Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Little Rock Car Owners

Friday, August 21st, 2015

A generation ago, Little Rock auto owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your truck in to your Little Rock shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Little Rock used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the truck was in for a tune-up at Parkway Automotive, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our trucks don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Little Rock auto owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Little Rock service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Parkway Automotive in Little Rock, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and fuel efficiency. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern truck engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of essential parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the truck isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your truck engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the truck engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this costly damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Little Rock car owners than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to essential engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Conway, Arkansas who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Little Rock folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Little Rock motorists can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel economy, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

The Importance Of Little Rock Drivers Following Service Intervals

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Today in our Parkway Automotive blog, we’re going to talk about following recommended service intervals. Your truck isn’t the only aspect of your life in Little Rock with recommended intervals: Let’s start with twice yearly dental check-ups and regular physical exams. How about laundry, watering the lawn and paying the bills?

Now, what would happen if you didn’t follow these intervals? Well, you’d get more cavities. You’d may not discover health conditions that could be more effectively treated with early detection. And you’d have to wear dirty clothes, be embarrassed by your brown lawn and have your utilities shut off.

The Importance Of Little Rock Drivers Following Service IntervalsClearly, there are some things in life that we have to take care of regularly. If we don’t, there are negative consequences. Our quality of life in Little Rock takes a hit and it inevitably costs more money.

So why is it so hard to remember to follow regular preventive maintenance on our trucks? Probably a couple of reasons. One is that automotive maintenance items just don’t seem that urgent. All our Little Rock neighbors can see our dead lawn, but no one knows how dirty our transmission fluid is. It’s easy to put off. The other reason is that we’re just not as familiar with automotive maintenance, so it’s a bit intimidating.

From a practical standpoint, Little Rock people don’t need to memorize their truck owner’s manuals. You can let your Parkway Automotive advisor remind you of the guidelines established by vehicle manufacturers: he has checklists of what the manufacturer recommends and can find potential problems when he inspects your truck. You really can rely on Parkway Automotive professionals to help you make good automotive decisions.

For Little Rock drivers who want to be more proactive with their truck care, here are some simple ways for Little Rock motorists to remember what has a maintenance interval.

First: Fluids. If it’s liquid, it’s got a replacement schedule. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc.

Then think tires. They need air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, don’t forget brakes and shock absorbers.

And what makes your truck go? Air and fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and fuel system cleaning. Of course there are more items, but if Little Rock car owners remember to take their car or truck in to Parkway Automotive for these things, their service advisor will help them with the rest.

And if you don’t follow recommended service intervals? You get lousy MPG, your truck doesn’t run as well, your safety is compromised and you’ll spend more money in the long run. So it’s the same as everything else: The quality of your motoring life takes a hit and it ends up costing you more.

Reason enough for me to follow recommended service intervals.

Following Recommended Intervals For Your truck

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

If you’re reading this article in Little Rock, Arkansas, then you probably care about your car and how it runs. Even though you care, there is still that moment of dread when your honest Parkway Automotive technician tells you the manufacturer recommends some additional service. Your heart beats a little faster, your blood pressure rises. You worry about spending more money than you had planned. And you worry that if you say “no”, you might be harming your truck or risking your family’s safety.

At the risk of sounding like your dad, you really should have done your homework. Service recommendations are in your owner’s manual. But it is not like you want to keep your truck auto maintenance schedule on your nightstand for bedtime reading.

Cars are complicated machines and it takes some effort for Little Rock drivers to keep them running well. That is why car makers have maintenance schedules that explain how to keep your truck performing efficiently and prevent expensive breakdowns. In a typical owners manual you’ll find: oil change, brake fluid and pad change, coolant system service, transmission service, battery electrolyte levels, cables and terminals, tire pressure and wear, CV boots, cabin air filter, air conditioning, heater, fuel filter, air filter, belts and hoses, power steering fluid, differential service, fuel system cleaning, and wheel alignment. And then there are mechanical service requirements like timing belt changes, valve adjustment, steering function, engine and exhaust leaks – yeah, it is a really long list!

Fortunately, this isn’t a test: Little Rock car owners don’t need to have it memorized. Your honest Parkway Automotive technician has access to your auto manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t be surprised when your tech at Parkway Automotive reminds you something vital is due. Your automobile manufacturer has taken great care in putting together your maintenance schedule. Let Parkway Automotive help you stay on top of vital maintenance. You can expect them to suggest recommended services and tell you what problems they find under the hood. We’ll also explain how urgent these services are so you can work them into your budget.

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth In Cabot, Arkansas

Friday, October 10th, 2014

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There’s a segment of the Cabot, Arkansas population that’s not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. Mistaken perceptions have crept into the Arkansas area over time. Many Cabot, Arkansas motorists think the root lies in the fact that modern cars are so reliable. Reliability has improved dramatically in recent years. Quality surveys report fewer problems with new cars than ever before.

Back when cars spent more time in the repair shop, Cabot, Arkansas drivers were more mindful of routine service. Now, it’s much easier to put it off.

Take tune-ups for example. In the days of mechanical ignition systems, an engine needed to be tuned-up every couple of years. The ignition points had to be replaced, spark plugs and coils replaced and the timing adjusted. If your engine was out of tune, you knew it. It ran poorly and got bad fuel economy.

Ferndale, Arkansas The Maintenance-Free MythNow, the ignition system in your truck is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as a hundred thousand miles. So tune-ups used to force you in to Parkway Automotive for service and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new cars in Cabot, Arkansas have been leased. These folks plan on turning the car in after two or three years, so they haven’t focused on the maintenance that helps your car last longer.

Given all that, what’s the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your truck will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren’t just repairs that are a long ways off. Modern truck engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

For example, your truck engine coolant could actually become so corrosive that it eats holes in your radiator or other cooling system parts. Of course, that could lead to massive engine damage, all for the want of replacing the coolant on schedule.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Parkway Automotive, we have been taking care of all those little things for 13 years. Your truck still needs to be taken care of – it’s just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Cabot, Arkansas did not go away.

Looking Down the Road – Headlamps

Friday, September 12th, 2014

If you’ve ever been driving around Little Rock and had a headlamp go out, you’ve probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won’t have the same brightness which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Parkway Automotive. We’re at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock, Arkansas 72223. Or give us a call at 501-821-6111

Experts in Little Rock recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It’s easy to remember if you do it when daylight savings time changes in the fall. That way you’ll have bright headlamps for those long Little Rock winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can’t believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and give a very white light that’s a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they’ll last for the life of your car. If you want your Little Rock friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint – no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can’t react to what you can’t see. You need headlamps that’ll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. And your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and also, to keep your lights from shining off into on-coming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That’s because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Little Rock service centers offer a service to restore the lens that’s a lot cheaper.

You can’t drive if you can’t see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don’t forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

Budget For Maintenance in Little Rock

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

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Sometimes busy Little Rock residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around Conway, Arkansas in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Little Rock car owners spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Little Rock drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Little Rock car owners didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Little Rock area auto service centers.

Little Rock motorists should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in Little Rock is simply more costly than it used to be. So if you think about it, Arkansas drivers can avoid many costly truck repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs. has a great calculator to help you estimate car repair costs. Conway, Arkansas motorists can enter the year, make and model for your vehicle, and the calculator will give you an estimate of what it will cost to service and repair your vehicle for the next five years. It also estimates the costs for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel.

These estimates can be used to set up a reasonable budget to manage your car repair and maintenance expenses. Of course, they are just estimates. All Cabot, Arkansas motorists know that life hands out a lot of surprises — some good, some bad, so there’s no way to know exactly what your truck will need. But a good estimate helps you make a good budget, and a good budget is always helpful when it comes to car repairs.

Let’s look at one example. For a 2003 Toyota Camry, here is Edmunds’ estimate for the cost of repairs and maintenance for the next three years (as of the time of this writing):

Yr. 1 Yr. 2  
Yr. 3 
3-Yr. Total  
Maintenance 748    
Repairs 352      
409 476 1237  
                           Total 1,100 634 1,270 3,004  
Monthly Average 92 53 106 83  

According to this estimate, the owner needs to set aside about $83 a month to defray the costs of car care. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the payment on a new automobile. And even if car repairs are more costly than expected, that $83 is going to make the bills a lot less painful.

Just a bit of auto advice from Parkway Automotive: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and Arkansas auto insurance with an older Little Rock vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for important preventive maintenance in Arkansas, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less pricey!

Parkway Automotive Helps You Decipher The Menu Board: Part 2

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

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Little Rock service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some Little Rock drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.

Parkway Automotive fuel system cleaning: Over time, the truck fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.

Parkway Automotive headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.

Parkway Automotive inspections: Little Rock drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for Arkansas summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used truck and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.

Parkway Automotive oil change: – there are several options: Some Little Rock centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.

Parkway Automotive PCV valve replacement in Little Rock:
PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.

Parkway Automotive power steering service: Often overlooked. Your honest Parkway Automotive technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the truck system running well for a long time.

Parkway Automotive serpentine belt service:
That’s the belt that powers the truck engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.

Parkway Automotive shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many Little Rock people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.

Parkway Automotive transmission service:
This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.

Parkway Automotive tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.

Parkway Automotive: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

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Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your truck engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Arkansas highways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your truck needs a lot of air to keep going in Cabot, Arkansas. A lot of clean air is best.

Parkway Automotive: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your truck also works better when its internals are clean. When your truck air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your truck engine does you no good.

So, we’re talking potential damage for Conway, Arkansas drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your truck engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with gas mileage.

In fact, replacing a dirty air filter at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock can improve your fuel economy by up to ten percent. At today’s Cabot, Arkansas fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your truck engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in Arkansas. A simple visual inspection at Parkway Automotive will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your Parkway Automotive service advisor shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.

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.

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Little Rock Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Little Rock.

  • Some cars in Little Rock no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Little Rock if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Little Rock service advisor at Parkway Automotive to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Little Rock, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Parkway Automotive. You’ll find us at 708 Kirk Road in Little Rock, Arkansas 72223. Just give us a call at 501-821-6111.