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Don’t Leave Your Car Battery Out in the Cold

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car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowa

car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowaIowa winters are definitely known for being frigid and snowy and this week is certainly reminding us of this fact.  While you’re stocking up on ice salt and making sure the old snow blower still starts up, we at Beckley Imports want to make sure you check out one other thing: your car battery and starter system.

With all the new features offered in cars today, like seat heaters and high end sound systems, battery drain happens more quickly than it used to.  Add on a couple of bitter Iowa winters, and your battery is tired.  The last thing you want on a cold January night after a long day of work is to walk out to your car only to find that it won’t start.

At Beckley Imports, we stock AC Delco and Interstate batteries that have the long life and power you need to start your engine every time.  Not only that, but these two battery brands are guaranteed to fit properly.  This is highly important, as many batteries are now set in the trunk or under the backseat; poorly fitted batteries can  lead to more costly problems like leaks and short circuits.  Beckley Imports is also an Authorized Bosch Service Center, meaning that we use only genuine Bosch starters and alternators on European vehicles; these parts come with a two year warranty, so if something goes wrong, you don’t have to worry.

If you’re concerned about your car’s battery making it through the winter months, bring it on by.  We’d be happy to test it out for you.  Beckley Imports has top of the line equipment to test the battery and other factors within the vehicle that could cause it to fail.

Don’t get left out in the cold this winter.  Call Beckley Imports at (515) 243-8185 or schedule your appointment online HERE today.

Top 5 Gifts for the Car Enthusiast

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gifts for the car enthusiastIt can be difficult finding just the right gift for the car enthusiast on your list, especially if you aren’t a gearhead yourself. Buying a new or classic car each year really isn’t an option, so how do you find the perfect gift for the car lover in your life?

Here are the Top 5 Car Enthusiast Gift Ideas from Beckley Automotive:

  1. LifeProof Suction Mount with QuickMount  Our cell phones are our lives and there isn’t one of us who doesn’t react like Pavlov’s dogs when it dings, rings or vibrates. This suction mount keeps your phone at eye level on your windshield so you won’t ever have to take your eyes off the road when the phone beckons. You can give the gift of driving safety for roughly $40.
  2. Lego Caterham Seven 620R Model  Return your car enthusiast to childhood with this detailed Lego set! The life-size Caterham Seven 620R is a stylish performance car and the fastest that Caterham makes, accelerating 0-60 in a mere 2.9 seconds. While the price tag on the real Caterham is probably a little more than most people are looking to spend, you can encourage the dream with this Lego set for $80.
  3. Porsche: Origin of the Species Book    This hardcover, 356-page book is perfect for the performance car lover, especially if Porsche is his first love. With a foreward by Jerry Seinfeld and exclusive photos of his very own exceptionally rare Porsche Gmünd coupe 356/2-040, this history of the Porsche will be an exciting addition to any personal library. Buy now for about $125.
  4. Escort Max 360 Radar Detector  If you have a lovable leadfoot on your list, this gift may well be worth the price! This windshield-mounted detector is tops in range, with red-light camera detectors and directional arrows to show you where the radar is coming from. If your car enthusiast pays a lot in speeding tickets each year, the $650 price tag is a priceless value!
  5. Rusty Wallace Racing Experience  Every car enthusiast dreams of actually being behind the wheel of a race car, going Mach5 with his hair on fire. This year, you can be the hero who gives him that chance. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience runs at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, and offers different packages based on experience. You can ride along as a passenger or drive the car yourself, but you can rest assured the adrenaline will be flowing freely! Packages for the 2017 season in Newton run anywhere from $300-$2300.

No matter your price range, there are many options for gifts for your car lover for Christmas. Maybe you’re looking for a more practical gift. Does your car lover need some repairs or routine maintenance that they just haven’t gotten around to? Give us a call and we can help you schedule some TLC for their favorite vehicle – making you the hero of the Holidays!

Schedule an appointment online HERE, call our service department at 515.243.8185 or stop in to our shop conveniently located in Downtown Des Moines at 901 8th Street for more information on Beckley Automotive services.

 

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.

Our 30-Point Oil Change Service is Far From Routine

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oil change service, beckley automotiveAn oil change service may seem like minor maintenance, but if the service isn’t up to par, you could be risking more serious engine issues down the road. You can get oil service pretty much anywhere – the chain repair shops, tire companies, car dealerships – but how do you know who you can really trust to do the best job?

When you bring your European or Domestic car to Beckley Automotive, you know the expert technicians are knowledgeable, trained and experienced. Through continuing education and certification from AAA, Bosch and ASE, our technicians are well-equipped to provide the best repair service as well as to advise you on the right oil to use for your particular car.

With the Beckley Oil Change Service, you won’t just get new oil in your car. Our 30-Point Inspection ensures that your minor routine maintenance will catch potential engine issues before they become larger problems. While inspecting seven different systems in your vehicle, each point gets a score on our report card, indicating whether the item in question is in good condition, could stand to be repaired or replaced, or needs attention immediately.

Some of the items covered in our 30-Point Inspection include:

  • Road Test: to gauge engine and transmission performance, braking and steering condition, and ride quality
  • Under Hood: checking belts, hoses, filters and fluid levels
  • Under Car: to look at exhaust system, shocks and struts, suspension and to look for any leaks
  • Tires & Wheels: adjust to proper air pressure and thoroughly examine tread
  • Chassis: examine windshield wipers and blades, headlights and exterior lights
  • Routine Service Needs: advise on any other routine maintenance recommended by the manufacturer

If you still aren’t convinced that Beckley Automotive is the best shop for all your oil change and maintenance needs, let us sweeten the deal a little farther:

Never been to Beckley Automotive? Mention this web offer and get $25 off your first visit! Or, if you’re already a regular Beckley customer, bring in a vehicle we haven’t seen before and you can also get $25 off your purchase!

Now is a great time to schedule your Beckley’s oil change appointment online HERE. You can also call our service department at 515-243-8185 or simply stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

Fight Leaks and Keep Your Engine in Top Shape with Our Fluid Service

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car fluid check, fluid leaks, engine leaksIt’s never a good thing to find a puddle on your garage floor or in the driveway. How long has it been there? Where is it leaking from? Are there multiple leaks? How long until the engine throws a rod or simply eats itself?

Bring your car in for regular fluid service at Beckley Automotive and head off leaks before they become a problem!

There’s more to automotive fluids than simply keeping them contained. To prevent premature wear and failure of engine parts, most manufacturers recommend replacing the fluids for systems such as brakes, transmission, coolant and all-wheel drive units on a regular basis. When our technicians change out and recycle your car’s fluids, they will also have the opportunity to look over the different systems and find the potential for leaks before they become a problem.

If your car is a European import, the replacement specifications is often much more frequent than it is for standard performance cars. Beckley Automotive always uses the proper fluids for your specific car and our knowledgeable and experienced technicians know exactly how to service all types of autos. Through continuing education and certification, every technician at Beckley’s is trained and ready to provide outstanding service to keep your auto free from leaks and your engine running at its best!

When was the last time you had your vehicle’s fluids changed and your engine checked for leaks? If you can’t remember, now is a great time to schedule an appointment at Beckley’s online HERE. You can also call our service department at 515-243-8185 or simply stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

Know Your Car’s Electrical System Warning Signs

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electrical system, car starter, car battery, car alternatorYour vehicle’s electrical system is an involved arrangement made up of three main components: the alternator, the starter and the battery. When you start having trouble with your car’s electrical system, it’s apparent – but how do you know which part needs the attention? We’ll outline the most common warning signs for each part to help you pinpoint the issue to be addressed.

Your battery provides the juice to the entire electrical system. When your battery is giving out, it affects the rest of the system. Watch for:

  • Sluggish engine cranking when you try to start the car; the battery alone starts the car, so if you have trouble at the get-go you know what’s causing it.
  • Excessive corrosion around the positive/negative cable connection posts; this indicates a battery leak and the “gunk” needs to be removed or the connectors won’t get the power
  • Swollen battery case; this means the battery has been exposed to excessive heat and/or cold and has been damaged
  • Smell of rotten eggs under your hood; a shorted battery causes a chemical reaction, releasing sulfuric acid that can damage other engine components

If your starter malfunctions, the pistons don’t rotate and won’t pull in air/gas mixture needed to fuel the engine. Watch for:

  • Grinding noise; if the drive gear isn’t engaging or is worn, you’ll hear a sound like when you start your car and then try to start it again. Ignoring this noise can cause irreparable damage tot he engine flywheel.
  • Freewheeling; if you only hear a whining noise and the engine isn’t cranking, the starter gear isn’t engaging with the flywheel and this is called freewheeling.
  • Single loud “click”; you may have a bad starting motor, bad solenoid, or even a bigger mechanical problem in the engine.

The alternator is exceptionally important as it recharges your battery and turns energy from the crankshaft into useable electricity. Watch for:

  • Flickering or dim headlights; this means the alternator is struggling to get the necessary power to the headlights.
  • Car stalls; since the alternator powers the spark plugs that keep the engine alive, if your car stalls for no reason while running you should have the alternator looked at.
  • Other electrical failures; if your power windows and locks, air conditioning or dashboard lights aren’t working correctly or working at all, the alternator could be the culprit because it supplies all of these electrical parts with power.

Your car has literally dozens of electrical components that send power throughout your auto to keep everything going. When one part fails, it causes a chain reaction and ultimately keeps your car from running. Come see the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive who have the training, the tools and the experience to diagnose and correct any and all problems you might be having with your electrical system.

Don’t wait until your car leaves you stranded! Schedule your appointment online today, call our service department at 515-243-8185 or stop by our shop in downtown Des Moines at 901 8th Street.

Beckley Automotive Meets Growing Need for Diesel Service

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As people become more concerned about the environment and auto emissions, the call for diesel service shops grows. If you’re in the market for a diesel vehicle, you won’t be disappointed in your selection. Auto makers from Jeep to Chevrolet to BMW to Volkswagen offer great diesel options. You can choose from pickup trucks, crossovers, SUVs and luxury models.

Now that you know where to go for trustworthy diesel service, why should you look at purchasing a diesel vehicle?

  1. diesel service, diesel engine maintenanceMileage. Diesel engines are well-known for being cost effective. Diesel fuel generates more power from less fuel, so you can easily get more bang for your buck and stretch that tank of gas farther with diesel over gasoline.
  2. Safety. Your standard gasoline engine relies on ignition from a spark plug, diesel engines use compressed hot air to ignite the fuel. Diesel fuel has a higher flashpoint than gasoline, so it takes much more than a spark to set it on fire. There is a much lower chance of the fuel igniting in the case of an accident.
  3. Maintenance. Diesel engines are built ruggedly to combat the rigors of higher compression. Also, because they don’t rely on electrical ignition parts like spark plugs and a moving distributor rotor, you don’t have to change out as many engine parts on a regular basis.
  4. Power. You get far more torque from a diesel engine. Because of its slow burn, high compression design, the driveshaft receives much more powerful torque to assist in acceleration and towing capabilities.
  5.  Longevity. Mercedes-Benz currently holds the record for longevity, having multiple vehicles that have racked up more than 900,000 miles on their original engines. Gas-powered cars start needing more love and money poured into them around the 100,000 mile marker. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle for the very long haul, diesel can stick by your side for at least a couple generations.

Of course, there are cons to balance out the pros of diesel engines: While you have less frequent maintenance demands, it can cost you more when you do need major diesel service. The initial purchase price can be about 10% more than the gasoline counterpart. Diesel fuel doesn’t perform well in frigid temperatures, so you may need to install an engine block heater to insure that your car will start on cold winter mornings.

Whether you’re looking at purchasing a diesel vehicle or you already own one, rest assured that Beckley Automotive has the knowledge, the tools and the experience to provide outstanding diesel service. Schedule your appointment online HERE or call our expert service department at 515-243-8185 today!

Check Engine Light Isn’t Always a Wallet Drain

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check engine light, engine diagnosticsVery few things can set your heart racing like an illuminated Check Engine light on your car’s dashboard. You start wondering how long your car has before the transmission falls out, the engine catches on fire or your car just expires on the side of the road. You also begin panicking trying to decide whether fixing the problem or buying a new car is more cost-effective.

The “Check Engine” light became standard around 1995 and can alert the driver to a slew of engine troubles, big or small. This warning light is attached to the computer in your car, and that computer is pretty smart. If it comes on and stays on, you need to get it checked as soon as possible. If it comes on and flashes, pull that machine over, turn it off, and call for help.

The only thing the computer and the check engine light can’t tell you, is what the actual problem is. Here are some of the top reasons your Check Engine light might come on:

  • Loose spark plug wires or faulty spark plugs
  • Faulty sensors, such as the oxygen sensor or the mass airflow sensor
  • A bad catalytic converter
  • A loose or missing gas cap

Some of these problems are more serious than others and are more expensive. But be wary of any DIY workarounds that you might find on the internet. If you mess with the data storage by disconnecting or running out the battery, you wipe the memory and make true diagnostics harder down the line.

The expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to diagnose any issue with your engine, whether your vehicle is foreign or domestic. And, the best part is that Beckley’s puts a cap on your cost for that diagnostic check. You won’t be charged more than $125 for that first step toward finding what’s wrong. Sometimes that’s all it will take to fix the problem, but the experts at Beckley’s won’t move forward on repairs above and beyond that cost without your approval. The diagnostic findings and a comprehensive repair plan will be outlined before you spend another dime. That’s the Beckley way.

The quickest and least expensive way to handle a check engine light is to bring your car to an expert that can identify the fault correctly and repair it without a lot of guesswork. Schedule your appointment online HERE, visit our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street or give our service staff a call at 515-243-8185 today.

Give Your Brakes a Little Love Before They Need It

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brake systems, disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, ABS, brake repair, car brakesThe brakes on your car serve one purpose – to stop your car from moving. Whether you’re stopping for a red light, a pedestrian in the road or to avoid a collision, you rely on your brake system to perform; to perform well, reliably, and immediately. Your safety and the safety of your passengers depend on the condition of your brake system, so make sure you pay them the attention they deserve BEFORE they are put to the test.

There are different braking systems with different needs and issues, and the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to meet all of those needs.

  • Drum Brakes – A hydraulic wheel cylinder pushes a brake shoe onto the inside of a drum while it spins. This style wears down more quickly because the heat produced by the friction gets trapped inside the drum. while drum brakes are certainly sufficient, they can become less effective when heat is allowed to build up.
  • Disc Brakes – Uses a hydraulic caliper with brake pads that grab the rotor to slow or stop the car, similar to the brakes on a bicycle. Because the thin caliper and brake pads are exposed to the air, the heat dissipates quickly and causes less wear. In high-performance and racing vehicles, four-wheel disc systems have become the norm, despite the higher production costs and purchase pricing.
  • Anti-Lock Brake System – Used in conjunction with one of the above brake types; uses an electronic system of sensors and high-pressure pumps to measure variables like car speed, brake force and wheel slip before actually pumping your brakes for you during an emergency stop in certain conditions. ABS has contributed to shorter stopping distances and a general increase in vehicle safety, although the system is still controversial.

Drivers shouldn’t wait until there is a brake failure to look at their brakes. The safety of family, friends and the general public are at stake, so don’t put off regular maintenance or addressing issues. If you experience grinding, squeaking, or shaking when you brake, or if your brakes feel “spongy” and you need a football field distance to stop, bring your car to Beckley Automotive for diagnostic testing and repairs.

Our ASE-Certified expert technicians will examine your entire brake system from front to back and will let you know exactly what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers safe. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

Let Climate Control Work for You

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automatic climate control, vehicle air conditioning, car climate controlThe saying goes something like, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” Fall in Iowa is no exception. Last week was sweltering heat and humidity and this week is sweater weather. Many people find themselves in the bizarre position of needing to run the heat at night and then to switch to the air conditioning in the afternoon. It’s no different in your car – but can you rely on both to work at top performance at the drop of a hat?

Air conditioning and climate control in a car are not the same thing. When purchasing a new vehicle, there is a definite price difference between the two – air conditioning comes standard and costs less. What are some of the other differences between the two?

  • Air conditioning cools the air inside your car through manual adjustment of the temperature dial. If you want it colder, you turn it farther to the blue. If you want it less cold, turn it toward the red and warmer air will gradually mix in.
  • Automatic Climate Control lets you set the temperature you want inside your car and you don’t have to touch it again. Ever. On your home thermostat, you even have to switch between heat and cooling. But Automatic Climate Control will switch seamlessly from air to heat to keep the temperature constant.
  • With air conditioning, you will have to constantly adjust the dials as the temperature inside your car is affected by the sun, the speed you’re driving, outside weather. This can lead to battles with your passengers who are too hot or too cold and grumble about the constantly changing climate inside the car.
  • Climate control is much more advanced and most offer “dual zone” control. The driver can set their temperature and the passenger can select what is most comfortable for them. Everyone is happy!
  • Another benefit to Automatic Climate Control is that it can potentially save you money. We all know running the air at the lowest temperature and the highest fan speed will make your engine work harder and run through your gas much faster. Climate control only uses the air as needed instead of at a constant clip and works much more efficiently.

Whether you have standard air conditioning or the more luxurious automatic climate control, chances are you’re going to need some work on the system at some point to keep it running at optimal levels. Unfortunately, because climate control is advanced technology and possibly the most complicated system in your vehicle, a lot of shops won’t even touch it. But at Beckley Automotives we have the experience and technology to find any problems and provide solutions more quickly and efficiently than the other guys.

Don’t waste time and money while the other shops guess at what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers riding in comfort. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give Beckley Automotive a call at 515.243.8185 or simply stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location.