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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.

3 Decades of Car Care – Customer Testimonial – Peter Brown

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Peter Brown is a Des Moines corporate real estate broker who has been coming to Beckley’s for decades. His passion for driving, performance, and focus on quality drove him to Beckley with some of his first auto repair needs. Now he frequently refers friends and family to Beckley auto for their auto maintenance and repairs.

For over 3 decades, Beckley Automotive has been providing superior auto maintenance and car care for the Des Moines area. We have some of the most loyal customers and best support a car repair shop could wish for, and when they step up and provide testimonials like this, we couldn’t be more proud.

Say Hello to Peter Brown!

For more information on how Beckley’s can help serve your auto repair and service needs, please reach out to us through the contact page or simply call us at 515-243-8185!

5 Signs Your Car May Have Pothole Damage

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If you’ve been excited to see the winter snow melt in Des Moines, you’re not alone. After all , we had some seriously cold-weather days, some heavy snow storms, and plenty of snow and ice-covered roads that contributed to a long list of traffic accidents.

pothole damageBut just because most of the snow is gone, doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing through spring and summer. Why? Because there’s a good change you drove your car through some rough patches of ice during the winter. And now that the snow is gone, there are plenty of potholes around to still do some serious damage to your car.

Driving through a pothole is unmistakable. With even a little speed, it feels like you’re off-roading, which isn’t exactly what sedans and minivans were designed to do. Potholes can damage the shocks and struts your car uses to cushion you from bumps in the road. Plowing through potholes can also damage suspension, alignment, tires, steering, and braking.

Think your car might have been beat up by one too many potholes? Here’s five telltale signs your car has pothole damage:

  1. When you turn, it feels like the car is moving more than you want it to.
  2. When you step on the brakes, the front end of your car moves downward.
  3. Your car feels like it’s sliding or out of control when driving on roughs roads with a lot of twists and turns.
  4. You frequently hit bottom when driving over speed bumps or other small bumps in the road that didn’t cause a problem in the past.
  5. When you look at a side profile of your car from the outside, it’s lower in the front than the back, instead of parallel.

When your car has battled it out with potholes (not uncommon in Des Moines), you might not always notice a problem with performance right away. But damage from potholes only gets worse over time. If your car demonstrates any of these telltale signs of pothole damage, schedule your car for an inspection or give us a call at 515-243-8185. We’ll make any necessary repairs to keep your car running properly and keep you safe when you’re on the road.

Road Salt Damage… Not So Savory for Our Cars

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It may already be March, but that doesn’t mean Mother Nature is done sending snow through Des Moines anytime soon. We’ve had some mega-snow storms this winter, and that’s had the Iowa Department of Transportation and local municipality road crews laying down deicer and road salt to keep the highways and by-ways clear.

road salt damageHow much? An estimated 200,000 tons of road salt is used by the Iowa Department of Transportation every winter and laid down through Des Moines and across the state to try and keep the roads clear. It’s a strategy that’s been used for decades to help prevent snow and ice from freezing to the road. It works, but it’s not all that savory for your car.

Road salt damage = corrosive. And the place it most likely accumulates after driving in winter weather is underneath your car. Unless you have the underside of your car treated with a oil-spray solution before the first snow fall, or have the underside of your car washed regularly throughout the winter, there’s a good chance salt is eating away at your car.

Road Salt left to corrode the underside of your car can damage the muffler and exhaust system. Left unchecked, salt can even make its way through coil springs and the steel frame of your car. It’s even been known to penetrate a car’s subframe.

If you didn’t do any pre-winter maintenance on your car to prevent corrosion from salt, it’s never too late to get an inspection, remove any remaining salt, and make repairs if necessary. In some cases, a late-season cleaning of your car’s underside may be enough to prevent extensive corrosion damage.

If corrosion is excessive, rust repair and replacement parts may be necessary. Either way, the sooner you get any salt off your vehicle that’s accumulated from driving in winter weather, the better.

With a simple Oil Change, you also get a free wash and cleaning of your car’s exterior and light interior. This time of year, that alone is worth the price of an oil change.

Schedule your service now and get that salt and road grime off, and help save the beauty that is your car!

Steering Problems? Wheel Alignment May Straighten Things Up

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wheel alignment des moinesWhen you turn the steering wheel on your car, it’s supposed be responsive and easy to handle. And with power steering, it should be. But if you struggle to keep your car from “wandering lanes,” or feel like you have to man-handle the steering wheel to simply control the car, you might have a wheel alignment problem.

After a long, cold Iowa winter, it’s not uncommon. There’s a good chance you slid on the ice while parking your car and bumped a few curbs, drove over a couple of potholes, rumbled your way across a bumpy stretch of road covered in patches of ice, or braked too hard after sliding into an intersection. All that wear and tear can take a toll on your tires and wheel alignment.

If your car steering seems to be “uneven,” pulling to one side, or handling poorly, here’s what you can do:

  1. Check your tires. Use a tire gauge to check the air pressure in each tire and make sure they’re inflated with the right amount of pressure. If you find a problem, add some air to the low tire.
  1. Inspect the tread on all four tires. Severely worn tires, or a mix-and-match or snow tires and all-season tires can effect steering. Replace your tires if you notice excessive wear, and use the same tire for all four wheels.
  1. Get your wheel alignment inspected. If checking your tire pressure and inspecting the tread don’t reveal any major problems, bring your car in for a wheel alignment and inspection. Fixing a wheel alignment-issue early on can often keep your tires from wearing down prematurely.

To find out if you need a wheel alignment, we’ll also measure tire pressure and inspect your tires. Then we’ll use diagnostic automotive tools to examine the toe-in, castor, and camber of each tire. Many times a wheel alignment is all you need to correct a steering-related problem to straighten things up.

In some cases, poor steering performance isn’t entirely caused by wheel alignment. Steering problems may also be linked to worn out struts or shocks, loose bearings, or damage to other steering components. If that’s the case, we can fix those problems too so you can drive with confidence and safety.

Reach out to Beckley’s today to schedule an appointment.  Call 515-243-8185 or simply click on the “Schedule Service” button to the right to get your car running right for spring!

 

Making Minor Car Repairs Can Save You In the Long Run

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There’s a minor car repair needed on your car, but it doesn’t interfere with driving, and seems more of a nuisance to fix than the time and cost involved. So you keep putting it off.

minor car repairSound familiar?

Maybe you’ve got a brake light out. One of the lights that illuminate your license place is burnt out. Or a turn signal works intermittently. So when it’s not working, you roll down your window and use hand signals when you’re making a turn. If you haven’t been that driver, you’ve probably seen someone on the road needing a minor car repair like this.

If Your Vehicle Isn’t Working Properly…

These kinds of minor car repairs are easy to fix and usually don’t cost a lot of money. But if you ignore the problem, it can cost you a lot more than you think. The Central Iowa Traffic Safety Task Force, Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, and Polk County law enforcement teams regularly organize extra patrols to enforce the law.  Something as simple as a broken taillight could turn into a hefty fine if stopped.

If you have one of those nagging car repairs you keep putting off, you might avoid detection for a while, but there’s always the chance that an officer might roll up behind you or spot you making a turn and discover a problem with your vehicle that you can be cited for. The more likely scenario is that you get pulled over for speeding, but instead of just getting a ticket for going over the speed limit, the fine gets a lot bigger for the broken tail light or faulty turn signal. It’s not a situation you want to find yourself in.

Increased Patrols Improve Public Safety

The periodic increase in patrols is an excellent public safety effort by law enforcement officers. It’s a great reminder to drive the speed limit, avoid texting while driving, and follow the rules of the road, which includes keeping your car in working order.

If you’ve got one of those minor problems that can be considered a violation, don’t wait for a citation to fix it. Bring your car in, or schedule an appointment through our Web site, and we’ll get you back on the road as soon as possible.

Think Beckley’s to Save On Car Repair Costs

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Everyone wants to save on car repair costs.  Dealerships are notorious for overpricing and under servicing the same cars they’re selling.  If you don’t have the skills or the time to repair a car problem on your own, what do you do? If it’s not a complicated problem, maybe a friend of yours knows how to make the repair. But after that, you’re probably going to need to find a good mechanic in Des Moines to fix the problem.

save-on-car-repair-costsDo you go to a dealership’s service center to get your car fixed, or do you find an independent auto repair shop with a highly-trained staff that can take care of the problem?

If you drive a newer car and it develops a problem covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, you certianly can head to the dealer. Although, Beckley’s handles most warranty repairs and we work well with the manufacturers to get you the best service at the best price.  The warranty will likely cover the cost of the repair, and maybe only require a small service payment. On the other hand, if you drive an older car or the problem isn’t covered by a warranty, steer clear of going to a dealership.

Here’s why:

Study: Dealers Charge More for Repairs Than Independent Shops

Getting your car repaired at a dealer will cost you more. And in some cases, a lot more. In a recent study using data from the Bureau of Transportation and Statistics, the Federal Highway Administration, and the automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, researchers found that some repairs (like transmission work) made by a dealer may cost as much as $800 more than getting the work done by an independent repair shop.

At Beckley’s, we’ve grown our business by providing high-quality automotive repair services at affordable prices. Our team of certified automotive technicians represent decades of collective experience working on European, domestic, and foreign cars, trouble-shooting problems, performing routine maintenance, and using the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment in the automotive industry.

Expert Mechanics at an Affordable Price

If you need your oil and air filters changed, or have bigger problems like engine trouble or a bad transmission, instead of going to a dealer, bring your car in and we’ll take a look with our 30-point inspection. Beckley’s has been helping drivers keep their cars on the road and money in their pocket for nearly 40 years.

Car Care Tips to Make Life a Little Easier

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Car care isn’t always about oil changes and performance. That just seems to be what we like to talk about most. Sometimes the rewards of car ownership are about simple car care tips for the ease of ownership. With the number of years we’ve been handling car maintenance and services for European cars like BMWs, Mercedes, Volvos and domestics like Chevy, Fords, and Buicks, we’ve picked up a couple handy tricks along the way.

iParkedHere app - easy car ownership tips

The iParkedHere app will help you find your car in the craziest of parking lots!

Add these three simple car care tips to your “did-you-know” list and it will make ownership of that Honda or even that special summer Mazda all the more fun:

1. Clear faded headlights with toothpaste
If your headlights appear faded or don’t seem to illuminate the road as well as they once did, you can spend a chunk of money to replace the headlight assembly. But you might not have to. Try rubbing some whitening toothpaste on to the headlights, apply a little elbow grease, and rinse off. For many cars, this hack does the trick. If it doesn’t, ask us about headlight resurfacing.

2. Use wet newspaper to remove expired registration tag
When it’s time to renew your vehicle tags, the Iowa Department of Transportation gives you those ultra-sticky tags to put on your license plate. But removing the old one can be a problem. Do you chisel it off with a screwdriver or place the new sticker over the old one? You could. But wet newspaper can work wonders. Simply get some newspaper wet with warm water, press it against the sticker, and leave it there for about 10 minutes. It helps soften the sticker glue and makes removing it easy.

3. Use the iParkedHere app to find your car
If you’re shopping at the Des Moines Costco, picking up groceries at Wal-Mart, or enjoying some me-time at Valley West Mall or the Jordan Creek Town Center, you’re going to park your car in a massive parking lot. So when you’re done shopping and step outside, where’s your car?

If you’re not sure where you parked, you’re not the only one. And it can be frustrating if you’re in a hurry, you’re hauling a ton of packages, or trying to rustle kids back to the car like you’re herding sheep. But it doesn’t have to be. The iParkedHere app can keep track of where you parked your car and guide you back to it with a click and a swipe on your smartphone.

These simple car care tips can make driving, owning, and maintaining a car a little less of a headache at times. For everything else, bring your car in to Beckley’s for a free inspection, quote, and affordable service.  Schedule today by simply clicking here.

Water Pump is Critical to Protecting Your Engine

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When former race car driver Dick Trickle blew a water pump in a short-track race in Wisconsin, he wasn’t about to throw in the towel and concede to losing. Instead, he jumped out of his car, grabbed the announcer’s microphone and yelled into the crowd, “Does anybody have a Ford?”

race car driver Dick Trickle blew a water pumpAmong the fans there to see the race, a guy emerged from the crowd and proceeded to drive his Ford down to the track. While other races still circled the track, Trickle went to work. He dismantled his car to remove the water pump. Then he pulled the water pump off the Ford and put it in his race car. Seconds later, he was back in the race, caught up with the other drivers, took the lead and won.

Water Pump Helps Keep Engine Cool
Driving around the Des Moines-area can sometimes feel like you’re in a NASCAR race. And even the day-to-day stuff like commuting to work and going to the grocery store can take a toll on your car. Drive your car long enough, and eventually your water pump might could begin to fail. If it does, you’ve should stop your car immediately, or risk overheating the engine and doing permanent damage that’s expensive to repair.

Warning Signs of a Bad Water Pump
The water pump in your car helps keep your engine cool. That’s important when you’re on a road trip, cruising down the Interstate, or just driving around town. If your water pump is going bad, taking action if you see any of these early warning signs can save you from a car breakdown and more expensive repairs. Your water pump may be going bad if:

  • You notice water or coolant leaking from the engine when you park your car.
  • The belt that helps drive the water pump is cracked or loose.
  • You noticed a low-pitched grinding noise when your engine is running.
  • Water leaks or even a small spray is coming from the water pump gasket.
  • The engine temperature warning light comes on in your car.
  • Your car’s air conditioning doesn’t seem to cool things off.

You can’t always predict when a water pump will go bad. Trickle certainly didn’t expect that to happen in the middle of a race. But paying attention to the warning signs, and bringing your car in for an inspection if you do, will keep you in the race.

Click here to schedule an appointment and make sure your water pump is “race ready.”

Stop In Time with Brake & Rotor Maintenance

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Not too long ago, a driver in a white sedan was following a DART bus in Des Moines during Friday morning traffic. When the bus slowed near the intersection of 30th Street and Hickman Road, the driver in the sedan stepped on the brakes to slow down, but nothing happened. Her brakes failed, and she slammed into the back of the bus.

In troubles - unhappy woman in carFortunately no one on the bus was injured. The woman driving the car was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, but her car was totaled. Investigators believe the woman tried to stop or slow down for the bus, but faulty brakes prevented her from doing so.

Unfortunately, accidents like this happen all the time, but sometimes they’re fatal. Driving your car with faulty, worn out, or poorly-working brakes is a bad idea. The brakes and rotors that help your car slow down and come to a spot are wearable parts. Over time, the rotors can become thin or warped and metal or ceramic brake pads can wear out. In extreme cases, poorly working brakes can cause the brake fluid to boil and prevent you from stopping your car safely.

If you step on the brakes and you don’t slow down, experience significant vibrations, or have to press hard to get the brakes to respond, get your brakes checked out immediately.

In most cases, a simple and low-cost brake repair will get you back on the road knowing your brakes are working properly. However, if you continue to drive your car for miles after the early warning signs of failing brakes, you could be in trouble. You could cause an accident. And ignoring brake problems can make repairs more expensive.

If your rotors are in decent shape, we can resurface them to make them smooth again, and save you some money. But extended driving with faulty brakes can damage the rotors with excessive heat, warping, and deep scores that interfere with proper braking.

If you’re wondering if your brakes are going bad, don’t wait to find out. Bring your car in for an inspection and we can help you come to a stop before it’s too late.