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Protect Your Battery in Iowa’s Summer Heat

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Protect Your Battery

When Mother Nature heats things up during the peak of Iowa summer, most people take action to keep cool. Consuming cold drinks, swimming, or cranking up your home’s air conditioner can help you stay cool. But your car doesn’t have that luxury, and that can cause problems for your battery.

battery care des moines iowa When you’re not driving it, your car is probably soaking up the sun in your driveway, in the parking lot at work or the store, or in your garage where it’s still hot. Too much exposure to direct sunlight can take a toll on your car’s paint job, but that’s the least of your worries when it’s hot and you’re in a hurry to get to work or pick up the kids from swimming lessons. Hot weather can take a toll on your car battery too. In fact, extreme heat is one of the most common factors that shorten the life of a car’s power source. Cold weather might keep it from firing and make the engine harder to start, but it’s not nearly as damaging as hot weather.

Sitting in the sun or a closed garage in 80-plus-degree weather causes fluids inside your battery to evaporate. Lack of fluid in the cells can cause permanent damage to the battery. If this happens, it can inadvertently overcharge, which slowly drains the life out of it. At first, your car might seem hard to start in hot weather. And then one day, you walk out the door into a blast of heat, put your key in the ignition and nothing happens.

Here are some things you can do to protect your car battery from exposure to hot weather:

  1. Have your entire electrical system checked to make sure it’s charging correctly. Overcharging or undercharging can shorten the life of your battery.
  1. Check the battery’s fluid levels. If any of the cells are empty or low, add distilled water. It’s a good idea to check battery fluid levels regularly during hot weather.
  1. If you need a new battery, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to get the right battery for optimal performance.
  1. Keep the battery, cables, and terminals clean. Dirt and grime can drain your battery and prevent it from working properly.

Need to give your battery a check-up? Let Beckley Imports help you keep all your car’s performance systems in top shape! Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click HERE to schedule an appointment online.

Pushing Limits Can Cause Fuel Pump Damage

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Pushing The Limits

When it comes to performance vehicles like BMW and Mercedes, drivers like pushing limits – racing RPM, red-lining, and testing suspension and speeds. But there are some limits set for your car you shouldn’t test. If you’re the kind of driver that pushes the limit on all of your vehicle’s systems, like your fuel pump, you may be in for trouble.

fuel pump replacement des moines iowaAlthough it’s exhilarating to drive with the fuel gauge flirting with “E” with ten miles to go as your spouse stresses out in the passenger seat, it takes a toll on your car’s fuel system. Save yourself from future problems and visits to the shop by knowing when to draw the line on your gas tank.

Vehicles have fuel level warning lights to give you a warning before your car runs out of gas. It’s simply a buffer to remind you of how far you have until you have no other option but to fill up or walk home.

The gas light also serves as a red flag. It’s telling you you’ve crossed the line. According to most driver manuals, 1/2 tank should be considered low and 1/4 full is the time to top it off again. Not only will it prevent you from experiencing that small panic of not making it to the next stop, but your car’s fuel system will also see better life.

By letting your gas tank go lower than suggested, you are more likely to burn out your fuel pump. It’s an expensive price to pay and an inconvenience when you take it into the shop.

The mechanical parts of a fuel pump are lubricated by fuel which travel through the pump. When the fuel level is low, air is drawn into the pump. Similar to running an engine without oil, too much air can damage the fuel pump if it isn’t properly lubricated.

Debris is likely to sit at the bottom of a fuel tank but when the fuel level is low, the debris has a better chance of entering the pump and plugging the fuel filters which, in turn, damages the pump.

The flashing and dinging of the gas light should be your ultimate last warning, however it’s better to take precautions and fill up sooner rather than later. Pull over when you can and make it a priority to save you time and money by filling up.

For more information on how you can get the performance you want from your car while protecting your finely tuned systems, give us a call at 515-243-8185, schedule an appointment online HERE, or stop by our convenient downtown shop at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

 

Flat Tire Challenge

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Flat Tire

flat tire challengeNo one wants to get a flat tire. But it’s bound to happen at some point if you drive a car. If you walk into any tire store, you’re likely to see a jar full of nails, bolts, pieces of metal, and other objects that punctured someone’s tire and caused a slow hard-to-find leak or a full-on blowout. If something like that happens to you, 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 quickly getting back on the road is to change your tire.

You’re probably not going to break any tire-changing records unless you’re already a pit crew professional. But if you’re prepared, you’ll be back on the road in no time. So before you you have to deal with a flat tire, Take the Flat Tire Challenge to ready yourself for the day you hear that unmistakable hissing noise or the thump-thump-thump of a punctured 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 or under 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 the flat tire on your car.
  • 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 needed to change a flat. You might find out that 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 stranded on the side of the road. Take the Flat 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.

Did you pass the Flat Tire Challenge? If you’re looking for new tires, need routine maintenance or any kind of auto repair, call Beckley Imports at 515-243-8185 or simply schedule an appointment online HERE. Our trusted, expert technicians will have you back on the road in no time!

All About Paintless Dent Repair

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paintless dent repair, door dent, car door ding repair, paintless dent removalThere’s nothing worse than walking out to your car from a successful grocery trip, only to find a fresh dent in the side of your vehicle and a shopping cart sitting idly by. Outside of the frustration that sets in, now you have a noticeable ding on your vehicle that becomes the first thing you see every single time you walk up to the car. No, it doesn’t prevent you from driving it, but it’s still what instantly attracts your attention. So, if you’re ready to take care of your dent, paintless dent repair may be the best option for you. So no matter the make or model, Beckley Imports is able to work with you and your dented vehicle.

What Is Paintless Dent Repair

One of the biggest issues with correcting a dent is matching paint. Every factory provides a paint code for the color used on your vehicle. However, every factory also uses a slightly different shade and color combination. This means a red from GM is not going to match a red for Porsche. This can make matching paint colors tricky. If your vehicle did not sustain any damage to the paint though, it may be possible to avoid matching paint and instead focus on pulling out the dent.

Pulling Out the Dent

Dent removal can vary in terms of how the dent is pulled out. If you drive a new Ford F-150 that is built out of heavy-duty aluminum there is a strong chance you may need to have the entire panel removed. While there are benefits to aluminum, including a drop off in weight, one of the biggest problems is aluminum does not return to its original shape. Other times, the size of the dent and location may play a role in its ability to be pulled out or if it needs a filler. Typically though, the dent can be pulled back into position.

With a suction cup system, the cup is placed on the dent and pulled out. As long as the vehicle did not sustain any kind of structural breakage within the paneling, it should pop right back into its original position, without showing any signs of damage. If you’ve never thought about paintless dent repair, the process can save you time and money, especially when performed by an expert, like the team at Beckley Imports.

Beckley’s detailing and paintless dent repair team is one of the best in town. There’s no need to keep driving around with that annoying, unsightly dent in your otherwise gorgeous vehicle. Let us quickly pull out that dent and no one will even know it was there!

No matter the make or model, the expert technicians at Beckley Imports have the equipment, the knowledge and the experience to service your vehicle. Call our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule your appointment online HERE at your convenience.

How Do You Know What Your Check Engine Light Means?

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your check engine lightIt’s happened to all of us. Driving down the road, listening to your favorite music, when all of a sudden your check engine light pops onto the dash. Naturally, a million different things instantly run through your head. What if the engine is shot and you have to replace it? Would it be better to replace the engine or buy a new car? How much is this going to cost? Is there really something wrong with the vehicle? As long as you take care of your vehicle, the chances of it being a substantial engine problem is low, but you still need to take your vehicle in for a good check up. Here is what you need to know about your check engine light and what it means for your vehicle.

Owner’s Manual

It is important to keep your vehicle’s owner’s manual in the glove compartment at all times. This way, you can check to see what kind of an issue you might be having. If you own a new vehicle, your check engine light may be accompanied with a computer code. You can look this code up to determine what kind of servicing you need. There’s a chance you only require an oil change or more coolant.

Different Lights

Most vehicles have two different check engine lights. One is a lighter, orangish-yellow color while the other is a deep red-amber. The lighter color means you have some time before you need to make a service appointment, but you should still do something in the near future. If your check engine light is red, the problem is likely more significant and you need to take your vehicle to the garage right away. Failure to do so may result in additional damage to the engine.

Let the Auto Mechanics Help

The issue with a check engine light that doesn’t include a code is that there are dozens of potential issues or minor inconveniences that might come up. This is why you need a professional mechanic to help. Just like looking up physical symptoms online, trying to diagnose your own engine problem can either miss a potentially serious issue or blow a minor one out of proportion and cause you a ton of unnecessary stress.

It doesn’t matter if you drive a Porsche Boxster, a Ram 1500 or a Chevy Cruise – when it comes to excellent service and quality car care, Beckley Automotive is your one stop shop. At Beckley Automotive, we are here to help with your check engine light or any other issues! Call us at 515-243-8185 or set up an appointment online HERE for your vehicle today!

Keep Your Anti-Lock Brakes in Tip Top Shape

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anti-lock brakesWhether you’re old enough to remember the days before anti-lock brakes or if you had the privilege of driving such a hand-me-down vehicle, you understand the importance of fully functioning anti-lock brakes – especially in a crazy Iowa winter. These brakes may be the difference between your vehicle skidding off the side of the road during a heavy rain and you remaining safe and sound in the vehicle. That is why it is important to bring your vehicle into Beckley Automotive in order to keep your anti-lock brakes in top shape.

Brake Pedal Not Responding

Should your brake pedal not respond you need to bring your vehicle in right away. This may be due to an issue with the anti-lock brake system, your brake pads may be worn down or there simply is another problem all together. It is not safe to drive your vehicle with a faulty brake system, so have your vehicle brought into Beckley right away.

The ABS Light

There’s nothing worse than seeing a new warning light on your dash. It isn’t the fact that you need work done but the fact that you may not know what the problem is. If your ABS might pops on you need to bring your vehicle in. Some vehicles have the light pop on to remind you of general maintenance, while other lights come on when there is a growing issue. Some vehicles also have the light turn orange as a warning while a red light means you need to service it right away. Always consult your owner’s manual for dash lights, but also make sure to bring the vehicle in to have it checked.

Locked Brakes

The entire purpose of your anti-lock brake system is to prevent the brakes from locking up. So, if you are experiencing this very issue it is time to bring your vehicle into the shop. This means there is a problem with the anti-lock brake system that requires immediate assistance.

Whether you drive a dated Saab, a brand new Chevrolet SUV or have been holding onto that Jeep for some time, all your vehicle needs can be handled at Beckley Automotive. Resolving an issue or just a general inspection, everything can be taken care of on the spot with expert technicians and the most up-to-date equipment.

When you’re in need of expert auto care, contact Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185, visit the shop at 901 8th Street in downtown Des Moines, or set up a service appointment online HERE.

Trust Your Mercedes Benz Maintenance to the Experts at Beckley Automotive

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mercedes benz maintenanceMercedes Benz is designed not only for comfort and luxury but for style and performance. So, if your Mercedes isn’t functioning as it should, you need to have it looked at by an expert right away. No two models are the same, but when it comes to working with high-end luxury imports, you need an auto mechanic with the knowledge and experience to work on such a precision vehicle. Beckley Automotive specializes in all models, including German imports, so if you’re having trouble with your Benz, stop by the shop today to see if one of these common issues could be causing the trouble.

Electrical Issues

Some of the most common problems with modern vehicles, including the Mercedes Benz, lies in the electrical system. So much in a Mercedes Benz is regulated by the computer that if even a small hiccup occurs, entire systems may start to falter. The correction to this might be anything from a firmware update to replacing a small regulator within the vehicle. The good part about relying so much on computer systems is diagnosing problems and locating issues is much easier.

Avoid Non Import Shops

One problem you may experience has nothing to do with your vehicle but more to do with where you take it. While most vehicles run in a very similar way, maintenance of a Mercedes is different enough from a domestic vehicle it can cause some confusion with an inexperienced mechanic. From a change in how the oil is changed to locating the coolant drain valve, nearly everything is slightly different. So only trust an experienced team of auto mechanics with demonstrated certifications on working with Mercedes vehicles.

Engine Mounts

Have you ever noticed just how much smoother a ride in a Mercedes is over other vehicles? One reason is because the engine mounts are oil filled, which helps absorb vibrations given off by the engine. Over time, these mounts can lose oil or begin to fail. This translates to an unusual amount of vibration and feedback in the cabin of your Mercedes. If your ride isn’t as smooth as a Mercedes is built to be, let the team at Beckley’s take a look.

When it comes to Mercedes Benz maintenance, your vehicle should only be serviced by trained mechanics with Mercedes Benz expertise. At Beckley Automotive, you’ll find a team of mechanics who have the necessary training, certifications and experience to work on and restore your vehicle.

Whether you’re having an electrical issue, are suffering engine problems or there’s another issue all together, contact Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185, stop by the shop at 901 8th Street in downtown Des Moines, or schedule your Mercedes Benz maintenance online HERE today.

Diesel Engine Maintenance 101

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diesel engine maintenance, performance diesel engineDiesel engines come with an assortment of benefits – and issues – you don’t see with a traditional unleaded engine. When properly taken care of, diesel engines often last far longer, and diesel engines can produce more power, which helps trucks tow more. Vehicles with diesel engines also experience a greater fuel economy, but don’t do well in colder climates. Diesel engine maintenance does differ from your standard engine. So whether you recently purchased a BMW diesel or own a Ram 2500 diesel, make sure to follow these standard diesel engine maintenance tips.

  1. Change the Air Filter
    You need to keep your engine free of debris in any vehicle, but diesel engines need a new air filter at least once a year. Your air filter is one of the easiest tasks you can perform on the vehicle yourself. Simply pop the hood, pull out the current air filter and pop in a new one. If you have a performance air filter that is reusable you may want some help. These can prove a bit tricky to secure back into place after cleaning.
  2. Change the Oil Regularly
    If you change your own oil make sure to stay on top of this. Because diesel fuel isn’t as refined as gasoline, the oil gets dirtier faster. Stay on top of regular oil changes (don’t let it linger) and make sure to change the oil filter at the same time (the filter should be designed for diesel engines).
  3. Bleed the Fuel System
    Diesel engines run hotter. When changing the oil some air will likely find its way into the engine. This can prove especially damaging if left inside the engine. In order to remove the air from the diesel engine you need to bleed the fuel system using the air bleed plug on your engine. If you change your own oil you should have no problem releasing this plug, allowing the air to push out, and then tightening it up. If you don’t change your own oil, make sure to verify the service station bleeds the system.

No matter what make or model vehicle you own, if a diesel engine powers it, you need to practice proper diesel engine maintenance. Beyond what you can do on your own, make sure to bring your vehicle into Beckley Auto. With technicians trained and certified to work on diesel engines, all of your maintenance and larger repairs can be done here.

Whether you have a question about available services or you are ready to schedule an appointment, contact Beckley Auto and rest assured that you are receiving the best diesel engine maintenance service in Des Moines!

Car Battery Troubleshooting Tips

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car battery troubleshooting

Car battery problems can range from extremely simple to head-scratching confusing. In fact, some engine problems have nothing to do with the battery at all, but with the alternator or another part of the vehicle all together. No matter what make or model car you currently drive, it’s important to understand basic universal car battery troubleshooting.

Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your Battery Soon

It’s always better to fix an issue before it turns into a problem such as getting stranded with a dead battery. Thankfully, a dying battery typically puts out a host of different signs. How do you know it’s your battery? First, if you notice it takes your car a few revs before kicking to life, it is a clear sign you need a new battery. If you notice leaking from around the battery, see it is swelling or has a low power level when testing, these are all signs to replace your battery. At the very least, have your battery performance tested every three years which tends to be the typical life of a car battery.

Following are some car battery troubleshooting clues that may not be the battery at all:
  • Nothing Happens When You Turn the Key
    If you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens at all, it means the battery is dead. If there are no lights, signs of the radio, buzzes or anything else, the vehicle is not receiving any power. Charge the battery if you can and bring it into Beckley Auto. Our experienced technicians will be able to tell if it’s the battery, the electrical system, or another component causing the problem.
  • Car Can’t Turn Over
    If you have some power – like dim and fading lights or a clicking noise – but the engine just doesn’t catch when turning the key, it probably isn’t a battery problem at all. Car batteries aren’t meant to provide long-term power. The alternator’s job is to keep replenishing the juice to the battery while the car is running. If you can jumpstart the car but it dies again shortly after removing the cables, a faulty alternator is most likely the culprit.
  • Car Battery Smells BAD
    If your vehicle smells like rotten eggs, it means the battery is leaking. Using an alkaline like baking soda, carefully clean off the battery engine and see if this does the trick. If it continues to leak, it is time to replace the battery.

Car battery troubleshooting is pretty simple, no matter what make and model. If you suspect you have a bad battery, schedule an appointment online HERE or call our service department at 515.243.8185 today. Our experienced and trained technicians will get your vehicle running as good as new!

Watch for These Signs of Heating System Issues

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heating system, beckley autoLiving in Iowa, you know the importance of having a vehicle with heat. Navigating the streets through fall, winter and spring without a heated vehicle is not only uncomfortable but potentially dangerous. This is why you need to stay on top of your car’s heating system. If you notice any of the following heating system issues make sure to bring it into Beckley Auto and get it taken care of right away.

  • Low Coolant Level

    Sufficient coolant is essential during Iowa winter months. Antifreeze serves several purposes such as protecting against corrosion and scale build-up as well as keeping water from freezing in winter and boiling in summer. You can check your own antifreeze level when the engine is cool and has been sitting overnight. If you end up adding coolant, check levels at least once a week to ensure there isn’t a leak somewhere.

  • Damaged Thermostat

    A damaged thermostat can lead to serious engine problems. This is a small, inexpensive part, yet it helps control the flow of coolant into the engine in order to keep it at an optimal running temperature. If your coolant level is fine yet your vehicle is cold, that could indicate a damaged thermostat.

  • Plugged Heater Core

    Over time, the vehicle’s heater core can collect debris. This will block the flow of coolant. When the heater core is plugged the only option you have is to replace it. Ideally, when replacing the heater core it is a good idea to flush the coolant system as well. This will push out any debris, bleed out any air pockets and help restore your vehicle’s ability to heat the interior of the cabin.

  • Heater Control Valve Gone Bad

    Most heater control valves use a vacuum system. If this system is damaged or remains on constantly it will prevent coolant from circulating through the heater core.

  • Electrical Issues

    From a blown motor to damaged wiring, an electrical system malfunction is another potential culprit behind your lack of heat.

You need a strong heating system to make it through the crazy Iowa weather from October through April. It is always a good idea to test out the heater before winter is in full force. This way, you have time to correct the problem before having proper heat is of the utmost importance.

Whether for your heating system or another issue, bring your BMW, Jaguar or any make to Beckley Auto. Our expert mechanics will have your vehicle working correctly in no time! Feel free to contact our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule maintenance today.