Fight Leaks and Keep Your Engine in Top Shape with Our Fluid Service

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car fluid check, fluid leaks, engine leaksIt’s never a good thing to find a puddle on your garage floor or in the driveway. How long has it been there? Where is it leaking from? Are there multiple leaks? How long until the engine throws a rod or simply eats itself?

Bring your car in for regular fluid service at Beckley Automotive and head off leaks before they become a problem!

There’s more to automotive fluids than simply keeping them contained. To prevent premature wear and failure of engine parts, most manufacturers recommend replacing the fluids for systems such as brakes, transmission, coolant and all-wheel drive units on a regular basis. When our technicians change out and recycle your car’s fluids, they will also have the opportunity to look over the different systems and find the potential for leaks before they become a problem.

If your car is a European import, the replacement specifications is often much more frequent than it is for standard performance cars. Beckley Automotive always uses the proper fluids for your specific car and our knowledgeable and experienced technicians know exactly how to service all types of autos. Through continuing education and certification, every technician at Beckley’s is trained and ready to provide outstanding service to keep your auto free from leaks and your engine running at its best!

When was the last time you had your vehicle’s fluids changed and your engine checked for leaks? If you can’t remember, now is a great time to schedule an appointment at Beckley’s 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!

Know Your Car’s Electrical System Warning Signs

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electrical system, car starter, car battery, car alternatorYour vehicle’s electrical system is an involved arrangement made up of three main components: the alternator, the starter and the battery. When you start having trouble with your car’s electrical system, it’s apparent – but how do you know which part needs the attention? We’ll outline the most common warning signs for each part to help you pinpoint the issue to be addressed.

Your battery provides the juice to the entire electrical system. When your battery is giving out, it affects the rest of the system. Watch for:

  • Sluggish engine cranking when you try to start the car; the battery alone starts the car, so if you have trouble at the get-go you know what’s causing it.
  • Excessive corrosion around the positive/negative cable connection posts; this indicates a battery leak and the “gunk” needs to be removed or the connectors won’t get the power
  • Swollen battery case; this means the battery has been exposed to excessive heat and/or cold and has been damaged
  • Smell of rotten eggs under your hood; a shorted battery causes a chemical reaction, releasing sulfuric acid that can damage other engine components

If your starter malfunctions, the pistons don’t rotate and won’t pull in air/gas mixture needed to fuel the engine. Watch for:

  • Grinding noise; if the drive gear isn’t engaging or is worn, you’ll hear a sound like when you start your car and then try to start it again. Ignoring this noise can cause irreparable damage tot he engine flywheel.
  • Freewheeling; if you only hear a whining noise and the engine isn’t cranking, the starter gear isn’t engaging with the flywheel and this is called freewheeling.
  • Single loud “click”; you may have a bad starting motor, bad solenoid, or even a bigger mechanical problem in the engine.

The alternator is exceptionally important as it recharges your battery and turns energy from the crankshaft into useable electricity. Watch for:

  • Flickering or dim headlights; this means the alternator is struggling to get the necessary power to the headlights.
  • Car stalls; since the alternator powers the spark plugs that keep the engine alive, if your car stalls for no reason while running you should have the alternator looked at.
  • Other electrical failures; if your power windows and locks, air conditioning or dashboard lights aren’t working correctly or working at all, the alternator could be the culprit because it supplies all of these electrical parts with power.

Your car has literally dozens of electrical components that send power throughout your auto to keep everything going. When one part fails, it causes a chain reaction and ultimately keeps your car from running. Come see the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive who have the training, the tools and the experience to diagnose and correct any and all problems you might be having with your electrical system.

Don’t wait until your car leaves you stranded! Schedule your appointment online today, call our service department at 515-243-8185 or stop by our shop in downtown Des Moines at 901 8th Street.

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!

Let Climate Control Work for You

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automatic climate control, vehicle air conditioning, car climate controlThe saying goes something like, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” Fall in Iowa is no exception. Last week was sweltering heat and humidity and this week is sweater weather. Many people find themselves in the bizarre position of needing to run the heat at night and then to switch to the air conditioning in the afternoon. It’s no different in your car – but can you rely on both to work at top performance at the drop of a hat?

Air conditioning and climate control in a car are not the same thing. When purchasing a new vehicle, there is a definite price difference between the two – air conditioning comes standard and costs less. What are some of the other differences between the two?

  • Air conditioning cools the air inside your car through manual adjustment of the temperature dial. If you want it colder, you turn it farther to the blue. If you want it less cold, turn it toward the red and warmer air will gradually mix in.
  • Automatic Climate Control lets you set the temperature you want inside your car and you don’t have to touch it again. Ever. On your home thermostat, you even have to switch between heat and cooling. But Automatic Climate Control will switch seamlessly from air to heat to keep the temperature constant.
  • With air conditioning, you will have to constantly adjust the dials as the temperature inside your car is affected by the sun, the speed you’re driving, outside weather. This can lead to battles with your passengers who are too hot or too cold and grumble about the constantly changing climate inside the car.
  • Climate control is much more advanced and most offer “dual zone” control. The driver can set their temperature and the passenger can select what is most comfortable for them. Everyone is happy!
  • Another benefit to Automatic Climate Control is that it can potentially save you money. We all know running the air at the lowest temperature and the highest fan speed will make your engine work harder and run through your gas much faster. Climate control only uses the air as needed instead of at a constant clip and works much more efficiently.

Whether you have standard air conditioning or the more luxurious automatic climate control, chances are you’re going to need some work on the system at some point to keep it running at optimal levels. Unfortunately, because climate control is advanced technology and possibly the most complicated system in your vehicle, a lot of shops won’t even touch it. But at Beckley Automotives we have the experience and technology to find any problems and provide solutions more quickly and efficiently than the other guys.

Don’t waste time and money while the other shops guess at what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers riding in comfort. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give Beckley Automotive a call at 515.243.8185 or simply stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location.

Is It Time to Replace Your Shocks and Struts?

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shocks and struts, beckley automotive suspension repairsDes Moines roads are generally less than smooth-riding, and are definitely inconsistent. Have you ever found yourself cruising down a straight-away at a good clip when you suddenly realize the road ahead is torn up and full of potholes? Rough roads can do a number on your car – especially your shocks and struts. While most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 15,000-30,000 miles, that estimate changes if you haul heavy loads or regularly drive on rough roads with potholes, bumps or washboard ridges. So how do you know when you really need to get new shocks and struts?

There are a few clues to let you know when you need to bring your vehicle into Beckley Automotive for a suspension system check. These are just a few:

  • Nose Dive  Does the front end of your car dip down when you stop? Although it can feel like your car is going to flip end-over-end, it really won’t. But there can be associated safety issues like longer stopping distance or steering issues that need to be considered.
  • Squatting  On the other end of the car you may notice something called “squatting”. This is when you accelerate from a stop and your front end rises slightly off the ground. It looks cool in car racing movies, but it’s a bad thing in real life.
  • Excessive Bounce Do you bottom out on railroad tracks or speed bumps – and then continue bouncing your way down the road? Here’s a test: Push down on each corner of your vehicle (SUVs can be tricky). Does it continue bouncing after you let go? Get your shocks and struts checked.
  • Sways and Leans  If you fear tipping sideways when you turn a corner or change lanes, you may need look at your suspension. Other things you might notice that should give you pause include poor steering, steering wheel stiffness or noise when turning the steering wheel.
  • Visible Wear  Check your tires for unusual wear patterns like “cupping” which is when a tire shows scalloped dips around one side of the tread. You can always get under your car and find your struts and shocks – are there dents, cuts or leaks?

Shocks and struts wear out gradually, so you may not really notice any of the above issues. There won’t be a particular moment that your vehicle’s ride gets bouncy or “loose.” You just get used to the changes little by little until they’re part of your driving experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you suspect you need your shocks and struts looked at by an expert, bring your auto into Beckley Automotive. You can make an appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515.243.8185, or stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street.

It’s Not Too Early to Get Your Car Ready for 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’re currently enjoying.  But reality is that fall is practically here and that means football, turkey, presents 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’re sure that with other shops you’ve visited, you might have felt “taken” a bit with add-ons and extras that didn’t seem necessary.  We guarantee that our technicians will recommend only 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, “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 at that “in between” stage where there’s probably just enough tread to get by until 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.  It’s true you’re less likely to have overheating issues from a 10-minute drive 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 are 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 containing simple roadside survival items in your trunk.  Be sure to check your items each year for expiration dates and put in fresh batteries. Some things to include are:

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

TIP:  Consider putting one or more 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.

Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment online to get your car ready for the harsh Iowa winter. Our convenient shuttle can get you to work or home and our service advisers can help you with further transportation arrangements. Call Beckley Automotive today!

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

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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.

Make Selling Your Car More Profitable

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tips for selling your car, selling your carAt some point, you’re probably going to decide it’s time for a new car. Maybe you need more space for a growing family, or you’re downsizing to a smaller vehicle as an empty-nester. Or maybe you want to unload a gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient auto. When you look at selling your car, you can get more money by simply taking care of a few details.

Check out these 10 ways to boost the resale value of your car.

  1. Replace windshield wipers – It’s an inexpensive fix and only takes a few minutes to install new wipers.
  2. Clean the engine – You can try and clean the engine yourself with products designed to help remove dust, grease, and dirt. Or check out our detailing services to shine up your engine.
  3. Refill or top off fluids – Letting a potential buyer know your car has had a recent oil change and the reservoirs are filled for anti-freeze, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, etc., can help seal the deal.
  4. Check tire tread – You’re good if you’ve got a decent amount of tread remaining. But if tread is worn, replace the tires to increase the sale price of your car. If a buyer will have to replace the tires, you’re more likely to haggle over the asking price.
  5. Clean up the exterior with a wash and wax – Simply giving your car a thorough wash and wax can shine it up and make it more appealing to a potential buyer. If your headlights are foggy from years of oxidation, consider replacing the headlight casing or look into headlight restoration. Shining rims and wheels can also increase the “wow” factor when you show your car to a potential buyer.
  6. Clean the interior – After miles of road trips or shuttling kids around town, the interior of your car could probably use a makeover. Give it a thorough cleaning by vacuuming and wiping down surfaces.
  7. Get the brakes inspected/replaced – Like new tires, new brakes can cost a couple hundred bucks. If you’ve had your brakes serviced recently, let the buyer know. If you think it may be time to get your brakes replaced, bring your car in for an inspection. Selling your car with new brakes can be a good way to get the price you want.
  8. Take care of minor repairs – Over time most cars develop minor problems that are easy to overlook. These are things like a burnt out dome light, a squeaky door hinge, windshield cracks and dings, or minor body damage like a small dent from a shopping cart. Taking care of minor repairs like these may cost a few dollars, but it can help you get closer to your asking price when you list the car.
  9. Consider major mechanical work – When you’re trying to sell a car, it may need some major repairs like a new transmission or alternator. Major repairs may cost you a little more, but it could be worth it depending on the age of your car, mileage, and overall condition.
  10. Bring your car in for an inspection before you sell. – Our experienced mechanics can give you a complete diagnostic report about your car. This information can help you determine a fair asking price, decide on repairs you might want to make, and give you some negotiating power when you’re ready to sell.

We can help you get the most out of selling your car. If you’re looking for the best auto care and service in Des Moines call Beckley Automotive at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment today!

Keep Your Car Cool in Iowa’s Extreme Heat

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overheated car, summer heat, extreme heat wave, Beckley AutomotiveThe recent heat wave here in Des Moines basically has us melting and remembering with fondness winter snow storms. While we rely on the air conditioning in our homes, offices and cars to save the day, we don’t usually think about other critical auto maintenance necessary in Iowa summer’s extreme heat.

  1. Stay on top of tire pressure. Weather plays a big role in your tire pressure: cold weather can cause your tires to be under-inflated while hot weather can cause them to be OVER inflated. When your tire pressure is off, it can lower your gas mileage and cause extra and uneven wear on the tread. Make sure you check your tire pressure during extreme heat and keep tires inflated to the number printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner’s manual, not the number on the tire.
  2. Maintain your cooling system. Does it take forever for your auto air conditioner to actually get cold? If you haven’t flushed your cooling system in the last 5 years, that could be why. Engines these days have a lot of aluminum parts and require great corrosion protection to last longer. It’s also a good idea to park out of the sun whenever possible so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard.
  3. Top off all fluids. Motor oil does so much more than keeping the moving parts moving – it also absorbs heat from all the friction. You’re aware that you need to keep coolant at the right levels, but there is a lot of evaporation going on under the hood that a lot of people forget about. You’ll burn through transmission fluid faster and battery fluids don’t always last through extended high temperatures, like we’ve seen recently.
  4. Plan for an emergency. Nobody wants to think they could get stranded out in the middle of nowhere during the summer, but planning ahead could save a life. Put together an emergency package with things like bottled water, a flashlight, a car charger for your cell phone, a first-aid kit, road flares, granola bars, instant cold packs that activate when needed, and anything else you think you might need in an emergency. It’s always better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.

This extreme heat will pass, but make sure you can get your car through it without any major breakdowns or problems. If you think ahead and stay prepared, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and a lot of money.

Need to make sure your car is ready for the current extreme heat and brutal summer months ahead? No matter the make or model, you can contact Beckley Imports today to schedule an appointment online, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us downtown at 901 8th Street!

Pamper Dad – And His Car – This Father’s Day!

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father's day, car service beckley automotiveFather’s Day is coming up quickly – June 19th – and your brain is probably scrambling to come up with the perfect gift to let him know what he means to you. He’s got all the ties and coffee mugs one man could ever need and you’re looking for a new idea to show your dad, husband or grandfather that he’s loved a lot. Beckley Automotive has your answer!

Bring Dad’s car in for a tune-up, dent removal, or just some extra TLC.

The men in our lives do a lot for us, so why not do something they will really appreciate? No matter if your dad drives an Audi, Buick, Dodge, GMC, Honda, Landrover, Mini Cooper, Porsche, SAAB, Toyota, Volkswagen or Volvo, bring it to Beckley Automotive! We can service it, so dad can enjoy his weekend and special day.

Some of the services we provide for your dad this Father’s Day include:

  • air conditioning
  • battery and starter systems
  • engine
  • detailing & dent removal
  • brake and electrical systems
  • oil change and service
  • car tire & wheel alignment

If your dad has had any of the things listed above on his summer to-do list, give him the Father’s Day gift of free time and the opportunity to make other fun plans this summer.

Let your favorite man know how much you care about him and the things that he holds dear.

Contact Beckley Imports today to schedule an appointment online for Dad. Make his Father’s Day extra special! Just ask him for the keys, we’ll take care of the rest!