Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold This Winter!

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replace battery before winter european cars des moines iowaShould I replace my battery now, or wait until it dies?

A few years ago that was an easier decision. Dead battery? Give it a jump, drive to the shop, replace the battery, problems over. Now it’s much more complicated.

  1. Batteries are fitted in trunks, under seats, behind multiple shields and covers making hooking up cables very difficult.
  2. One spark or wrong connection and your car’s computers can be toast.
  3. When a battery dies, it sets off fault codes and “check engine” lights in the computers that require special tools to reset and extinguish the lights.
  4. Towing is the only recommended solution by the manufacturers.

If you get 4 winters from your car’s battery you’ve done fine.

Some make it to a 5th winter, but having your battery fail these days is an expensive situation; so think of it like tires and replace it before it fails, especially with our harsh Iowa winters.

Additional considerations – I have heated seats in my cars, one has a heated steering wheel! You can laugh (I did at first) but I love it on cold mornings. Along with powerful stereos, headlights, and other accessories, batteries have a lot more work to do. Plus they come smaller and lighter for economy. Consequently, the size, shape and power required are unique to each make and model of car. In addition to poor starting, the wrong battery can cause short circuits, acid leaks and rattles.

Because we specialize on European cars at Beckley’s, we have the proper battery in stock for each of the makes we service including Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo. And, we have the expert staff and tools to replace your battery and reset any equipment and computers that power your car.

If your battery is 4 years or older Make your maintenance appointment today and we’ll make sure that your European car will perform as it should this winter.

“How Often Should I Change My Oil?”

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des moines oil change, european car service tips

Did you know oil never wears out? It’s the additives in oil that help keep your engine clean and protected that do. Plus, oil gets dirty and abrasive from combustion contaminants which leads to sludge* and premature wear.

*We see more engine failures from sludge than old age. Sludge occurs from using the wrong oil or not changing oil frequently enough. It becomes thick like tar then clogs the oil passages. Not unlike what happens to us with a bad diet.

des moines oil change, european car service tipsConventional wisdom was “change your oil every 3,000 miles”. Today, some new car manufacturers are recommending 10-15,000 miles between oil changes. How do you know what’s right for your car without spending TOO much? The answer depends on two considerations;

1.Conventional or Synthetic Oil?

Conventional petroleum based oils offer excellent protection for most circumstances and are recommended by many automobile manufacturers. They are also less expensive than synthetic oil.

Synthetic oils hold up better under extremes of temperature and extended drain intervals of 10,000 miles or more*. The only drawback is they can cost twice as much as conventional – about $8-$10 per quart.

If you go an extended drain interval you need a premium oil filter to last as long as your oil, not the discount filters sometimes used to keep the price down.

We always recommend using the type of oil the manufacturer recommends. Failure to do so can jeopardize any warranties and, as we’ve experienced, will hurt your engine if it’s not up to specification. We can tell you what your cars manufacturer recommends.

2.How Do You Drive Your Car?

Your owners manual typically has two maintenance schedules. One for “Ideal” driving conditions, one for “Severe” conditions. How do your driving habits stack up? Unless you primarily drive long distances, most of us operate our cars under “severe” conditions. Here, your manual says to cut the “ideal” service intervals in half.

[one_third]

Ideal Driving Conditions

  • Mostly highway miles
  • Moderate temperatures
  • Moderate loads
  • Dust free environment[/one_third]

Severe Driving Conditions

  • Frequent trips under 10 miles or stop & go (city) driving
  • Very hot or cold temps (below freezing)
  • Towing or heavy loads
  • Dusty, unpaved roads

And The Answer Is…

Based on the car and oil manufacturers recommendations and our long experience with all European car engines we recommend to change conventional oil every 5000 miles and synthetic oil every 7500 miles. This is based on the typical mix of temperatures and driving styles we experience in Central Iowa.

One Final Consideration

If you drive a particular car infrequently, say under 7500 annually, change your oil once a year. Just because your oil lasts 15,000 miles doesn’t mean everything else will. Our experts will report on your tires, brakes, steering, etc. so you know your car is safe for you and your family. Do this in the fall if you’re going to store it. It will last longer with clean fluids.

When we change your oil at Beckley Imports your car gets a 30 point written safety inspection performed by a certified technician with years of training and experience on European cars just like yours. They know what to look for and how to respond to prevent any problems while you’re on the road. We use Mobil oil and original equipment (or better!) filters to ensure the longest life for your car and protect any warranties you might have. Plus we have the proper equipment to reset your service lights. You get a free car wash with every service.

Call us the next time you need service. We’ll be glad to give you a price and explain all the benefits our European car care specialists will provide.

Schedule your service appointment today.

Thank you,
Steve Beckley

A Smooth-Running European Car or Hot New Pumps… Hard Choice?

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chosing between a beautiful new pair of shoes or getting you oil changed shouldnt be a hard decision
Steven Beckley, Beckley Automotive and Beckley Imports

Steve Beckley

My friend Barbara loves her (new to her) BMW. I asked her about keeping it serviced.

“I always remember my Dad’s advice,” she said, “Change your oil!”

I asked how she managed that.

“I usually look for whoever has a coupon. Every dollar I save on car repair I can spend on shoes.”

I thought about that and decided I can appreciate it, I really do. But there might be a different way to think about it.

Getting your oil changed is the one opportunity for someone to look under your hood and under your car to see if anything is going to be a problem and prevent you from driving safely wherever you want to go.

chosing between a beautiful new pair of shoes or getting you oil changed shouldnt be a hard decision

Doesn’t it make sense to have it looked at by an expert, someone who’s 100% familiar with your car? That way, when they inspect your brakes and tires and steering, they know exactly what to look for and what’s important. And, if they see something that needs attention, they can tell you clearly how soon you need to act and what your options are for fixing it. You’re not going to get this benefit at an ordinary oil change place, and new car dealers can’t give you the repair options we offer.

Plus it’s not expensive. Here at Beckley Imports, a conventional oil change starts at $40 and a full synthetic starts at $60 with European quality oil, not the budget oil many places use. And we reset your service lights, which ordinary shops can’t do.

It’s a VERY good deal that leaves PLENTY of money for … shoes.

Prices include up to 5 qts. of the oil specified by the manufacturer of your car.  Some high performance models extra.  Please call for an exact quote on your make and model.


Beckley Imports – Servicing European Import Cars Since 1977

Because Beckley Imports has solely focused our services on European Imports, we have the certified technicians, facilities and the right equipment to properly work on your European import car.

For more information or to schedule a service on your Mercedes, please call 515.243.8185, or go to the “Schedule Service” page on this website to make an appointment TODAY!

 

How to Prepare Your BMW for Winter

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

When temperatures start to drop, it’s time to get your car ready for winter. The right maintenance, preparation and tools can be literal lifesavers in harsh conditions.
Regular Maintenance
Now’s the time to get your car up to speed on all of its regular maintenance. That means taking care of any fluids that may have been neglected while you were out enjoying the summer sun or going in for that 60,000-mile tune-up if you’re due. Check, change and/or top off your oil, coolant, brake and transmission fluid as needed. In the case of your oil or automatic transmission, make sure you get a high-quality filter, too. It may seem like overkill to take care of all of your fluids at once, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Take a look at the car’s brakes too. Are your rotors warped or cracked? Do they have deep grooves or are the pads worn close to their minimum clearance? Your vehicle will be experiencing harsher conditions soon, so nip any potential problems in the bud now. Make sure all your lights are working properly to ensure good visibility. New bulbs only cost a few dollars and are easy to install yourself or easy to have installed when getting your vehicle serviced. The same goes for windshield wipers. If your blades are more than six months old, odds are it’s time to swap them out for new ones. And don’t forget to fill the washer fluid reservoir with freeze resistant wiper fluid.

Check your tires and consider winter tires
Go ahead and have your tires rotated and inspected. The last thing you need in cold, wet weather is to be driving on bald or dry rotted tires. Err on the side of caution and replace any tires that are too worn.

We’d recommend looking into snow (or winter) tires, depending on your location or length of time you’ll be spending in the snow. Winter tires are made with special low temperature resilient rubber compounds and have deep treads that grip unplowed snow and ice. Even the best all-season tires have compounds that get more brittle as the temperature drops, and when that happens, the tires tend to grip less. The winter tire compound remains pliable when temperatures are low, retaining grip and keeping the car’s safety systems, like all-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes, functioning properly.

At this time, also check to make sure your spare tire has enough air in it. Once you’ve made sure everything looks good, take a look at your tire pressure. With everything up to spec, you’ll get better gas mileage and your vehicle will handle and stop better.

Maintain the coolant system
Our most important tip is to take the time to get your car’s coolant system checked. Extreme temperatures and harsh conditions can knock it out easily if it’s not up to snuff. If any part of the system comes up with a shaky bill of health, swap the parts for new ones. That means having your car’s radiator pressure tested and the hoses examined for cracks or bulges. Most shops can quickly test radiators without the hassle of having to remove them from the vehicle.

If you can’t remember the last time your water pump was replaced, or if your pump has more miles on it than what the manufacturer recommends, it’s time for a new one. While everything is apart, go for a new thermostat as well because you’ll save money on labor getting these two done at once.

Even if everything comes up good to go under the hood, replacing your engine’s coolant is cheap insurance against extreme temperatures. Over time, antifreeze can actually generate a weak electrical current, which can then cause oxidation and eventually failure inside of your coolant system. You’ll want at least a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to provide protection against below-zero temperatures. Keeping everything fresh inside will put less stress on your vehicle’s hardware and save you serious money in the long run.

A little preparation goes a long way to keep your car running smoothly during the winter months. Not only will the right tools and maintenance protect you and your car from the elements, but they will also keep you safe.


Beckley Imports – Servicing European Import Cars Since 1977

Because Beckley Imports has solely focused our services on European Imports, we have the certified technicians, facilities and the right equipment to properly work on your European import car.

For more information or to schedule a service on your Mercedes, please call 515.243.8185, or go to the “Schedule Service” page on this website to make an appointment TODAY!