers will last a lot longer than if you do most of your driving on bumpy Little Rock roads or haul heavy loads. In addition to just wearing out, truck suspension components can be damaged in an accident or by a hard impact – like a pothole, hitting a curb or a rock in the road. Because the life span of shocks can vary so widely, truck auto manufacturers recommend periodic inspections.

Suspension Service At Parkway AutomotiveDuring an inspection at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, your honest automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

First there are the springs which hold the weight of your truck. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are obviously key heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your truck dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Parkway Automotive.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Parkway Automotive for a an essential suspension inspection. Same if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your truck suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your honest Parkway Automotive service professional because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your truck was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Bryant, Arkansas people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your honest Parkway Automotive advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Little Rock, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.