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Pushing Limits Can Damage a Car’s Fuel Pump

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When it comes to performance vehicles like BMW and Mercedes, drivers often push the limits, racing RPM, red-lining, and testing suspension and speeds. But there are some limits set for your car you shouldn’t test. If you’re the kind of driver that pushes the limit on all of your vehicle’s systems, like your fuel pump, you may be in for trouble.

fuel pump replacement des moines iowaAlthough it’s exhilarating to drive withe the fuel gauge on “E” with ten miles to go as your spouse stresses out in the passenger seat, it takes a toll on your car’s fuel system. Save yourself from future problems and visits to the shop by knowing when to draw the line on your gas tank.

Vehicles have fuel level warning lights to give you a warning before your car runs out of gas. It’s simply a buffer to remind you of how far you have until you have no other option but to fill up or walk home.

The gas light also serves as a red flag. It’s telling you you’ve crossed the line. According to most driver manuals, 1/2 tank should be considered low and 1/4 full is the time to consider getting it topped off again. Not only will it prevent you from experiencing that small panic of not making it to the next stop, but your car’s fuel system will also see better life.

By letting your gas tank go lower than suggested, you are in more likely to burn your fuel pump. It’s an expensive price to pay and an inconvenience when you take it into the shop.

The mechanical parts of a fuel pump are lubricated by fuel which travel through the pump. When the fuel level is low, air is drawn into the pump. Similar to running an engine without oil, too much air can damage the fuel pump if it isn’t properly lubricated.

Debris is likely to sit at the bottom of a fuel tank but when the fuel level is low, the debris has a better chance of entering the pump and plugging the fuel filters, which in turn, damages the pump.

The flashing and dinging of the gas light should be your ultimate last warning, however it is better to take precautions and fill up sooner rather than later. Pull over when you can and make it a priority to save you time and money by filling up.

For more information on how you can get the performance you need from your car while protecting your finely tuned systems, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

 

 

If You Don’t Replace Your Car’s Air Filter…

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Anytime you get some basic service done on your car, a good mechanic will check a number of important things that can have a major impact on engine performance. One of those things happens to be your car’s air filter.

car air filter replacementCar Air Filter Inspection: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Many technicians like to pull out the air filter under the hood and show you what it looks like. If it’s new and relatively clean, the filter will be a nice, bright white. With a little age, it might have a dull-gray color. And if it’s been trying to protect your engine for far too long, it might be borderline black and filled with tiny dust-like particles. We’ve even seen air filters neglected for so long that they’re even packed with bigger debris like leaves and small twigs.

How Much Does a New Car Air Filter Cost?
Replacing an air filter is a relatively easy thing to do. It’s something most people can do on their own, once they know where to find the air filter and how to remove/replace the old one. A new air filter at an auto parts store typically $10 to $25.

But a lot of people neglect to replace the air filter. Sometimes it’s just because they don’t want the cost of a typical oil change to double in price. And sometimes, it’s just something people forget to do. Unfortunately, neglecting to replace your air filter on a regular basis could cost you a lot more than a bag of groceries.

A Bad Car Air Filter Damage the Mass Air Flow Sensor

Your engine is powered by a mixture of air and fuel. The amount of air your engine gets is regulated by a part called a mass air flow sensor. For the most part, the mass air flow sensor isn’t one of those parts that needs to be replaced on a regular basis like brakes and belts. However, running your car for mile after mile with a dirty air filter will take a toll on the mass air flow sensor. If it fails, industry estimates show the average repair cost to replace the mass air flow sensor runs about $400.

Need your air filter changed or routine maintenance to help prevent costly repairs? We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Car Purchasing Advice from Millionaires: Buy Used

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Have you been thinking about purchasing a new car? It’s tempting when there’s countless commercials, magazine ads, and promotions showing off the latest models in style and features. But in order to afford a new car, most people are going to finance the cost with a combination of a down payment, trade-in, and years of monthly payments.car purchase tips des moines iowa

But if you can avoid financing a car, you should. That’s what authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko discovered in their book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. They interviewed dozens of ordinary people who amassed at least a million dollars in wealth through hard work, smart investments, and frugal living.

In their quest to uncover the habits of self-made millionaires, they found that many intentionally bought used cars for years instead of making payments on a new one. It’s a novel concept that can save you a lot of money.

Car Repairs and Regular Maintenance Can Save You Money

Buy used and pay cash. Take good care of the car with regular maintenance and necessary repairs. Save some money. After a couple of years, trade-up for another used car with your trade-in and cash to cover the cost. It’s one of the ways people with ordinary jobs in The Millionaire Next Door were able to save a lot of money and eventually drive their dream car.

If you’re driving an older car that has a few issues, you might be tempted to get rid of it and buy a new-off-the-lot car. But in most cases, it’s going to cost a lot more in the long run to buy a new car than to keep your used car up and running.

Have a used car that needs a little help? Basic maintenance like regular oil changes and replacing the brakes, belts, and air filters can prolong the life of your car. Keeping up on routine maintenance can help prevent more costly repairs and save you money over time. In The Millionaire Next Door people used that extra money to save and make smart investments instead of making monthly car payments.

Want to get the most mileage out of your car? We can help. A full-inspection can identify any issues and routine maintenance will keep your car running longer, smoother, and more efficiently, and cost you less money over time. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Listen… 5 Warning Sounds Your Car May Be Making

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When you start up your car, you want to hear your engine running smoothly and quietly. And when you leave the house in a rush to get to work or head out of town on vacation, the last thing you want to hear some unfamiliar sound coming from your car.

engine noise warningsTo the untrained ear, any unfamiliar or new sound coming from under the hood can seem like impending doom for your vehicle. While some sounds may indeed be a telltale sign of a serious problem, some sounds are early warning signs that are inexpensive to fix. Here are five common sounds you might hear coming from your car, along with what to do about it.

1. Clicking and Tapping
It’s a warning sound you’ll notice right away, especially when your car has been running smoothly. Hear clicking or tapping, and you’ll probably roll down your window while driving to get a closer listen to the sound. Chances are pretty good it’s either a valve problem related to a worn part, or low oil pressure. Make sure the engine has enough oil, and if you can’t find the source of the sound, schedule an inspection.

2. Loud Knocking Noises
If you hear this warning sound, stop driving as soon as possible. Loud knocking sounds usually indicate a major issue with a part inside the engine. Continue driving, and the problem can lead to serious engine damage that might only be repairable by replacing the engine.

3. Rattling and Whining
If your car has a cam shaft belt problem, you might notice a rattling or whining sound when you step on the gas. The camshaft helps open and close valves in the engine, and it’s a critical component for engine performance. If the cam shaft belt is loose, poorly aligned, or slips, it can cause a rattling or whining noise, particularly when you accelerate. A problem with the cam shaft is best handled by a trained mechanic.

4. Squealing During Acceleration
When an engine fan belt is loose or slips, it can make a terrible squealing sound. It’s most often caused by an aging belt that has developed cracks and is beginning to loosen. The engine fan belt is also called a serpentine belt. When the rubber teeth of the belt no longer grip the pulley tightly, they can drag across the pulley and make the telltale squealing sound. The belt either needs to be tightened to eliminate the squealing, and in most cases usually needs to be replaced.

5. Grinding Sounds
If you hear grinding sounds, it may not be coming from the engine. Let’s hope not (grinding sounds coming from the engine usually indicate a very serious problem). Roll down your window and listen carefully. The grinding sound may be coming from your brakes. Worn out brake pads and rotors can make a grinding sound. Hear this warning sound, and it’s a good time to get a brake inspection.

Got a car sound that’s driving you crazy? We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Scheduled Maintenance Helps Your Car Last Longer

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Drive off the dealer’s lot with a new car, and you should be feeling pretty good about your new ride. That new-car smell, nice seats and interior, new tires, a problem-free engine, and peak performance for all the other systems in your vehicle can give you peace of mind and improve your driving experience. But your car still requires regular scheduled maintenance.

scheduled maintenance bmw mercedesIf you’re as serious as we are about taking care of your car and getting the most out of that investment, reading through the owner’s manual is a good place to start. There’s more to learn in that little book than you might realize. It’s got all the how-to details about the controls in your car, and most also include a recommended factory-service maintenance plan.

Too many new-car owners don’t pay attention to the scheduled maintenance recommended for their car. If you’ve ever balked at the replace-your-oil-ever-3,000-miles recommendation, you’re not alone (even we advise some vehicles extend the mileage based on the engine and oil type). Ignore recommendations to save a few bucks and time may not seem like a big deal at first. After all, cars are engineered a lot better today than they were even a few years ago. The trouble is that over time, all the wear and tear on your car from driving to and from work, around town, and on vacation, eventually takes its toll.

All too often, we find ourselves working on cars that require major repairs that could have been prevented by following the recommended scheduled maintenance, usually every 30,000 miles. So what’s so great about regular maintenance? It’s a lot like getting an annual physical from your doctor meant to detect and treat any issues before a small problem becomes something chronic. When you bring your car in, we it up to a computer that scans all the systems in your vehicle to identify potential problems.

Based on the results along with your car’s mileage and performance, and scheduled maintenance recommendations created by the Motorist Assurance Program, we can create a tailored plan designed to help your car last longer, maximize performance, and potentially save you from the expense of costly and preventable repairs down the road. We’ll help you understand what maintenance recommendations are most important and help you prioritize any service and repairs.

When you buy a car, new or used, you want it to last and be problem-free. The best way to do that is by following the factory service maintenance recommendations. If you can’t find your car owner’s manual or locate service recommendations for your make and model online, we can help. We’ve got access to the factory service maintenance recommendations for most cars, both foreign and domestic.

Ready for regular maintenance to prolong the life of your car? Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

Is Your Car’s Air Conditioning Ready For Summer in Des Moines?

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car air conditioning des moines iowaModerate springtime temperatures can deceptively make you forget about the dog days of summer in Des Moines not too far away. When you wake up in the morning and head to your car, it’s a cool 40 degrees outside. By mid-afternoon and a little sun, it’s in the upper 60s, which generally isn’t hot enough to make you think about turning on the air conditioning.

But if you’ve been around Des Moines, and the Midwest long enough, hotter days are ahead. Within a month, we’ll be approaching 80-degree-plus temperatures that will be here to stay for a few months. That’s hot enough to seriously heat up the interior of your car and feel the need to crank up the air conditioning.

You might not be thinking about hot summer weather yet, but you should. Driving a car on a hot and humid day in Des Moines without a properly working air conditioning can be a miserable sweat-soaked experience. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can give your car’s air conditioning system a check-up to see if it’s ready to handle the rigors of summer in Des Moines. We’ll inspect your car’s air conditioning compressor, motor, electronics, blower, and ducts. We’ll check to see if your car’s air conditioning is capable of keeping things cool, even on a hot day, and take a look at the refrigerant level of your air conditioning unit needed to help you chill out when you want to.

In many cases, a simple diagnostic evaluation and additional refrigerant is all you need to maximize your car’s air conditioning performance. Before you’re battling the next summer heat wave on a cross-country road trip or sitting in an overheated cabin on a hot day, stop in or schedule an appointment to have your car’s air conditioning inspected and serviced.

If you’ve got questions about your car’s air conditioning, we can help. Bring your car in for an inspection or give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

Would Your Car Pass a Vehicle Emissions Test?

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Thirty-one states in the U.S. require annual or bi-annual vehicle emissions tests, but Iowa isn’t one of them. If you celebrate the fact that you don’t have to pay the testing fees other states require, you’re not alone.

emissions testing des moines iowaBut that doesn’t mean vehicle emissions tests are useless. In fact, emission regulations are intended to help make the cars on the road as efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible. Would your car pass a vehicle emissions test if it was required in Iowa?

Some of the most common reasons cars don’t pass vehicle emissions tests can have a major impact on performance. Iowa may not require vehicle emission testing, but these problems could be costing you money.

  • Fuel Meter Problem – It’s often caused by a problem with a computer system in the car, the carburetor, or the fuel injection system.
  • Bad Oxygen Sensor – It’s common problem that can trigger the Check Engine light to come on. Left unchecked, it can cause your car to overheat, interfere with acceleration, and fuel economy.
  • Ignition System Error – If your car is emitting a higher than normal level of hydrocarbons, you’re not helping the environment. This can be caused by problems with your ignition system or spark plugs going bad.
  • Vacuum Leaks – Take a look under the hood of your car, and you’ll see lots of hoses can connections your engine needs in place to operate efficiently. Leaks in hose lines and gaskets can prevent your car from running clean.
  • Fuel Mixture Problem – A problem with the mixture of oxygen and fuel can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. It’s often caused by a failing oxygen sensor or fuel injectors.
  • Air Injection System Defect – Your car may be producing higher than normal levels of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide if there’s a problem with the air injection system. It’s not environmentally friendly, and the gases your car releases when this is a problem are poisonous.
  • Excessive Gasoline Vapors – This is another common emissions-related problem that can interfere with engine performance and fuel economy. Defective hoses, vents, valves, and gas caps are usually the problem.

Just because you don’t have to pass a vehicle emissions test in Iowa, doesn’t mean the testing procedures used in other states are useless. In fact, keeping your car in working order and handling these common issues can improve your gas mileage and engine performance, and be better for the environment.

If you’ve got questions about your car’s emissions or any of the issues mentioned above, we can help. Bring your car in for an inspection or give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

 

 

Your Car’s Electrical System Maintenance

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Were you aware that your car’s electrical system needs scheduled maintenance, too?

car electrical system help des moines iowaIt wasn’t that long ago that most cars were made with a basic electrical system. A fuse box and series of relays delivered power to electrical features like the radio, dash lights, turn signals, and power locks and windows. Now these are standard features in most cars. Improvements in technology and consumer demands for mobile-everything have made car electrical systems far more complex.

It’s great for things like Bluetooth compatibility, global positioning navigation systems (GPS), and DVD players. And many new safety features like back-up cameras, tire pressure monitors, car alarms controlled by your smartphone, and other on-board indicators all depend on your car’s electrical system to function properly.

Your car can literally be a mobile office on wheels or keep the kids entertained on a road trip with a movie, video games, and even separate climate controls for the front and rear of the cabin thanks to your car’s electrical system. But what happens when something goes wrong with a fuse, wiring, or relay, and these much-loved features quit working?

A blown fuse that disables your DVD player might be a minor inconvenience. But if you were just about to go on vacation, it could be incredibly frustrating. If you can’t turn your headlights on, your turn signals don’t work, or your car alarm can only be shut off by disconnecting the battery, it’s more than an inconvenience.

Beckely’s – Car Electrical System technicians for over 30 Years

Fortunately, we’ve been unraveling crossed wires, fixing blown fuses, and troubleshooting electrical problems for more than 30 years. We know the ins and outs of vehicle electrical systems from the basic commuter car to luxury SUVs and everything in between.

When your car has an electrical issue, we’ll diagnose the problem and aim to fix it for less than $125. When your car’s electrical system needs help, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the problem. Some mechanics with the best of intentions might rack up the labor costs trying to find the source of an electrical problem, and that’s not good for customers.

We created a strict policy to help keep repair costs as affordable as possible. When car electrical system issues costs more than $125 to fix, we won’t proceed without providing you with a full diagnostic report, explaining what’s required to fix the problem, and receiving approval to proceed.

If you’ve got an electrical problem that’s buzzing, shorting out, or a feature that’s no longer working, we can help. Bring your car in for an inspection or give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

 

European Car Sales on the Rise in Des Moines & Around the Country!

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european car sales in des moines

Good news for European Car dealers and owners! European Car Sales rose for a third consecutive month in November, which is the largest growth in the industry in the past four years. It’s a great signal that the industry-wide decline in sales could be coming to an end in the next few years. In 2013, European Car registrations were up 0.9% from 2012, another indication that sales are on the rise.

european car sales in des moinesSo, which cars are contributing the most to this growth? Here are the top three:
Volkswagen Golf Hatchback
Volkswagen Skoda Rapid Spaceback
Renault Captur

Overall sales in the industry are still low, but do seem to have reached their very lowest point, which will hopefully lead to a recovery in the near future. One European Auto Maker, The Fiat Group, is said to have plans to invest up to 9 Million Euros (equal to 12.4 billion American dollars) on reviving its factories and developing new models. They are focusing more on the Fiat line, a subcompact, low-budget line of vehicles, while also trying to bolster sales for the Maserati and Alfa Romeo lines with new models.

If you’re considering purchasing a European car, the time to start looking is now. Prices are good, and the industry is back on rise. Beckley can help you care for and maintain whichever vehicle you decide on.