Check For These Common Vehicle Electrical Problems

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

vehicle electrical problemsVehicle electrical problems today are more and more common. As cars utilize new, innovative electronic systems on a daily basis, your car is more likely than ever before to run into an electrical issue. If you are running into problems with your vehicle’s electrical system, it’s important to take care of it sooner rather than later, as even a minor electric issue can turn into a much more serious situation quickly.

While some of these issues can prove rather intricate and extensive, there are some electrical problems you can look for yourself and possibly correct. Should your own vehicle electrical problems prove to be much more problematic, Beckley Auto is here to assist every step of the way.

Check The Fuses

Before any other troubleshooting, always check the fuses. Burned out and damaged fuses can cause cars to malfunction. If your radio goes out when you open the car door (while the vehicle is still running) it likely is a dead fuse. Consult your owner’s manual for the fuses associated with each system in the vehicle. Additionally, make sure the vehicle is turned off before checking the fuse.

Battery or Electrical System?

If the car doesn’t turn on at all it likely means the battery is dead. Having a battery tester on hand is always a good idea. This way you can determine if all you need is a charge. A great investment for your vehicle is a self-charge system. Such a device does not require another vehicle to jump. You simply charge the device every 30 days, then if your car battery dies you connect the one sided jumper cables and run your vehicle as you would a standard jump.

The Spark is Gone

Do you lose power as you switch gears? Does it feel like the gears aren’t engaging, lurching forward? Your internal combustion might not be, well, combusting. The culprit in this case is usually loose or old spark plugs and their cables. If you have the proper tools such as a ratchet, a torque wrench and a spark plug socket and gap gauge, changing your own spark plugs should take roughly an hour. But if you’ve never done it before or you aren’t certain spark plugs are the true problem, give Beckley Automotive a call.

At Beckley Auto, it doesn’t matter if you drive an older Saab or a new Land Rover, your vehicle electrical problems will be addressed quickly by our expert technicians.  Call Beckley Auto at 243-8185 or schedule an appointment online today.

Diesel Engine Maintenance 101

, , , , , , , , ,

diesel engine maintenance, performance diesel engineDiesel engines come with an assortment of benefits – and issues – you don’t see with a traditional unleaded engine. When properly taken care of, diesel engines often last far longer, and diesel engines can produce more power, which helps trucks tow more. Vehicles with diesel engines also experience a greater fuel economy, but don’t do well in colder climates. Diesel engine maintenance does differ from your standard engine. So whether you recently purchased a BMW diesel or own a Ram 2500 diesel, make sure to follow these standard diesel engine maintenance tips.

  1. Change the Air Filter
    You need to keep your engine free of debris in any vehicle, but diesel engines need a new air filter at least once a year. Your air filter is one of the easiest tasks you can perform on the vehicle yourself. Simply pop the hood, pull out the current air filter and pop in a new one. If you have a performance air filter that is reusable you may want some help. These can prove a bit tricky to secure back into place after cleaning.
  2. Change the Oil Regularly
    If you change your own oil make sure to stay on top of this. Because diesel fuel isn’t as refined as gasoline, the oil gets dirtier faster. Stay on top of regular oil changes (don’t let it linger) and make sure to change the oil filter at the same time (the filter should be designed for diesel engines).
  3. Bleed the Fuel System
    Diesel engines run hotter. When changing the oil some air will likely find its way into the engine. This can prove especially damaging if left inside the engine. In order to remove the air from the diesel engine you need to bleed the fuel system using the air bleed plug on your engine. If you change your own oil you should have no problem releasing this plug, allowing the air to push out, and then tightening it up. If you don’t change your own oil, make sure to verify the service station bleeds the system.

No matter what make or model vehicle you own, if a diesel engine powers it, you need to practice proper diesel engine maintenance. Beyond what you can do on your own, make sure to bring your vehicle into Beckley Auto. With technicians trained and certified to work on diesel engines, all of your maintenance and larger repairs can be done here.

Whether you have a question about available services or you are ready to schedule an appointment, contact Beckley Auto and rest assured that you are receiving the best diesel engine maintenance service in Des Moines!

Car Battery Troubleshooting Tips

, , , , , , , , ,

car battery troubleshooting

Car battery problems can range from extremely simple to head-scratching confusing. In fact, some engine problems have nothing to do with the battery at all, but with the alternator or another part of the vehicle all together. No matter what make or model car you currently drive, it’s important to understand basic universal car battery troubleshooting.

Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your Battery Soon

It’s always better to fix an issue before it turns into a problem such as getting stranded with a dead battery. Thankfully, a dying battery typically puts out a host of different signs. How do you know it’s your battery? First, if you notice it takes your car a few revs before kicking to life, it is a clear sign you need a new battery. If you notice leaking from around the battery, see it is swelling or has a low power level when testing, these are all signs to replace your battery. At the very least, have your battery performance tested every three years which tends to be the typical life of a car battery.

Following are some car battery troubleshooting clues that may not be the battery at all:
  • Nothing Happens When You Turn the Key
    If you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens at all, it means the battery is dead. If there are no lights, signs of the radio, buzzes or anything else, the vehicle is not receiving any power. Charge the battery if you can and bring it into Beckley Auto. Our experienced technicians will be able to tell if it’s the battery, the electrical system, or another component causing the problem.
  • Car Can’t Turn Over
    If you have some power – like dim and fading lights or a clicking noise – but the engine just doesn’t catch when turning the key, it probably isn’t a battery problem at all. Car batteries aren’t meant to provide long-term power. The alternator’s job is to keep replenishing the juice to the battery while the car is running. If you can jumpstart the car but it dies again shortly after removing the cables, a faulty alternator is most likely the culprit.
  • Car Battery Smells BAD
    If your vehicle smells like rotten eggs, it means the battery is leaking. Using an alkaline like baking soda, carefully clean off the battery engine and see if this does the trick. If it continues to leak, it is time to replace the battery.

Car battery troubleshooting is pretty simple, no matter what make and model. If you suspect you have a bad battery, schedule an appointment online HERE or call our service department at 515.243.8185 today. Our experienced and trained technicians will get your vehicle running as good as new!

Watch for These Signs of Heating System Issues

, , , , , ,

heating system, beckley autoLiving in Iowa, you know the importance of having a vehicle with heat. Navigating the streets through fall, winter and spring without a heated vehicle is not only uncomfortable but potentially dangerous. This is why you need to stay on top of your car’s heating system. If you notice any of the following heating system issues make sure to bring it into Beckley Auto and get it taken care of right away.

  • Low Coolant Level

    Sufficient coolant is essential during Iowa winter months. Antifreeze serves several purposes such as protecting against corrosion and scale build-up as well as keeping water from freezing in winter and boiling in summer. You can check your own antifreeze level when the engine is cool and has been sitting overnight. If you end up adding coolant, check levels at least once a week to ensure there isn’t a leak somewhere.

  • Damaged Thermostat

    A damaged thermostat can lead to serious engine problems. This is a small, inexpensive part, yet it helps control the flow of coolant into the engine in order to keep it at an optimal running temperature. If your coolant level is fine yet your vehicle is cold, that could indicate a damaged thermostat.

  • Plugged Heater Core

    Over time, the vehicle’s heater core can collect debris. This will block the flow of coolant. When the heater core is plugged the only option you have is to replace it. Ideally, when replacing the heater core it is a good idea to flush the coolant system as well. This will push out any debris, bleed out any air pockets and help restore your vehicle’s ability to heat the interior of the cabin.

  • Heater Control Valve Gone Bad

    Most heater control valves use a vacuum system. If this system is damaged or remains on constantly it will prevent coolant from circulating through the heater core.

  • Electrical Issues

    From a blown motor to damaged wiring, an electrical system malfunction is another potential culprit behind your lack of heat.

You need a strong heating system to make it through the crazy Iowa weather from October through April. It is always a good idea to test out the heater before winter is in full force. This way, you have time to correct the problem before having proper heat is of the utmost importance.

Whether for your heating system or another issue, bring your BMW, Jaguar or any make to Beckley Auto. Our expert mechanics will have your vehicle working correctly in no time! Feel free to contact our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule maintenance today.

Paintless Dent Removal Can Right These Wrongs

, , , , , , , , ,

paintless dent removalThere is nothing worse than walking up to your car and seeing a brand new ding in the bumper or quarter panel. It stands out like a sore thumb – even if other people can’t see it, YOU know it’s there! If you recently suffered a dent or are tired of looking at that rough patch in the middle of a smooth surface, Beckley’s is able to meet all of your paintless dent removal needs. While it may be too late to prevent the dents and dings already on your auto body, here are the most common ways that dent got there in the first place.

Free-Range Shopping Carts

Sadly, if people paid more attention to their surroundings, most dents could be avoided. When someone allows their shopping cart to roll into a parked car or they leave their cart in the middle of the parking lot, these dents caused by another person’s carelessness are more than annoying. While a shopping cart dent is usually minor, it’s still frustrating to walk back to after completing a shopping trip. When you can, it’s a good rule of thumb – and great karma – to corral those wayward carts when you see them roaming free.

Door Dings

Similar to the shopping cart problem, the second leading culprit behind vehicle dents stems from other car doors. Whether from overzealous children or adults just not paying attention, these dents can prove far more damaging than a shopping cart due to the increased level of force behind an opening door. Outside of not driving to a parking lot, this is a culprit you can’t completely avoid. While you can’t control how other people park, you can do your part by trying not to crowd either side of your own spot.

On Your Own

Not all dents come from other people. Sometimes backing up into a sign, nudging the curb or bumping something else happens. With so many distractions available in our cars these days, it can be easy to underestimate distances. As long as you stay aware of your surroundings you should be able to avoid most of dent-causing situations.

Mother Nature

Hail and sleet can cause all sorts of damage and sometimes there’s no way of avoiding it. High winds blow around trash cans or rain gutters that can land on your hood and leave their mark. These minor dents don’t always require insurance filing, but you sure don’t want to have to look at them every day.

No matter the make, model or value of your vehicle, a dent often detracts from its overall appearance. While a dent typically has no impact on how your vehicle runs, it’s most likely all you see whenever you approach your car. If you are ready to correct the dents and restore the pristine beauty of your vehicle, our Des Moines paintless dent removal experts are here to service you.

When you trust Beckley’s with your paintless dent removal needs, we can right these wrongs and return your prized vehicle to its original, showroom appearance. Schedule your appointment online HERE or call 515.243.8185 today!

Warning Signs of Failing Brakes

, , , , , ,

failing brakes, brake maintenance, brake pads, new brakesKeeping you safe while out on the road is job number one at Beckley Auto. One of your first lines of defense is the vehicle’s brakes. Over time, the brakes will wear down, extending the time it takes for you to come to a complete stop. This happens gradually so it can be hard to notice. While quality brake pads can last you tens of thousands of miles, it’s important to know the warning signs of failing brakes. If you experience any of the following warning signs, bring your vehicle in for an inspection. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Brake Pads Are Looking Thin

    From time to time, check out how your brakes look. Since cars don’t use hubcaps any more, it’s easy to see the brake pad by peeking through the spokes of the wheel. You want to keep at least a quarter inch pad. If the pad is slightly under this, you should start planning for new brakes. If there is next to nothing, make your appointment as soon as possible. Failure to do so can put you in danger and potentially cause damage to the vehicle.

  2. Your Car is Trying to Tell You Something

    It’s nice to enjoy music while driving or take part in the local talk show host’s banter. However, from time to time turn the radio off and listen to your vehicle. You can learn a lot about the vehicle by paying attention the sounds it makes. many brake pads have a noise-making sensor embedded in them to alert the driver to worn pads. If your vehicle squeaks when braking, either this sensor is exposed or there could be metal grinding on metal. This points toward failing brakes and is a potentially dangerous condition.

  3. Need More Room to Break

    Your vehicle is exceptionally responsive when brakes are new, but as your brakes wear down, you’ll need more stopping time and distance. If you notice reduced responsiveness, it could mean your brakes are thin and about gone or you could have a brake fluid leak. Both need correcting.

These warning signs hold true for any make or model of vehicle. So whether you drive a Ram 1500 or an Acura XRS, if you notice any of these warning signs it is important to bring in your vehicle. Our expert technicians will inspect your brakes and tell you honestly what can wait and what needs immediate attention.

At Beckley Auto we can handle any of your brake needs. Whether you need car brakes or are just approaching your routine mileage inspection, book an appointment online HERE to have your vehicle serviced, or call 515.243-8185. We’ll keep you safe while you’re out on the road.

Our 30-Point Oil Change Service is Far From Routine

, , , , , , ,

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!

Beckley Automotive Meets Growing Need for Diesel Service

, , , , , ,

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

, , , ,

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.

Oil Changes Every 3,000 Miles? Not So Fast…

, , , , , , , , , , ,
des moines oil change, european car service tips

Did you know automobile oil never wears out? It’s the additives in oil that help keep your engine clean and protected that cause the problems. 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.

At Beckley Automotive, we always advise 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 car’s 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 Automotive, 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. Don’t forget – you also get a free car wash with every service.

So be sure to call us the next time you need service. We’ll be glad to give you a price and explain all the benefits our car care specialists will provide. Or you can go online and Schedule your service appointment today.