Are You Getting Great Fuel Economy?

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great fuel economyDo you do a lot of highway driving? Are you more of a city stoplight driver? No matter if you’re road-tripping for your summer vacation, traveling for work, or just hopping on the interstate to get across town, your engine performs best and achieves peak fuel economy during ideal highway driving conditions. In Iowa, that means traveling at 65 miles an hour or better. Cross state lines and the speed limit goes up. That can be good for getting to your destination faster, and it can give you great fuel economy, but only if your car’s engine and supporting systems are working properly.

That’s where Beckley Imports comes in. Through proper maintenance of your car’s engine, you can get the best fuel economy, drive safe and secure, and save a little money in the long run. Proper engine maintenance is simply a matter of discipline.  Some of the issues you need to pay attention to for great fuel economy include:

  • Intake and exhaust restrictions:

    Make sure your air filters are clean and clear. If your car can’t breathe, it will work harder and use more fuel to get going.

  • Timing and shifting:

    Slipping of the clutch in a manual transmission or the torque converter lockup in an automatic can make you lose power before it even gets to the wheels.

  • Mechanical resistance:

    We’ll tell you time and time again to make sure your oil is clean. The more impurities and particles in your engine’s oil, the more friction in your engine and the harder it has to work.

  • Tire performance:

    Improper inflation of your tires causes all kinds of trouble, including lower fuel economy and more wear on your wheels.

These can have a substantial effect on fuel economy and how well your car runs. Even driving conditions like outside temperature and wind resistance can have an impact.

Get the most out of every dollar you spend at the pump. Beckley Automotive’s team of expert technicians can give your car a thorough inspection and recommend needed services to help your vehicle achieve optimal fuel economy for driving around town or hauling the family to Wally World. In many cases, a simple tune-up can make a big difference!

Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this weekend! Bring Mom’s car in for an inspection and tune-up and help her get the most out of her gas money. We can also get Dad’s or your graduate’s engine ready for summer travel and adventure. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click HERE to schedule an appointment online.

Why Factory Scheduled Maintenance is Important

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factory scheduled maintenanceWhen you purchase a vehicle, it will include a list of recommended mile markers for factory scheduled maintenance. The exact schedule varies slightly based on the make and model, but typically it starts around the 25,000 mark and continues on every 10,000-15,000 miles. Looking at the extended list of factory scheduled maintenance, you may not think it’s all necessary. After all, why should a perfectly functioning vehicle need to go in for maintenance every 10,000 miles? While it may take time out of your day, it is extremely important to follow through with the recommended maintenance. Beckley Automotive is here to show you why.

Replace Damaged Components

The main components of your vehicle are designed to work for a very long time. You likely will not need work done on your transmission or engine every 10,000 miles. However, other parts, such as belts, break down. Replacing these components is quick and easy, yet it safeguards your vehicle from more expensive repairs. Failure to replace a belt at the suggested time may result in it breaking while you’re driving, which in turn can cause other areas of the vehicle to sustain damage.

Identify Larger Issues Ahead of Time

Transmissions do not just suddenly give out and engines do not die out of nowhere. There are always signs pointing to the potential failure of these major parts of your vehicle. During basic car maintenance such as an oil change or coolant flush you might not receive an in-depth inspection of the vehicle, which means these warning signs may be missed. With the complete inspection thanks to the recommended factory scheduled maintenance, problem areas can be identified earlier and corrected quickly. Catching a problem early may end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repair fees. Being proactive with vehicle maintenance is far more beneficial than waiting for something to happen.

Beckley Automotive is fully certified to work on any make and model vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you drive a Ford F-150 or a Mercedes C class, our mechanics can perform the recommended maintenance without voiding the warranty. So skip out on the long lines common with going to the dealership and come see us at Beckley Automotive.

Whether you have a question regarding your vehicle, have hit the factory scheduled maintenance mile mark or you have another issue all together with your car, contact us today by calling 515-243-8185. Or you can schedule an appointment online HERE and select the time that works best for you.

Check For These Common Vehicle Electrical Problems

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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

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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

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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!

Paintless Dent Removal Can Right These Wrongs

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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!

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.

Beckley Automotive Meets Growing Need for Diesel Service

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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!

Check Engine Light Isn’t Always a Wallet Drain

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check engine light, engine diagnosticsVery few things can set your heart racing like an illuminated Check Engine light on your car’s dashboard. You start wondering how long your car has before the transmission falls out, the engine catches on fire or your car just expires on the side of the road. You also begin panicking trying to decide whether fixing the problem or buying a new car is more cost-effective.

The “Check Engine” light became standard around 1995 and can alert the driver to a slew of engine troubles, big or small. This warning light is attached to the computer in your car, and that computer is pretty smart. If it comes on and stays on, you need to get it checked as soon as possible. If it comes on and flashes, pull that machine over, turn it off, and call for help.

The only thing the computer and the check engine light can’t tell you, is what the actual problem is. Here are some of the top reasons your Check Engine light might come on:

  • Loose spark plug wires or faulty spark plugs
  • Faulty sensors, such as the oxygen sensor or the mass airflow sensor
  • A bad catalytic converter
  • A loose or missing gas cap

Some of these problems are more serious than others and are more expensive. But be wary of any DIY workarounds that you might find on the internet. If you mess with the data storage by disconnecting or running out the battery, you wipe the memory and make true diagnostics harder down the line.

The expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to diagnose any issue with your engine, whether your vehicle is foreign or domestic. And, the best part is that Beckley’s puts a cap on your cost for that diagnostic check. You won’t be charged more than $125 for that first step toward finding what’s wrong. Sometimes that’s all it will take to fix the problem, but the experts at Beckley’s won’t move forward on repairs above and beyond that cost without your approval. The diagnostic findings and a comprehensive repair plan will be outlined before you spend another dime. That’s the Beckley way.

The quickest and least expensive way to handle a check engine light is to bring your car to an expert that can identify the fault correctly and repair it without a lot of guesswork. Schedule your appointment online HERE, visit our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street or give our service staff a call at 515-243-8185 today.

Give Your Brakes a Little Love Before They Need It

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brake systems, disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, ABS, brake repair, car brakesThe brakes on your car serve one purpose – to stop your car from moving. Whether you’re stopping for a red light, a pedestrian in the road or to avoid a collision, you rely on your brake system to perform; to perform well, reliably, and immediately. Your safety and the safety of your passengers depend on the condition of your brake system, so make sure you pay them the attention they deserve BEFORE they are put to the test.

There are different braking systems with different needs and issues, and the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to meet all of those needs.

  • Drum Brakes – A hydraulic wheel cylinder pushes a brake shoe onto the inside of a drum while it spins. This style wears down more quickly because the heat produced by the friction gets trapped inside the drum. while drum brakes are certainly sufficient, they can become less effective when heat is allowed to build up.
  • Disc Brakes – Uses a hydraulic caliper with brake pads that grab the rotor to slow or stop the car, similar to the brakes on a bicycle. Because the thin caliper and brake pads are exposed to the air, the heat dissipates quickly and causes less wear. In high-performance and racing vehicles, four-wheel disc systems have become the norm, despite the higher production costs and purchase pricing.
  • Anti-Lock Brake System – Used in conjunction with one of the above brake types; uses an electronic system of sensors and high-pressure pumps to measure variables like car speed, brake force and wheel slip before actually pumping your brakes for you during an emergency stop in certain conditions. ABS has contributed to shorter stopping distances and a general increase in vehicle safety, although the system is still controversial.

Drivers shouldn’t wait until there is a brake failure to look at their brakes. The safety of family, friends and the general public are at stake, so don’t put off regular maintenance or addressing issues. If you experience grinding, squeaking, or shaking when you brake, or if your brakes feel “spongy” and you need a football field distance to stop, bring your car to Beckley Automotive for diagnostic testing and repairs.

Our ASE-Certified expert technicians will examine your entire brake system from front to back and will let you know exactly what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers safe. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!