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Stay Warm with a Car Heater Check-Up or Repair

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Nobody likes to walk outside when it’s cold and climb into a freezing cold car. It’s one reason many people start up their car, go back inside, and let it run a few minutes.

stay warm with car heater repair des moines iowaSure, “everybody does it.” But it’s actually against the law in Iowa. Leave your car running unattended, and you can be fined $20. You also run the risk of letting anyone in search of a joyride take off in your car. But it’s a risk a lot of people are willing to make for warm-car comfort.

Does it take a while for your car to warm up?

If your engine and heater are working properly, your car should be warm in just a few minutes, even in frigid Iowa temperatures. But if you’re still shivering 20 minutes after leaving the house, can see your breath inside the cab of the car, or need to wear gloves just to grip the steering wheel and ward off frostbite, it may be time for a heater checkup.

Car Heater Basics

When you fire up your engine, it generates heat. As the pistons fire, coolant goes through the engine and absorbs heat to keep it from overheating. Then the hot coolant goes back through the radiator and makes a delivery to the heater core. You crank up the thermostat in your car, turn the fan in high, hit defrost, and in theory, hot air should fill the cabin. But it doesn’t always work that way.

When Your Car Doesn’t Warm Up

If your car doesn’t heat up in a few minutes, or never seems to get very warm, there’s a problem that leaving your car running in the driveway for 15 minutes before work won’t fix. The good news is that it’s generally an inexpensive to get your heater to pump hot air again.

Check the Thermostat and Radiator

In most cases, a poorly working car heater is caused by a faulty thermostat, radiator, or hoses clogged with gunk that limits the amount of hot air being circulated. A basic inspection can usually identify the problem. And the fix usually involves replacing the thermostat, flushing the radiator and hoses, or both.

If your car hasn’t been warming up like you think it should, we can help heat things up. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901- 8th Street in Des Moines.

Tired of a Rough Ride?

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It May Be Time for Strut Replacement…

Clunk, clunk. Rattle, rattle. It’s a sound you might hear every time you turn the wheel left or right, especially if you’re driving a car that’s seen its share of miles. To the untrained ear, the sound could be confused with a failing transmission. But if the problem only appears when turning, it’s probably not.rough ride change struts

Fortunately, a clunk or rattle that’s noticeable, particularly when turning, is often a sign the struts on your vehicle are worn out. It’s one of those parts on a car that holds up well to wear and tear, pot holes, gravel roads, bumps, and those times you accidentally drive over the curb. But eventually the struts will need to be replaced. Car manufacturers recommend inspecting and/or replacing the struts after about 50,000 miles.

Worn Out Struts Compromise Performance

When struts wear out, it doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it’s a gradual process that happens so slowly, you don’t always notice it. But as struts wear out, they can start to leak fluid. They’re not as effective at controlling your tires. And that can have an impact on the way your car handles, steers, and brakes. As the struts wear out, your car takes on more of a rough ride than that smooth feel it had when it was newer. Struts that have seen their share of miles can also wear down tires faster, too.

Enjoy the Ride with New Struts

Getting the struts replaced on your vehicle when they’ve soldiered a lot of miles can make a big difference. You’ll notice a big change in the way the car handles, the clunk-and-rattle sound when you turn will be gone, and your tires will last longer. New struts can also help prevent wear and tear on other parts that help with steering and suspension.

Want to improve the way your car handles? Bring it in for an inspection, and we can let you know how the struts are holding up. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Car Problems? Schedule Service Online

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When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969, it was a modern-day marvel years in the making. For decades, scientists, researchers, and engineers worked together to make the moon landing possible. It was a monumental achievement, especially with the kind of technology the Apollo 11 team had to work with.

schedule car service online des moines iowa

Just go to “BeckleyImports.com” on your mobile device!

So what does the moon landing have to do with cars? More than you might think.

Pick up your smartphone, tablet, mobile device, or turn on your computer. At your fingertips, you have more computing power than the 1969 lunar module that reached the moon and all the computers back in Houston for that historic mission. Seriously, today’s software, hardware, and technology is faster, smarter, more intuitive, and a lot less expensive.

When you have a problem with your car, or just need to schedule an oil change, setting up an appointment is easy, thanks to the speed and convenience of the Internet. There’s no need to play phone tag, listen to on-hold music (unless you really want to), or leave a rambling voice mail that sounds something like, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Car Repairs and Maintenance When It’s Convenient

All you have to do is click Schedule Service on our site, and you’ll be able to relay your message from anywhere with an Internet connection and a computer or mobile device. You’ll be prompted to provide a few details, like your contact information, a preferred time and date for service that works for you, and the type of car you drive.

You can even choose from a list of services your car needs like an oil change, transmission service, or major tune-up. If there’s a problem with your car, give us your best explanation about what’s going on. Your observations will give us a better idea of what to look for when you bring your car in for service.

When you need to Schedule Service, it’s easy to do from your computer or any mobile device. Once we receive your message (which only takes a few seconds), we’ll contact you to confirm your service appointment. We’ll take care of your car so you can travel to the moon and back if you want to.

Having problems with your car? Or is it time for some routine maintenance? Click Schedule Service, and book an appointment now.

If You Don’t Replace Your Car’s Air Filter…

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Anytime you get some basic service done on your car, a good mechanic will check a number of important things that can have a major impact on engine performance. One of those things happens to be your car’s air filter.

car air filter replacementCar Air Filter Inspection: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Many technicians like to pull out the air filter under the hood and show you what it looks like. If it’s new and relatively clean, the filter will be a nice, bright white. With a little age, it might have a dull-gray color. And if it’s been trying to protect your engine for far too long, it might be borderline black and filled with tiny dust-like particles. We’ve even seen air filters neglected for so long that they’re even packed with bigger debris like leaves and small twigs.

How Much Does a New Car Air Filter Cost?
Replacing an air filter is a relatively easy thing to do. It’s something most people can do on their own, once they know where to find the air filter and how to remove/replace the old one. A new air filter at an auto parts store typically $10 to $25.

But a lot of people neglect to replace the air filter. Sometimes it’s just because they don’t want the cost of a typical oil change to double in price. And sometimes, it’s just something people forget to do. Unfortunately, neglecting to replace your air filter on a regular basis could cost you a lot more than a bag of groceries.

A Bad Car Air Filter Damage the Mass Air Flow Sensor

Your engine is powered by a mixture of air and fuel. The amount of air your engine gets is regulated by a part called a mass air flow sensor. For the most part, the mass air flow sensor isn’t one of those parts that needs to be replaced on a regular basis like brakes and belts. However, running your car for mile after mile with a dirty air filter will take a toll on the mass air flow sensor. If it fails, industry estimates show the average repair cost to replace the mass air flow sensor runs about $400.

Need your air filter changed or routine maintenance to help prevent costly repairs? We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Car Purchasing Advice from Millionaires: Buy Used

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Have you been thinking about purchasing a new car? It’s tempting when there’s countless commercials, magazine ads, and promotions showing off the latest models in style and features. But in order to afford a new car, most people are going to finance the cost with a combination of a down payment, trade-in, and years of monthly payments.car purchase tips des moines iowa

But if you can avoid financing a car, you should. That’s what authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko discovered in their book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. They interviewed dozens of ordinary people who amassed at least a million dollars in wealth through hard work, smart investments, and frugal living.

In their quest to uncover the habits of self-made millionaires, they found that many intentionally bought used cars for years instead of making payments on a new one. It’s a novel concept that can save you a lot of money.

Car Repairs and Regular Maintenance Can Save You Money

Buy used and pay cash. Take good care of the car with regular maintenance and necessary repairs. Save some money. After a couple of years, trade-up for another used car with your trade-in and cash to cover the cost. It’s one of the ways people with ordinary jobs in The Millionaire Next Door were able to save a lot of money and eventually drive their dream car.

If you’re driving an older car that has a few issues, you might be tempted to get rid of it and buy a new-off-the-lot car. But in most cases, it’s going to cost a lot more in the long run to buy a new car than to keep your used car up and running.

Have a used car that needs a little help? Basic maintenance like regular oil changes and replacing the brakes, belts, and air filters can prolong the life of your car. Keeping up on routine maintenance can help prevent more costly repairs and save you money over time. In The Millionaire Next Door people used that extra money to save and make smart investments instead of making monthly car payments.

Want to get the most mileage out of your car? We can help. A full-inspection can identify any issues and routine maintenance will keep your car running longer, smoother, and more efficiently, and cost you less money over time. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Listen… 5 Warning Sounds Your Car May Be Making

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When you start up your car, you want to hear your engine running smoothly and quietly. And when you leave the house in a rush to get to work or head out of town on vacation, the last thing you want to hear some unfamiliar sound coming from your car.

engine noise warningsTo the untrained ear, any unfamiliar or new sound coming from under the hood can seem like impending doom for your vehicle. While some sounds may indeed be a telltale sign of a serious problem, some sounds are early warning signs that are inexpensive to fix. Here are five common sounds you might hear coming from your car, along with what to do about it.

1. Clicking and Tapping
It’s a warning sound you’ll notice right away, especially when your car has been running smoothly. Hear clicking or tapping, and you’ll probably roll down your window while driving to get a closer listen to the sound. Chances are pretty good it’s either a valve problem related to a worn part, or low oil pressure. Make sure the engine has enough oil, and if you can’t find the source of the sound, schedule an inspection.

2. Loud Knocking Noises
If you hear this warning sound, stop driving as soon as possible. Loud knocking sounds usually indicate a major issue with a part inside the engine. Continue driving, and the problem can lead to serious engine damage that might only be repairable by replacing the engine.

3. Rattling and Whining
If your car has a cam shaft belt problem, you might notice a rattling or whining sound when you step on the gas. The camshaft helps open and close valves in the engine, and it’s a critical component for engine performance. If the cam shaft belt is loose, poorly aligned, or slips, it can cause a rattling or whining noise, particularly when you accelerate. A problem with the cam shaft is best handled by a trained mechanic.

4. Squealing During Acceleration
When an engine fan belt is loose or slips, it can make a terrible squealing sound. It’s most often caused by an aging belt that has developed cracks and is beginning to loosen. The engine fan belt is also called a serpentine belt. When the rubber teeth of the belt no longer grip the pulley tightly, they can drag across the pulley and make the telltale squealing sound. The belt either needs to be tightened to eliminate the squealing, and in most cases usually needs to be replaced.

5. Grinding Sounds
If you hear grinding sounds, it may not be coming from the engine. Let’s hope not (grinding sounds coming from the engine usually indicate a very serious problem). Roll down your window and listen carefully. The grinding sound may be coming from your brakes. Worn out brake pads and rotors can make a grinding sound. Hear this warning sound, and it’s a good time to get a brake inspection.

Got a car sound that’s driving you crazy? We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Stop. It’s Time for a Brake Inspection

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We hate to hear stories of vehicle accidents, especially when, with a little preventative maintenance, they could have been avoided.

When a car hit a curb near 19th St. and Clarke Ave in Des Moines on Thursday morning, the impact launched the car into the air, then rolled and hit a tree.  Investigators haven’t determined an official cause for the crash, but officers first on the scene reported “minimal skid marks.”

preventative maintenance brake repair des moines iowaWe may never know all the details, but “minimal skid marks” raises some questions that could point to bad brakes a possible contributor to this accident. When you step on the brakes to slow down, the pedal should feel firm under your foot. The harder you press on the pedal, the firmer the brakes should feel. And if you’re in a situation that requires a sudden stop, mashing down on the brake pedal will feel almost as firm as stomping your foot on the ground.

What if your brakes don’t feel firm when you slow down or need to make a sudden stop? If you’re like most people, that sensation can leave you feeling a little anxious. When you press on the brakes, you want to know without a doubt that they’re going to slow your car down.

Getting your brakes checked periodically can be a lifesaver. In many cases, simple and inexpensive repairs and preventive maintenance can keep your brakes in working order for many miles. Check out these three warning signs that suggest a problem with your brake system:

  1. Brake pedal quickly goes to the floor when you press it. This may be a sign that your brake system’s master cylinder is no longer pressurized and could have a leak.
  1. Pressing the brake pedal feels soft or has less resistance than normal. It’s often caused by low levels of brake fluid.
  1. Braking feels rough. Worn brake pads and uneven rotors can make braking feel rough and bumpy. You may even hear screeching or grinding noises coming from the wheel hub where the brakes are located if these parts are worn or warped.

If you’re wondering if your brakes are working properly, don’t wait to find out until you’re faced with making a sudden stop to avoid an accident. And even if you think your brakes are fine, but it’s been 30,000-plus miles since your brakes were inspected, is a good idea to have them checked out.

Need a brake inspection or brake system repairs? We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

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.

Would Your Car Pass a Vehicle Emissions Test?

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Thirty-one states in the U.S. require annual or bi-annual vehicle emissions tests, but Iowa isn’t one of them. If you celebrate the fact that you don’t have to pay the testing fees other states require, you’re not alone.

emissions testing des moines iowaBut that doesn’t mean vehicle emissions tests are useless. In fact, emission regulations are intended to help make the cars on the road as efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible. Would your car pass a vehicle emissions test if it was required in Iowa?

Some of the most common reasons cars don’t pass vehicle emissions tests can have a major impact on performance. Iowa may not require vehicle emission testing, but these problems could be costing you money.

  • Fuel Meter Problem – It’s often caused by a problem with a computer system in the car, the carburetor, or the fuel injection system.
  • Bad Oxygen Sensor – It’s common problem that can trigger the Check Engine light to come on. Left unchecked, it can cause your car to overheat, interfere with acceleration, and fuel economy.
  • Ignition System Error – If your car is emitting a higher than normal level of hydrocarbons, you’re not helping the environment. This can be caused by problems with your ignition system or spark plugs going bad.
  • Vacuum Leaks – Take a look under the hood of your car, and you’ll see lots of hoses can connections your engine needs in place to operate efficiently. Leaks in hose lines and gaskets can prevent your car from running clean.
  • Fuel Mixture Problem – A problem with the mixture of oxygen and fuel can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. It’s often caused by a failing oxygen sensor or fuel injectors.
  • Air Injection System Defect – Your car may be producing higher than normal levels of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide if there’s a problem with the air injection system. It’s not environmentally friendly, and the gases your car releases when this is a problem are poisonous.
  • Excessive Gasoline Vapors – This is another common emissions-related problem that can interfere with engine performance and fuel economy. Defective hoses, vents, valves, and gas caps are usually the problem.

Just because you don’t have to pass a vehicle emissions test in Iowa, doesn’t mean the testing procedures used in other states are useless. In fact, keeping your car in working order and handling these common issues can improve your gas mileage and engine performance, and be better for the environment.

If you’ve got questions about your car’s emissions or any of the issues mentioned above, 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.

 

 

Your Car’s Electrical System Maintenance

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Were you aware that your car’s electrical system needs scheduled maintenance, too?

car electrical system help des moines iowaIt wasn’t that long ago that most cars were made with a basic electrical system. A fuse box and series of relays delivered power to electrical features like the radio, dash lights, turn signals, and power locks and windows. Now these are standard features in most cars. Improvements in technology and consumer demands for mobile-everything have made car electrical systems far more complex.

It’s great for things like Bluetooth compatibility, global positioning navigation systems (GPS), and DVD players. And many new safety features like back-up cameras, tire pressure monitors, car alarms controlled by your smartphone, and other on-board indicators all depend on your car’s electrical system to function properly.

Your car can literally be a mobile office on wheels or keep the kids entertained on a road trip with a movie, video games, and even separate climate controls for the front and rear of the cabin thanks to your car’s electrical system. But what happens when something goes wrong with a fuse, wiring, or relay, and these much-loved features quit working?

A blown fuse that disables your DVD player might be a minor inconvenience. But if you were just about to go on vacation, it could be incredibly frustrating. If you can’t turn your headlights on, your turn signals don’t work, or your car alarm can only be shut off by disconnecting the battery, it’s more than an inconvenience.

Beckely’s – Car Electrical System technicians for over 30 Years

Fortunately, we’ve been unraveling crossed wires, fixing blown fuses, and troubleshooting electrical problems for more than 30 years. We know the ins and outs of vehicle electrical systems from the basic commuter car to luxury SUVs and everything in between.

When your car has an electrical issue, we’ll diagnose the problem and aim to fix it for less than $125. When your car’s electrical system needs help, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the problem. Some mechanics with the best of intentions might rack up the labor costs trying to find the source of an electrical problem, and that’s not good for customers.

We created a strict policy to help keep repair costs as affordable as possible. When car electrical system issues costs more than $125 to fix, we won’t proceed without providing you with a full diagnostic report, explaining what’s required to fix the problem, and receiving approval to proceed.

If you’ve got an electrical problem that’s buzzing, shorting out, or a feature that’s no longer working, 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.