Roadside Assistance Plans Keep You on the Go

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roadside assistance plan

roadside assistance planDuring the spring and summer months when more people are traveling, there’s bound to be more breakdowns. And that’s especially true for people who want to see the sights off the beaten path. If your car hasn’t had the best service history or a regular tune-up, there’s a chance you might encounter an engine problem, electrical failure, broken water pump, or something else to hit a travel dead end. And there’s no doubt that locking your keys in the car, getting a flat tire, leaving your lights on and running down the battery, or experiencing a breakdown can spoil your day and your plans for some summer fun.

So if you’re in the middle of Des Moines or on some dusty road outside of town and you’re stuck, what do you do? If you’ve got some mechanical skills, you might be able make a minor repair and get back on the road. But even that might require a trip and back to a parts store. If you’re not packing any tools, or don’t have the mechanical skills, then what? It’s the kind of situation no one wants to find themselves in. And that’s why we encourage people to carry a basic roadside assistance plan.

You can get a roadside assistance plan through organizations like AAA, the National Motor Club, and AARP. And most insurance companies offer various roadside assistance plans as an option when you buy a car insurance policy. Most basic plans only cost about $50 a year, and it pays for itself the first time you use it. Roadside assistance plans can save you a lot of money and typically include services at no additional cost like:

  • Free towing up to 50 miles
  • Dead battery services
  • Tire change service
  • Lock-out assistance
  • Gasoline delivery

Some plans even include a reimbursement for food and lodging if you have a breakdown that interrupts your travel plans. And if you slide off into a ditch or down an embankment, some plans even cover the cost of extrication and winching. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

At Beckley Imports and Beckley Automotive, we’ve been taking care of cars for nearly 40 years. And you’d be amazed at the calls we field to send out a tow truck to get people out of trouble. Even if you only use your roadside assistance plan once every couple of years, it’s worth every penny. Just to call for a tow truck can cost $50 or more. And paying out of pocket for some of the other services typically covered by a roadside assistance plan can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you already have a roadside assistance plan, keep it. You never know when you might need it. And if you don’t, check out your options before you’re stranded and need roadside assistance.

Remember, Beckley’s can get your car ready for any trip. From tuneups and oil changes to complete engine repair, we’re here to help get you on the road. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Will Your Car’s A/C Keep You Cool When It’s Hot?

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How hot will it get? You might think it’s too early to worry about blazing hot days in Des Moines, but it’s not. In fact, back in 1980 when you could by a new Ford Mustang convertible for about $5,000 or ride in style in a new Cadillac El-Dorado for $18,000, something else happened that year. Des Moines hit a blistering 93 degrees in mid-April. That’s hot.

car air conditioner service des moines iowaAnd when it’s that hot, you don’t want to suffer the consequences of a poorly working air conditioner in your car. Sure, you could roll down the windows, douse yourself with water, or mist your face with a spray bottle. But who wants to do that when you should be able to reach over, turn on the A/C, and feel a breeze of cool air blowing through the cabin of your car?

It’s not that hot…yet. If you want to stay cool when the temperatures start heating up, now is a good time to make sure your air conditioning system is working properly. Here’s what you can do:

Get an Inspection

Start by getting an inspection. A trained mechanic can identify cracks, leaks, and other potential problems that could cause you’re A/C system to fail or perform poorly on a hot day. You’ll want to do this before hot weather arrives, so you can be sure to enjoy driving in A/C-cooled comfort.

Replace worn or damaged parts

If an inspection does identify potential problems, get them taken care of as soon as possible. A full A/C replacement could be costly, but in most cases minor repairs are all that’s needed and cost a lot less. Replacing belts and hoses are easy and affordable fixes, that can often improve A/C performance. Or your A/C unit may need a new motor or a fix as simple as replacing a blown fuse. Replacing worn or damaged parts can usually save you time and money.

Recharge A/C system

Even if all the working parts of you’re A/C unit are in good condition, it’s a good idea to recharge the A/C system every season. It’s a process used to remove the old A/C coolant, and replace it with new refrigerant. You’re A/C system needs good refrigerant to blow cold air through your car.

Wondering if you’re A/C system is ready to keep you cool on a hot day? Don’t wait to find out. Bring your car in for an inspection, or schedule an A/C recharge. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

How Much Does a Tesla Really Cost?

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Earlier this week an estimated 300,000 people forked over a $1,000 deposit to reserve a Tesla Model 3 electric car designed by entrepreneur Elon Musk. The car hasn’t even gone into production yet, and won’t be available for a couple years. When the Model 3 does begin rolling off the production line, buyers will pay an estimated $35,000 for this vehicle.

Some industry analysts said the recent Tesla launch created the kind of buzz similar to Apple releasing its latest iPhone. So what’s so great about this car?

tesla repair bills, electric car repairsThe driving force behind the popularity of Tesla’s latest announcement to create an electric car far below the $70,000-plus price tag of earlier models is its price point. But take closer look, and there’s more than one reason for its mass appeal. It can travel about 300 miles on a single charge. Step on the accelerator (not the gas pedal), and you can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. And it’s got a 15-inch laptop or tablet-style display that gives you all the information you need while driving.

Pretty enticing if you’re in the market for an electric car, and have the cash or financing to pay for it, right? We hope to see Tesla make the Model 3 a success. But Tesla owners could be in for a surprise when their car needs to be repaired. Industry research on current Tesla models shows that repairing a minor scratch or dent can cost an estimated $7,000. Some repair costs to its aluminum body for bigger dents or damage can range from $11,000 to $30,000. And mechanical repairs are just as expensive.

In other words, minor repair work to a Tesla could cost as much as a used car. And major repairs could be as much as the price tag for a new gas-powered car. That’s certainly something to think about before dropping $1,000 to reserve a Model 3, and fork over the balance when the car comes off the production line.

Owning a Tesla or other electric car can likely save you money in the long run, and have less of an impact on the environment. But if you’re not in the market for one, or can’t afford one, keeping your gas-powered car well-maintained can still save you money. Simple repairs and regular maintenance can have a big impact on fuel economy, performance and longevity.

Until the Tesla Model 3 electric car comes out, keep your gas-powered car running smoothly with regular oil changes, maintenance, and any necessary repairs by coming in to see us. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Poor Wheel Alignment Can Displace Your Bottom Line

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Iowa winters can be pretty harsh. But the salt, sand, ice and melting snow can be even worse on the roads. In Des Moines, the roads this year are showing exceptional wear and tear with ruts and potholes big enough to swallow your Land Rover! The crews are out fixing them, but for many of us, the damage has already been done to the wheel alignment on our vehicles.

wheel alignment, winter drivingThe wheel alignment of your car may be compromised from driving on rough roads, hitting a curb or two, or getting into a minor finder bender. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Misalignment can cause some troublesome and expensive issues:

  • Less than ideal handling
  • Vibrating steering wheel
  • Lower fuel efficiency
  • Excess or uneven wear on tires
  • Possible damage to your suspension and other components

It used to be that mechanics took a best-guess approach to fine-tuning the wheel alignment of a car. But even a few millimeters can make a difference in steering performance and tire longevity. At Beckley Automotive Services, we stay up to date with the latest alignment equipment and software to ensure perfect results for each and every car we service. We use a computerized wheel alignment machine that produces precise measurements for the camber, toe and caster. Our experienced specialists are trained on specific makes of cars, foreign and domestic, so you know you’ll get the best service available for your vehicle.

Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901- 8th Street in Des Moines.