Improve Driving Safety with a Winter Wheel Alignment

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winter tires, winter driving bmw, des moines winter, beckley wheel alignment

winter tires, winter driving bmw, des moines winter, beckley wheel alignment, winter alignmentYou’ve probably enjoyed the summer and great fall temperatures with a handful of outings that required driving your car on dirt/gravel roads. You traveled some Midwest backroads, hit a few pot holes, and now you notice that your car pulls to one side when you’re driving down the road, indicating that your wheel alignment could use a little TLC.

If your car seems to handle differently, veers to one side, or steering seems to vibrate, it may be time for a winter wheel alignment. Car experts recommend getting a wheel alignment for your car at least every 10,000 miles. Proper wheel alignment helps keep your car on the road, improves gas mileage, tire longevity, and makes steering easier.

Whether the wheel alignment of your car has been compromised from driving on rough roads, hitting a curb, or getting into a minor fender bender, it’s a bigger deal than you may think. When your wheels aren’t properly aligned, you lose traction and the contact between tires and road that is so critical during the rough Iowa winters. We all know that the tread on your tires is imperative to safe winter driving, and misaligned wheels drastically lower the lifespan of your tires and can put you and your passengers in danger.

Poor road conditions probably have the biggest impact on wheel alignment than anything else. Over time, driving on bumpy road with pot holes and uneven surfaces can alter your alignment and wear down your tires. But even if you’re mainly driving on paved roads, bumps, pot holes, curbs, and debris you might drive over can have the same effect. With winter on the way, now is a good time for a winter wheel alignment, especially if you are switching from all-season tires to winter snow tires. Since winter tires are designed specifically to move snow and slush off the road and out from under your tires, proper alignment is critical for that to happen.

In the old days, 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. We use a computerized wheel alignment machine that produces precise measurements for the camber, toe, and caster. These measurements help us make adjustments to the backward and forward tilt of your tires, the inward and outward tilt of your tires, and the distance between the front and rear tires. The computerized wheel alignment machine also helps us make sure your steer wheel is centered.

A typical wheel alignment for most cars is fairly inexpensive, but it can save you a lot of time, trouble and cash in the long run. If you think your car is in need of a winter wheel alignment, stop in for an inspection, and we’ll point you and your car in the right direction. Schedule your appointment online HERE or call us at 515-243-8185.

Our 30-Point Oil Change Service is Far From Routine

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oil change service, beckley automotiveAn oil change service may seem like minor maintenance, but if the service isn’t up to par, you could be risking more serious engine issues down the road. You can get oil service pretty much anywhere – the chain repair shops, tire companies, car dealerships – but how do you know who you can really trust to do the best job?

When you bring your European or Domestic car to Beckley Automotive, you know the expert technicians are knowledgeable, trained and experienced. Through continuing education and certification from AAA, Bosch and ASE, our technicians are well-equipped to provide the best repair service as well as to advise you on the right oil to use for your particular car.

With the Beckley Oil Change Service, you won’t just get new oil in your car. Our 30-Point Inspection ensures that your minor routine maintenance will catch potential engine issues before they become larger problems. While inspecting seven different systems in your vehicle, each point gets a score on our report card, indicating whether the item in question is in good condition, could stand to be repaired or replaced, or needs attention immediately.

Some of the items covered in our 30-Point Inspection include:

  • Road Test: to gauge engine and transmission performance, braking and steering condition, and ride quality
  • Under Hood: checking belts, hoses, filters and fluid levels
  • Under Car: to look at exhaust system, shocks and struts, suspension and to look for any leaks
  • Tires & Wheels: adjust to proper air pressure and thoroughly examine tread
  • Chassis: examine windshield wipers and blades, headlights and exterior lights
  • Routine Service Needs: advise on any other routine maintenance recommended by the manufacturer

If you still aren’t convinced that Beckley Automotive is the best shop for all your oil change and maintenance needs, let us sweeten the deal a little farther:

Never been to Beckley Automotive? Mention this web offer and get $25 off your first visit! Or, if you’re already a regular Beckley customer, bring in a vehicle we haven’t seen before and you can also get $25 off your purchase!

Now is a great time to schedule your Beckley’s oil change appointment online HERE. You can also call our service department at 515-243-8185 or simply stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

Fight Leaks and Keep Your Engine in Top Shape with Our Fluid Service

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car fluid check, fluid leaks, engine leaksIt’s never a good thing to find a puddle on your garage floor or in the driveway. How long has it been there? Where is it leaking from? Are there multiple leaks? How long until the engine throws a rod or simply eats itself?

Bring your car in for regular fluid service at Beckley Automotive and head off leaks before they become a problem!

There’s more to automotive fluids than simply keeping them contained. To prevent premature wear and failure of engine parts, most manufacturers recommend replacing the fluids for systems such as brakes, transmission, coolant and all-wheel drive units on a regular basis. When our technicians change out and recycle your car’s fluids, they will also have the opportunity to look over the different systems and find the potential for leaks before they become a problem.

If your car is a European import, the replacement specifications is often much more frequent than it is for standard performance cars. Beckley Automotive always uses the proper fluids for your specific car and our knowledgeable and experienced technicians know exactly how to service all types of autos. Through continuing education and certification, every technician at Beckley’s is trained and ready to provide outstanding service to keep your auto free from leaks and your engine running at its best!

When was the last time you had your vehicle’s fluids changed and your engine checked for leaks? If you can’t remember, now is a great time to schedule an appointment at Beckley’s online HERE. You can also call our service department at 515-243-8185 or simply stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

Know Your Car’s Electrical System Warning Signs

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electrical system, car starter, car battery, car alternatorYour vehicle’s electrical system is an involved arrangement made up of three main components: the alternator, the starter and the battery. When you start having trouble with your car’s electrical system, it’s apparent – but how do you know which part needs the attention? We’ll outline the most common warning signs for each part to help you pinpoint the issue to be addressed.

Your battery provides the juice to the entire electrical system. When your battery is giving out, it affects the rest of the system. Watch for:

  • Sluggish engine cranking when you try to start the car; the battery alone starts the car, so if you have trouble at the get-go you know what’s causing it.
  • Excessive corrosion around the positive/negative cable connection posts; this indicates a battery leak and the “gunk” needs to be removed or the connectors won’t get the power
  • Swollen battery case; this means the battery has been exposed to excessive heat and/or cold and has been damaged
  • Smell of rotten eggs under your hood; a shorted battery causes a chemical reaction, releasing sulfuric acid that can damage other engine components

If your starter malfunctions, the pistons don’t rotate and won’t pull in air/gas mixture needed to fuel the engine. Watch for:

  • Grinding noise; if the drive gear isn’t engaging or is worn, you’ll hear a sound like when you start your car and then try to start it again. Ignoring this noise can cause irreparable damage tot he engine flywheel.
  • Freewheeling; if you only hear a whining noise and the engine isn’t cranking, the starter gear isn’t engaging with the flywheel and this is called freewheeling.
  • Single loud “click”; you may have a bad starting motor, bad solenoid, or even a bigger mechanical problem in the engine.

The alternator is exceptionally important as it recharges your battery and turns energy from the crankshaft into useable electricity. Watch for:

  • Flickering or dim headlights; this means the alternator is struggling to get the necessary power to the headlights.
  • Car stalls; since the alternator powers the spark plugs that keep the engine alive, if your car stalls for no reason while running you should have the alternator looked at.
  • Other electrical failures; if your power windows and locks, air conditioning or dashboard lights aren’t working correctly or working at all, the alternator could be the culprit because it supplies all of these electrical parts with power.

Your car has literally dozens of electrical components that send power throughout your auto to keep everything going. When one part fails, it causes a chain reaction and ultimately keeps your car from running. Come see the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive who have the training, the tools and the experience to diagnose and correct any and all problems you might be having with your electrical system.

Don’t wait until your car leaves you stranded! Schedule your appointment online today, call our service department at 515-243-8185 or stop by our shop in downtown Des Moines at 901 8th Street.

Beckley Automotive Meets Growing Need for Diesel Service

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As people become more concerned about the environment and auto emissions, the call for diesel service shops grows. If you’re in the market for a diesel vehicle, you won’t be disappointed in your selection. Auto makers from Jeep to Chevrolet to BMW to Volkswagen offer great diesel options. You can choose from pickup trucks, crossovers, SUVs and luxury models.

Now that you know where to go for trustworthy diesel service, why should you look at purchasing a diesel vehicle?

  1. diesel service, diesel engine maintenanceMileage. Diesel engines are well-known for being cost effective. Diesel fuel generates more power from less fuel, so you can easily get more bang for your buck and stretch that tank of gas farther with diesel over gasoline.
  2. Safety. Your standard gasoline engine relies on ignition from a spark plug, diesel engines use compressed hot air to ignite the fuel. Diesel fuel has a higher flashpoint than gasoline, so it takes much more than a spark to set it on fire. There is a much lower chance of the fuel igniting in the case of an accident.
  3. Maintenance. Diesel engines are built ruggedly to combat the rigors of higher compression. Also, because they don’t rely on electrical ignition parts like spark plugs and a moving distributor rotor, you don’t have to change out as many engine parts on a regular basis.
  4. Power. You get far more torque from a diesel engine. Because of its slow burn, high compression design, the driveshaft receives much more powerful torque to assist in acceleration and towing capabilities.
  5.  Longevity. Mercedes-Benz currently holds the record for longevity, having multiple vehicles that have racked up more than 900,000 miles on their original engines. Gas-powered cars start needing more love and money poured into them around the 100,000 mile marker. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle for the very long haul, diesel can stick by your side for at least a couple generations.

Of course, there are cons to balance out the pros of diesel engines: While you have less frequent maintenance demands, it can cost you more when you do need major diesel service. The initial purchase price can be about 10% more than the gasoline counterpart. Diesel fuel doesn’t perform well in frigid temperatures, so you may need to install an engine block heater to insure that your car will start on cold winter mornings.

Whether you’re looking at purchasing a diesel vehicle or you already own one, rest assured that Beckley Automotive has the knowledge, the tools and the experience to provide outstanding diesel service. Schedule your appointment online HERE or call our expert service department at 515-243-8185 today!

Paintless Dent Removal is Painless to Your Budget

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paintless dent removal, dent repair des moines, auto detailing and paintless dent removalFall in the Midwest can be temperate, hot and sweltering, cold and windy, or severely stormy – and usually in the same week. With volatile weather like Iowa can see during the spring and autumn, thunderstorms with damaging hail are not out of the question. But storms aren’t the only threat to your car’s body in the fall; the rising and setting sun seems to glare brighter during those crucial rush hour drive times. Being blinded by the sun happens far more often than we’d like to think about, and cars and shopping carts and even parking barriers seem to pop up out of nowhere.

Door dings and fender benders can happen at any time of year, but once that damage is done, your best bet is to get it fixed right away before deeper damage occurs. With winter bearing down on Des Moines drivers, now is the perfect time to take steps that will protect your investment and maintain your vehicle’s value. Paintless dent removal done by the experts at Beckley Automotive can save you time, money and worry.

Paintless Dent Removal is a method of dent repair that doesn’t alter your auto’s paint job. Not all dents qualify for this non-invasive treatment, but minor dings and dents can be removed from your car’s body with little drama.

Some other benefits of Paintless Dent Removal:

  • Saves you money. For smaller dents that are less than an inch, prices are usually exceptionally reasonable. Dents that are easy to reach, like hail damage on a car’s hood, are even easier on the checkbook.
  • Saves you time. No one likes to be without their car for long at all, and paintless dent removal can usually be done within a day. Even if there are multiple dents that are deeper or wider and require a little more time, this method will still take far less time than traditional repair.
  • Saves your insurance premium. Dent repair and removal can cost a pretty penny if done traditionally. You don’t want to pay your own cash for it, so you claim it on your auto insurance, which can cause premiums to go up. But with Paintless Dent Removal, the cost is often less than your insurance premium, which means you don’t have to claim it, which means you won’t be paying more for your insurance to fix a couple dings. Plus, these slight damages won’t show up on vehicle history reports, which will help you when it comes time to sell.
  • Saves the environment. Because there is almost no need to use paints or solvents, Paintless Dent Removal doesn’t release harmful toxins into the air. Some other auto repair methods rely on products that contain environmentally dangerous chemicals.
  • Saves your original paint and your car’s value. If you plan on selling your car – ever – the value of your vehicle can drop if you don’t have the original paint. If you can maintain your vehicle’s original exterior paint and finish, your resale value will get a tremendous boost. Paintless Dent Removal helps you get the most from your investment.

Beckley has a dedicated Detailing and Paintless Dent Removal department to meet your minor repair needs. Our experts have the knowledge, the training and the experience to remove those small dings and dents and even to refinish scratched wheels. Don’t trust your car’s exterior to anyone else!

Bring your car to our dent removal artists and learn for yourself why Beckley Automotive is the best in Des Moines! Schedule an appointment online HERE, call our service department at 515-243-8185, or stop by our convenient Downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street.

Check Engine Light Isn’t Always a Wallet Drain

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check engine light, engine diagnosticsVery few things can set your heart racing like an illuminated Check Engine light on your car’s dashboard. You start wondering how long your car has before the transmission falls out, the engine catches on fire or your car just expires on the side of the road. You also begin panicking trying to decide whether fixing the problem or buying a new car is more cost-effective.

The “Check Engine” light became standard around 1995 and can alert the driver to a slew of engine troubles, big or small. This warning light is attached to the computer in your car, and that computer is pretty smart. If it comes on and stays on, you need to get it checked as soon as possible. If it comes on and flashes, pull that machine over, turn it off, and call for help.

The only thing the computer and the check engine light can’t tell you, is what the actual problem is. Here are some of the top reasons your Check Engine light might come on:

  • Loose spark plug wires or faulty spark plugs
  • Faulty sensors, such as the oxygen sensor or the mass airflow sensor
  • A bad catalytic converter
  • A loose or missing gas cap

Some of these problems are more serious than others and are more expensive. But be wary of any DIY workarounds that you might find on the internet. If you mess with the data storage by disconnecting or running out the battery, you wipe the memory and make true diagnostics harder down the line.

The expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to diagnose any issue with your engine, whether your vehicle is foreign or domestic. And, the best part is that Beckley’s puts a cap on your cost for that diagnostic check. You won’t be charged more than $125 for that first step toward finding what’s wrong. Sometimes that’s all it will take to fix the problem, but the experts at Beckley’s won’t move forward on repairs above and beyond that cost without your approval. The diagnostic findings and a comprehensive repair plan will be outlined before you spend another dime. That’s the Beckley way.

The quickest and least expensive way to handle a check engine light is to bring your car to an expert that can identify the fault correctly and repair it without a lot of guesswork. Schedule your appointment online HERE, visit our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street or give our service staff a call at 515-243-8185 today.

Give Your Brakes a Little Love Before They Need It

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brake systems, disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, ABS, brake repair, car brakesThe brakes on your car serve one purpose – to stop your car from moving. Whether you’re stopping for a red light, a pedestrian in the road or to avoid a collision, you rely on your brake system to perform; to perform well, reliably, and immediately. Your safety and the safety of your passengers depend on the condition of your brake system, so make sure you pay them the attention they deserve BEFORE they are put to the test.

There are different braking systems with different needs and issues, and the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to meet all of those needs.

  • Drum Brakes – A hydraulic wheel cylinder pushes a brake shoe onto the inside of a drum while it spins. This style wears down more quickly because the heat produced by the friction gets trapped inside the drum. while drum brakes are certainly sufficient, they can become less effective when heat is allowed to build up.
  • Disc Brakes – Uses a hydraulic caliper with brake pads that grab the rotor to slow or stop the car, similar to the brakes on a bicycle. Because the thin caliper and brake pads are exposed to the air, the heat dissipates quickly and causes less wear. In high-performance and racing vehicles, four-wheel disc systems have become the norm, despite the higher production costs and purchase pricing.
  • Anti-Lock Brake System – Used in conjunction with one of the above brake types; uses an electronic system of sensors and high-pressure pumps to measure variables like car speed, brake force and wheel slip before actually pumping your brakes for you during an emergency stop in certain conditions. ABS has contributed to shorter stopping distances and a general increase in vehicle safety, although the system is still controversial.

Drivers shouldn’t wait until there is a brake failure to look at their brakes. The safety of family, friends and the general public are at stake, so don’t put off regular maintenance or addressing issues. If you experience grinding, squeaking, or shaking when you brake, or if your brakes feel “spongy” and you need a football field distance to stop, bring your car to Beckley Automotive for diagnostic testing and repairs.

Our ASE-Certified expert technicians will examine your entire brake system from front to back and will let you know exactly what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers safe. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

Let Climate Control Work for You

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automatic climate control, vehicle air conditioning, car climate controlThe saying goes something like, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” Fall in Iowa is no exception. Last week was sweltering heat and humidity and this week is sweater weather. Many people find themselves in the bizarre position of needing to run the heat at night and then to switch to the air conditioning in the afternoon. It’s no different in your car – but can you rely on both to work at top performance at the drop of a hat?

Air conditioning and climate control in a car are not the same thing. When purchasing a new vehicle, there is a definite price difference between the two – air conditioning comes standard and costs less. What are some of the other differences between the two?

  • Air conditioning cools the air inside your car through manual adjustment of the temperature dial. If you want it colder, you turn it farther to the blue. If you want it less cold, turn it toward the red and warmer air will gradually mix in.
  • Automatic Climate Control lets you set the temperature you want inside your car and you don’t have to touch it again. Ever. On your home thermostat, you even have to switch between heat and cooling. But Automatic Climate Control will switch seamlessly from air to heat to keep the temperature constant.
  • With air conditioning, you will have to constantly adjust the dials as the temperature inside your car is affected by the sun, the speed you’re driving, outside weather. This can lead to battles with your passengers who are too hot or too cold and grumble about the constantly changing climate inside the car.
  • Climate control is much more advanced and most offer “dual zone” control. The driver can set their temperature and the passenger can select what is most comfortable for them. Everyone is happy!
  • Another benefit to Automatic Climate Control is that it can potentially save you money. We all know running the air at the lowest temperature and the highest fan speed will make your engine work harder and run through your gas much faster. Climate control only uses the air as needed instead of at a constant clip and works much more efficiently.

Whether you have standard air conditioning or the more luxurious automatic climate control, chances are you’re going to need some work on the system at some point to keep it running at optimal levels. Unfortunately, because climate control is advanced technology and possibly the most complicated system in your vehicle, a lot of shops won’t even touch it. But at Beckley Automotives we have the experience and technology to find any problems and provide solutions more quickly and efficiently than the other guys.

Don’t waste time and money while the other shops guess at what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers riding in comfort. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give Beckley Automotive a call at 515.243.8185 or simply stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location.

Is It Time to Replace Your Shocks and Struts?

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shocks and struts, beckley automotive suspension repairsDes Moines roads are generally less than smooth-riding, and are definitely inconsistent. Have you ever found yourself cruising down a straight-away at a good clip when you suddenly realize the road ahead is torn up and full of potholes? Rough roads can do a number on your car – especially your shocks and struts. While most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 15,000-30,000 miles, that estimate changes if you haul heavy loads or regularly drive on rough roads with potholes, bumps or washboard ridges. So how do you know when you really need to get new shocks and struts?

There are a few clues to let you know when you need to bring your vehicle into Beckley Automotive for a suspension system check. These are just a few:

  • Nose Dive  Does the front end of your car dip down when you stop? Although it can feel like your car is going to flip end-over-end, it really won’t. But there can be associated safety issues like longer stopping distance or steering issues that need to be considered.
  • Squatting  On the other end of the car you may notice something called “squatting”. This is when you accelerate from a stop and your front end rises slightly off the ground. It looks cool in car racing movies, but it’s a bad thing in real life.
  • Excessive Bounce Do you bottom out on railroad tracks or speed bumps – and then continue bouncing your way down the road? Here’s a test: Push down on each corner of your vehicle (SUVs can be tricky). Does it continue bouncing after you let go? Get your shocks and struts checked.
  • Sways and Leans  If you fear tipping sideways when you turn a corner or change lanes, you may need look at your suspension. Other things you might notice that should give you pause include poor steering, steering wheel stiffness or noise when turning the steering wheel.
  • Visible Wear  Check your tires for unusual wear patterns like “cupping” which is when a tire shows scalloped dips around one side of the tread. You can always get under your car and find your struts and shocks – are there dents, cuts or leaks?

Shocks and struts wear out gradually, so you may not really notice any of the above issues. There won’t be a particular moment that your vehicle’s ride gets bouncy or “loose.” You just get used to the changes little by little until they’re part of your driving experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you suspect you need your shocks and struts looked at by an expert, bring your auto into Beckley Automotive. You can make an appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515.243.8185, or stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street.