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Are You Getting Great Fuel Economy?

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great fuel economyDo you do a lot of highway driving? Are you more of a city stoplight driver? No matter if you’re road-tripping for your summer vacation, traveling for work, or just hopping on the interstate to get across town, your engine performs best and achieves peak fuel economy during ideal highway driving conditions. In Iowa, that means traveling at 65 miles an hour or better. Cross state lines and the speed limit goes up. That can be good for getting to your destination faster, and it can give you great fuel economy, but only if your car’s engine and supporting systems are working properly.

That’s where Beckley Imports comes in. Through proper maintenance of your car’s engine, you can get the best fuel economy, drive safe and secure, and save a little money in the long run. Proper engine maintenance is simply a matter of discipline.  Some of the issues you need to pay attention to for great fuel economy include:

  • Intake and exhaust restrictions:

    Make sure your air filters are clean and clear. If your car can’t breathe, it will work harder and use more fuel to get going.

  • Timing and shifting:

    Slipping of the clutch in a manual transmission or the torque converter lockup in an automatic can make you lose power before it even gets to the wheels.

  • Mechanical resistance:

    We’ll tell you time and time again to make sure your oil is clean. The more impurities and particles in your engine’s oil, the more friction in your engine and the harder it has to work.

  • Tire performance:

    Improper inflation of your tires causes all kinds of trouble, including lower fuel economy and more wear on your wheels.

These can have a substantial effect on fuel economy and how well your car runs. Even driving conditions like outside temperature and wind resistance can have an impact.

Get the most out of every dollar you spend at the pump. Beckley Automotive’s team of expert technicians can give your car a thorough inspection and recommend needed services to help your vehicle achieve optimal fuel economy for driving around town or hauling the family to Wally World. In many cases, a simple tune-up can make a big difference!

Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this weekend! Bring Mom’s car in for an inspection and tune-up and help her get the most out of her gas money. We can also get Dad’s or your graduate’s engine ready for summer travel and adventure. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click HERE to schedule an appointment online.

5 Tips For Buying a Used Car for Your Graduate

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buying a used car, pre-purchase inspectionBuying a used car is an excellent way to save money on a newer set of wheels, especially for a college student or a recent graduate staring down student loans. Vehicles depreciate in value faster than just about any other major purchase, so buying used can really slash the price. But buying used brings about a different set of risks. Is the seller being truthful about the car’s history? Will the engine fail as soon as you drive away? How can you be sure you’re buying a reliable vehicle for your son or daughter? If you are thinking of buying a used car for your new high school or college graduate, bring it to Beckley Automotive first for a Pre-Purchase Inspection. You can also save yourself some time and hassle by knowing what to look for in a used vehicle.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when buying a used car:

  1. Get the CarFax

    You’ve seen the commercials. A CarFax report is one of the most helpful documents you’ll obtain regarding a vehicle. The report details every kind of service performed over the life of the car. Whether it has been in an accident, had a new engine put in or the previous owner just put on new shocks, it is all listed here. Request a CarFax report whenever buying used.

  2. Beware of Leaking Fluids

    Any kind of leaking fluid is a sign to stay away. Naturally it’s not going to leak sitting in a lot or garage. Take the vehicle for a test drive, then let it idol for 30 seconds or a minute. From there get out, look under the vehicle and pop the hood. If you see any leaking you need to pass. A pre-purchase inspection can also identify possible leaks.

  3. Bring Your Kelley Blue Book

    Look up the vehicle on Kelley Blue Book. Make sure you have the exact trim model and mileage and any extra, third party features noted. Kelley Blue Book will then detail if the price is fair or not.

  4. Check the Windshield

    This is easy to miss, but look over the windshield carefully. It’s easy to miss little nicks and scratches when looking at everything else on the vehicle. However, even a small nick can end up costing you hundreds in glass repair later down the line.

  5. Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection

    If you’re buying the vehicle from an independent seller this is a must. Even with the CarFax, a professional inspection gives you a complete overview of the vehicle. Our trained technicians will point out any potential and upcoming problems.

Shopping for a used vehicle can be daunting. You don’t want to waste time and money on a possible lemon when you need a reliable car to get your student to and from college safely. Take some of the stress out of the process by getting a pre-purchase inspection from the experts at Beckley Automotive.

Whether you’re buying a Landrover to handle the Des Moines winters or a slightly used BMW convertible for the Iowa summers, Beckley’s can service everything. Give us a call at 515-243-8185, stop by our shop at 901 8th Street in Downtown Des Moines, or set up an appointment ONLINE today!

Why Factory Scheduled Maintenance is Important

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factory scheduled maintenanceWhen you purchase a vehicle, it will include a list of recommended mile markers for factory scheduled maintenance. The exact schedule varies slightly based on the make and model, but typically it starts around the 25,000 mark and continues on every 10,000-15,000 miles. Looking at the extended list of factory scheduled maintenance, you may not think it’s all necessary. After all, why should a perfectly functioning vehicle need to go in for maintenance every 10,000 miles? While it may take time out of your day, it is extremely important to follow through with the recommended maintenance. Beckley Automotive is here to show you why.

Replace Damaged Components

The main components of your vehicle are designed to work for a very long time. You likely will not need work done on your transmission or engine every 10,000 miles. However, other parts, such as belts, break down. Replacing these components is quick and easy, yet it safeguards your vehicle from more expensive repairs. Failure to replace a belt at the suggested time may result in it breaking while you’re driving, which in turn can cause other areas of the vehicle to sustain damage.

Identify Larger Issues Ahead of Time

Transmissions do not just suddenly give out and engines do not die out of nowhere. There are always signs pointing to the potential failure of these major parts of your vehicle. During basic car maintenance such as an oil change or coolant flush you might not receive an in-depth inspection of the vehicle, which means these warning signs may be missed. With the complete inspection thanks to the recommended factory scheduled maintenance, problem areas can be identified earlier and corrected quickly. Catching a problem early may end up saving you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repair fees. Being proactive with vehicle maintenance is far more beneficial than waiting for something to happen.

Beckley Automotive is fully certified to work on any make and model vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you drive a Ford F-150 or a Mercedes C class, our mechanics can perform the recommended maintenance without voiding the warranty. So skip out on the long lines common with going to the dealership and come see us at Beckley Automotive.

Whether you have a question regarding your vehicle, have hit the factory scheduled maintenance mile mark or you have another issue all together with your car, contact us today by calling 515-243-8185. Or you can schedule an appointment online HERE and select the time that works best for you.

Check For These Common Vehicle Electrical Problems

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vehicle electrical problemsVehicle electrical problems today are more and more common. As cars utilize new, innovative electronic systems on a daily basis, your car is more likely than ever before to run into an electrical issue. If you are running into problems with your vehicle’s electrical system, it’s important to take care of it sooner rather than later, as even a minor electric issue can turn into a much more serious situation quickly.

While some of these issues can prove rather intricate and extensive, there are some electrical problems you can look for yourself and possibly correct. Should your own vehicle electrical problems prove to be much more problematic, Beckley Auto is here to assist every step of the way.

Check The Fuses

Before any other troubleshooting, always check the fuses. Burned out and damaged fuses can cause cars to malfunction. If your radio goes out when you open the car door (while the vehicle is still running) it likely is a dead fuse. Consult your owner’s manual for the fuses associated with each system in the vehicle. Additionally, make sure the vehicle is turned off before checking the fuse.

Battery or Electrical System?

If the car doesn’t turn on at all it likely means the battery is dead. Having a battery tester on hand is always a good idea. This way you can determine if all you need is a charge. A great investment for your vehicle is a self-charge system. Such a device does not require another vehicle to jump. You simply charge the device every 30 days, then if your car battery dies you connect the one sided jumper cables and run your vehicle as you would a standard jump.

The Spark is Gone

Do you lose power as you switch gears? Does it feel like the gears aren’t engaging, lurching forward? Your internal combustion might not be, well, combusting. The culprit in this case is usually loose or old spark plugs and their cables. If you have the proper tools such as a ratchet, a torque wrench and a spark plug socket and gap gauge, changing your own spark plugs should take roughly an hour. But if you’ve never done it before or you aren’t certain spark plugs are the true problem, give Beckley Automotive a call.

At Beckley Auto, it doesn’t matter if you drive an older Saab or a new Land Rover, your vehicle electrical problems will be addressed quickly by our expert technicians.  Call Beckley Auto at 243-8185 or schedule an appointment online today.

Car Battery Troubleshooting Tips

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car battery troubleshooting

Car battery problems can range from extremely simple to head-scratching confusing. In fact, some engine problems have nothing to do with the battery at all, but with the alternator or another part of the vehicle all together. No matter what make or model car you currently drive, it’s important to understand basic universal car battery troubleshooting.

Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your Battery Soon

It’s always better to fix an issue before it turns into a problem such as getting stranded with a dead battery. Thankfully, a dying battery typically puts out a host of different signs. How do you know it’s your battery? First, if you notice it takes your car a few revs before kicking to life, it is a clear sign you need a new battery. If you notice leaking from around the battery, see it is swelling or has a low power level when testing, these are all signs to replace your battery. At the very least, have your battery performance tested every three years which tends to be the typical life of a car battery.

Following are some car battery troubleshooting clues that may not be the battery at all:
  • Nothing Happens When You Turn the Key
    If you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens at all, it means the battery is dead. If there are no lights, signs of the radio, buzzes or anything else, the vehicle is not receiving any power. Charge the battery if you can and bring it into Beckley Auto. Our experienced technicians will be able to tell if it’s the battery, the electrical system, or another component causing the problem.
  • Car Can’t Turn Over
    If you have some power – like dim and fading lights or a clicking noise – but the engine just doesn’t catch when turning the key, it probably isn’t a battery problem at all. Car batteries aren’t meant to provide long-term power. The alternator’s job is to keep replenishing the juice to the battery while the car is running. If you can jumpstart the car but it dies again shortly after removing the cables, a faulty alternator is most likely the culprit.
  • Car Battery Smells BAD
    If your vehicle smells like rotten eggs, it means the battery is leaking. Using an alkaline like baking soda, carefully clean off the battery engine and see if this does the trick. If it continues to leak, it is time to replace the battery.

Car battery troubleshooting is pretty simple, no matter what make and model. If you suspect you have a bad battery, schedule an appointment online HERE or call our service department at 515.243.8185 today. Our experienced and trained technicians will get your vehicle running as good as new!

Watch for These Signs of Heating System Issues

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heating system, beckley autoLiving in Iowa, you know the importance of having a vehicle with heat. Navigating the streets through fall, winter and spring without a heated vehicle is not only uncomfortable but potentially dangerous. This is why you need to stay on top of your car’s heating system. If you notice any of the following heating system issues make sure to bring it into Beckley Auto and get it taken care of right away.

  • Low Coolant Level

    Sufficient coolant is essential during Iowa winter months. Antifreeze serves several purposes such as protecting against corrosion and scale build-up as well as keeping water from freezing in winter and boiling in summer. You can check your own antifreeze level when the engine is cool and has been sitting overnight. If you end up adding coolant, check levels at least once a week to ensure there isn’t a leak somewhere.

  • Damaged Thermostat

    A damaged thermostat can lead to serious engine problems. This is a small, inexpensive part, yet it helps control the flow of coolant into the engine in order to keep it at an optimal running temperature. If your coolant level is fine yet your vehicle is cold, that could indicate a damaged thermostat.

  • Plugged Heater Core

    Over time, the vehicle’s heater core can collect debris. This will block the flow of coolant. When the heater core is plugged the only option you have is to replace it. Ideally, when replacing the heater core it is a good idea to flush the coolant system as well. This will push out any debris, bleed out any air pockets and help restore your vehicle’s ability to heat the interior of the cabin.

  • Heater Control Valve Gone Bad

    Most heater control valves use a vacuum system. If this system is damaged or remains on constantly it will prevent coolant from circulating through the heater core.

  • Electrical Issues

    From a blown motor to damaged wiring, an electrical system malfunction is another potential culprit behind your lack of heat.

You need a strong heating system to make it through the crazy Iowa weather from October through April. It is always a good idea to test out the heater before winter is in full force. This way, you have time to correct the problem before having proper heat is of the utmost importance.

Whether for your heating system or another issue, bring your BMW, Jaguar or any make to Beckley Auto. Our expert mechanics will have your vehicle working correctly in no time! Feel free to contact our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule maintenance today.

Warning Signs of Failing Brakes

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failing brakes, brake maintenance, brake pads, new brakesKeeping you safe while out on the road is job number one at Beckley Auto. One of your first lines of defense is the vehicle’s brakes. Over time, the brakes will wear down, extending the time it takes for you to come to a complete stop. This happens gradually so it can be hard to notice. While quality brake pads can last you tens of thousands of miles, it’s important to know the warning signs of failing brakes. If you experience any of the following warning signs, bring your vehicle in for an inspection. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  1. Brake Pads Are Looking Thin

    From time to time, check out how your brakes look. Since cars don’t use hubcaps any more, it’s easy to see the brake pad by peeking through the spokes of the wheel. You want to keep at least a quarter inch pad. If the pad is slightly under this, you should start planning for new brakes. If there is next to nothing, make your appointment as soon as possible. Failure to do so can put you in danger and potentially cause damage to the vehicle.

  2. Your Car is Trying to Tell You Something

    It’s nice to enjoy music while driving or take part in the local talk show host’s banter. However, from time to time turn the radio off and listen to your vehicle. You can learn a lot about the vehicle by paying attention the sounds it makes. many brake pads have a noise-making sensor embedded in them to alert the driver to worn pads. If your vehicle squeaks when braking, either this sensor is exposed or there could be metal grinding on metal. This points toward failing brakes and is a potentially dangerous condition.

  3. Need More Room to Break

    Your vehicle is exceptionally responsive when brakes are new, but as your brakes wear down, you’ll need more stopping time and distance. If you notice reduced responsiveness, it could mean your brakes are thin and about gone or you could have a brake fluid leak. Both need correcting.

These warning signs hold true for any make or model of vehicle. So whether you drive a Ram 1500 or an Acura XRS, if you notice any of these warning signs it is important to bring in your vehicle. Our expert technicians will inspect your brakes and tell you honestly what can wait and what needs immediate attention.

At Beckley Auto we can handle any of your brake needs. Whether you need car brakes or are just approaching your routine mileage inspection, book an appointment online HERE to have your vehicle serviced, or call 515.243-8185. We’ll keep you safe while you’re out on the road.

Common Muffler Problem on Early 2000 Toyota

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early 2000 toyota, toyota muffler problemToyota is one of the most respected auto companies on the planet. Between Toyota and Lexus, the vehicles are built to last. If you own one, chances are it is not your first, and more than likely it is not your last. While it may seem like the vehicle doesn’t run into as many problems as the competition, even the best designed vehicles have flaws. Have you noticed your early 2000 Toyota vehicle sounds loud, as if there is a problem with the muffler, but the muffler is still there, completely in tact? While not something that all models run into, this is something that occurs from time to time on Toyotas. At Beckley Auto, we can help correct the problem and return the vehicle back to its quiet, well running self.

The Problem

The issue at hand may be different for your particular vehicle, so it’s important to have your vehicle inspected to determine the problem. However, if there is a loud sound, as if there is no muffler on your vehicle, it usually is because an element in the car’s exhaust system is no longer there. If you follow the muffler, you’ll see where it connects to the exhaust  pipe. However, this is not just a straight pipe. There are a few connectors involved (without getting into overly technical terms).

On several Toyota models, two different kinds of metal are used in these connectors. While it makes for a secure, tight fit, when two different metals come in contact with one another, the metals are more likely to rust, which is why many plumbers will not connect different kinds of metal piping together. The crazy Iowa weather can certainly influence rusting, and this damages this particular connector part of the exhaust line, and it will eventually fall off.

The Toyota Repair

This repair simply requires a replacement part to get your early 2000 Toyota sounding as good as new and to get you back on the road. Beckley’s technicians are trained and experienced on pretty much any vehicle you can bring us, so you can rest assured you’ll receive the best service at the best price from the best in the business.

Whether you own a Toyota Corolla, a Lexus ES 350 or a Ford F-150, Beckley Automotive has you covered. Call our knowledgeable service department at 515.243.8185 with any questions or schedule your appointment online. We’ll get your vehicle running smoothly and on the road again.

How to Know if Your Car Needs an Oil Change

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no care is "maintenance free", needs an oil change

no care is "maintenance free", needs an oil changeOil is your engine’s life blood. Without clean oil flowing through the engine it may overheat, which can lead to all sorts of problems ranging from blown gaskets to the vehicle simply running rough. But how can you tell if your car needs an oil change? After all, you don’t want to spring for an oil change when it isn’t necessary. Here are a few signs your car, regardless of make or model, can tell you it needs an oil change.

  • Change Oil Light

    Alright, this one is a bit of a no brainer. If the “check oil” or “change oil” light comes on, it’s time to change your oil. However, this isn’t always the case. Perhaps you just had your oil changed a bit ago and the change oil light comes on. What does that mean? It may just mean the mechanic did not reset the change oil light during the last change, which can throw off the timer on some newer vehicles.

  • Oil Level and Color

    At Beckley Auto, we highly recommend checking your oil from time to time. It is easy to do and it can help avoid potential problems later on down the line. If you’ve never checked your oil before park your vehicle and kill the engine. Now, pull the dipstick out and wipe it off on a paper towel (a shop paper towel is great for this). Once clean, slide it back down all the way and pull it back out. If the oil level is near or under the minimum line it is time to get an oil change. Make sure to take notice of the oil color as well. The oil should have a golden brown tone to it. If the oil is dark black and gritty than it means it is dirty and needs an oil change.

  • Car is Louder Than Normal

    When driving, does your engine sound louder than normal? Of so, there are a few potential issues. First, if you have a special cold air intake filter, it may have slipped off. If you don’t have such a filter, it more than likely means you don’t have enough oil or it’s running hot. Time to change the oil.

At Beckley Auto, we can service both your domestic and import vehicles. From a routine oil change to transmission issues and everything in between, we’re your one -top shop for all things automotive. Schedule your appointment ONLINE or give us a call at 515.243.8185 today!

Have Your Vehicle Serviced at a Certified Car Service Center

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certified car service centerOne of the most common mistakes people make when searching for an auto mechanic is simply assuming all vehicles are designed the same. While yes, it is true vehicles have an engine, transmission, radiator and many of the same features, not everything connects the same way while other elements interact differently from one vehicle to the next.  No matter if you drive a Ford F-150 or a Mercedes 540K Special, you need to take your vehicle into a certified car service center with expert knowledge of your particular vehicle. If you’re looking for the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, skip the flowers and chocolate. Have her vehicles serviced and tuned up by an experienced mechanic at a certified car service center like Beckley Automotive.

A Minor Change Can Be a Major Problem

Most vehicles share similar features but with just minor variations. To drain the radiator on some vehicles you may have a simple spigot controlled by a wrench. Other vehicles require you to remove hosing and wire clamps. It may be a simple difference, but these small variations occur throughout the entire vehicle. The more modern the vehicle, the more important the change. If you have an auto mechanic used to working on Ram trucks try to work on a Mercedes M Class, they may not completely understand what is going on under the hood. Due to this, not every mechanic is right for your vehicle. You need a car service center with mechanics certified to work on your make and brand of vehicle.

Always Ask About Specialty Vehicles

At Beckley Auto, we specialize in nearly all makes and models. We have certified mechanics working on BMW, Audi, Ford and Chevy models, all of whom are specially trained to work on these kinds of cars. We are an Authorized Bosch Service center for European Imports, and an ASE Blue Seal shop, meaning all of our technicians are trained and certified experts. When searching for certified car service, rest assured that Beckley Automotive has you covered.

Our goal is to make sure you enjoy a car you love for as long as possible. Proper maintenance is vital to extending the longevity of any auto, and every auto requires proper care. With our team of certified and experienced mechanics, we can give you the expert care needed and complete your service in a timely manner.

This Valentine’s Day, keep your loved one safe by bringing her vehicle in to our service center. Schedule a service time online at your convenience or call our service center at 515-243-8185.