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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.

Paintless Dent Removal is Painless to Your Budget

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paintless dent removal, dent repair des moines, auto detailing and paintless dent removalFall in the Midwest can be temperate, hot and sweltering, cold and windy, or severely stormy – and usually in the same week. With volatile weather like Iowa can see during the spring and autumn, thunderstorms with damaging hail are not out of the question. But storms aren’t the only threat to your car’s body in the fall; the rising and setting sun seems to glare brighter during those crucial rush hour drive times. Being blinded by the sun happens far more often than we’d like to think about, and cars and shopping carts and even parking barriers seem to pop up out of nowhere.

Door dings and fender benders can happen at any time of year, but once that damage is done, your best bet is to get it fixed right away before deeper damage occurs. With winter bearing down on Des Moines drivers, now is the perfect time to take steps that will protect your investment and maintain your vehicle’s value. Paintless dent removal done by the experts at Beckley Automotive can save you time, money and worry.

Paintless Dent Removal is a method of dent repair that doesn’t alter your auto’s paint job. Not all dents qualify for this non-invasive treatment, but minor dings and dents can be removed from your car’s body with little drama.

Some other benefits of Paintless Dent Removal:

  • Saves you money. For smaller dents that are less than an inch, prices are usually exceptionally reasonable. Dents that are easy to reach, like hail damage on a car’s hood, are even easier on the checkbook.
  • Saves you time. No one likes to be without their car for long at all, and paintless dent removal can usually be done within a day. Even if there are multiple dents that are deeper or wider and require a little more time, this method will still take far less time than traditional repair.
  • Saves your insurance premium. Dent repair and removal can cost a pretty penny if done traditionally. You don’t want to pay your own cash for it, so you claim it on your auto insurance, which can cause premiums to go up. But with Paintless Dent Removal, the cost is often less than your insurance premium, which means you don’t have to claim it, which means you won’t be paying more for your insurance to fix a couple dings. Plus, these slight damages won’t show up on vehicle history reports, which will help you when it comes time to sell.
  • Saves the environment. Because there is almost no need to use paints or solvents, Paintless Dent Removal doesn’t release harmful toxins into the air. Some other auto repair methods rely on products that contain environmentally dangerous chemicals.
  • Saves your original paint and your car’s value. If you plan on selling your car – ever – the value of your vehicle can drop if you don’t have the original paint. If you can maintain your vehicle’s original exterior paint and finish, your resale value will get a tremendous boost. Paintless Dent Removal helps you get the most from your investment.

Beckley has a dedicated Detailing and Paintless Dent Removal department to meet your minor repair needs. Our experts have the knowledge, the training and the experience to remove those small dings and dents and even to refinish scratched wheels. Don’t trust your car’s exterior to anyone else!

Bring your car to our dent removal artists and learn for yourself why Beckley Automotive is the best in Des Moines! Schedule an appointment online HERE, call our service department at 515-243-8185, or stop by our convenient Downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street.

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.

Is It Time to Replace Your Shocks and Struts?

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shocks and struts, beckley automotive suspension repairsDes Moines roads are generally less than smooth-riding, and are definitely inconsistent. Have you ever found yourself cruising down a straight-away at a good clip when you suddenly realize the road ahead is torn up and full of potholes? Rough roads can do a number on your car – especially your shocks and struts. While most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 15,000-30,000 miles, that estimate changes if you haul heavy loads or regularly drive on rough roads with potholes, bumps or washboard ridges. So how do you know when you really need to get new shocks and struts?

There are a few clues to let you know when you need to bring your vehicle into Beckley Automotive for a suspension system check. These are just a few:

  • Nose Dive  Does the front end of your car dip down when you stop? Although it can feel like your car is going to flip end-over-end, it really won’t. But there can be associated safety issues like longer stopping distance or steering issues that need to be considered.
  • Squatting  On the other end of the car you may notice something called “squatting”. This is when you accelerate from a stop and your front end rises slightly off the ground. It looks cool in car racing movies, but it’s a bad thing in real life.
  • Excessive Bounce Do you bottom out on railroad tracks or speed bumps – and then continue bouncing your way down the road? Here’s a test: Push down on each corner of your vehicle (SUVs can be tricky). Does it continue bouncing after you let go? Get your shocks and struts checked.
  • Sways and Leans  If you fear tipping sideways when you turn a corner or change lanes, you may need look at your suspension. Other things you might notice that should give you pause include poor steering, steering wheel stiffness or noise when turning the steering wheel.
  • Visible Wear  Check your tires for unusual wear patterns like “cupping” which is when a tire shows scalloped dips around one side of the tread. You can always get under your car and find your struts and shocks – are there dents, cuts or leaks?

Shocks and struts wear out gradually, so you may not really notice any of the above issues. There won’t be a particular moment that your vehicle’s ride gets bouncy or “loose.” You just get used to the changes little by little until they’re part of your driving experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you suspect you need your shocks and struts looked at by an expert, bring your auto into Beckley Automotive. You can make an appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515.243.8185, or stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street.

Protect Your Warranty With Beckley Automotive

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scheduled maintenance, protect your warranty, car warranty, auto warrantyOne of the great things about buying a new car is the warranty. Knowing that the manufacturer will stand behind the quality of the products they make helps take some of the stress out of the purchase. But there is some confusion about how, exactly, to use the warranty and what will truly negate it. How can you protect your warranty?

If the dealership tries to tell you that you have to bring the vehicle to them for maintenance and repairs, they may be committing a crime. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act established in 1975 makes it illegal for dealers or manufacturers to say that the warranty will be voided or denied if anyone but the dealer does the work. You can take your vehicle to any independent mechanic, retail chain shop or do the work yourself without negating the warranty. Of course, the manufacturer or dealer can require the use of specific facilities if the services are to be done without a charge to the consumer under the warranty.

How can you avoid problems with the warranty? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, there are a few steps you can follow to avoid issues:

  • Read Your Warranty: It’s important to know what it covered and what isn’t before repairs are needed. The warranty is usually in with the owner’s manual and will provide specific details of the warranty so there aren’t any surprises down the road. Most manufacturer websites will have an owner’s manual available online if you happen to misplace the one that came with your car.
  • Know Your Warranty Period: Warranties DO have an expiration – either a number of years or a number of miles. It’s important to know the time limits of your warranty so you can be certain to get problems corrected in plenty of time.
  • Service Regularly: While regular service is a good idea in any case, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule to be certain you are following the parameters of the warranty.
  • Keep All Service Records and Receipts: Whether it’s an oil change, new brake pads, tire rotations or a major repair, create a file to track all repairs and maintenance. If you have to take advantage of your warranty, it will be in your favor to be able to prove that you took care of the vehicle.
  • Fight For Your Warranty: In some cases, a warranty claim may be denied unfairly. If you feel this is the case, ask to speak with a supervisor or go to the manufacturer or another dealer. You can also file a complaint with your state Attorney General or the FTC if service is denied arbitrarily.

Beckley Automotive has been servicing domestic and European vehicles for over 30 years. Our technicians are ASE and Bosch certified and are well-trained in all the latest diagnostic and service tools. You can rest assured that our team will protect your warranty and your investment with integrity.

Do you have a question or concern about your car’s maintenance? Are you needing a repair estimate or a pre-purchase inspection? Contact Beckley Automotive today at 515-243-8185 or conveniently schedule an appointment online!

New Audi Brings Luxury and Fun Together

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Audi a4 Allroad, audi care des moines

Image courtesy of caranddriver.com

This fall, a new Audi beauty will roll out for all you car enthusiasts who appreciate functionality as well as comfort and luxury.

The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad wagon will become available in the fall of 2016 after a fantastic showing at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. With the A4 sedan’s redesigned 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and an impressive 252 hp, this upgrade of the 2016 Allroad will meet all expectations of Audi fans. Some of the best features of this gem include:

  • Standard quattro all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance
  • Redesigned five-link suspension for better maneuvering on curves and off-road
  • Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and five drive-select modes
  • Standard leather seating, panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control

The 2017 Audi Allroad wagon will also provide more cargo room than the A4 sedan and offers options like Audi side assist and pre-sense rear in the Prestige models. If you’re thinking of picking up this new Audi this fall, you’re looking at a price tag of anywhere from $44,950 to over $52,000.

Whether you bring this baby home in the fall or if you have an older Audi, Beckley Automotive is your leading Audi care experts! From batteries and electrical systems to brakes and suspension to a simple oil change, Beckley is your one-stop shop for all things automotive repair and service!

Schedule your appointment online today, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or stop by our convenient downtown location at 901 8th Street!

Are You Up to a Flat Tire Challenge?

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flat tire des moines, spare tireNo one wants to get a flat tire. But it’s bound to happen at some point in time, especially between May and October when temperatures are higher, people are driving faster and farther, and cars are loaded down with extra road-trippers and gear. Walk into any tire store, and you’ll probably see a jar full of nails, bolts, pieces of metal, and other objects that punctured a tire and caused a slow hard-to-find leak or a full-on blowout. When that happens, your first order of business is to pull the car over to the side of the road to a safe location. After that, your best bet for getting back on the road the fastest is to change your tire.

You’re probably not going to break the 1.92-second record set at the Grand Prix of Europe, not even to change ONE tire. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be back on the road in no time. So before you end up with a flat tire, gear up with a flat tire challenge to get ready for the day you hear that unmistakable hissing noise or the thump-thump-thump of a flattened tire. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Take a minute to locate the spare tire in your car. In many cars, it’s a small tire affectionately known as the “donut.” It might be under a layering of flooring in the trunk of your car or bolted to the bottom of your car on the outside. Some trucks and SUVs provide easier access to the spare tire with it mounted on the back.
  2. Locate the jack and tire iron. Most cars have some kind of brackets, casing, fabric bag, or both to keep these items together. And they’re usually located near the spare tire. Remove these tools and retrieve the spare tire.
  3. Practice changing your tire. There’s no better way to prepare for changing a flat tire than learning how to do it before it happens.
    • Make sure your car is in a flat location away from traffic and set the parking brake.
    • Use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts on one tire on your car while the tire is still on the ground.
    • Place the jack under the frame of your car, and jack it up until the tire clears the ground.
    • Remove the lug nuts and the tire.
    • Put your spare tire on and replace the lug nuts with your fingers.
    • Use the jack to lower the car back to the ground, and then tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Doing this ahead of time forces you to get familiar with where your spare tire is located, along with using the tools you need to change a flat. You might find out that part of the tools you need are missing, your spare is flat, or worse, you don’t even have a spare. But it’s better to find that out during a planned exercise than when you’re on the road. You can bet that the Williams Formula 1 Team practiced changing tires hundreds of times to get the process down to 1.92 seconds. Take the Spare Tire Challenge, and you’ll be well-prepared to deal with a flat when it happens. You can even use a timer to see how long it takes.

Whether you’re planning a summer road-trip or just need an oil change and a good once-over for your car, Beckley Automotive has you covered! Make an appointment online HERE, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street!

Beckley Auto Tips – Five Preventable Car Repairs

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Even if you’re a smart money planner and have a special fund to pay for car repairs, there’s a good chance you’d rather spend the money on something else. Right? Cars do need regular maintenance and repairs from time to time.

car repiar tips des moinesWhether you drive 100 miles a week or 1,000 miles a week, wear and tear happens. But you can keep repair costs down by paying attention to a few things. In fact, some of the most common car repairs that we perform can be prevented. Like what? We’re glad you asked.

  1. Damaged Ignition Switch

If you’re driving a car with a remote starter, or press a button to fire up the engine, you probably won’t have this problem. But for everyone else who uses a key to start their car, take a good look at your keychain and everything you have dangling from it.

The most common reason for a damaged ignition switch is a heavy keychain. Is yours loaded with keys, a mini flashlight, lanyards, charms, and other stuff? A heavy keychain can pull on the gears inside the ignition switch, cause damage, or even cease up. The solution: Limit the amount of keys you carry with your car key.

  1. Power Steering Pump Problems

Ever turn the steering wheel hard to make a sharp turn and hear a squealing noise? It’s an indicator that something’s wrong with your car’s power steering. It could be a simple fix that requires topping of the power steering fluid reservoir. But if you’re cranking the wheel like that a lot, it can damage the power steering pump. The solution: Avoid making hard turns and turning the steering wheel too far.

  1. Rumbling Rotors

Rotors are part of your car’s braking system. And they can last a long time with proper care. But if you drive your car with brake pads that need to be replaced, you’ll damage the rotors. Worn out brake pads grind away at the rotors. How can you tell if the rotors are going bad? For drivers, the most obvious sign is rumbling or uneven braking, especially when you slow to a stop. The solution: Replace brake pads at the first sign of wear.

  1. Engine Trouble

It wasn’t that long ago that getting 100,000 miles out of a car was the norm. But that’s not the case anymore. Many of today’s cars can run for 200,000 miles or more without any major mechanical problems. But that’s only if you take care of your car. Too often, people neglect the most basic routine maintenance of car care: changing the oil. It’s often the source of serious engine problems and expensive repairs. The solution: Follow the manufacturer guidelines for regular oil changes for your car.

  1. Fuel Pump Failure

You try and start your car, but can seem to keep the engine running. Or you’re driving, when your car begins to sputter and stall. It happens, and a bad fuel pump is often the problem. Just like any other moving part, fuel pumps do wear out over time. What’s the main reason that causes fuel pump failure? Running your car on fumes. The solution: Avoid driving your car on an empty gas tank.

Routine maintenance, regular oil changes, and smart driving habits are the best ways to prevent car trouble. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

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.

 

Car-Trouble Clues Can Help With Diagnosis & Repair

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car repiar clues des moines iowa

Just because you’re not a mechanic doesn’t mean you can’t sleuth out some car-trouble clues. When you notice a problem with your vehicle, put your detective skills to work to find out more about what’s happening. When you bring your car into Beckley’s for service, let us know why you think your car needs repairs. Even the smallest detail can help us get your car back on the road faster.

car trouble repiar clues des moines iowaHere are a few things you can do before you bring your car in:

Read the Owner’s Manual for your vehicle
You might be surprised what kind of information the vehicle owner’s manual includes. In addition to basic maintenance recommendations, the owner’s manual includes information your car’s operating systems along with instructions on how to use all controls in your car. Most manual even include some basic trouble-shooting tips to solve simple problems.

Put Your Senses to Work
Your observational skills can identify important details that could be linked to the reason your car needs to be serviced. Put your senses to work and pay attention to things like:

  • Strange sounds from the engine, under the hood or inside the cabin
  • Trouble with acceleration, engine problems, changes in gas mileage or fluid levels
  • Poor tire tread, cracked or worn belts and hoses
  • Changes in steering performance and braking
  • In-dash warning lights and indicators

If you think your car has a problem, try to answer the following questions:

  • When did the problem first start?
  • Is the problem constant or intermittent?
  • Does the problem occur when the engine is cold, warm, or both?
  • Does the problem occur during acceleration, shifting, braking, driving slow, etc?

When You Bring Your Car in for Service
Do your best to describe the problem with your vehicle. Your observations will help our team of mechanics look for system failures that could be part of the problem.

If you’ve got a written record of when the problem started, along with notes about what you’ve observed, bring that along. Some people even provide an audio or video recording to demonstrate the problem with their vehicle.

Then let us do the rest. We’ll collect your information like evidence at a crime scene and use it to solve the problem. Our decades of experience and diagnostic tools will help us figure out what’s wrong and let you know what it will take to repair.

Please give Beckley Imports a call or visit our website to schedule your import or domestic car service appointment today.