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Protect Your Battery in Iowa’s Summer Heat

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Protect Your Battery

When Mother Nature heats things up during the peak of Iowa summer, most people take action to keep cool. Consuming cold drinks, swimming, or cranking up your home’s air conditioner can help you stay cool. But your car doesn’t have that luxury, and that can cause problems for your battery.

battery care des moines iowa When you’re not driving it, your car is probably soaking up the sun in your driveway, in the parking lot at work or the store, or in your garage where it’s still hot. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can take a toll on your car’s paint job, but that’s the least of your worries when it’s hot and you’re in a hurry to get to work or pick up the kids from swimming lessons. Hot weather can take a toll on your car battery too. In fact, extreme heat is one of the most common factors that shorten the life of a car’s power source. Cold weather might keep it from firing and make the engine harder to start, but it’s not nearly as damaging as hot weather.

Sitting in the sun or a closed garage in 80-plus-degree weather causes fluids inside your battery to evaporate. Lack of fluid in the cells can cause permanent damage to the battery. If this happens, it can inadvertently overcharge, which slowly drains the life out of it. At first, your car might seem hard to start in hot weather. And then one day, you walk out the door into a blast of heat, put your key in the ignition and nothing happens.

Here are some things you can do to protect your car battery from exposure to hot weather:

  1. Have your entire electrical system checked to make sure it’s charging correctly. Overcharging or undercharging can shorten the life of your battery.
  1. Check the battery’s fluid levels. If any of the cells are empty or low, add distilled water. It’s a good idea to check battery fluid levels regularly during hot weather.
  1. If you need a new battery, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to get the right battery for optimal performance.
  1. Keep the battery, cables, and terminals clean. Dirt and grime can drain your battery and prevent it from working properly.

Need to give your battery a check-up? Let Beckley Imports help you keep all your car’s performance systems in top shape! Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click HERE to schedule an appointment online.

Improving Gas Mileage With These Simple Tips

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improving gas mileage des moines

improving gas mileage des moines

Improving gas mileage is on the top of all of our minds…and wallets! If you commute to work, do a lot of driving around town, or you’re planning a vacation, you’re probably keenly aware of gas prices at the pump. The current national average is $2.268 per gallon, but in some areas, gas costs more than $3 a gallon.

Fluctuating gas prices have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, improving your gas mileage is easy with these simple tips.

1. Get a Tune-Up – Your car needs regular maintenance to deliver peak performance and optimal gas mileage. Improving gas mileage is as simple as common repairs like changing the oil and filter, installing a new air filter, inspecting and changing belts, and replacing spark plugs. A regular tune-up can identify these problems and save you money in the long run.

2. Check Your Tire Pressure – Many newer model cars are designed to tell you if your tire pressure is low. It might be annoying to see a low-tire pressure light in the dash, but properly inflated tires help improve gas mileage. Use a tire gauge to measure air pressure and inflate your tires to the recommended PSI for your vehicle.

3. Change the Oil and Air Filter – You’ve heard the recommendation to get your oil and air filter changed every 3,000 miles. It’s one of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your car and maximize gas mileage. Your engine operates more efficiently with clean oil and a new filter. Replacing the air filter on a regular basis also improves fuel economy, acceleration, and engine performance.

4. Check Your Gas Cap – If you haven’t thought about your gas cap as a potential source for poor gas mileage, you’re not alone. But the truth is a faulty gas cap that’s loose or has a missing or damaged seal allows gas to vaporize. This can force you to spend more money at the pump, but it’s an easy fix that typically only costs a few dollars.

5. Take Care of Major Maintenance Issues – As you put more miles on your car, there’s always the chance for wear and tear that needs special attention. Taking care of maintenance issues like cleaning or replacing fuel injectors or replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can be a significant way of improving gas mileage.

6. Improve Your Driving Habits – Your driving habits may also be a factor that determines the gas mileage your car gets. Here are some things you can do: Follow speed limits. Avoid rapid acceleration, quick stops, and excessive idling. Remove any heavy items from your trunk. These simple changes can also help improve fuel economy.

This simple list of tips will go along way toward improving gas mileage. You should see a change over the next few times you fuel up at the pump.

Bring your car to Beckley Imports and let our expert technicians help you get your vehicle in top shape this summer. Call our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule an appointment ONLINE today!

Don’t Let Car Electrical Problems Ruin Your Summer

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car electrical problemsThe electrical systems in your vehicle are expected to function properly – after all, you take care of your vehicle and do what you can to keep it in top shape. But what happens when car electrical problems start to rear an ugly head? These issues often are not usually self-contained and may grow in scope, which is why you need to do what you can to correct the issue now rather than waiting around for it to turn into a larger problem. Here are some of the most common car electrical problems you are likely to run into. Should you experience any of these, it is a good idea to bring your vehicle into Beckley Auto.

Nothing Happens When you Turn the Ignition

When you slide the key into the ignition and only hear a click, it means the battery does not have enough power stored to turn on your vehicle. While a charge might get you going for the time being, it likely is time to change your battery.

Some Power But Car Still Won’t Start

Do the lights flicker on and other systems kick in but your vehicle’s engine still doesn’t start? It might mean your alternator is dead. This prevents your battery from recharging, which means you might have enough power to turn on lights but not to turn on the engine.

Random Systems are Not Working

Does it seem like there is a random combination of systems not working? Perhaps the stereo and dome light go out when you open your car door. When this happens it usually means you have a blown fuse. Check your vehicles fuses (use the owner’s manual for guidance) to see if you just need to swap out the bad fuse.

Trouble Accelerating

If you have trouble accelerating, you may have a problem with the spark plugs and the electrical system signaling the spark plug to fire. Spark plugs can be faulty or can just plain wear out over time. Or you could have an issue with the computer that tells the spark plugs to fire. Either way, when something like this happens you need to bring your vehicle to Beckley Imports for an accurate diagnosis.

Newer vehicles are more likely to run into electrical problems simply due to the amount of technology built into the vehicles. In most newer cars, each system now has its own computer which can save your other systems when something goes wrong, but also multiplies the chance of a computer error.

If you are suffering from car electrical problems in vehicle, it doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive import or a hand-me-down domestic vehicle – Beckley Imports has the knowledge, experience and equipment to get you back on the road. Contact Beckley Auto at 515-243-8185 or simply set up an appointment ONLINE for all of your auto service needs.

How Do You Know What Your Check Engine Light Means?

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your check engine lightIt’s happened to all of us. Driving down the road, listening to your favorite music, when all of a sudden your check engine light pops onto the dash. Naturally, a million different things instantly run through your head. What if the engine is shot and you have to replace it? Would it be better to replace the engine or buy a new car? How much is this going to cost? Is there really something wrong with the vehicle? As long as you take care of your vehicle, the chances of it being a substantial engine problem is low, but you still need to take your vehicle in for a good check up. Here is what you need to know about your check engine light and what it means for your vehicle.

Owner’s Manual

It is important to keep your vehicle’s owner’s manual in the glove compartment at all times. This way, you can check to see what kind of an issue you might be having. If you own a new vehicle, your check engine light may be accompanied with a computer code. You can look this code up to determine what kind of servicing you need. There’s a chance you only require an oil change or more coolant.

Different Lights

Most vehicles have two different check engine lights. One is a lighter, orangish-yellow color while the other is a deep red-amber. The lighter color means you have some time before you need to make a service appointment, but you should still do something in the near future. If your check engine light is red, the problem is likely more significant and you need to take your vehicle to the garage right away. Failure to do so may result in additional damage to the engine.

Let the Auto Mechanics Help

The issue with a check engine light that doesn’t include a code is that there are dozens of potential issues or minor inconveniences that might come up. This is why you need a professional mechanic to help. Just like looking up physical symptoms online, trying to diagnose your own engine problem can either miss a potentially serious issue or blow a minor one out of proportion and cause you a ton of unnecessary stress.

It doesn’t matter if you drive a Porsche Boxster, a Ram 1500 or a Chevy Cruise – when it comes to excellent service and quality car care, Beckley Automotive is your one stop shop. At Beckley Automotive, we are here to help with your check engine light or any other issues! Call us at 515-243-8185 or set up an appointment online HERE for your vehicle today!

Give Beckley Automotive Service as Father’s Day Gift

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Father's Day giftThis Sunday, June 18, is the day for you to show your dad how much he means to you. Whether he’s helping to shop for a new car, giving valuable job search advice or just being there to bounce ideas off of, he deserves a great Father’s Day gift! But instead of the old tie or “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug, why not do something Dad will really appreciate?

Bring his car into Beckley Automotive for the royal treatment this Father’s Day!

You know how much Dad loves his car. It doesn’t matter if he’s driving a brand-new Porsche or an older model Chevrolet, your dad is really proud of his vehicle. It’s important to him to keep it clean, inside and out, as well as running smoothly and reliably. But too often, schedules get full and car maintenance falls by the wayside. Sure, the big things that keep the car running get taken car of, but how long has it been since Dad had the time to really baby his car?

Some of the items Beckley Automotive can take care of for your dad as a Father’s Day gift include:

  • air conditioning
  • battery and starter systems
  • engine
  • detailing & dent removal
  • brake and electrical systems
  • oil change and service
  • car tire & wheel alignment

Has your dad been putting off fixing those annoying hail dings in his car’s hood? Maybe he’s been meaning to get new tires and just hasn’t gotten around to it. It could be that Dad just isn’t able to do all the maintenance he used to do when he was younger. Beckley Automotive services as a Father’s Day gift will give your father that peace of mind that his car is well taken care of and he can still be proud to drive it anywhere.

Call Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185 today to schedule an appointment or simply use our convenient online scheduling page. Just ask Dad for the keys, and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

Have Your Car Starter Problem Diagnosed at Beckley Automotive

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car starter problemIt’s happened to us all. You’re in a hurry, running late for a big meeting or have an event you need to get to, you climb into the vehicle, turn the key and…nothing. Or, perhaps you can tell the car’s trying its hardest to turn over and start. Maybe it chugs a little bit, lets out a metallic whine and, eventually, fires up. You do what you can to avoid flooding the engine with gas while asking the car to please fire up. If this sounds like an issue you’ve experienced as of late, you may have a car starter problem and need it fixed. The exact problem does vary, but likely can be identified rather quickly with the aid of the car experts at Beckley Automotive. So if you’re suffering from a car starter problem, bring it into the shop for diagnosing.

Failing Battery

One of the most common culprits behind a car starter problem is the battery. If the battery voltage is low, your starter may not receive the necessary electricity to run. Once powered on, you likely don’t run into problems, but after the vehicle sits for more than a few hours the battery cools off and trouble strikes again.

Damaged Wiring

Wiring in modern vehicles is exceptionally protected. If you drive an older vehicle though, as soon as you pop the hood you likely see a spiderweb of wires running in all directions. Updated wire harnesses may be able to help with organizing the wiring, but in the mean time, if your starter is not receiving power and the battery is fine, your issue may lie with damaged, corroded or cut wire.

Starter Solenoid Issues

The stater solenoid is a small cylinder on the top of the starter relay (although the exact placement does vary from one vehicle to the next). If the solenoid fails the vehicle simply won’t turn on at all. Problems here can rest in blown fuses or other damage. Having the solenoid checked may help identify the issue.

Whether your vehicle won’t start, takes three or four revs to get going or you have an entirely different problem all together, Beckley Automotive specializes in all makes and models and can work with you and your vehicle.

From old Suburbans to a brand new M-Class, if you’re experiencing any kind of car starter problem, contact Beckley Automotive by calling 515-243-8185 or set up a service time ONLINE today.

Car Air Conditioning Services Will Get You Ready for Summer

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car air conditioning servicesThere is nothing like a beautiful summer in Des Moines, whether you’re driving down the highway with your favorite music blasting or heading off to one of the nearby lakes for a weekend getaway. With so much fun to be had, you don’t want to put a damper on it with a non-functioning air conditioner. While the heat in your vehicle runs off of the engine block, the cool air must be generated and the process involves many more moving parts. Should your AC fail to live up to your expectations, it is important to seek out car air conditioning services from Beckley Automotive.

Coolant Flush

It’s always a good idea to flush the coolant once a year or so. The coolant helps prevent the engine from freezing in the winter and from overheating in the summer. If your coolant is low, the engine could get too hat and might cycle the air conditioner compressor off and on, alternating cold and warm air. Flushing the coolant will remove rust and sediment and replacing it can improve engine performance.

Recharge the Refrigerant

Is your AC blowing warm air on hot days? Your refrigerant might need to be recharged. It doesn’t take long to perform and you don’t need to spend money on new parts, which saves you money.

Freon Leak

Freon leaks usually don’t happen overnight. This is a slow leak, causing your AC temperature to slowly increase over time until you realize your vehicle is not cooling like it used to. Freon is the chemical used to cool the air in your vehicle and since most modern AC systems in vehicles are on the sensitive side, a loss of Freon can cause a substantial change in how your vehicle cools. Checking for a Freon leak and repairing it should correct your AC problems and ensure you fully enjoy your Iowa summer.

At Beckley Automotive, it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you drive, how old it is or how many miles it has on, we can work on it and have the expertise on hand to restore your AC’s functionality. When we’re done, it’ll likely feel cooler than it has in years.

No matter if you’re in need of a general tuneup, are interested in a car air conditioning services or you’ve reached your vehicle’s recommended maintenance point, call Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185 or schedule your appointment online today!

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.