Archive for January, 2015

Keeping Your Engine Cool In Little Rock, Arkansas

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The cooling system keeps Arkansas car owners’s engines from overheating while they are driving around Little Rock, Ferndale, Arkansas and Bryant, Arkansas. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let’s talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.

The radiator is the part most Little Rock drivers associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there’s enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the truck is idling.

In some trucks, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your truck off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.

Little Rock Arkansas Radiator A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the truck engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the “water jacket”.

While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the truck engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your Little Rock house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.

When you first start the engine, it’s very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.

The final component the team at Parkway Automotive wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It’ll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.

Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car’s hot. The cooling system is pressurized and opening them while it’s hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Little Rock, Arkansas. At Parkway Automotive, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for detrimental leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Your automobile manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.

Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Parkway Automotive

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Hello Little Rock auto owners! Let’s talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly in Little Rock.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is an expensive repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Little Rock drivers and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday Arkansas driving. Little Rock road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, even the bumps and bounces of normal Conway, Arkansas freeways and surface streets can gradually put your truck tires out of alignment.

So it’s good auto advice to have your truck’s alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your truck tires might be out of alignment, you should take your truck into Parkway Automotive now.

When you take your truck in for an alignment in Little Rock, your honest Parkway Automotive service professional will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be repaired in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the truck will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the car maker’s specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of essential adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle’s tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you’ll be able to steer where you want to go in Conway, Arkansas. Drive safely.

What To Do In Case Of An Accident

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

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.

Drive Train Service in Little Rock at Parkway Automotive

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The drive train in your vehicle includes all the important components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.

Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.

Parkway Automotive service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

Parkway Automotive service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel drive trucks provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

Servicing an all-wheel drive at Parkway Automotive involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Little Rock motorists encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.

Little Rock motorists would be wise to check with their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their truck drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your honest Parkway Automotive service professional as well. You may live in an area in Arkansas where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.

If you drive off-road, it is essential to service your driveline more often frequently than the typical recommendation. Conditions encountered off-road around the Conway, Arkansas area are particularly hard on your driveline.

Good car care at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your truck becomes a very large paperweight.

Parkway Automotive is located at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock. We provide comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services for residents of Little Rock, Bryant, Arkansas, Ferndale, Arkansas, Cabot, Arkansas and Conway, Arkansas.