Improve Driving Safety with a Winter Wheel Alignment

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winter tires, winter driving bmw, des moines winter, beckley wheel alignment

winter tires, winter driving bmw, des moines winter, beckley wheel alignment, winter alignmentYou’ve probably enjoyed the summer and great fall temperatures with a handful of outings that required driving your car on dirt/gravel roads. You traveled some Midwest backroads, hit a few pot holes, and now you notice that your car pulls to one side when you’re driving down the road, indicating that your wheel alignment could use a little TLC.

If your car seems to handle differently, veers to one side, or steering seems to vibrate, it may be time for a winter wheel alignment. Car experts recommend getting a wheel alignment for your car at least every 10,000 miles. Proper wheel alignment helps keep your car on the road, improves gas mileage, tire longevity, and makes steering easier.

Whether the wheel alignment of your car has been compromised from driving on rough roads, hitting a curb, or getting into a minor fender bender, it’s a bigger deal than you may think. When your wheels aren’t properly aligned, you lose traction and the contact between tires and road that is so critical during the rough Iowa winters. We all know that the tread on your tires is imperative to safe winter driving, and misaligned wheels drastically lower the lifespan of your tires and can put you and your passengers in danger.

Poor road conditions probably have the biggest impact on wheel alignment than anything else. Over time, driving on bumpy road with pot holes and uneven surfaces can alter your alignment and wear down your tires. But even if you’re mainly driving on paved roads, bumps, pot holes, curbs, and debris you might drive over can have the same effect. With winter on the way, now is a good time for a winter wheel alignment, especially if you are switching from all-season tires to winter snow tires. Since winter tires are designed specifically to move snow and slush off the road and out from under your tires, proper alignment is critical for that to happen.

In the old days, mechanics took a best-guess approach to fine-tuning the wheel alignment of a car. But even a few millimeters can make a difference in steering performance and tire longevity. We use a computerized wheel alignment machine that produces precise measurements for the camber, toe, and caster. These measurements help us make adjustments to the backward and forward tilt of your tires, the inward and outward tilt of your tires, and the distance between the front and rear tires. The computerized wheel alignment machine also helps us make sure your steer wheel is centered.

A typical wheel alignment for most cars is fairly inexpensive, but it can save you a lot of time, trouble and cash in the long run. If you think your car is in need of a winter wheel alignment, stop in for an inspection, and we’ll point you and your car in the right direction. Schedule your appointment online HERE or call us at 515-243-8185.

What is an ASE Certified Technician?

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ASE certified techniciansHave you noticed Beckley Automotive’s “ASE Certified” signs or stickers displayed in the shop or on the website? You’ve probably wondered what that’s all about and what it means for you and your vehicle.

ASE – the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence –  offers consumers a way to find a reliable, knowledgeable auto technician. It’s hard to feel confident trusting your car to a new mechanic. How do you know he’ll be able to diagnose your car correctly AND have the ability to fix the problem once it’s found? ASE takes the guesswork out of the equation by vetting vehicle technicians all over the United States so you don’t have to.

How does it work?

  • Every year, roughly 100,000 technicians take the difficult national ASE tests. To become ASE Certified, each technician must have two years’ of work experience as well as a passing score on at least one ASE exam. A technician can attain Master Technician status by completing a tough series of further specialized exams on top of meeting the experience requirement.
  • ASE tests are developed by industry experts and then administered by ACT, the college entrance exam group, so you know the tests are comprehensive and challenging.
  • There are eight tests available for auto technicians that cover all car systems: Manual Drive Train and Axles, Suspension and Steering, Automatic Transmissions, Heating and Air Conditioning, Engine Performance, Brakes, Engine Repair and Electrical/Electronic Systems. ASE also offers comprehensive exams for parts specialists, collision repair technicians, engine machinists and more.
  • ASE credentials do expire, and technicians have to pass exams for re-certification every five years to ensure they are up-to-date on the newest technology.

Your car is an essential component of your everyday life. You rely on it to get you to and from work, to play, to transport your children to practices and school and family functions. Is that something you want to take a chance on? Doctors have to pass rigorous tests to be able to practice medicine, letting you know that they can be trusted to have the knowledge and skills to take care of you and your family. Why would you take any less precaution when entrusting your vehicle’s care to a technician? You can rest easy knowing your car will be in the hands of Beckley’s certified, knowledgeable and skilled technicians.

Beckley Automotive is proud to participate in the ASE Certification Program and to provide peace of mind to our customers. Schedule your auto maintenance or repair appointment ONLINE today!

 

 

New Audi Brings Luxury and Fun Together

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Audi a4 Allroad, audi care des moines

Image courtesy of caranddriver.com

This fall, a new Audi beauty will roll out for all you car enthusiasts who appreciate functionality as well as comfort and luxury.

The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad wagon will become available in the fall of 2016 after a fantastic showing at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. With the A4 sedan’s redesigned 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and an impressive 252 hp, this upgrade of the 2016 Allroad will meet all expectations of Audi fans. Some of the best features of this gem include:

  • Standard quattro all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance
  • Redesigned five-link suspension for better maneuvering on curves and off-road
  • Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and five drive-select modes
  • Standard leather seating, panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control

The 2017 Audi Allroad wagon will also provide more cargo room than the A4 sedan and offers options like Audi side assist and pre-sense rear in the Prestige models. If you’re thinking of picking up this new Audi this fall, you’re looking at a price tag of anywhere from $44,950 to over $52,000.

Whether you bring this baby home in the fall or if you have an older Audi, Beckley Automotive is your leading Audi care experts! From batteries and electrical systems to brakes and suspension to a simple oil change, Beckley is your one-stop shop for all things automotive repair and service!

Schedule your appointment online today, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or stop by our convenient downtown 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!

 

Automotive Innovations to Expect in the Near Future

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Innovations, Image Courtesy Acura

Image Courtesy Acura

The automotive world changes every year with new models, new technology, and new safety features to please the most dedicated car enthusiast. Innovations for luxury vehicle safety, military vehicles, high-performance hybrids, and “green” manufacturing topped the list for 2015, according to Popular Science Magazine. Here are some highlights of what’s new:

  • In May 2015, the first ever “supercar” was created using 3D-printed parts and cutting factory emissions by up to 90 percent. The Blade, a high-performance automobile that uses carbon-fiber shafts and 3D-printed joints for the chassis, weighs only 1,400 pounds and accelerates from 0-60 in only 2.5 seconds. Created by Divergent Microfactories as a sustainable manufacturing platform, this car is fast, strong and was assembled in around 30 minutes, greatly reducing resources used such as space, energy, materials and time.
  • Oshkosh Defence has created a light combat tactical all-terrain vehicle to withstand bomb blasts and to protect the soldiers inside. It uses similar ballistic protection to a light tank and is expected to replace the Humvee over the next few years with its off-road agility and bomb-resistant shaping.
  • Hybrids are gaining popularity for being eco-friendly, but haven’t taken over the industry due to lack of handling and responsiveness. The Acura NSX for 2017 may change that. While the price is still pretty astronomical, starting around $155,000, the NSX promises to be the first high-performance sports coupe hybrid. It combines an electric motor that offers zero-delay acceleration with a twin-turbo V-6 engine, a motor at each front wheel, and precision power through torque vectoring.
  • Volvo has long been thought of one of the safest cars on the road, and certainly raises the bar with the Volvo XC90. At a much-more affordable starting price of $43,950, the safety features developed for this vehicle may change auto technology for the future. The XC90 offers USB and auxiliary connectors, a built-in hotspot for constant connectivity, and Sensus navigation to get you to your destination with as few distractions as possible. But the safety features are what really set the XC90 apart; using cameras, radar and body sensors, this car will alert a distracted driver to impending crashes or drifting off the road, will engage the brakes if you turn into the path of an oncoming car in an intersection, and crumples the seat frames downward and tightens seatbelts if your car does leave the road.

The future of the automobile industry is already here and could be taking over the roads of Des Moines in the next few years. You can trust Beckley’s expert technicians to stay in front of the technology and to always be ready to take care of your import or domestic vehicle care and repair needs.

Until one of the above beauties is actually in your garage, Beckley’s is ready to help you maintain your current vehicle, whether foreign or domestic, innovative or old school. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Will Your Car’s A/C Keep You Cool When It’s Hot?

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How hot will it get? You might think it’s too early to worry about blazing hot days in Des Moines, but it’s not. In fact, back in 1980 when you could by a new Ford Mustang convertible for about $5,000 or ride in style in a new Cadillac El-Dorado for $18,000, something else happened that year. Des Moines hit a blistering 93 degrees in mid-April. That’s hot.

car air conditioner service des moines iowaAnd when it’s that hot, you don’t want to suffer the consequences of a poorly working air conditioner in your car. Sure, you could roll down the windows, douse yourself with water, or mist your face with a spray bottle. But who wants to do that when you should be able to reach over, turn on the A/C, and feel a breeze of cool air blowing through the cabin of your car?

It’s not that hot…yet. If you want to stay cool when the temperatures start heating up, now is a good time to make sure your air conditioning system is working properly. Here’s what you can do:

Get an Inspection

Start by getting an inspection. A trained mechanic can identify cracks, leaks, and other potential problems that could cause you’re A/C system to fail or perform poorly on a hot day. You’ll want to do this before hot weather arrives, so you can be sure to enjoy driving in A/C-cooled comfort.

Replace worn or damaged parts

If an inspection does identify potential problems, get them taken care of as soon as possible. A full A/C replacement could be costly, but in most cases minor repairs are all that’s needed and cost a lot less. Replacing belts and hoses are easy and affordable fixes, that can often improve A/C performance. Or your A/C unit may need a new motor or a fix as simple as replacing a blown fuse. Replacing worn or damaged parts can usually save you time and money.

Recharge A/C system

Even if all the working parts of you’re A/C unit are in good condition, it’s a good idea to recharge the A/C system every season. It’s a process used to remove the old A/C coolant, and replace it with new refrigerant. You’re A/C system needs good refrigerant to blow cold air through your car.

Wondering if you’re A/C system is ready to keep you cool on a hot day? Don’t wait to find out. Bring your car in for an inspection, or schedule an A/C recharge. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Poor Wheel Alignment Can Displace Your Bottom Line

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Iowa winters can be pretty harsh. But the salt, sand, ice and melting snow can be even worse on the roads. In Des Moines, the roads this year are showing exceptional wear and tear with ruts and potholes big enough to swallow your Land Rover! The crews are out fixing them, but for many of us, the damage has already been done to the wheel alignment on our vehicles.

wheel alignment, winter drivingThe wheel alignment of your car may be compromised from driving on rough roads, hitting a curb or two, or getting into a minor finder bender. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Misalignment can cause some troublesome and expensive issues:

  • Less than ideal handling
  • Vibrating steering wheel
  • Lower fuel efficiency
  • Excess or uneven wear on tires
  • Possible damage to your suspension and other components

It used to be that mechanics took a best-guess approach to fine-tuning the wheel alignment of a car. But even a few millimeters can make a difference in steering performance and tire longevity. At Beckley Automotive Services, we stay up to date with the latest alignment equipment and software to ensure perfect results for each and every car we service. We use a computerized wheel alignment machine that produces precise measurements for the camber, toe and caster. Our experienced specialists are trained on specific makes of cars, foreign and domestic, so you know you’ll get the best service available for your vehicle.

Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901- 8th Street in Des Moines.

Low on Oil? Aging Piston Rings May Be the Problem

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white exhaust smoke, aging piston rings, beckley automotive, beckley importsMost car manufacturers recommend changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles. It’s a good practice to maintain your engine and keep clean oil running through all its moving parts.

But if you’re ultra-busy, changing the oil on your own or taking your car to a shop for an oil change doesn’t always happen. Sound familiar? We’ve seen cars that haven’t had an oil change in 5,000 and even 10,000 miles.

Check the Oil

You might be able to make it that long without an oil change, but it can have disastrous and expensive consequences. A simple solution: check your oil periodically. To get the most accurate reading, wait until your engine is cooled, like in the morning before you start the car. Pop open the hood, find the dipstick and pull it out. Using a paper towel, wipe the dipstick clean and then push it all the way back in. No when you pull it back out, you can get a true view of your oil level. If the dipstick has semi-clear oil up to the “full” mark, you’re in good shape.

Too Low, Too Often?

What if it’s low? For a short-term solution, add a quart of oil recommended for your car’s engine and check the level on the dip stick again. That’s better than driving around with a low oil level. However, if your car seems to be burning a lot of oil, faulty piston rings may be to blame. Other telltale signs of faulty piston rings include:

  • White or gray smoke coming from the exhaust
  • Slow response time for accelerating when you press the gas pedal
  • Noticeable decrease in power and overall performance

Compression Test Best Way to Check Piston Rings for Oil Leak

If your car seems to be perpetually low on oil, the pistons may be leaking oil. It happens, especially as you rack up the miles on your car. Moveable parts just don’t last forever. If your car exhibits any of the signs above, a compression test is the standard used to check for piston ring leaks. If the test reveals low pressure levels in the engine, aging piston rings are likely the cause.

Need an oil change for your car? Wondering if your car is burning an excessive amount of oil? We can help. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901- 8th Street in Des Moines.

Delaying Auto Repairs Can Cost You Big

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When your car stops running it’s easy to know that something major is wrong and you have no choice but to head to your mechanic immediately.

don't delay auto repairs, beckley automotive beckley importsBut what happens when there’s a minor noise, a slight firing delay, an occasional stutter? You can still drive the car so it must not be catastrophic, right? The demands of real life – work, family, friends, fun – certainly enable us to put off that visit to the auto shop as long as the car still gets us from point A to point B every day. Plus, who wants to spend the money if they don’t absolutely have to?

Putting off auto repairs is never a good idea. Let us explain:

  1. Your antifreeze is leaking, but it’s only a little bit. You can just add more every week, right? Unfortunately, that can only exacerbate the problem and you will still probably overheat your engine, causing a chain reaction to the tune of thousands of dollars. Ignoring a “little” problem can spread like a virus throughout your engine. Each system is connected to and relies on another, so if one isn’t working properly, it can cause the next system to fail, as well. Then you’re staring down the barrel of a multi-problem fix instead of just the original “little” one.
  2. That knocking in your engine has been there off and on for a couple weeks without any issues, so you’re cruising down the interstate on your way to the tournament or a hot date. Suddenly, the knock becomes more insistent, louder, the wheel begins to shake, smoke pours out from under the hood and with a last sputtering gasp, the engine quits completely while you limp to the side of the road. Now what? You’re late to your appointment plus you’re out the cost of a tow truck and a taxi (or a favor to a friend) as well as the parts and repairs. You have to sit on the side of the road alone, or with your family stuck in a dead car with nothing to keep them entertained, while other cars and semis zoom past at terrifying speeds within inches of you and what you hold most dear.
  3. A regularly scheduled oil change and routine inspection may feel inconvenient and, for many, falls under the category of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” But those inspections are imperative to keeping your car running and keeping you and your family safe. It’s more than just an oil change and a cursory glance under the hood. Routine inspections are where minor leaks, dirty filters, frayed wires and loose screws are found. If these things are skipped you are looking at the possibility of whole lot more than just inconvenience!

Are you sure you want to gamble with the life of your car’s engine and the safety and peace of mind of your family and passengers? No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night, or worse, during rush hour!

Don’t wait until your engine figuratively – or literally! – falls out, dead, in the middle of the road. Bring your foreign or domestic auto into Beckley’s for minor repairs, a check-up and oil change! Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

 

Reboot: Quick Tip for Fixing Electrical Problems

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It wasn’t that long ago that cars were designed with a basic electrical system. Wiring, fuses, and relays helped power basic things light lights, dashboard messages, and the radio. And there are still a lot of older cars on the road that don’t have any more bells and whistles than this.

car electrical systems, auto electrical problemsBut the vast majority of cars on the road today have a much more complex electrical system to power things like DVD players, automatic controls for doors and windows, navigation systems, mobile devices, and satellite radio.

And dashboard messaging is no longer limited to letting you know the emergency brake is on or flashing you with the dreaded “Check Engine” light. Now many cars are designed to monitor tire pressure in all four tires, let you know if a door is open, track the temperature inside and out, and much more.

With a greater demand for features powered by electricity in your car, there’s a greater chance for something to go wrong. And it does from time to time. Ever get a dashboard message you don’t recognize, and have to break out the owner’s manual or look it up online? It happens.

Diagnostic Tools Can Help Identify Electrical Problems

Then what? When we service cars with electrical problems, one of the first things we do is connect the car’s computer to our diagnostic tools. In a few minutes, our tools can gather a lot of information about your car and help identify potential problems, both electrical and mechanical.

Sometimes the solution to an electrical problem is pretty straightforward. Replace a fuse or sensor. Change out a relay. Replace wiring damaged by corrosion or worn out over time.

How to Reboot Your Car’s Electrical System

But is it always that way? No. In fact, we sometimes resort to using a technique that’s a lot like hitting Ctrl+alt+delete when your computer starts acting up. Giving your car a reboot can sometimes correct electrical problems. And it’s easy. Disconnect the battery from both terminals, touch them together, wait five minutes, and then reconnect.

In many cases it helps get that electrical problem unstuck, a lot like rebooting your computer or resetting a wireless router to get your Internet signal working again.

Have an electrical problem that you don’t know how to fix? Try giving your car a reboot. Or bring your car in and we’ll take a look. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.