Protect Your Battery in Iowa’s Summer Heat

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Protect Your Battery

When Mother Nature heats things up during the peak of Iowa summer, most people take action to keep cool. Consuming cold drinks, swimming, or cranking up your home’s air conditioner can help you stay cool. But your car doesn’t have that luxury, and that can cause problems for your battery.

battery care des moines iowa When you’re not driving it, your car is probably soaking up the sun in your driveway, in the parking lot at work or the store, or in your garage where it’s still hot. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can take a toll on your car’s paint job, but that’s the least of your worries when it’s hot and you’re in a hurry to get to work or pick up the kids from swimming lessons. Hot weather can take a toll on your car battery too. In fact, extreme heat is one of the most common factors that shorten the life of a car’s power source. Cold weather might keep it from firing and make the engine harder to start, but it’s not nearly as damaging as hot weather.

Sitting in the sun or a closed garage in 80-plus-degree weather causes fluids inside your battery to evaporate. Lack of fluid in the cells can cause permanent damage to the battery. If this happens, it can inadvertently overcharge, which slowly drains the life out of it. At first, your car might seem hard to start in hot weather. And then one day, you walk out the door into a blast of heat, put your key in the ignition and nothing happens.

Here are some things you can do to protect your car battery from exposure to hot weather:

  1. Have your entire electrical system checked to make sure it’s charging correctly. Overcharging or undercharging can shorten the life of your battery.
  1. Check the battery’s fluid levels. If any of the cells are empty or low, add distilled water. It’s a good idea to check battery fluid levels regularly during hot weather.
  1. If you need a new battery, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to get the right battery for optimal performance.
  1. Keep the battery, cables, and terminals clean. Dirt and grime can drain your battery and prevent it from working properly.

Need to give your battery a check-up? Let Beckley Imports help you keep all your car’s performance systems in top shape! Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click HERE to schedule an appointment online.

Pushing Limits Can Cause Fuel Pump Damage

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Pushing The Limits

When it comes to performance vehicles like BMW and Mercedes, drivers like pushing limits – racing RPM, red-lining, and testing suspension and speeds. But there are some limits set for your car you shouldn’t test. If you’re the kind of driver that pushes the limit on all of your vehicle’s systems, like your fuel pump, you may be in for trouble.

fuel pump replacement des moines iowaAlthough it’s exhilarating to drive with the fuel gauge flirting with “E” with ten miles to go as your spouse stresses out in the passenger seat, it takes a toll on your car’s fuel system. Save yourself from future problems and visits to the shop by knowing when to draw the line on your gas tank.

Vehicles have fuel level warning lights to give you a warning before your car runs out of gas. It’s simply a buffer to remind you of how far you have until you have no other option but to fill up or walk home.

The gas light also serves as a red flag. It’s telling you you’ve crossed the line. According to most driver manuals, 1/2 tank should be considered low and 1/4 full is the time to top it off again. Not only will it prevent you from experiencing that small panic of not making it to the next stop, but your car’s fuel system will also see better life.

By letting your gas tank go lower than suggested, you are more likely to burn out your fuel pump. It’s an expensive price to pay and an inconvenience when you take it into the shop.

The mechanical parts of a fuel pump are lubricated by fuel which travel through the pump. When the fuel level is low, air is drawn into the pump. Similar to running an engine without oil, too much air can damage the fuel pump if it isn’t properly lubricated.

Debris is likely to sit at the bottom of a fuel tank but when the fuel level is low, the debris has a better chance of entering the pump and plugging the fuel filters which, in turn, damages the pump.

The flashing and dinging of the gas light should be your ultimate last warning, however it’s better to take precautions and fill up sooner rather than later. Pull over when you can and make it a priority to save you time and money by filling up.

For more information on how you can get the performance you want from your car while protecting your finely tuned systems, give us a call at 515-243-8185, schedule an appointment online HERE, or stop by our convenient downtown shop at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

 

Flat Tire Challenge

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Flat Tire

flat tire challengeNo one wants to get a flat tire. But it’s bound to happen at some point if you drive a car. If you walk into any tire store, you’re likely to see a jar full of nails, bolts, pieces of metal, and other objects that punctured someone’s tire and caused a slow hard-to-find leak or a full-on blowout. If something like that happens to you, your first order of business is to pull the car over to the side of the road to a safe location. After that, your best bet for quickly getting back on the road is to change your tire.

You’re probably not going to break any tire-changing records unless you’re already a pit crew professional. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be back on the road in no time. So before you you have to deal with a flat tire, Take the Flat Tire Challenge to ready yourself for the day you hear that unmistakable hissing noise or the thump-thump-thump of a punctured tire. Here’s all you need to do:

1. Take a minute to locate the spare tire in your car. In many cars, it’s a small tire affectionately known as the “donut.” It might be under a layering of flooring in the trunk of your car or bolted to the bottom of your car on the outside. Some trucks and SUVs provide easier access to the spare tire with it mounted on the back.

2. Locate the jack and tire iron. Most cars have some kind of brackets, casing, fabric bag, or both to keep these items together. And they’re usually located near or under the spare tire. Remove these tools and retrieve the spare tire.

3. Practice changing your tire. There’s no better way to prepare for changing a flat tire than learning how to do it before it happens.

  • Make sure your car is in a flat location away from traffic and set the parking brake.
  • Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire on your car.
  • Place the jack under the frame of your car, and jack it up until the tire clears the ground.
  • Remove the lug nuts and the tire.
  • Put your spare tire on and replace the lug nuts with your fingers.
  • Use the jack to lower the car back to the ground, and then tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Doing this ahead of time forces you to get familiar with where your spare tire is located, along with using the tools needed to change a flat. You might find out that the tools you need are missing, your spare is flat, or worse – you don’t even have a spare. But it’s better to find that out during a planned exercise than when you’re stranded on the side of the road. Take the Flat Tire Challenge, and you’ll be well-prepared to deal with a flat when it happens. You can even use a timer to see how long it takes.

Did you pass the Flat Tire Challenge? If you’re looking for new tires, need routine maintenance or any kind of auto repair, call Beckley Imports at 515-243-8185 or simply schedule an appointment online HERE. Our trusted, expert technicians will have you back on the road in no time!

Improving Gas Mileage With These Simple Tips

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improving gas mileage des moines

improving gas mileage des moines

Improving gas mileage is on the top of all of our minds…and wallets! If you commute to work, do a lot of driving around town, or you’re planning a vacation, you’re probably keenly aware of gas prices at the pump. The current national average is $2.268 per gallon, but in some areas, gas costs more than $3 a gallon.

Fluctuating gas prices have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, improving your gas mileage is easy with these simple tips.

1. Get a Tune-Up – Your car needs regular maintenance to deliver peak performance and optimal gas mileage. Improving gas mileage is as simple as common repairs like changing the oil and filter, installing a new air filter, inspecting and changing belts, and replacing spark plugs. A regular tune-up can identify these problems and save you money in the long run.

2. Check Your Tire Pressure – Many newer model cars are designed to tell you if your tire pressure is low. It might be annoying to see a low-tire pressure light in the dash, but properly inflated tires help improve gas mileage. Use a tire gauge to measure air pressure and inflate your tires to the recommended PSI for your vehicle.

3. Change the Oil and Air Filter – You’ve heard the recommendation to get your oil and air filter changed every 3,000 miles. It’s one of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your car and maximize gas mileage. Your engine operates more efficiently with clean oil and a new filter. Replacing the air filter on a regular basis also improves fuel economy, acceleration, and engine performance.

4. Check Your Gas Cap – If you haven’t thought about your gas cap as a potential source for poor gas mileage, you’re not alone. But the truth is a faulty gas cap that’s loose or has a missing or damaged seal allows gas to vaporize. This can force you to spend more money at the pump, but it’s an easy fix that typically only costs a few dollars.

5. Take Care of Major Maintenance Issues – As you put more miles on your car, there’s always the chance for wear and tear that needs special attention. Taking care of maintenance issues like cleaning or replacing fuel injectors or replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can be a significant way of improving gas mileage.

6. Improve Your Driving Habits – Your driving habits may also be a factor that determines the gas mileage your car gets. Here are some things you can do: Follow speed limits. Avoid rapid acceleration, quick stops, and excessive idling. Remove any heavy items from your trunk. These simple changes can also help improve fuel economy.

This simple list of tips will go along way toward improving gas mileage. You should see a change over the next few times you fuel up at the pump.

Bring your car to Beckley Imports and let our expert technicians help you get your vehicle in top shape this summer. Call our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule an appointment ONLINE today!

Don’t Let Car Electrical Problems Ruin Your Summer

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car electrical problemsThe electrical systems in your vehicle are expected to function properly – after all, you take care of your vehicle and do what you can to keep it in top shape. But what happens when car electrical problems start to rear an ugly head? These issues often are not usually self-contained and may grow in scope, which is why you need to do what you can to correct the issue now rather than waiting around for it to turn into a larger problem. Here are some of the most common car electrical problems you are likely to run into. Should you experience any of these, it is a good idea to bring your vehicle into Beckley Auto.

Nothing Happens When you Turn the Ignition

When you slide the key into the ignition and only hear a click, it means the battery does not have enough power stored to turn on your vehicle. While a charge might get you going for the time being, it likely is time to change your battery.

Some Power But Car Still Won’t Start

Do the lights flicker on and other systems kick in but your vehicle’s engine still doesn’t start? It might mean your alternator is dead. This prevents your battery from recharging, which means you might have enough power to turn on lights but not to turn on the engine.

Random Systems are Not Working

Does it seem like there is a random combination of systems not working? Perhaps the stereo and dome light go out when you open your car door. When this happens it usually means you have a blown fuse. Check your vehicles fuses (use the owner’s manual for guidance) to see if you just need to swap out the bad fuse.

Trouble Accelerating

If you have trouble accelerating, you may have a problem with the spark plugs and the electrical system signaling the spark plug to fire. Spark plugs can be faulty or can just plain wear out over time. Or you could have an issue with the computer that tells the spark plugs to fire. Either way, when something like this happens you need to bring your vehicle to Beckley Imports for an accurate diagnosis.

Newer vehicles are more likely to run into electrical problems simply due to the amount of technology built into the vehicles. In most newer cars, each system now has its own computer which can save your other systems when something goes wrong, but also multiplies the chance of a computer error.

If you are suffering from car electrical problems in vehicle, it doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive import or a hand-me-down domestic vehicle – Beckley Imports has the knowledge, experience and equipment to get you back on the road. Contact Beckley Auto at 515-243-8185 or simply set up an appointment ONLINE for all of your auto service needs.

Difference in Diesel Engine Repair Vs. Gasoline Engines

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diesel engine repair, diesel engine service, bmw diesel engine des moinesDo you drive a diesel engine vehicle? It doesn’t matter if it is a compact VW diesel or a supersized full-size truck, the engine runs the same. While all diesel engines run the same, the engine is slightly different from a standard gasoline engine. Should you ever require diesel engine repair, you need to take your vehicle into an auto repair shop capable of working on the different engine type. At Beckley Imports, you’ll have certified and trained diesel engine repair specialists on hand, capable of working on your vehicle.

Ignition Difference

Outside the kind of fuel used in the two engines, the biggest difference between a diesel engine and a gasoline engine is diesels do not use spark plugs to ignite the fuel. Instead, it uses a compression system. This helps reduce some of the more common problems found with spark plugs, including the spark plugs becoming dirty, falling out of proper alignment or just dying out. As long as you take care of your diesel engine, it can last you for hundreds of thousands of miles without major repairs. Diesel engines do require higher temperature to burn the fuel, but as the fuel burns slower, fuel economy increases.

Most Common Problems

Diesel engines do not produce as much horsepower as gasoline counterparts, although these engines do generate more torque, which is why diesel is typically found on large trucks. As the engine does not produce as much horsepower, it does not move as quickly, so you are less likely to crack a gasket or have piston problems. In fact, the most common problems associated with a diesel engine include a loose throttle, low power and dirty fuel filters.

Lubricating oil is another problem that may require some diesel engine repair services for your vehicle. When too much lubrication oil is used, it can cause leaking around the gaskets or connections. Like most of the other problems with your vehicle, this is an easier repair to perform, but needs to be taken care of right away so you don’t require any extensive engine repairs.

It doesn’t matter if you need a full diesel engine repair on your BMW 328d sedan or your Audi diesel needs an oil change. All diesel engine vehicles are welcome at Beckley Imports and can be serviced by our knowledgeable, experienced technicians. Contact Beckley’s by phone at 515-243-8185 or schedule your appointment online HERE.

All About Paintless Dent Repair

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paintless dent repair, door dent, car door ding repair, paintless dent removalThere’s nothing worse than walking out to your car from a successful grocery trip, only to find a fresh dent in the side of your vehicle and a shopping cart sitting idly by. Outside of the frustration that sets in, now you have a noticeable ding on your vehicle that becomes the first thing you see every single time you walk up to the car. No, it doesn’t prevent you from driving it, but it’s still what instantly attracts your attention. So, if you’re ready to take care of your dent, paintless dent repair may be the best option for you. So no matter the make or model, Beckley Imports is able to work with you and your dented vehicle.

What Is Paintless Dent Repair

One of the biggest issues with correcting a dent is matching paint. Every factory provides a paint code for the color used on your vehicle. However, every factory also uses a slightly different shade and color combination. This means a red from GM is not going to match a red for Porsche. This can make matching paint colors tricky. If your vehicle did not sustain any damage to the paint though, it may be possible to avoid matching paint and instead focus on pulling out the dent.

Pulling Out the Dent

Dent removal can vary in terms of how the dent is pulled out. If you drive a new Ford F-150 that is built out of heavy-duty aluminum there is a strong chance you may need to have the entire panel removed. While there are benefits to aluminum, including a drop off in weight, one of the biggest problems is aluminum does not return to its original shape. Other times, the size of the dent and location may play a role in its ability to be pulled out or if it needs a filler. Typically though, the dent can be pulled back into position.

With a suction cup system, the cup is placed on the dent and pulled out. As long as the vehicle did not sustain any kind of structural breakage within the paneling, it should pop right back into its original position, without showing any signs of damage. If you’ve never thought about paintless dent repair, the process can save you time and money, especially when performed by an expert, like the team at Beckley Imports.

Beckley’s detailing and paintless dent repair team is one of the best in town. There’s no need to keep driving around with that annoying, unsightly dent in your otherwise gorgeous vehicle. Let us quickly pull out that dent and no one will even know it was there!

No matter the make or model, the expert technicians at Beckley Imports have the equipment, the knowledge and the experience to service your vehicle. Call our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule your appointment online HERE at your convenience.

How Do You Know What Your Check Engine Light Means?

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your check engine lightIt’s happened to all of us. Driving down the road, listening to your favorite music, when all of a sudden your check engine light pops onto the dash. Naturally, a million different things instantly run through your head. What if the engine is shot and you have to replace it? Would it be better to replace the engine or buy a new car? How much is this going to cost? Is there really something wrong with the vehicle? As long as you take care of your vehicle, the chances of it being a substantial engine problem is low, but you still need to take your vehicle in for a good check up. Here is what you need to know about your check engine light and what it means for your vehicle.

Owner’s Manual

It is important to keep your vehicle’s owner’s manual in the glove compartment at all times. This way, you can check to see what kind of an issue you might be having. If you own a new vehicle, your check engine light may be accompanied with a computer code. You can look this code up to determine what kind of servicing you need. There’s a chance you only require an oil change or more coolant.

Different Lights

Most vehicles have two different check engine lights. One is a lighter, orangish-yellow color while the other is a deep red-amber. The lighter color means you have some time before you need to make a service appointment, but you should still do something in the near future. If your check engine light is red, the problem is likely more significant and you need to take your vehicle to the garage right away. Failure to do so may result in additional damage to the engine.

Let the Auto Mechanics Help

The issue with a check engine light that doesn’t include a code is that there are dozens of potential issues or minor inconveniences that might come up. This is why you need a professional mechanic to help. Just like looking up physical symptoms online, trying to diagnose your own engine problem can either miss a potentially serious issue or blow a minor one out of proportion and cause you a ton of unnecessary stress.

It doesn’t matter if you drive a Porsche Boxster, a Ram 1500 or a Chevy Cruise – when it comes to excellent service and quality car care, Beckley Automotive is your one stop shop. At Beckley Automotive, we are here to help with your check engine light or any other issues! Call us at 515-243-8185 or set up an appointment online HERE for your vehicle today!

Give Beckley Automotive Service as Father’s Day Gift

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Father's Day giftThis Sunday, June 18, is the day for you to show your dad how much he means to you. Whether he’s helping to shop for a new car, giving valuable job search advice or just being there to bounce ideas off of, he deserves a great Father’s Day gift! But instead of the old tie or “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug, why not do something Dad will really appreciate?

Bring his car into Beckley Automotive for the royal treatment this Father’s Day!

You know how much Dad loves his car. It doesn’t matter if he’s driving a brand-new Porsche or an older model Chevrolet, your dad is really proud of his vehicle. It’s important to him to keep it clean, inside and out, as well as running smoothly and reliably. But too often, schedules get full and car maintenance falls by the wayside. Sure, the big things that keep the car running get taken car of, but how long has it been since Dad had the time to really baby his car?

Some of the items Beckley Automotive can take care of for your dad as a Father’s Day gift include:

  • air conditioning
  • battery and starter systems
  • engine
  • detailing & dent removal
  • brake and electrical systems
  • oil change and service
  • car tire & wheel alignment

Has your dad been putting off fixing those annoying hail dings in his car’s hood? Maybe he’s been meaning to get new tires and just hasn’t gotten around to it. It could be that Dad just isn’t able to do all the maintenance he used to do when he was younger. Beckley Automotive services as a Father’s Day gift will give your father that peace of mind that his car is well taken care of and he can still be proud to drive it anywhere.

Call Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185 today to schedule an appointment or simply use our convenient online scheduling page. Just ask Dad for the keys, and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

Keep Your Anti-Lock Brakes in Tip Top Shape

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anti-lock brakesWhether you’re old enough to remember the days before anti-lock brakes or if you had the privilege of driving such a hand-me-down vehicle, you understand the importance of fully functioning anti-lock brakes – especially in a crazy Iowa winter. These brakes may be the difference between your vehicle skidding off the side of the road during a heavy rain and you remaining safe and sound in the vehicle. That is why it is important to bring your vehicle into Beckley Automotive in order to keep your anti-lock brakes in top shape.

Brake Pedal Not Responding

Should your brake pedal not respond you need to bring your vehicle in right away. This may be due to an issue with the anti-lock brake system, your brake pads may be worn down or there simply is another problem all together. It is not safe to drive your vehicle with a faulty brake system, so have your vehicle brought into Beckley right away.

The ABS Light

There’s nothing worse than seeing a new warning light on your dash. It isn’t the fact that you need work done but the fact that you may not know what the problem is. If your ABS might pops on you need to bring your vehicle in. Some vehicles have the light pop on to remind you of general maintenance, while other lights come on when there is a growing issue. Some vehicles also have the light turn orange as a warning while a red light means you need to service it right away. Always consult your owner’s manual for dash lights, but also make sure to bring the vehicle in to have it checked.

Locked Brakes

The entire purpose of your anti-lock brake system is to prevent the brakes from locking up. So, if you are experiencing this very issue it is time to bring your vehicle into the shop. This means there is a problem with the anti-lock brake system that requires immediate assistance.

Whether you drive a dated Saab, a brand new Chevrolet SUV or have been holding onto that Jeep for some time, all your vehicle needs can be handled at Beckley Automotive. Resolving an issue or just a general inspection, everything can be taken care of on the spot with expert technicians and the most up-to-date equipment.

When you’re in need of expert auto care, contact Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185, visit the shop at 901 8th Street in downtown Des Moines, or set up a service appointment online HERE.