Don’t Get Left Out In The Cold

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car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowa

Winter is upon us!  Have you heard enough of that warning lately?  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.

winter driving bmw des moines iowaWith all the new features offered in cars today, like seat heaters and high end sound systems, battery drain happens more quickly than in the past.  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 and schedule your appointment today.

Prep Your European Auto For Harsh Des Moines Winter Driving

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car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowa

It’s hard to imagine prepping your car for fall and winter driving with the 80+ degree temps we current enjoy.  But reality is that fall is technically here and that means turkey, presents, and bowl games and HARSH WINTER DRIVING are just around the corner.

TIP:  When you see the garden centers closing up and the patio furniture on clearance at the stores – it’s time to winterize.

winter driving bmw des moines iowaWinter puts an amazing strain on your car’s systems and fluids.  And if you leave your car outdoors overnight, it endures even more punishment.  Here’s what you should do now to avoid shivering on the roadside waiting for a tow

Get caught up on recommended maintenance

If the summer was just too busy, it’s a good idea to get caught up on the simple things.  We know that with other places you’ve been in the past, you might have felt “taken” a bit on add-ons and extras that don’t seem necessary.  We guarantee that Aaron and Thomas will recommend what’s necessary for your vehicle and give you clear guidance on additional maintenance items that you should consider.

TIP:  Sometimes you just feel like asking the question, “Is it OK if I wait on servicing say…my water pump…until the next time I visit?”  Don’t feel awkward about it! At Beckley, you’ll get an honest answer that does not contain a hidden agenda or innuendo.  We’ve built our business on honesty and good value…so ask any question you’d like and we’ll give you a straightforward answer.

Kick the tires

Possibly the most essential element in the winter equation is tires.  If you don’t do a summer/winter tire switch, make sure you have tread and lots of it.  Sometimes when you’re in that “in between” stage where there’s “probably just enough tread to get by til Spring,” this is a tough decision.  Safety should be your first consideration here.  Stopping distances go through the roof on snow and ice and tread is your friend.

Get the cooling system ready to be REALLY cool

It might seem like “cooling” systems are less relevant in the winter.  True you’re less likely to have overheating issues after running 10 minutes when it’s 20 degrees outside.  But a properly operating cooling system is essential to your engine’s life at all temperatures.  Freezing temps can really push an old water pump to the limit so if you’re approaching or over the max life for that part – consider a proactive replacement.

Put the scraper and winter emergency kit back in the vehicle

It’s a great idea to keep a plastic bin from Lowe’s or Menards with the following items in them.  By the way, check your items each year for expiration dates and be sure to change out batteries.

  • spare gloves
  • jackets
  • flashlights
  • first aid kit
  • small shovel
  • food
  • knife
  • chains
  • jumper cables

TIP:  Consider putting one or more of those 40 pound sandbags in the rear of your car.  This will help with traction in a rear wheel drive car of course.  But a side benefit is that if you get stuck, you can grab the knife from your winter safety kit, cut open the bag, and lay the sand down under and around your tires for extra traction.  You’d be surprised how much this helps when things get slick and you’re spinning those gorgeous wheels.

The Beckley team is available for convenient appointments from early morning to evening.  We’ll even take you to work and pick you up with our shuttle.  Give us a call and let’s see what we can do to take care of your investment.

We Love Saab

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Steven Beckley, Beckley Automotive and Beckley Imports

Like many of our customers, we love Saab. If you wonder how you can keep your Saab alive and well, now that they are out of production, we can help. At Beckley Imports, we have the tools and training to maintain the health and vitality of your Saab for years to come. From general maintenance to repair work, we want to see your Saab on the road. Let us know how we can help make that happen. We welcome the opportunity to hear the story of your Saab. Please contact us if there are questions we can answer for you.

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!

 

Sale of Saab Auto Could Save the Company-And the Planet

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National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) has made arrangements to purchase the bankrupt Saab Automobile and convert it into a top manufacturer of electric cars.

Saab filed for bankruptcy in December 2011 after halting production last March.  The Chinese-Japanese investment group consisting of Hong Kong-based National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd. and Japanese investment firm Sun Investment hopes to turn Saab productivity into profitability in Sweden and Norway, where electric cars have become more popular.

Bloomberg.com talks in more detail about the purchase and hopeful future for Saab.