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!

Are You Up to a Flat Tire Challenge?

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flat tire des moines, spare tireNo one wants to get a flat tire. But it’s bound to happen at some point in time, especially between May and October when temperatures are higher, people are driving faster and farther, and cars are loaded down with extra road-trippers and gear. Walk into any tire store, and you’ll probably see a jar full of nails, bolts, pieces of metal, and other objects that punctured a tire and caused a slow hard-to-find leak or a full-on blowout. When that happens, your first order of business is to pull the car over to the side of the road to a safe location. After that, your best bet for getting back on the road the fastest is to change your tire.

You’re probably not going to break the 1.92-second record set at the Grand Prix of Europe, not even to change ONE tire. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be back on the road in no time. So before you end up with a flat tire, gear up with a flat tire challenge to get ready for the day you hear that unmistakable hissing noise or the thump-thump-thump of a flattened tire. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Take a minute to locate the spare tire in your car. In many cars, it’s a small tire affectionately known as the “donut.” It might be under a layering of flooring in the trunk of your car or bolted to the bottom of your car on the outside. Some trucks and SUVs provide easier access to the spare tire with it mounted on the back.
  2. Locate the jack and tire iron. Most cars have some kind of brackets, casing, fabric bag, or both to keep these items together. And they’re usually located near the spare tire. Remove these tools and retrieve the spare tire.
  3. Practice changing your tire. There’s no better way to prepare for changing a flat tire than learning how to do it before it happens.
    • Make sure your car is in a flat location away from traffic and set the parking brake.
    • Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on one tire on your car while the tire is still on the ground.
    • Place the jack under the frame of your car, and jack it up until the tire clears the ground.
    • Remove the lug nuts and the tire.
    • Put your spare tire on and replace the lug nuts with your fingers.
    • Use the jack to lower the car back to the ground, and then tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Doing this ahead of time forces you to get familiar with where your spare tire is located, along with using the tools you need to change a flat. You might find out that part of the tools you need are missing, your spare is flat, or worse, you don’t even have a spare. But it’s better to find that out during a planned exercise than when you’re on the road. You can bet that the Williams Formula 1 Team practiced changing tires hundreds of times to get the process down to 1.92 seconds. Take the Spare Tire Challenge, and you’ll be well-prepared to deal with a flat when it happens. You can even use a timer to see how long it takes.

Whether you’re planning a summer road-trip or just need an oil change and a good once-over for your car, Beckley Automotive has you covered! Make an appointment online HERE, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street!

Don’t Wait to Fix Auto Recall Items

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engine noise warnings, auto recall, beckley automotive serviceHave you ever been subject to an auto recall? Car manufacturers will mail out auto recall notices to owners when the vehicle they own has any kind of faulty part that needs to be replaced. These recalls are generally free of charge and are put in place to keep the car owner and others on the road safe. But if you haven’t experienced any issues with your car, do you rush right out to get that service performed?

For example, in April 2016 Chrysler recalled certain 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 vehicles, as well as certain 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles due to issues with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with a monostable gear selector, there were reports of injuries and accidents resulting from less than adequate warning when the vehicle isn’t in PARK and the driver opens the door to exit the car. Owners also reported that the gear-shift design makes it difficult to read what gear the vehicle is in, with drivers mistakenly believing the car was in PARK when it wasn’t.

Recently, it is believed the actor Anton Yelchin, who portrayed Ensign Pavel Chekov in the newest version of the Star Trek franchise, died when his own Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway and hit him. It is unclear if his particular vehicle was part of the April recall or if this issue was even the actual cause of his death.

Auto recalls can be issued for something as simple as a faulty power window switch or as dangerous as defective brake parts or engine fire hazards. But the severity of the recall shouldn’t really matter; it’s a service provided by the auto manufacturer for the general safety of the driver and the public. It’s imperative that once you have received your auto recall notification you make your appointment to have the repairs made.

Are you unsure if your current vehicle is subject to a recall? Don’t worry – you can simply visit the National Highway Safety Administration Recall website and look up your vehicle either by year, make and model. You can also type in your car’s individual Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can be found inside the car where the dashboard meets the windshield on the driver’s side of the car. Notices can get lost when we move or mistaken for junk mail, so it’s a good idea to be proactive and make sure your car is safe.

Whether your car is part of an auto recall or simply needs a good tune up, Beckley Automotive has you covered! Make an appointment online HERE, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street!

 

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!

Beckley’s Breathes New Life Into the Car You Love

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car you love, beckley's automotive serviceYou and your favorite car have likely been through a lot. Perhaps it was the first car you bought on your own, or your very first luxury vehicle, or maybe it just GETS you. But the years have piled up. Does it start rough? Are the brakes squealing or shuddering when you stop? Maybe it’s eating oil a lot faster these days. Now you’re worried that you’ll have to trade in the car you love for an expensive, newer model that you’ll have to get to know all over again.

Beckley’s Automotive can make a car you love last longer!

It doesn’t matter what you’re driving, Beckley’s provides expert service for all makes and models, whether domestic or import. Do you love European cars? Our technicians stay up-to-date with the most recent technology and are award winning Authorized Bosch Service specialists for Audi, BMW, Mini, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Beckley Automotive is also an Authorized Saab repair center and an AAA Approved Auto Repair center for ANY cars you may have.

We believe in the quality of our parts and workmanship and we back our repairs with a 24 month/24,000 mile guarantee. If there is ever a question or an issue, you can simply contact us and we’ll make it right because we stand by our work 100%. Serving central Iowa since 1979,  Beckley’s has been a Best of Des Moines award winner and an A+ rated BBB Accredited Business. Our technicians are ASE Master Certified and are trained and equipped with the latest computer diagnostics tools to resolve any issues you’re having with your vehicle.

The next time your car needs attention, whether it’s an oil change, factory maintenance, or a major repair, call Beckley Automotive and rest assured that your auto will receive the best service from the most experienced and knowledgable technicians in Des Moines!

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If you dread the thought of replacing a car you love, Beckley Automotive has service solutions and repair options you won’t find at other shops. Contact Beckley Imports today to schedule an appointment online!

 

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!

Specialized B Service for Your Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes B service and maintenance in Des Moines, Iowa
Mercedes B service and maintenance in Des Moines, Iowa

The 2012-Mercedes-SLK-AMG-V8-Engine, A thing of beauty!

The servicing of European vehicles is a delicate process and needs just the right touch from an experienced professional. Precision automobiles like the Mercedes-Benz require specific maintenance and check ups at different mileage thresholds. The Mercedes-Benz B Service, for instance, should take place at approximately 20,000 miles or one year after the previous A service. Beckley Automotive’s expert technicians are certified and ready to service your Mercedes-Benz to keep it running at top performance.

The Mercedes-Benz B Service Includes:

Interior
· Function check
· Check warning and indicator lamps, illumination and interior lighting
· Check windshield wiper, windshield washer system, headlamp cleaning system
· Reset maintenance service counter in instrument cluster
· Replace dust filter (not applicable to SL-Class)
· Replace combination filter (SL-Class)
· Check parking brake (function test only)

Wheels, Brakes
· Check condition/thickness of front and rear brake discs
· Check front and rear brake pads for lining thickness
· Check tires for damage and condition
· Measure tread depth, record in mm
· Correct tire inflation pressure

Underside of Vehicle
· Check for major components leakage
· Check for chafe marks, line routing, damaged components
· Check condition of front axle ball joints and rubber boots
· Check condition of mechanical steering components and rubber boots

Engine Compartment
· Check for major components leakage
· Check for chafe marks, line routing, damaged components
· Check and replenish all fluid levels
· Change engine oil and filter
· Check engine cooling system, antifreeze and corrosion protection
· Check brake system
· Check power steering
· Check Active Body Control
· Check windshield washer system
· Check and correct battery fluid level
· Check battery condition
· Check catch, safety catch and hinges on engine hood for proper operation
· Check condition of poly V-belt

Trunk
· Check battery condition
· Correct tire inflation pressure in spare tire

The Mercedes-Benz is a high performance, precision vehicle and it requires very specific timing for service to keep it running like new. The Mercedes-Benz Flex Schedule maintenance program reminds the driver when certain services are due. The very first service, an inspection and tire rotation, should occur at between 5,00 and 6,000 miles. The A Service occurs at 10,000 miles or one year after the initial service, whichever comes first. The B Service is then due after the next 10,000 miles or one year after the A Service. If this schedule is followed and maintenance is performed by certified, expert technicians like the ones at Beckley Automotive, you can expect a long life and high performance from your Mercedes-Benz.

Schedule your auto service or repair online HERE,  give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit our shop at 901 8th Street in Downtown Des Moines.

Beckley Auto Focuses on Green Recycling

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green recycling, auto repair des moines iowa

green recycling, auto repair des moines iowaIn a world where global warming and dwindling green space is a real concern, Beckley Automotive has kept a strong focus on green recycling standards and environmental safety.

In the automotive repair industry, it can be a challenge to keep up with environmentally safe standards. Beckley Automotive has been using green recycling tactics for over 10 years. The shop was rebuilt in downtown Des Moines about twelve years ago, and Steve Beckley knew he needed to be environmentally responsible and find ways to keep costs down, too.

That’s why all of the brake fluid and coolant is collected for pick up and recycling. Both of these substances can be flammable in certain circumstances, and both can be deadly to animals. But Beckley’s doesn’t stop there! When the shop was built, Steve made sure to create a safe way to dispose of used engine oil. That’s why all the used oil collected during service appointments heats the whole building, including the shop and the offices. This keeps the oil out of the landfills, rivers and streams and helps lower overhead costs, which translates to savings for the customer.

Whether performing an Audi wheel alignment, installing Buick brake pads and shoes, or a providing a general Volkswagen engine tune-up, Beckley Automotive is constantly working to leave a small eco footprint while providing outstanding service. Come see our green recycling techniques in action!

Schedule your auto service or repair online HERE,  give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit our shop at 901 8th Street in Downtown Des Moines.

Looking For a Luxury Car? Check Out the Top 5

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luxury car, car service downtown des moinesWhen the winter ends and that sun starts shining, many of us can’t wait to get out on the road. Windows open or top down, it’s time to blow off some of that cold-weather dust. Spring is the time of renewal and fresh starts, right? Why not entertain buying a new car? Beckley Automotive can service pretty much any make and model that rolls through our doors, whether domestic or foreign, but there’s really nothing that beats the performance and styling of a luxury car.

Whether you’re truly in the market for a high-end auto or you just like to dream, here are the top-selling luxury vehicles in the U.S. for 2016.

5.  Cadillac SRX  The Cadillac name has always been synonymous with luxury and this particular crossover SUV version is sleek and classy. Its fuel efficiency is nothing to write home about, especially in the luxury car market, but the safety features, elegant lines and nimble handling keep it a popular choice.

4.  Acura MDX  Another luxury crossover, the MDX boasts snappy handling with three rows of seats. It’s quick and quiet with good fuel economy and excellent safety, but isn’t quiet as flashy on the outside. The Acura MDX still has slick curves and lines, but is an excellent choice if luxury handling is what you’re looking for.

3.  BMW 3-Series  Upscale interior and spacious seating set this BMW compact luxury sport sedan apart from its rivals. The 3-series offers not only a pretty face but excellent handling, a powerful and fuel-efficient engine, and is a generally well-rounded and refined vehicle option.

2.  Mercedes C-Class  Are you looking for a gorgeous, powerful small luxury sedan with modern features? The Mercedes may be your dream come true. The C-Class offers high-tech safety and driver assistance features, precise engineering and construction, and a graceful and sumptuous interior. And the chic contours of the body on this luxury car will definitely get you noticed on the road.

1.  Lexus RX  Extravagance and elegance define the Lexus brand and the RX is the current king of the hill. With a comfortable ride and quality interior, this crossover SUV drives more like a car and handles like an extremely quiet dream. Stepping back from its traditional look with more aggressive lines, the Lexus RX offers plush leather seats and classy interior touches while still providing a smooth ride and impressive fuel efficiency. If you’re looking for that “Wow!” factor, you can never go wrong with a Lexus.

Have we piqued your interest? Are you salivating at the idea of sitting behind the wheel of one – or ALL – of these popular beauties and maybe calling one your own? We can’t really apologize, because we love them all, too! And don’t forget – Beckley also does Pre-Purchase Inspections!

No matter how high-end your automobile is, brand new or tried and true, Beckley Automotive will help you keep its engine purring and performing for as long as you keep it on the road. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.