Has Your Car Been Recalled?

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If you’re the owner of a new car and it’s been recalled for some reason, you’ll get a notice directly from the manufacturer. And even though we live in a high-tech world where the car design and manufacturing process gets heavily scrutinized before production begins, recalls do happen.

30-Plus Recalls in a Month. That’s Normal.

automobile recall, vehicle recall, car recall, recall repair, recall serviceFor example, in December alone there were more than 28 recalls from major manufacturers for things like faulty locks, defective fuel pressure, ignition fuel leaks, wiring problems, defective air bag deployment, drive axel issues, and other problems that could potentially lead to a fire or accident.

Recall Notification for Original Owners

If you find out that your car is on the recall list, you also receive instructions on how to get the problem taken care of (usually at an authorized dealer/repair shop specified by the manufacturer).

Sure, it’s a hassle, but it’s better than the alternative that can occur if you choose to do nothing about a known problem. And if you do find out your car has been recalled, take care of it as soon as possible. Sometimes manufacturers end up putting customers on a waiting list because they run out of parts needed to complete the recall repair.

If You’re Not the Original Owner…

So what happens if you’re not the original owner of a car when a recall is issued? Nothing. You won’t get a visit from the Car Recall Response Team, letter in the mail, or even a phone call from a spammy-looking number.

Want to find out if your car has been recalled? Check with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Visit the site and check Recalls & Defects to see if your car has been recalled for a problem. You can also find recall info on tires, motorcycles, and travel trailers.

Deadline for Recall Repairs

Car recalls happen pretty frequently. But there’s one detail you don’t hear very often from car manufacturers when a recall occurs. You have up to 10 years from the original sale date of the car to get a no-cost repair for a recall.

If your car doesn’t seem to be running right, or you’re concerned it may have been issued a recall, do something about it. Check with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, or bring your car in for an inspection. Our team of certified and experienced mechanics stay up to date on the latest recalls, and can let you know if your car is on the list.

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

Not your Typical Repair Shop

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You’re in a rush to pick up your kids from school. But with afternoon traffic and hundreds of other parents trying to do the same thing, you’re running behind. And if it’s not picking up kids, you probably know what it’s like to fight traffic when you’re trying to get to work, go on vacation, make a delivery, or get to an important appointment.

car repair, beckley automotive, beckley imports, great customer service, auto repair des moinesSo what do you do? You deal with it. You listen to the radio, talk to others in the car, check your phone messages (But no texting while driving. It’s against the law in Iowa), or people-watch as drivers and other cars go by. All the while, you’re counting on your car to get you from here to there.

But what happens when your car has a problem?

All hell breaks loose. Right? Or at least that’s what it can feel like.

It happened to an Altoona mom recently. Her car overheated. Quick thinking and a Google search pointed her to our shop, and she rolled in with smoke and steam billowing from under the hood. Fortunately, it wasn’t a major problem, but it was going to take the rest of the afternoon to repair. And that had this mom a little worried.

“I just picked up my daughter from school,” she said. “And I took the afternoon off to take her shopping, and spend some time together.” She was worried their plans were going to be canceled because of car trouble.

Our waiting area is nice and comfortable, but there’s probably other places you’d like to be with some free time on your hands. We like taking care of our customers, so we worked out an arrangement that let this mom keep the shopping date with her daughter (check it out, here). A couple hours later, and we had her car fixed and ready to roll.

“We had a wonderful afternoon,” she said. That’s not the typical response you expect to hear when you ask someone about getting their car repaired. But then again, we’re not your typical auto shop.

We’re the best automotive repair shop serving the Des Moines area since 1979.

Got car trouble? Need repair work done, or just routine maintenance? We can help. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

5 Ways to Make Winter Weather Driving Safer

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It happens every year. Mother Nature shows up with a delivery of snow and ice for the greater Des Moines area. From a window seat in your home, it’s nice to look out at the winter wonderland. And if you’re lucky, you don’t have to head out the door to drive to work, go to school, or stock up on groceries to weather the storm.

But what if you do need to get behind the wheel? Plenty of people still need to drive during winter weather. If you’re prepared, you’re more likely to get to your destination without incident. But that’s not always the case. For example, this past Monday, slick conditions on I-80 near Altoona caused a 25-car pile-up, and blocked Interstate 80 westbound for hours.

winter weather driving, winter driving safety, safer winter driving, beckley automotive des moines, beckley imports des moines, des moines foreign and domestic auto careYou can’t always prevent an accident, especially in difficult driving conditions. But you can take steps to lower the chance of having problems if you do go somewhere during bad weather.

Here are five ways to make winter weather driving safer:

  1. Keep your car topped off with gas. If you get stuck in a line of cars because of a road closure, you’ll be able to keep your car warm and running, without worrying about the tank running dry.
  1. Schedule routine maintenance on your car. It’s a good way to save money and prevent costly repairs. But it also gives you peace of mind, especially during winter weather, knowing your car is reliable and running properly. You don’t want to find out your brakes aren’t working right or your defroster is broken in the middle of storm. Get your battery checked. Make sure the wiper fluid and antifreeze reservoirs are full. Little things like this can help prevent problems.
  1. Use studless or studded winter tires. If you want to improve the way your car handles in conditions like drivers experienced on Highway 80, getting studded or studless winter tires can make a big difference. A lot of times, it’s your driveway and neighborhood side streets that make winter weather driving the most difficult. Use winter weather tires or carry chains/traction devices just in case.
  1. Pack emergency supplies. You don’t have to turn your car into a survivalist bunker, but having some emergency supplies on hand when you’ll be driving in winter weather is a good idea. Consider storing things like basic tools, a blanket, snack food, road flares, and a first aid kit in your trunk or back of the car. Keep an ice scraper handy, too.
  1. Slow down. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the 25-car pile-up on Highway 80. You can’t always prevent an accident when the roads are covered in snow and ice, but speed is often a factor. Slow down. You’ll have better control over your car, and be more likely to avoid an accident.

If you know it’s time to give your car a tune-up, or you’ve been putting off doing something about that funny noise coming from under the hood, don’t wait until winter weather leaves you out in the cold.

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

Car Repairs Can Save You Money

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Nobody wants to get a speeding ticket. But it happens. Sometimes it’s a law enforcement officer clocking driver speed that lands someone a ticket. And other times, it’s one of about 25 Red Light Cams or Speed Cams in the greater Des Moines are that snaps a picture of a speeding driver behind the wheel, generates a bunch of paper work, and delivers a digital citation that shows up in the mail with a fine of up to a few hundred dollars. Speed laws are in place to keep us safe on the roads.

car repair des moines iowaDid you know there are also laws on the books that require drivers to keep cars running properly? It’s true. In the state of Iowa, there are also laws that require you to maintain your vehicle. Here are some examples:

Brakes
You need to have good working brakes to stop in time to avoid an accident, or face a fine of $200-plus if you don’t.

Horn
Your car horn is required to work properly, because it can also help avoid an accident and alert other drivers of a problem. No horn could mean a fine of up to $120.

Muffler
Every car needs a working muffler to filter exhaust, minimize noise from the engine, and improve performance. Drive around with a defective muffler, and a citation could cost about $100.

Windshield Wipers
Yes, you can even get a ticket for defective windshield wipers. You can driver around a long time with poorly working wipers, and still see the road in the rain or snow. But it could cost you up to $100 in fines if you do. New ones usually cost less than $20 bucks and only take minutes to install.

Tires
When tire tread starts to show signs of wear, it’s a good idea to replace the tires. Tires with a decent amount of tread remaining helps your car handle better, improves gas mileage, and makes driving safer for you and others. Put off getting new tires long enough, and it could cost up to $100 in fines. In case you haven’t done your homework, that about the price of two tires on a lot of cars.

Headlights and Turn Signals

When a headlight burns out or a turn signal isn’t working properly, it’s a safety issue for you and other drivers. Your car may still run properly, but defective lights can become a safety issue for you and others. Put off getting lights replaced, and the fine is around $100.

Most of the time, when a car has brakes that need replaced, a defective horn, a muffler that’s corroded or failing, worn out tires, or lights that don’t work, you find out on your own, another driver lets you know there’s a problem, or your mechanic recommends making the repairs. And it’s worth it. It’s a much better use of your hard-earned money to keep your car running properly than to fork over money to pay fines for things that can easily be repaired.

Have a car repair that needs to be addressed? Don’t wait until you’ve got to pay a citation for a car problem, along with making the needed repair. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Cold-Weather Tips to Improve Gas Mileage

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If you’re planning a road trip during the holidays, travel for work, or still have a lot of present shopping to do, you’re probably going to put a fair amount of miles on your car.

All the usual routine maintenance is important. But a more immediate cost you’re probably keenly aware of is the price of gas.

cold weather gas mileage, winter gas mileage, tips for winter fuel economyRight now gas prices are better than they have been for a while. In Des Moines, gas prices for regular unleaded range from $2.19 a gallon to $2.59 a gallon. But even with lower gas prices making things a little easier on your budget, it still makes sense to get the best fuel economy possible. Cold weather can interfere with fuel economy. But it doesn’t have to. Follow these five tips to improve gas mileage during the winter months.

  1. Park Inside. Whenever possible park your car in a place that’s out of the elements. A warm garage is best. Start your car when it’s already a little warm, and fuel economy will be better than trying to warm up a cold engine.
  1. Evaluate Your Travel Plans. Before you hop in the car and drive to work, the store, drop kids off at school, or go do something else, take a little time to evaluate your plans for the day. Look for ways you can combine trips. You’ll drive less, and you won’t be starting up a cold engine over and over.
  1. Don’t Idle Your Engine. If you’re serious about getting better gas mileage during the winter, don’t idle your engine. A lot of people do this to warm up their vehicle, but it’s wastes fuel, costing you more at the pump. If you really feel the need to warm up your engine, give it 30 to 60 seconds, and then be on your way.
  1. Check Tire Pressure. If you drive a newer car, it may be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensor. If you get a warning about low tire pressure, add some air. Driving around with low tire pressure, can wear out your tires faster, can be dangerous in bad weather, and reduces fuel economy. If you don’t have a TPMS system in your car, get out a tire gauge to check tire pressure, or bring it in for an inspection.
  1. Limit the Use of the Defroster and Heated Seats. Driving with a clear windshield is important. But you probably don’t need to run your defroster non-stop. And heated seats are really just a luxury some cars have. Both of these features take a toll on fuel economy, so only used them as necessary.

Get better gas mileage during the winter months by following these tips. Routine maintenance can make a big difference in fuel economy, too. And we can help. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Are your Anti-Lock Brakes Working?

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Good Vibrations: Your Anti-Lock Brakes Are Working

With snow already in the upcoming forecast, there’s a good chance that sometime during the Iowa winter you’re going to need to step on the brakes, hard. The person in front of you suddenly brakes during rush-hour traffic. A car slides out in front of you on an icy or snowy patch of road. You’re cruising down the Interstate when you roll up to a multi-car pile-up (yes, it happens in Des Moines at least once a year), and need to slow down fast.

Anti-Lock Brakes, ABS, winter driving, driving on snow, brake checkup

Step on the brakes, and you’re counting on the brake pads or drum, and rotors to evenly slow you down and bring your car to a stop. And on most cars, there’s one more built-in safety feature designed to help you handle your car better when you have to stop in a hurry…anti-lock brakes.

Anti-Lock Brakes Improve Driving Safety

Anti-lock brakes are meant to prevent you from stuff like skidding into an accident and laying a ton of rubber on the road in the process. And it works. Step on the brakes hard, and you’ll experience rapid vibrations designed to keep you from going into a full-on skid. It’s actually a good idea to try braking hard when no one is around, just to get a feel for what engaging anti-lock brakes feel like.

Most Cars Are Made with Anti-Lock Brakes

So who gets the credit for inventing anti-lock brakes? This braking safety feature has actually been around a lot longer than you might think. It was the brainchild of the now-defunct Jensen Motors, a British auto maker. The company designed the first anti-skid braking system in 1958, and then used it on the production line to make the Jensen FF Sports Sedan in 1966.

At first anti-lock brakes were too expensive, and only appeared on high-end sport and luxury cars. But with changes in technology, manufacturing and production, the price for anti-lock brakes dropped. Now most cars are equipped with anti-lock brakes to make driving safer for everyone.

Need your brakes checked before the first big winter storm arrives? Don’t wait to find out. Let us inspect your brake pads, rotors, drums, and anti-lock braking system.

Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Iowa’s Cold Weather Can Kill Your Car Battery

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Cold weather can be a killer for your car’s battery.

Sure, when your car is running smoothly, it’s easy to take it for granted. You hop in, turn the key, and the engine fires up. You buckle up, pick your favorite radio station or music, and turn on the heater. You might even have the luxury of heated seats to warm your backside and a navigation system to help you get to your destination.cold weather affect on car battery

Just about every single one of these functions makes your car driving experience a little more convenient, comfortable, and enjoyable. But the minute something stops working, everything changes. Your radio won’t turn on. You turn the key and hear a clicking noise. The engine tries and fails to fire up. Or you turn the key and get absolutely nothing. If you’re like most people when this happens, you raise your fist to the sky and shout, “Why!”

Take a closer look at these features, and many others that make your car work, (like lights, locks, windows, and dashboard info) and they often have at least one thing in common. They’re powered by the car battery. In Iowa, it’s that time of year when frigid winter temperatures can kill your car battery. Consider this:

  • When cold weather arrives, Des Moines-area towing and roadside assistance services see a major rise in calls for Battery jump starts
  • A typical car battery lasts three to five years. Cold weather can shorten the lifespan of a battery. How long have you had yours?
  • It takes your battery twice as much current to start the engine in cold weather than warmer days.
  • Phones, tablets, computers, DVD players, navigation systems, and other electronics drain and strain car batteries. Do you use any of these devices in your car?
  • At 32 degrees, a car battery loses 35 percent of its power
  • At 0 degrees, a car battery loses 60 percent of its power

If the very thought of being late to work or school, or being stranded in a parking lot after a long day of shopping with a dead battery has crossed your mind, don’t let it happen. A simple inspection and battery test can determine the health of your battery. And if it needs to be replaced, it’s a lot better to do it before you’re stuck out in the cold waiting for a jumpstart.

Need to get your battery tested? We can help. Our technicians can test your battery to make sure it’s fully charged, identify any problems, and install a new battery if necessary. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines,

Stay Warm with a Car Heater Check-Up or Repair

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Nobody likes to walk outside when it’s cold and climb into a freezing cold car. It’s one reason many people start up their car, go back inside, and let it run a few minutes.

stay warm with car heater repair des moines iowaSure, “everybody does it.” But it’s actually against the law in Iowa. Leave your car running unattended, and you can be fined $20. You also run the risk of letting anyone in search of a joyride take off in your car. But it’s a risk a lot of people are willing to make for warm-car comfort.

Does it take a while for your car to warm up?

If your engine and heater are working properly, your car should be warm in just a few minutes, even in frigid Iowa temperatures. But if you’re still shivering 20 minutes after leaving the house, can see your breath inside the cab of the car, or need to wear gloves just to grip the steering wheel and ward off frostbite, it may be time for a heater checkup.

Car Heater Basics

When you fire up your engine, it generates heat. As the pistons fire, coolant goes through the engine and absorbs heat to keep it from overheating. Then the hot coolant goes back through the radiator and makes a delivery to the heater core. You crank up the thermostat in your car, turn the fan in high, hit defrost, and in theory, hot air should fill the cabin. But it doesn’t always work that way.

When Your Car Doesn’t Warm Up

If your car doesn’t heat up in a few minutes, or never seems to get very warm, there’s a problem that leaving your car running in the driveway for 15 minutes before work won’t fix. The good news is that it’s generally an inexpensive to get your heater to pump hot air again.

Check the Thermostat and Radiator

In most cases, a poorly working car heater is caused by a faulty thermostat, radiator, or hoses clogged with gunk that limits the amount of hot air being circulated. A basic inspection can usually identify the problem. And the fix usually involves replacing the thermostat, flushing the radiator and hoses, or both.

If your car hasn’t been warming up like you think it should, we can help heat things up. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901- 8th Street in Des Moines.

By Any Other Name, It’s Still Your Baby

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We don’t see a lot of Lamborghini’s rolling through Des Moines, or on the lifts in our shop (boy do we love seeing them, though). But this Italian-made car has a massive following of speed-crazed fans, celebrity collectors, and an entire subculture of car aficionados who obsess over speed, styling, and performance.baby your car

The price alone is reason enough to create some buzz. For example, if you can get your hands on a 2016 Lamborghini Aventador, you can expect to pay a cool $500,000. You don’t have to be a car buff to know that’s a staggering price tag for a vehicle.

But aside from price and performance, there’s at least one other thing that makes the Lamborghini unique. Every model from the Miura made in 1966, the well-known Diablo made in 1990, and the latest Aventador, is named after bulls that killed their matador.

Kind of crazy, or is it?

Lamborghini isn’t the only one who gives meaningful names to cars. Over the years, we’ve helped customers take care of their pride and joy on wheels, and on occasion even agreed to refer to the cars by their given name (instead of make and model).

Have you given your car a name? A lot of people have. Leave it to the Internet to discover that people are as obsessed about choosing the right name for their car as they are a newborn baby. But if you spend a lot of time in your car commuting, shuttling the kids from place to place, or log a lot of miles for work, maybe it just makes sense to give it a name.

Maintenance and Repairs for All Foreign and Domestic Cars

If you drive a domestic-made car like a Ford, Chevy, Chrysler, or Jeep, we’ll take handle your car repair needs, just like they were a member of the family. And if you drive a Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, or foreign-made car, that’s OK too.

With our team of technicians, state-of-the-art equipment, and decades of experience, we can repair any car, even if yours is named after a bull that killed its matador.

Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Tired of a Rough Ride?

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It May Be Time for Strut Replacement…

Clunk, clunk. Rattle, rattle. It’s a sound you might hear every time you turn the wheel left or right, especially if you’re driving a car that’s seen its share of miles. To the untrained ear, the sound could be confused with a failing transmission. But if the problem only appears when turning, it’s probably not.rough ride change struts

Fortunately, a clunk or rattle that’s noticeable, particularly when turning, is often a sign the struts on your vehicle are worn out. It’s one of those parts on a car that holds up well to wear and tear, pot holes, gravel roads, bumps, and those times you accidentally drive over the curb. But eventually the struts will need to be replaced. Car manufacturers recommend inspecting and/or replacing the struts after about 50,000 miles.

Worn Out Struts Compromise Performance

When struts wear out, it doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s a gradual process that happens so slowly, you don’t always notice it. But as struts wear out, they can start to leak fluid. They’re not as effective at controlling your tires. And that can have an impact on the way your car handles, steers, and brakes. As the struts wear out, your car takes on more of a rough ride than that smooth feel it had when it was newer. Struts that have seen their share of miles can also wear down tires faster, too.

Enjoy the Ride with New Struts

Getting the struts replaced on your vehicle when they’ve soldiered a lot of miles can make a big difference. You’ll notice a big change in the way the car handles, the clunk-and-rattle sound when you turn will be gone, and your tires will last longer. New struts can also help prevent wear and tear on other parts that help with steering and suspension.

Want to improve the way your car handles? Bring it in for an inspection, and we can let you know how the struts are holding up. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.