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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.

10 Ways to Get More Money When Selling Your Car

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At some point in time, you’re probably going to decide it time to replace your ride with a different car. Maybe you need more space for a growing family, or downsizing to a smaller ride as an empty-nester. Or maybe you want to sell off a gas-guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle.

tips for selling your carWhen you’re ready to sell, taking care of a few details can help you get more money for your car. Check out these 10 ways to boost the resale value of your car.

  1. Replace windshield wipers – It’s an inexpensive fix and only takes a few minutes to install new wipers.
  2. Clean the engine – You can try and clean the engine yourself with products designed to help remove dust, grease, and dirt. Or check out our detailing services to shine up your engine.
  3. Refill or top off fluids – Letting a potential buyer know your car has had a recent oil change and reservoirs are filled for anti-freeze, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, etc., can help seal the deal.
  4. Check tire tread – You’re good if you’ve got a decent amount of tread remaining. But if tread is worn, replace the tires to increase the sale price of your car. If a buyer will have to replace the tires, you’re more likely to haggle over the asking price.
  5. Clean up the exterior with a wash and wax – Simply giving your car a thorough wash and wax can shine it up and make it more appealing to a potential buyer. If your headlights are foggy from years of oxidation, consider replacing the headlight casing or headlight restoration. Shining rims and wheels can also increase the wow-factor when you show your car to a potential buyer.
  6. Clean the interior – After miles of road trips or shuttling kids around town, the interior of your car could probably use a makeover. Give it a thorough cleaning by vacuuming and wiping down surfaces.
  7. Get the brakes inspected/replaced – Like new tires, new brakes can cost a couple hundred bucks. If you’re had your brakes serviced recently, let the buyer know. If you think it may be time to get your brakes replaced, bring your car in for an inspection. Selling your car with new brakes can be a good way to get the price you want.
  8. Take care of minor repairs – Over time most cars develop minor problems that are easy to overlook. These are things like a burnt out dome line, a squeaky door, windshield cracks and dings, or minor body damage like a small dent from a shopping cart. Taking care of minor repairs like these may cost a few dollars, but it can help you get closer to your asking price when you list the car.
  9. Consider major mechanical work – When you’re trying to sell a car, it may need some major repairs like a new transmission or alternator. Major repairs may cost you a little more, but it may be worth it depending on the age of your car, mileage, and overall condition.
  10. Bring your car in for an inspection before you sell. – Our experienced mechanics can give you a complete diagnostic report about your car. This information can help you determine a fair asking price, decide on repairs you might want to make, and give you some negotiating power when you’re ready to sell.

Want help getting your car ready to sell? 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.

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.

Before more ice and snow hit…

Fall is pretty, but any second it can turn to freezing temperatures and the dreaded snow fall, just like what happened last night. Although it may start to warm up in the next few days, make sure you bring in your vehicle to Beckley so we can do some maintenance checks on the following:

• Tire Checks (for every 18°F of temperature drop, tire pressure goes down by one pound – make sure your spare tire is fully as well)
• Battery check (batteries work harder when it’s cold and the colder temperatures can compromise its performance up to 60 percent. Having it tested to see if it needs replaced could save you from sitting outside in it during a blizzard)
• Cooling System Check
• Brake Inspection
• Headlight Check (this includes all the turn signals and hazard lights)
• Windshield Wipers (you never know when that blizzard will hit and you can’t have the wipers smashing snow about)
• Engine

At Beckley, we want you to be safe drivers, as well as be prepared of any situations. Having the following items in your car could help if there is an accident:

• Windshield scraper and snow brush
• Lightweight shovel
• Bag of sand, wire traction mat or abrasive substance
• Spare tire
• First aid kit
• Flashlight
• Flares
• Battery jumper cables
• Blankets
• Emergency drink or snack
• Extra coat or boots

Even though we have cell phones to call for help, it is still good to be prepared because you never know if your service will go down or your phone will be inoperable.  So stay prepared and let us help take care of your car so that your chances will be lesser in case.

We Love Saab

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Steven Beckley, Beckley Automotive and Beckley Imports

Like many of our customers, we love Saab. If you wonder how you can keep your Saab alive and well, now that they are out of production, we can help. At Beckley Imports, we have the tools and training to maintain the health and vitality of your Saab for years to come. From general maintenance to repair work, we want to see your Saab on the road. Let us know how we can help make that happen. We welcome the opportunity to hear the story of your Saab. Please contact us if there are questions we can answer for you.