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Diesel Engine Maintenance 101

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diesel engine maintenance, performance diesel engineDiesel engines come with an assortment of benefits – and issues – you don’t see with a traditional unleaded engine. When properly taken care of, diesel engines often last far longer, and diesel engines can produce more power, which helps trucks tow more. Vehicles with diesel engines also experience a greater fuel economy, but don’t do well in colder climates. Diesel engine maintenance does differ from your standard engine. So whether you recently purchased a BMW diesel or own a Ram 2500 diesel, make sure to follow these standard diesel engine maintenance tips.

  1. Change the Air Filter
    You need to keep your engine free of debris in any vehicle, but diesel engines need a new air filter at least once a year. Your air filter is one of the easiest tasks you can perform on the vehicle yourself. Simply pop the hood, pull out the current air filter and pop in a new one. If you have a performance air filter that is reusable you may want some help. These can prove a bit tricky to secure back into place after cleaning.
  2. Change the Oil Regularly
    If you change your own oil make sure to stay on top of this. Because diesel fuel isn’t as refined as gasoline, the oil gets dirtier faster. Stay on top of regular oil changes (don’t let it linger) and make sure to change the oil filter at the same time (the filter should be designed for diesel engines).
  3. Bleed the Fuel System
    Diesel engines run hotter. When changing the oil some air will likely find its way into the engine. This can prove especially damaging if left inside the engine. In order to remove the air from the diesel engine you need to bleed the fuel system using the air bleed plug on your engine. If you change your own oil you should have no problem releasing this plug, allowing the air to push out, and then tightening it up. If you don’t change your own oil, make sure to verify the service station bleeds the system.

No matter what make or model vehicle you own, if a diesel engine powers it, you need to practice proper diesel engine maintenance. Beyond what you can do on your own, make sure to bring your vehicle into Beckley Auto. With technicians trained and certified to work on diesel engines, all of your maintenance and larger repairs can be done here.

Whether you have a question about available services or you are ready to schedule an appointment, contact Beckley Auto and rest assured that you are receiving the best diesel engine maintenance service in Des Moines!

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!

Paintless Dent Removal Can Right These Wrongs

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paintless dent removalThere is nothing worse than walking up to your car and seeing a brand new ding in the bumper or quarter panel. It stands out like a sore thumb – even if other people can’t see it, YOU know it’s there! If you recently suffered a dent or are tired of looking at that rough patch in the middle of a smooth surface, Beckley’s is able to meet all of your paintless dent removal needs. While it may be too late to prevent the dents and dings already on your auto body, here are the most common ways that dent got there in the first place.

Free-Range Shopping Carts

Sadly, if people paid more attention to their surroundings, most dents could be avoided. When someone allows their shopping cart to roll into a parked car or they leave their cart in the middle of the parking lot, these dents caused by another person’s carelessness are more than annoying. While a shopping cart dent is usually minor, it’s still frustrating to walk back to after completing a shopping trip. When you can, it’s a good rule of thumb – and great karma – to corral those wayward carts when you see them roaming free.

Door Dings

Similar to the shopping cart problem, the second leading culprit behind vehicle dents stems from other car doors. Whether from overzealous children or adults just not paying attention, these dents can prove far more damaging than a shopping cart due to the increased level of force behind an opening door. Outside of not driving to a parking lot, this is a culprit you can’t completely avoid. While you can’t control how other people park, you can do your part by trying not to crowd either side of your own spot.

On Your Own

Not all dents come from other people. Sometimes backing up into a sign, nudging the curb or bumping something else happens. With so many distractions available in our cars these days, it can be easy to underestimate distances. As long as you stay aware of your surroundings you should be able to avoid most of dent-causing situations.

Mother Nature

Hail and sleet can cause all sorts of damage and sometimes there’s no way of avoiding it. High winds blow around trash cans or rain gutters that can land on your hood and leave their mark. These minor dents don’t always require insurance filing, but you sure don’t want to have to look at them every day.

No matter the make, model or value of your vehicle, a dent often detracts from its overall appearance. While a dent typically has no impact on how your vehicle runs, it’s most likely all you see whenever you approach your car. If you are ready to correct the dents and restore the pristine beauty of your vehicle, our Des Moines paintless dent removal experts are here to service you.

When you trust Beckley’s with your paintless dent removal needs, we can right these wrongs and return your prized vehicle to its original, showroom appearance. Schedule your appointment online HERE or call 515.243.8185 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.

Vacuum Pump Oil Changes: Tips for Self Service

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vacuum pump oil changes at homeChanging your vehicle’s oil regularly is essential. It keeps your engine running smoothly – as the oil becomes dirty or runs low, your engine may begin to experience performance problems. Changing your own oil is a rite of passage. Many vehicle owners prefer to do this on their own as it is a great way to save money while feeling handy at the same time. However, unless you own a pickup or a large SUV, chances are you can’t slide under the vehicle without some sort of lift, and investing in proper lifts eliminates any monetary return. Instead, you may want to consider a vacuum pump oil change. This extracts oil from the top of the engine block instead of underneath. While not the conventional way to change oil, we at Beckley Auto have a few tips whenever using this kind of equipment.

  1. Check Your Dipstick Before Investing in a Vacuum Pump Oil Change Kit
    Before buying anything, check your oil’s dipstick. Does it have any circuitous elements to it? Does it twist a bit in parts around the oil line? If so, a vacuum pump generally will not work at all, so bypass this purchase as it won’t work.
  2. Don’t Use For Every Oil Change
    The vacuum pump oil change is fine to use on occasion, but not always. Why? Because while you’re changing the oil, you’re not changing the oil filter. You still need to be under the vehicle to remove the oil filter, which keeps the oil clean. In a pinch, a vacuum pump works, but it is always recommended to have the oil filter changed – or at least checked – at the same time as the oil.
  3. Check Capacity
    Before removing the oil, check how much oil your vehicle holds. The last thing you want is to begin the process, only to discover the vacuum oil tank does not have enough storage space. You can check how much oil your vehicle holds at maximum inside of the owner’s manual (this information is usually listed towards the rear of the book).

At Beckley Auto, we are here to ensure your vehicle is always properly taken care of. From oil changes to tire rotations, transmission work and exhaust problems, we are here for you.

If you are in need of any kind of automotive work, feel free to contact us by phone at 515.243.8185 or simply schedule your appointment online for your domestic or import vehicle.

Improve Driving Safety with a Winter Wheel Alignment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are You Up to a Flat Tire Challenge?

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flat tire des moines, spare tireNo one wants to get a flat tire. But it’s bound to happen at some point in time, especially between May and October when temperatures are higher, people are driving faster and farther, and cars are loaded down with extra road-trippers and gear. Walk into any tire store, and you’ll probably see a jar full of nails, bolts, pieces of metal, and other objects that punctured a tire and caused a slow hard-to-find leak or a full-on blowout. When that happens, your first order of business is to pull the car over to the side of the road to a safe location. After that, your best bet for getting back on the road the fastest is to change your tire.

You’re probably not going to break the 1.92-second record set at the Grand Prix of Europe, not even to change ONE tire. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be back on the road in no time. So before you end up with a flat tire, gear up with a flat tire challenge to get ready for the day you hear that unmistakable hissing noise or the thump-thump-thump of a flattened tire. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Take a minute to locate the spare tire in your car. In many cars, it’s a small tire affectionately known as the “donut.” It might be under a layering of flooring in the trunk of your car or bolted to the bottom of your car on the outside. Some trucks and SUVs provide easier access to the spare tire with it mounted on the back.
  2. Locate the jack and tire iron. Most cars have some kind of brackets, casing, fabric bag, or both to keep these items together. And they’re usually located near the spare tire. Remove these tools and retrieve the spare tire.
  3. Practice changing your tire. There’s no better way to prepare for changing a flat tire than learning how to do it before it happens.
    • Make sure your car is in a flat location away from traffic and set the parking brake.
    • Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on one tire on your car while the tire is still on the ground.
    • Place the jack under the frame of your car, and jack it up until the tire clears the ground.
    • Remove the lug nuts and the tire.
    • Put your spare tire on and replace the lug nuts with your fingers.
    • Use the jack to lower the car back to the ground, and then tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Doing this ahead of time forces you to get familiar with where your spare tire is located, along with using the tools you need to change a flat. You might find out that part of the tools you need are missing, your spare is flat, or worse, you don’t even have a spare. But it’s better to find that out during a planned exercise than when you’re on the road. You can bet that the Williams Formula 1 Team practiced changing tires hundreds of times to get the process down to 1.92 seconds. Take the Spare Tire Challenge, and you’ll be well-prepared to deal with a flat when it happens. You can even use a timer to see how long it takes.

Whether you’re planning a summer road-trip or just need an oil change and a good once-over for your car, Beckley Automotive has you covered! Make an appointment online HERE, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street!

Don’t Wait to Fix Auto Recall Items

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engine noise warnings, auto recall, beckley automotive serviceHave you ever been subject to an auto recall? Car manufacturers will mail out auto recall notices to owners when the vehicle they own has any kind of faulty part that needs to be replaced. These recalls are generally free of charge and are put in place to keep the car owner and others on the road safe. But if you haven’t experienced any issues with your car, do you rush right out to get that service performed?

For example, in April 2016 Chrysler recalled certain 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 vehicles, as well as certain 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles due to issues with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with a monostable gear selector, there were reports of injuries and accidents resulting from less than adequate warning when the vehicle isn’t in PARK and the driver opens the door to exit the car. Owners also reported that the gear-shift design makes it difficult to read what gear the vehicle is in, with drivers mistakenly believing the car was in PARK when it wasn’t.

Recently, it is believed the actor Anton Yelchin, who portrayed Ensign Pavel Chekov in the newest version of the Star Trek franchise, died when his own Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway and hit him. It is unclear if his particular vehicle was part of the April recall or if this issue was even the actual cause of his death.

Auto recalls can be issued for something as simple as a faulty power window switch or as dangerous as defective brake parts or engine fire hazards. But the severity of the recall shouldn’t really matter; it’s a service provided by the auto manufacturer for the general safety of the driver and the public. It’s imperative that once you have received your auto recall notification you make your appointment to have the repairs made.

Are you unsure if your current vehicle is subject to a recall? Don’t worry – you can simply visit the National Highway Safety Administration Recall website and look up your vehicle either by year, make and model. You can also type in your car’s individual Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can be found inside the car where the dashboard meets the windshield on the driver’s side of the car. Notices can get lost when we move or mistaken for junk mail, so it’s a good idea to be proactive and make sure your car is safe.

Whether your car is part of an auto recall or simply needs a good tune up, Beckley Automotive has you covered! Make an appointment online HERE, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street!

 

Pamper Dad – And His Car – This Father’s Day!

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father's day, car service beckley automotiveFather’s Day is coming up quickly – June 19th – and your brain is probably scrambling to come up with the perfect gift to let him know what he means to you. He’s got all the ties and coffee mugs one man could ever need and you’re looking for a new idea to show your dad, husband or grandfather that he’s loved a lot. Beckley Automotive has your answer!

Bring Dad’s car in for a tune-up, dent removal, or just some extra TLC.

The men in our lives do a lot for us, so why not do something they will really appreciate? No matter if your dad drives an Audi, Buick, Dodge, GMC, Honda, Landrover, Mini Cooper, Porsche, SAAB, Toyota, Volkswagen or Volvo, bring it to Beckley Automotive! We can service it, so dad can enjoy his weekend and special day.

Some of the services we provide for your dad this Father’s Day include:

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

If your dad has had any of the things listed above on his summer to-do list, give him the Father’s Day gift of free time and the opportunity to make other fun plans this summer.

Let your favorite man know how much you care about him and the things that he holds dear.

Contact Beckley Imports today to schedule an appointment online for Dad. Make his Father’s Day extra special! Just ask him for the keys, we’ll take care of the rest!

Delaying Auto Repairs Can Cost You Big

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

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

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

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

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

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