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Radiator Cap Check Can Save You Time & Money

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It’s a hot summer day. You’ve packed up your car with everything you need for a week-long vacation and take I-35 out of town. Everything seems to be going as planned on your road trip, until you notice the needle of the thermostat gauge start creeping towards H-O-T.

radiator cap checkIf your car overheats, it’s possible to let the engine cool, refill the coolant reservoir, and keep on going. But driving your car when it’s overheating, can lead to serious engine damage. And if there’s any truth to Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong), your car could overheat in the middle of nowhere during the hottest time of day where cell service is poor.

While car trouble on a summer vacation road trip might be funny in the movies, it’s not when you’re the one stuck on the side of the road. There are a variety of reasons your car could overheat. But sometimes, it’s as simple as a faulty radiator cap.

How the Radiator Cap Works

The radiator cap on the coolant reservoir is made of metal. There’s a spring inside that helps regulate pressure inside the radiator. The cap also has a rubber gasket designed to create a proper seal with the coolant reservoir. Both the spring inside the radiator cap and the rubber seal are wearable parts and should be inspected periodically.

How to Inspect Radiator Cap

A quick inspection of the radiator cap can save you time and money. But you’ll want to do this before your next road trip. Here’s how:

  1. When your car engine is cool, open the hood and locate the radiator cap. (It’s typically a silver-colored cap on the reservoir that contains coolant or antifreeze.)
  1. Push down, twist, and pull up on the radiator cap. It requires a little effort because it’s spring loaded and should have a solid seal if the rubber gasket is good.

Here’s what to look for:

  • If you don’t feel any resistance or pressure when you push down on the radiator cap, the spring inside may no longer be working properly.
  • Once the cap is off, take a closer look at the rubber gasket. If it’s cracked or brittle in any places, it’s not creating a proper seal.

If you find either of these problems, replace the radiator cap. It’s a good time to check the coolant level and top off the reservoir, too.

If you need help with a failing radiator cap, or your car is still prone to overheating after replacing it, we can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

 

5 Essentials for Planning Your Next Road Trip

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It’s been a week since kiddos in the Des Moines area said goodbye to another school year. That means it’s officially summer vacation. More people hit the road in cars, trucks, and motor-homes during the summer season than any other time of the year.summer road trip tips iowa

In fact, Americans take an estimated 657 million road trips during the summer months from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The typical vacationer drives their own car to a destination about 284 miles away for a little R&R. The survey results showed that 9 out of 10 vacation road trips are taken by car.

If you’re planning a summer road trip, it’s a good idea to get a tune-up before you go. Regular and preventive maintenance can give you peace of mind and prevent a break-down that could throw a wrench into your vacation plans. Once your car’s ready for the road, be sure to bring these five things along on your road trip.

  1. Emergency kit. Keep some basic tools and set of jumper cables in your car. And make sure you’ve got a first aid kit stocked with Band-Aids and other essentials to treat minor aches, pains, cuts, or scratches.
  1. GPS system. If your car doesn’t have a built-in system, use your smartphone or a stand-alone GPS device. Being able to find your way from Point A to Point B, and all the places in between without getting lost can lower stress and make your vacation more relaxing and enjoyable.
  1. Food and water. You don’t need to pack like you’re never coming back. But having a little extra food and water on board is a good idea. You won’t have to stop as often. If there aren’t any restaurants for long stretches, you’ll still have something to eat and drink. And if you plan it right, you might even save money eating your own food instead of going out to eat when you’re on the road.
  1. Extra keys. A magnetic key box you can hide under your car, or just an extra key you keep in your wallet can save the day if you lock yourself out of your car. It happens. Sure you could call a locksmith, but that will mean waiting around and forking over some extra money you probably didn’t plan on spending for your vacation.
  1. Cell phone and charger. Love it or hate it, having a cell phone when you’re on a road trip is a good idea. You’ll be able to call for help if something happens. And it will make it easier to check in with family and friends when you’re on the road.

Start planning your road trip by getting your car serviced before you go. We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

How Many Mechanics Does it Take To Replace a Car Headlight Bulb?

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You’d think that would be the beginning of a bad joke, but it seems car manufacturers are increasingly engineering headlight assemblies that are making the once-simple task of replacing a headlight bulb much more difficult.

replace car headlight bulbFor example, in the Saturn Aura and some Cadillac models, the only way to get to the headlight assembly is by removing the entire front bumper. In the Chevy Traverse, the inner fender has to be removed to gain access to the headlight assembly. And it can be incredibly frustrating if you’re trying to figure out how to change a headlight on a car like this on your own.

Fortunately, enough hands-one mechanics and consumers have complained about this design, that some manufacturers have tasked their engineering team with making it easier to change a headlight. GMC added an easy-to-remove access panel under the fender of the Sierra. Chrysler did something similar to the PT Cruiser. And for those who drive the latest VW Beetle models, Volkswagen was kind enough to add an access panel too.

If you’ve got a burned out headlight, and you’re scratching your head about how to replace it, we can help. We’ve been servicing foreign and domestic cars for over 35 years, and seen just about every headlight assembly out there.

Got a headlight that needs to be replaced? Let us brighten your day. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Improve Fuel Economy With Proper Engine Maintenance

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improve fuel economy des moines iowaHow much highway driving do you do? Whether you’re planning to take a summer vacation, travel for work, or just have to get on the interstate to head across town, your engine performs best and achieves peak fuel economy during ideal highway driving conditions. In Iowa, that means traveling at 65 miles an hour or better. Cross state lines and the speed limit goes up. That can be good for getting to your destination faster, and it can improve fuel economy, but only if your car’s engine and supporting systems are working properly.

That’s where Beckley’s comes in. Through proper maintenance of your car’s engine, you can get the best fuel economy, drive safe and secure, as well as save a little money in the long run. Proper engine maintenance is simply a matter of discipline.  Some of the issues you need to pay attention to for the best fuel economy include:

  • intake and exhaust restrictions
  • timing and gearing,
  • mechanical resistance, and
  • tire performance

These can have a substantial impact on fuel economy and how well your car runs. Even driving conditions like temperature and wind resistance can have an impact.

Get the most out of every dollar you spend at the pump. Our team of expert technicians can give your can an inspection and recommend needed services to help your vehicle achieve optimal fuel economy for driving around town or when you’re cruising down the interstate. In many cases, a simple tune-up can make a big difference.

Have you been wondering how to go a little farther on a tank of gas, especially as prices at the pump begin to rise with peak travel season approaching? Bring your car in for an inspection and tune-up. We’ll get your engine ready for summer travel. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

Back-Up Camera Improves Safety

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A Des Moines woman was recently in a hurry to leave home when she hopped in her car and started backing up to leave her driveway on Broadway Avenue. At the same time, a man on a motorcycle rode by. The driver of the car didn’t see the motorcycle rider and continued backing up. Unfortunately, the motorcycle hit the rear driver’s side of car and the rider was killed.

back up camera repair safety2018 – New Cars Required to Have Back-Up Cameras

Accidents like these happen all too often. It’s one reason why the National Highway Safety Transportation Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation passed a law that requires all cars built after May 1, 2018, include a back-up camera.

Is There Anything Behind Me? Back-Up Cameras Save Lives

If you own a newer-model car, many car manufacturers are already making this a standard feature. It’s also a feature that can be added by to most cars with basic equipment, wiring, and electrical work. And it can save lives. According to the NHTSA, an estimated 210 people are killed every year in back-up related accidents, another 15,000 are injured, and property damage caused by backing up blind costs vehicle owners and insurance companies millions.

If you already have a back-up camera in your car, you’re already a safer driver than the woman who backed out of her driveway and hit the motorcycle driver. Based on the NHTSA regulations, a back-up camera should allow you to see 10 feet across and 20 back from the rear of your car. For the Des Moines woman, that may have been just enough to see the motorcycle rider and stop in time.

Back-Up Camera Service and Installation

If you don’t have a back-up camera, check with local car-audio shops or car-dealer to find out about having one installed. And there’s nothing wrong with being overly cautious, checking blind spots, and making sure nothing is behind you when you’re backing up. Cars with factory-installed back-up cameras generally function pretty well, but there’s always the chance that moisture, an accident, or unexpected electrical problems interfere with your camera working properly. And that’s something we can help you with.

Need your back-up camera or other car electronics serviced? If you’ve got questions about your car’s back up camera, 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.

Auto Service in Des Moines – Greg Kenyon – VIDEO TESTIMONIAL

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Greg Kenyon brought his BMW to Beckley auto decades ago and has been a loyal customer ever since. He depends on Beckley’s attention to detail and the reliability of their service.

For over 3 decades, Beckley Automotive has been providing superior auto service, 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 hope for, and when they step up and provide testimonials like this, we couldn’t be more proud.

If you’ve got questions about auto service or general car care, 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.

Family Auto Service – Graham Cook – VIDEO TESTIMONIAL

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Graham Cook is a long-time Beckley Automotive service customer. Virtually since our doors opened, Graham and his family have used Beckley for all of their automotive service needs.

For over 3 decades, Beckley Automotive has been providing superior auto service, 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 hope for, and when they step up and provide testimonials like this, we couldn’t be more proud.

If you’ve got questions about auto service or general car care, 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!

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!

Car Manufacturers Score with Super Bowl Commercials

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Even if you’re not in the market for a new car, you can’t escape the efforts of car manufacturers to peak your interest. After all, more than 100 million people watched Super Bowl XLIX to see the New England Patriots take the lead from the Seattle Seahawks in the last few minutes of the game to win the championship.

Car Commercials for the Super BowlBut that’s not the only thing that captivated Super Bowl fans on Sunday. The highly-anticipated Super Bowl commercials included 11 spots for cars by Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Kia, Toyota, Lexus, Jeep, Fiat Chrysler, Dodge, and Chevrolet.

It’s a mix of nostalgic, funny, serious, and adventurous commercials designed to strike a chord with a wide range of drivers like young families with kids, off-road adventure seekers, the fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly crowd, tech-equipped car aficionados, and those in the market for a luxury driving experience.

Buy New or Used? – That is the Question

If you are in the market for a new car, manufacturers look for every opportunity to entice you by rolling out the red carpet with things like special interest rates, leasing options, cash-back incentives, and extended warranties.

But buying new isn’t for everyone. You can often save a lot of money and still enjoy a nice ride if you opt for buying a late model car and keep up on maintenance. At Beckley Imports, we service import and domestic vehicles from manufacturers featured in the Super Bowl and many others.

Inspection Services for Used Cars

If you’re thinking of buying used, we can even give the car a full inspection before you sign on the dotted line to let you know how the car has held up against the usual wear and tear on brakes, belts, tires, and other wearable parts.

Using state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, we’ll also inspect the engine, transmission, and other systems that can be a lot more expensive to repair. Armed with this kind of information, can help you make an informed decision when you buy used, or decide to avoid any headaches left behind by the previous owners and buy new.

For more information, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Downtown Des Moines.