How to Know if Your Car Needs an Oil Change

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no care is "maintenance free", needs an oil change

no care is "maintenance free", needs an oil changeOil is your engine’s life blood. Without clean oil flowing through the engine it may overheat, which can lead to all sorts of problems ranging from blown gaskets to the vehicle simply running rough. But how can you tell if your car needs an oil change? After all, you don’t want to spring for an oil change when it isn’t necessary. Here are a few signs your car, regardless of make or model, can tell you it needs an oil change.

  • Change Oil Light

    Alright, this one is a bit of a no brainer. If the “check oil” or “change oil” light comes on, it’s time to change your oil. However, this isn’t always the case. Perhaps you just had your oil changed a bit ago and the change oil light comes on. What does that mean? It may just mean the mechanic did not reset the change oil light during the last change, which can throw off the timer on some newer vehicles.

  • Oil Level and Color

    At Beckley Auto, we highly recommend checking your oil from time to time. It is easy to do and it can help avoid potential problems later on down the line. If you’ve never checked your oil before park your vehicle and kill the engine. Now, pull the dipstick out and wipe it off on a paper towel (a shop paper towel is great for this). Once clean, slide it back down all the way and pull it back out. If the oil level is near or under the minimum line it is time to get an oil change. Make sure to take notice of the oil color as well. The oil should have a golden brown tone to it. If the oil is dark black and gritty than it means it is dirty and needs an oil change.

  • Car is Louder Than Normal

    When driving, does your engine sound louder than normal? Of so, there are a few potential issues. First, if you have a special cold air intake filter, it may have slipped off. If you don’t have such a filter, it more than likely means you don’t have enough oil or it’s running hot. Time to change the oil.

At Beckley Auto, we can service both your domestic and import vehicles. From a routine oil change to transmission issues and everything in between, we’re your one -top shop for all things automotive. Schedule your appointment ONLINE or give us a call at 515.243.8185 today!

Have Your Vehicle Serviced at a Certified Car Service Center

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certified car service centerOne of the most common mistakes people make when searching for an auto mechanic is simply assuming all vehicles are designed the same. While yes, it is true vehicles have an engine, transmission, radiator and many of the same features, not everything connects the same way while other elements interact differently from one vehicle to the next.  No matter if you drive a Ford F-150 or a Mercedes 540K Special, you need to take your vehicle into a certified car service center with expert knowledge of your particular vehicle. If you’re looking for the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, skip the flowers and chocolate. Have her vehicles serviced and tuned up by an experienced mechanic at a certified car service center like Beckley Automotive.

A Minor Change Can Be a Major Problem

Most vehicles share similar features but with just minor variations. To drain the radiator on some vehicles you may have a simple spigot controlled by a wrench. Other vehicles require you to remove hosing and wire clamps. It may be a simple difference, but these small variations occur throughout the entire vehicle. The more modern the vehicle, the more important the change. If you have an auto mechanic used to working on Ram trucks try to work on a Mercedes M Class, they may not completely understand what is going on under the hood. Due to this, not every mechanic is right for your vehicle. You need a car service center with mechanics certified to work on your make and brand of vehicle.

Always Ask About Specialty Vehicles

At Beckley Auto, we specialize in nearly all makes and models. We have certified mechanics working on BMW, Audi, Ford and Chevy models, all of whom are specially trained to work on these kinds of cars. We are an Authorized Bosch Service center for European Imports, and an ASE Blue Seal shop, meaning all of our technicians are trained and certified experts. When searching for certified car service, rest assured that Beckley Automotive has you covered.

Our goal is to make sure you enjoy a car you love for as long as possible. Proper maintenance is vital to extending the longevity of any auto, and every auto requires proper care. With our team of certified and experienced mechanics, we can give you the expert care needed and complete your service in a timely manner.

This Valentine’s Day, keep your loved one safe by bringing her vehicle in to our service center. Schedule a service time online at your convenience or call our service center at 515-243-8185.

Vacuum Pump Oil Changes: Tips for Self Service

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vacuum pump oil changes at homeChanging your vehicle’s oil regularly is essential. It keeps your engine running smoothly – as the oil becomes dirty or runs low, your engine may begin to experience performance problems. Changing your own oil is a rite of passage. Many vehicle owners prefer to do this on their own as it is a great way to save money while feeling handy at the same time. However, unless you own a pickup or a large SUV, chances are you can’t slide under the vehicle without some sort of lift, and investing in proper lifts eliminates any monetary return. Instead, you may want to consider a vacuum pump oil change. This extracts oil from the top of the engine block instead of underneath. While not the conventional way to change oil, we at Beckley Auto have a few tips whenever using this kind of equipment.

  1. Check Your Dipstick Before Investing in a Vacuum Pump Oil Change Kit
    Before buying anything, check your oil’s dipstick. Does it have any circuitous elements to it? Does it twist a bit in parts around the oil line? If so, a vacuum pump generally will not work at all, so bypass this purchase as it won’t work.
  2. Don’t Use For Every Oil Change
    The vacuum pump oil change is fine to use on occasion, but not always. Why? Because while you’re changing the oil, you’re not changing the oil filter. You still need to be under the vehicle to remove the oil filter, which keeps the oil clean. In a pinch, a vacuum pump works, but it is always recommended to have the oil filter changed – or at least checked – at the same time as the oil.
  3. Check Capacity
    Before removing the oil, check how much oil your vehicle holds. The last thing you want is to begin the process, only to discover the vacuum oil tank does not have enough storage space. You can check how much oil your vehicle holds at maximum inside of the owner’s manual (this information is usually listed towards the rear of the book).

At Beckley Auto, we are here to ensure your vehicle is always properly taken care of. From oil changes to tire rotations, transmission work and exhaust problems, we are here for you.

If you are in need of any kind of automotive work, feel free to contact us by phone at 515.243.8185 or simply schedule your appointment online for your domestic or import vehicle.

How to Reset the Change Oil Light On a Newer Dodge

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change oil light, vehicle codesYou finally did it. It might be a few thousand miles past the little sticker in your window, but you finally went in for an oil change. Or, maybe you decided to take it upon yourself to change your own oil. However you went about it, with fresh oil and a new oil filter, your engine can breathe a sigh of relief. The only problem is now you still have that red “change oil” light illuminated on the dash board. You could go the way of your grandfather and just put a piece of black tape over the light, but that isn’t a great look. Thankfully, you don’t need to go to the dealership to have the light reset. The following steps are for resetting the change oil light for a newer model Ram pickup, but it should work for any later model Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge as well.

Turn Off “Change Oil” Light

To start, insert your key and set the ignition to “On.” Do not start the engine though. This will work for both current models, which use a chip based starter, and the more traditional metal key options of slightly older models.

With the ignition on, push down completely on the accelerator pedal. Do this slowly three times in a row within 10 seconds. When the pedal has come up following the third time, turn the ignition back to “Off.”

Now, turn the ignition and start the engine. Wait for all of the information to load up and for the dash to blink through its different computer and error indicators. The oil change light should now switch off. If it doesn’t, that could mean you did not have the ignition in the “On” position (if the RPMs shoot up while pushing down on the accelerator than you have gone past the “On” position). It may also mean you didn’t allow the accelerator pedal to fully depress and raise back up. Repeat the process until the light blinks off.

View Vehicle Codes

While you’re resetting the change oil light, wouldn’t it be nice to see if there are any other issues with the vehicle without taking it into the shop? Your car has a computer system that logs error codes whenever there is a problem. This can be anything from needing more coolant to problems with the transmission. You could purchase a computer program and a special connector to plug into the vehicle, but this is costly and unnecessary. Instead, you can simply check the vehicle error codes using a method similar to resetting the change oil light.

  1. First, make sure you have a pad of paper and something to write with. The codes can flick through quickly, so if you have multiple codes it can be tough to remember.
  2. Now, insert the key into the ignition. Flip it to the “On” position, then back off quickly. Do this three times in a row, leaving it in the “On” position on the third time.
  3. In the middle of the dash, underneath the display information, messages and other context will flash through. If you have any error codes, the codes will appear here. The codes typically start with one or two letters, followed by a series of four or so numbers (for example, “PH2087“).
  4. Write these codes down as each appears. If there are no error codes it will tell you there are no error codes.
  5. Now, with the error codes written down, you can easily look up the codes on Google.

Often times,  you can self-correct many of the problems, such as fluid levels or tire pressure.  If you’re unsure about what the codes mean or how to fix them, contact Beckley Automotive. Our expert service department will help you determine what is urgent and what can wait, and then will make repairs using the most up-to-date technology and techniques.

Schedule your appointment online HERE today, call our service department at 515-243-8185, or visit our convenient downtown location at 901 8th Street, Des Moines.

Beckley’s Offers the Best Authorized BMW Service

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authorized bmw serviceBeckley Automotive has had a stellar run providing the best care for BMW vehicles for over thirty years. This unique working relationship has given us a distinct insight into the inner workings of BMW engines that few companies can boast of today. There isn’t a single problem or malfunction in your BMW that will be alien to us. Our team of dedicated and experienced experts will quickly identify and correct any problems, meaning you will be well on your way in no time. As authorized Bosch specialists, you can feel assured that our authorized BMW service is of the highest quality.

  • High-quality maintenance

    Being the best automotive service provider in Des Moines, Iowa, we pride ourselves in going out of our way to not only correct any faults in your vehicle but to also prevent them. Part of our authorized BMW service care package involves using advanced technology to communicate with your vehicle’s computers to determine how to make it perform even better. As authorized BMW service experts, we can service your vehicle without jeopardizing the validity of your warranty.

  • Why Beckley’s is the best choice for you

    What sets us apart from our competitors is our attention to detail and our determination to offer our clients the very best service and products. An example of this can be seen in the substandard oil changes many automotive companies offer to their clients. With only profits in mind, many shops will use the cheapest oil rather than making sure your car gets the oil recommended by the manufacturer to extend the life of your engine. At Beckley Automotive, your BMW will receive the undivided attention of a master technician who will use quality oils that are suited to your car. These are the perks that come with having an authorized BMW service provider within reach. There isn’t another place in the Waukee, Johnston, Ankeny or Clive areas where you can find this level of automotive care.

  • Our inspection services

    The weather in Des Moines can fluctuate tremendously at different times during the year. This can range from extreme cold to snow accumulation and on to occasional flooding. Given your car will often be subjected to such conditions, it is important that you schedule regular inspections. Since there are few authorized BMW service providers in the area with the expertise we have, coming to Beckley’s will be well worth your time. We will focus our attention on assessing the spark plugs, air filters, brake and transmission fluid, and coolant. While checking all these components at the same time might seem unnecessary, it can save you plenty of hassle in the future.

  • Updating your computer software

    The software found in BMW vehicles, as with all high-quality cars, performs a variety of important functions in the car. This might include simple tasks like operating the radio and climate control to more important tasks like engine performance and braking. Our authorized BMW service package also includes software updates to keep your auto performance as efficient and comfortable as possible. We also provide consultation on the best updates available to meet your specific needs.

Most BMW car owners who get their cars regularly serviced by an authorized BMW service provider like Beckley’s have been found to be happiest with their performance on the road. Now is the perfect time to schedule your appointment online HERE, visit our shop at 901 8th Street in Downtown Des Moines, or give our service center a call at 515-243-8185.

New Year’s Resolutions to Keep Your Car in Top Shape

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new year's resolutions, new years resolutions, car care des moinesEvery January, Americans fall into the trap of setting – and setting aside – New Year’s Resolutions. How many barely used pairs of running shoes are taking up space in your closet? Could you open your own exercise facility with all the equipment gathering dust somewhere in your basement? We always start with the best of intentions and then old habits and real life get in the way and everything keeps rolling on the same as last year and the year before.

Resolutions You Can Keep: Maintain Your Car’s Top Fitness

Following are just a few things you can do to get your vehicle into its best shape since it rolled off the assembly line – and to keep it in fighting shape for years to come!

  1. Keep the interior clean: When many of us live in our cars, grabbing a quick bite to eat on the go between home and work, on the way to a meeting, between kids’ activities, it doesn’t take long to accumulate a bit of trash. Stop it before it gets out of control! At least quarterly, take your car somewhere that will clean out your interior for you. Vacuum the seats and floors, clean the inside of your windows and wipe down the dash. Then be strict with riders and yourself to grab any trash EVERY time you get out of the car. Your car will love you for it.
  2. Run through a car wash: Accumulated dirt and dust make your car look terrible, and the grime of winter roads treated with salt and sand can do a number on your finish. Don’t wait until someone scrawls “WASH ME” in the dirt on your auto; set a schedule to do a quick car wash drive-through at least every two weeks. Harsh winter weather in Iowa may dictate more frequent visits, but two weeks should be good on a regular basis. And don’t be stingy – splurge for the wax! It will make your finish look shiny and new as well as protect it from regular driving damage.
  3. Schedule quarterly checkups: A little maintenance can go a LONG way. Most vehicles need an oil change and a new filter every 3 months (more often if you’re particularly hard on your car). And just like staying hydrated might be a personal health resolution, these checkups are the perfect opportunity to have your car’s fluid levels topped off, too. If you are checking transmission, steering and brake fluids on a regular basis, a crack or leak is much easier to detect. Your service center can nip it in the bud well before it becomes a costly repair. And don’t forget to replace wiper blades and have your chassis lubrication looked at during every other service visit.
  4. Check tire pressure: Learn what your optimal tire pressure is for your vehicle and specific tires and then maintain it. Every driver should carry a tire gauge in their glove box and should check their tire pressure every other time they fill up the gas tank. Driving on properly inflated tires not only extends the life of the tires, but improves safety and gas mileage. There should be a sticker on the inside edge of your driver’s door that tells you what psi the tires on your car should be at for the best performance.

Keeping New Year’s Resolutions doesn’t have to be difficult. You are in your car nearly every day, so remembering to follow the above steps should be second nature in no time! When you take care of your car, it will give you years of life and a sense of reliability and security to make 2017 a great year on the road!

Let Beckley Automotive help keep your New Year’s Resolutions on track! Schedule an appointment online HERE, visit our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street, or call our outstanding service department at 515.243.8185.

Don’t Leave Your Car Battery Out in the Cold

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car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowa

car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowaIowa winters are definitely known for being frigid and snowy and this week is certainly reminding us of this fact.  While you’re stocking up on ice salt and making sure the old snow blower still starts up, we at Beckley Imports want to make sure you check out one other thing: your car battery and starter system.

With all the new features offered in cars today, like seat heaters and high end sound systems, battery drain happens more quickly than it used to.  Add on a couple of bitter Iowa winters, and your battery is tired.  The last thing you want on a cold January night after a long day of work is to walk out to your car only to find that it won’t start.

At Beckley Imports, we stock AC Delco and Interstate batteries that have the long life and power you need to start your engine every time.  Not only that, but these two battery brands are guaranteed to fit properly.  This is highly important, as many batteries are now set in the trunk or under the backseat; poorly fitted batteries can  lead to more costly problems like leaks and short circuits.  Beckley Imports is also an Authorized Bosch Service Center, meaning that we use only genuine Bosch starters and alternators on European vehicles; these parts come with a two year warranty, so if something goes wrong, you don’t have to worry.

If you’re concerned about your car’s battery making it through the winter months, bring it on by.  We’d be happy to test it out for you.  Beckley Imports has top of the line equipment to test the battery and other factors within the vehicle that could cause it to fail.

Don’t get left out in the cold this winter.  Call Beckley Imports at (515) 243-8185 or schedule your appointment online HERE today.

Top 5 Gifts for the Car Enthusiast

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gifts for the car enthusiastIt can be difficult finding just the right gift for the car enthusiast on your list, especially if you aren’t a gearhead yourself. Buying a new or classic car each year really isn’t an option, so how do you find the perfect gift for the car lover in your life?

Here are the Top 5 Car Enthusiast Gift Ideas from Beckley Automotive:

  1. LifeProof Suction Mount with QuickMount  Our cell phones are our lives and there isn’t one of us who doesn’t react like Pavlov’s dogs when it dings, rings or vibrates. This suction mount keeps your phone at eye level on your windshield so you won’t ever have to take your eyes off the road when the phone beckons. You can give the gift of driving safety for roughly $40.
  2. Lego Caterham Seven 620R Model  Return your car enthusiast to childhood with this detailed Lego set! The life-size Caterham Seven 620R is a stylish performance car and the fastest that Caterham makes, accelerating 0-60 in a mere 2.9 seconds. While the price tag on the real Caterham is probably a little more than most people are looking to spend, you can encourage the dream with this Lego set for $80.
  3. Porsche: Origin of the Species Book    This hardcover, 356-page book is perfect for the performance car lover, especially if Porsche is his first love. With a foreward by Jerry Seinfeld and exclusive photos of his very own exceptionally rare Porsche Gmünd coupe 356/2-040, this history of the Porsche will be an exciting addition to any personal library. Buy now for about $125.
  4. Escort Max 360 Radar Detector  If you have a lovable leadfoot on your list, this gift may well be worth the price! This windshield-mounted detector is tops in range, with red-light camera detectors and directional arrows to show you where the radar is coming from. If your car enthusiast pays a lot in speeding tickets each year, the $650 price tag is a priceless value!
  5. Rusty Wallace Racing Experience  Every car enthusiast dreams of actually being behind the wheel of a race car, going Mach5 with his hair on fire. This year, you can be the hero who gives him that chance. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience runs at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, and offers different packages based on experience. You can ride along as a passenger or drive the car yourself, but you can rest assured the adrenaline will be flowing freely! Packages for the 2017 season in Newton run anywhere from $300-$2300.

No matter your price range, there are many options for gifts for your car lover for Christmas. Maybe you’re looking for a more practical gift. Does your car lover need some repairs or routine maintenance that they just haven’t gotten around to? Give us a call and we can help you schedule some TLC for their favorite vehicle – making you the hero of the Holidays!

Schedule an appointment online HERE, call our service department at 515.243.8185 or stop in to our shop conveniently located in Downtown Des Moines at 901 8th Street for more information on Beckley Automotive services.

 

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!