Archive for the ‘Tires and Wheels’ Category

Tire Tread Depth for Little Rock, Arkansas Drivers

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Parkway Automotive; (just call 501-821-6111) to find out what your requirements are in the Little Rock, Arkansas area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give Little Rock drivers enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the critical issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but Little Rock auto owners also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Little Rock Arkansas, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in Little Rock over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a detrimental condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think Little Rock auto owners will be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it. 

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Little Rock motorists follow that far behind the truck ahead? Obviously, this is an essential safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable was the tires.

How do Little Rock auto owners know when their tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most motorists in Little Rock, Arkansas want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Parkway Automotive Vehicle Maintenance Tips and Videos: Tire Replacement Overview

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Tires are a significant purchase so knowing when tires should be replaced is important for Little Rock motorists. Tires will just wear out with normal use. The depth of the tread on your tire determines how well it will stop, start and steer – especially in wet conditions. 4/32th of an inch of tire tread is considered a safe amount of tread.

Uneven tread wear can be a symptom of other problems and simply replacing your tires will not prevent the same uneven wear from happening to the new tires. We can review your tires for excessive or uneven wear. Unusual wear may lead to further examination of steering, suspension or alignment issues. We can help with necessary repairs and with getting you the right tires for your needs.

Give us a call

Parkway Automotive
708 Kirk Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

How Much is Enough for Conway, Arkansas Auto Owners? Tire Tread Depth

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Most Conway, Arkansas car owners know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are pricey and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s critical for Conway, Arkansas drivers to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s vital to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with Arkansas auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some Little Rock drivers are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Little Rock drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Little Rock drivers since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Conway, Arkansas expressway in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph. That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph. Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear from 2/32 to 4/32. The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in Arkansas and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use a quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32. Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32. Tires are a steep item for Little Rock motorists when it comes to car care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 is good auto advice.

Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Little Rock: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at Parkway Automotive

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Taking care of our tires is a vital part of car care for Little Rock drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some important preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve fuel economy and extend the life of the tires, so it’s well worth the effort and expense for Little Rock car owners to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle’s tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it’s a critical number for Little Rock motorists to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to pricey tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction, handling and MPG on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don’t be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also lessen the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the car and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your honest Parkway Automotive service professional. Your owner’s manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle’s tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that’s usually every 5,000 miles. Your honest Parkway Automotive tech can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Little Rock drivers, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You’ll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is critical and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Little Rock drivers.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Conway, Arkansas, you need tires, so Little Rock car owners need to know how to care for them. The safety of your truck can depend on the condition of your tires.

Below 45 Degrees in Little Rock: Consider Winter Tires

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Little Rock drivers couldn’t wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. Arkansas motorists ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.

Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Conway, Arkansas area are much better designed for the wide range of dangerous conditions that come with Arkansas winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Little Rock temperatures below 45°F, which reduces their traction. That’s a key concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet Little Rock conditions. But it also means that Little Rock motorists are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it’s dry.

The tread design on winter tires has been improved to actually move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves actually throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can actually pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.

Many winter tires use a micro-pore compound that lets the tire bite into ice and snow. They have wider grooves around the tire that help expel snow. They have a rounder casing to better cut into the surface of snow. Modern winter tires available at Arkansas tire shops also have sipes, or thin slits cut into the tread. The edges of these sipes can grab ice and snow so that the tire retains traction on almost any surface. The sipes also help to expel water and slush from the tread. In short, a lot of time and engineering has gone into improving winter tires.

The all-season tire that is popular among Conway, Arkansas drivers is actually a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Little Rock drivers in either season, but aren’t great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather, but lousy performance in winter. Little Rock car owners need to put more thought into their tire choices these days, but that also means they get a lot better performance for their bucks.

If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed at your Little Rock service center or Parkway Automotive. It’s best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Little Rock auto owners always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.

Imagine this: You take a corner on an icy Conway, Arkansas road and your rear end starts to slide. What happened is that the front end slowed for the turn, but the rear end hasn’t figured that out yet. If you have high-traction tires on the front of your vehicle, that makes the problem worse. You’re slowing the front end faster and harder, which makes the back end fishtail even more.

Putting the higher traction tires on the rear will give Little Rock auto owners more control for turns, regardless of the type of vehicle driven. Of course, that makes putting high-traction tires on all of your wheels even smarter. Why not give all of your tires the best traction they can get? Some Little Rock assume that four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles only need winter tires on two wheels. Why? Doesn’t it make sense to give all four wheels the same level of traction and control? Four-wheel or all-wheel drive cannot compensate for poor traction.

Another false assumption held by many Little Rock drivers is that if you have traction control and anti-lock brakes, you won’t need winter tires. Traction is important for good acceleration, steering and stopping. And tires provide traction. Traction control and anti-lock brakes can only improve on that traction. The better the traction, the better the traction control and anti-lock brakes will work. In other words, the better the tires, the better those systems will work for Little Rock motorists.

A Canadian law requires all passenger vehicles, rental cars and taxis registered in Quebec to have winter tires on all four wheels from November 15th until April 1st.

If you’re shopping for winter tires and live where there is a lot of snow in Arkansas, look for a mountain with a snowflake in it molded into the tire’s sidewall. This symbol means the tire complies with severe snow standards. All-season tires have an M&S stamped on the sidewall. M&S stands for mud and snow.

For more important auto advice about tires for any Arkansas season, talk to your honest Parkway Automotive tire professional. They can help you settle upon the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don’t forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for best durability, safety and performance, but don’t overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us Little Rock auto owners.

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.

Go Big or Go Home: Upsize Your Wheels at Parkway Automotive

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

A lot of us Little Rock motorists like our vehicles to reflect our personalities. We’re picky about color and body style. We’ll customize anything from floor mats to window tints to license plates. One popular way for Arkansas auto owners to customize a vehicle is to get new wheels.

Wheels come in thousands of designs. Custom wheels can add personality, style or sass to a vehicle. Many of these customizations involve getting a bigger wheel.

Fifteen or sixteen-inch wheels used to be the factory standard, But today, because a lot of Little Rock motorists like the look of larger wheels, many vehicles are available with seventeen or eighteen-inch wheels. Optional wheel packages of twenty inches or more are also available in Little Rock.

If you want to upsize the wheels on your current vehicle, however, you should know it’s not a do-it-yourself project. There are vital factors involved in ensuring your wheel change doesn’t jeopardize the safety of your vehicle.

First of all, it’s vital for Arkansas car owners to understand rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is the overall height of a tire. If you increase the rolling diameter of your tires when you upsize your wheels, you may have to modify your suspension to make sure the larger tires fit in the space and don’t rub in turns or over bumps. If that’s more work than you’re willing to do or pay for, then you need to maintain rolling diameter when you change your wheels.

It’s not as hard for Little Rock drivers as it sounds. Imagine a doughnut. That doughnut represents rolling diameter, so you can’t make the doughnut bigger. However, you can increase the size of the doughnut hole. That gives you a bigger wheel. Tires with reduced sidewall on larger wheels will preserve your rolling diameter.

Rolling diameter is essential because your wheels and tires still need to fit inside the wheel well. Also, your speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brakes are all programmed to work with a specific rolling diameter. You’ll throw off the readings on your speedometer and odometer if you change your rolling diameter. And for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, your rolling diameter has to be within 3% of factory recommendations. While some Little Rock auto owners who upsize may not be concerned about meter readings, throwing off the brake system is a serious safety hazard.

Further, many vehicles in Little Rock are now equipped with electronically controlled suspensions. Changing the rolling diameter will negatively affect this system as well, which can lead to a less smooth ride and lower handling performance as well as harmful safety concerns.

Your honest Parkway Automotive tire professional may be able to reprogram your vehicle’s computer to adjust for a larger (or smaller) rolling diameter.

So to maintain rolling diameter, you’ll need tires with a shorter sidewall. These tires will be designed to give the sidewalls the strength they need to maintain ride quality. Consider that doughnut again. As the wheel (the doughnut hole) gets bigger, the sidewall of the tire (the width of remaining doughnut) gets shorter. That means the tire holds less air. The sidewalls have to be made stiffer to compensate for the decreased air capacity.

To improve their strength, the shorter tires will also be slightly wider than your previous tires. But this means you’ll have a larger contact patch, or, in other words, a larger area of tire making contact with the road. This can actually increase your handling performance and decrease braking distances. Many Arkansas auto buffs customize their wheels just for this reason—they want the improved performance rather than looks or style. If you drive a truck or an SUV around Little Rock, you might be interested in the extra control an upsized wheel can provide.

Now, that larger contact patch still has to fit inside your wheel well without rubbing when cornering or when bouncing over bumps or potholes on Little Rock roads. This is termed fitment, and you may need a few vital adjustments so your new wheels will fit properly. You may need spacers so that your brakes will fit inside the new wheels, as well.

Parkway Automotive tire professionals are experts at mounting, adjusting and customizing wheels. They can give you a lot of good auto advice about wheels and tires and how they affect driving performance and car care. They can help Little Rock drivers select wheels and tires that will suit their driving needs and habits.

For example, if you drive off-road around Conway, Arkansas, you should consider a higher profile tire. This type of tire will protect your rims from pricey damage while you’re bouncing over rocks. Or, if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads around Arkansas, you’ll want a tire with a load rating equal to your demands. Your honest Parkway Automotive tire professional can help you with these types of concerns.

Once you’ve got your new wheels, have your honest Parkway Automotive service advisor check to see if you need an alignment. You don’t want those new wheels and your higher performance compromised by poor alignment. Get the most out of your investment by getting the work done right at Parkway Automotive in Little Rock.

Last but not least, remember tire pressure. With larger wheels, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need slightly higher pressure. You’ll need to stay on top of important preventive maintenance and keep them properly inflated. Be sure to check their pressure at least once a week. If you don’t keep your tires at their correct pressure, they will wear out really fast. It will also curtail your braking and handling performance.

So smile and show off your vehicle around Conway, Arkansas. Make it all yours. Bumper stickers, vanity license plates, custom wheels — strut your stuff!

Under Pressure in Little Rock: TPMS

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

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Have you noticed an increase in price when you get a flat fixed in Little Rock or your tires rotated? It might be the result of your TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

The federal government began requiring a TPMS system on 2008 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some 2006 and 2007 models may have them as well. The system has a warning light that is mounted on the dashboard that will go on if one of the tires becomes severely under inflated.

Why the new requirement? Because underinflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure. Tire blowouts cause harmful and sometimes fatal accidents. Underinflated tires also need longer stopping distance and can skid, both of which also present dangers on Arkansas roads. Many flat tires can also be prevented by proper tire inflation, and though this may seem an economic consideration, Little Rock auto owners who have changed a flat on the side of the road recognize that this has serious safety concerns as well.

Advances in tire technology, specifically the development of radial tires has made it harder for Little Rock drivers to recognize when a tire is underinflated. At a recommended pressure of 35 psi, a tire is seriously underinflated at 26 psi. But the tire doesn’t look low on air until it reaches 20 psi. This raises concerns about vehicle owners being able to tell when their trucks are a safety hazard on the road. Hence, the TPMS.

So, like seatbelts, the critical TPMS system is expected to save a lot of lives. The technology has been in use in race cars for years, and now it’s being mandated for all passenger cars, SUV’s, mini-vans and pick-ups. Besides warning Little Rock drivers when their tires need air, the system is required to indicate when it is malfunctioning.

This increased safety won’t come without increased costs to Little Rock motorists. Estimates regarding the cost of maintaining the TPMS on your vehicle run from $27 to $100. Also, there will be an added cost for tire repair. Little Rock service centers have had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with TPMS sensors and other critical equipment to repair tires and wheels equipped with TPMS. Parkway Automotive technicians have to be trained to use the new equipment. These costs will have to be passed on to Little Rock motorists.

Further, whenever a tire is changed, the Parkway Automotive service advisor will have to deal with the TPMS. Sensors will have to removed, then re-installed and re-activated. Sometimes the act of changing a tire will damage a sensor, and it will need to be replaced. These extra services will come at an added charge to Little Rock car owners.

Tire rotations will require that the TPMS be re-programmed. And whenever a vehicle’s battery is disconnected, the TPMS will require re-programming as well.

The TPMS itself will require attention – it contains batteries and sensors that will wear out and need to be replaced.

So, if you’ve noticed an increase in the cost for car care at your Little Rock tire center, it may not be the economy. It could be the cost of the TPMS in newer vehicles. Before you dash off an angry letter to Congress, however, stop and consider what you’re paying for. If predictions are correct, the TPMS will save lives, and that will be a benefit to all of us.

Of course, no warning system will save lives in Little Rock if auto owners don’t pay attention to it. And remember that the warning doesn’t come on until the tire is severely under inflated – you still should check your tire pressure at least once a month. Little Rock drivers can prevent accidents and potentially save lives without a warning system by keeping their tires properly inflated.

Talk To Parkway Automotive About New Shoes For Your Vehicle

Friday, November 28th, 2014

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Custom wheels are one way that Little Rock folks express themselves and personalize their truck. But they aren’t as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several essential factors need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the truck, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits, and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Little Rock drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require pricey adjustments to your truck suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping in Conway, Arkansas or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your truck. Second, you can choose larger wheels, and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But, even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, but that doesn’t mean it will fit your truck. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your truck tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear, and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in Little Rock at Parkway Automotive on 708 Kirk Road can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your truck. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels, but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your Parkway Automotive tech by calling 501-821-6111.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is critical that the package fits in the wheel well: you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your truck engine’s computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more vital it becomes to have your honest Parkway Automotive service specialist tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your truck may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your truck that you’ve been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Parkway Automotive, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle’s ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose, and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let’s suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some cash. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Bryant, Arkansas auto owners to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Conway, Arkansas? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on Arkansas freeways? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won’t be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won’t be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, Little Rock auto owners should always put safety ahead of appearance. That’s why you shouldn’t add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Parkway Automotive tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as expensive repairs down the road.

The honest auto professionals at Parkway Automotive want to remind Little Rock car owners of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

Helping Little Rock Drivers Get the Right Tires

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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Every Little Rock vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy Arkansas roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Conway, Arkansas temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of Little Rock weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in Arkansas and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in Arkansas, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second important consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at Arkansas tire stores. Little Rock motorists will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Parkway Automotive tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

Little Rock car owners who drive off-road around Arkansas may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on Little Rock streets and highways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in Little Rock as a statement of style or to add personality to your truck. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your truck, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Parkway Automotive tech for more information about tires.