Archive for April, 2015

Viva la Differential At Parkway Automotive In Little Rock

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

There are a lot of Little Rock people who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in Arkansas these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Little Rock folks don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of mind. So it’s not uncommon for Little Rock people to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any Arkansas high school. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside truck wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a truck moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for when to replace your differential fluid.

Your honest Parkway Automotive service technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He’ll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Parkway Automotive service advisor can look up the truck manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual.

At Parkway Automotive, we’ve been providing quality automotive service for our valued Little Rock customers for 13 years. If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at 501-821-6111.

Wipe Out! New Wiper Blades For Little Rock Drivers

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

When Little Rock car owners talk about vehicle safety, they think of tires and brakes. But do we think about our windshields? Isn’t the ability to see a prime safety factor when it comes to driving around Arkansas? Yet we often don’t even notice our windshields until we can’t see through them, or until our wiper blades fail.

It’s estimated that around 46 million people are driving with wipers that won’t keep their windshields clear during a storm — that’s 46 million people with impaired vision during a storm. For safety’s sake, Little Rock drivers need to change the way they think about wiper blades. Most of us, 78% in fact, only change our wiper blades after they fail. In other words, we don’t get new ones until the old ones become a harmful safety hazard. Instead, we Little Rock auto owners need to make wiper blades a vital part of our preventive maintenance routine.

Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. In Arkansas areas that experience harsh winter weather, special blades are available that prevent ice and snow from collecting on the wiper. Ask your honest Parkway Automotive tech about wiper blades that repel ice and snow.

No matter what blades you use on your vehicle in the winter, don’t expect them to clear the ice and snow from your windshield after your vehicle has been parked for a while. Using your wipers will shred your blades and may even damage your wiper motor. And don’t drive on Little Rock roads with a frosted windshield. That’s a serious safety hazard. It can cause accidents, and you could be held liable.

Wiper blades are subjected to harsh conditions in Little Rock. They’re out in the Conway, Arkansas sun and in the cold. Over time, they become hard and brittle and lose their flexibility. Then they start to tear. Without flexibility, wipers just can’t clear a windshield of water or snow. And torn wipers can actually scratch your windshield. Then the entire windshield has to be replaced — along with the wiper blades. It’s a prime example of how preventive maintenance could have saved you a steep repair bill.

Little Rock drivers can purchase new wiper blades at an auto service center or at any Little Rock auto parts store. They cost about the same. But the auto service center will throw in the installation.

Once you have good wipers installed, don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid. If you take your vehicle in for a full-service oil change at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, your washer fluid will get topped off then. But it’s good auto advice to purchase a jug of washer fluid to keep at home — just in case. And pack it in the car when you go on long trips.

While we’re on the subject, Parkway Automotive advises Little Rock auto owners to always fill their washer fluid reservoir with window washer fluid. Don’t ever use water. Water can freeze in the reservoir, which can damage it. It can also freeze onto your windshield. Besides, plain water just can’t get a windshield clean. Think about it. Do you use plain water to clean your bathroom mirrors? And a bathroom mirror doesn’t get exposed to anything near the gunk that can end up on your windshield. Windshield washer fluid was designed to do one thing — to clean windshields. Let it do its important job.

A clean windshield is not just good car care for Little Rock auto owners — it’s an essential safety feature. Let’s keep it that way.

Parkway Automotive Advice On Buying New Tires

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Little Rock driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Arkansas seasons.

Little Rock off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Little Rock? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Parkway Automotive tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Little Rock drivers shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at Arkansas tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some vital adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the truck. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your truck with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your truck on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Little Rock a lot longer.

Battery Basics For Little Rock

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Conway, Arkansas Battery Service

It’s important for Little Rock car owners to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold Arkansas weather. Most Conway, Arkansas motorists think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold truck engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Little Rock trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Little Rock drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the Arkansas summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your truck alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your honest Parkway Automotive tech for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your truck alternator.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Fresh Air Inside Your Car in Little Rock

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern Little Rock world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There’s a filter that cleans the air going into our truck’s engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?

Foreign and domestic auto manufacturers haven’t been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Ferndale, Arkansas auto owners who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don’t have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.

Cabin air filters are still fairly new in Conway, Arkansas, so you’ll have to check your truck owner’s manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your vital preventive maintenance. The owner’s manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in Arkansas is particularly dirty or if you’re prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.

Your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Conway, Arkansas area. They’re the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.

There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Little Rock auto owners can usually find them in the truck engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into Parkway Automotive and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.

However, if you have a newer truck, it’s good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your truck will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Conway, Arkansas car owners discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!

Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy, and stay on the road in Little Rock.