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Stop Your Car From Overheating

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If you’ve ever driven a car prone to overheating, constantly seems to be low on coolant, or has an unknown problem with the radiator, hoses, thermostat, or other components that help keep your engine cool, there’s rarely a happy ending. All too often, overheating happens when you’re on a road trip, a long way from a service station, or out of cell phone range. But with the right maintenance and a little diligence, keeping your car from overheating is easier than you think.

car overheating des moines iowaKeeping your car from overheating by keeping its radiator and cooling system in working order is important for engine performance and reliability. When your car’s cooling system is working properly, the thermostat gauge in your car should be about in the middle between hot and cold. Your car’s engine performs best when it runs at a moderate temperature. An engine that runs too hot or cold causes more wear and tear on plastic parts, decreases efficiency, and spits out more pollution in the exhaust.

Simple inspection and maintenance practices can keep your radiator and cooling system working properly and stop your car from overheating. Here are some things you can do to check on your cooling system:

  • Examine rubber hoses for cracks or missing rings where the hoses attach to the radiator or engine.
  • Make sure the rubber gasket on the radiator cap is creating a proper seal.
  • Monitor your thermostat while driving to make sure your engine is running at a moderate heat.
  • Inspect the coolant level in the reservoir.
  • Look for coolant leaks where you park your car.

If you take these preventive measures to monitor your car’s radiator and cooling system, you’ll be more likely to identify warning signs of a problem. Cracked hoses or a failed gasket need to be replaced. An engine running too hot or too cold, is an indicator of a radiator problem. And if coolant seems to be evaporating, you may have a leak or poorly performing radiator. Taking care of these kinds of problems you can identify on your own, can keep you from getting stranded and prevent your car from overheating.

Need help giving your radiator and cooling system a checkup? 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.

Scheduled Maintenance Helps Your Car Last Longer

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Drive off the dealer’s lot with a new car, and you should be feeling pretty good about your new ride. That new-car smell, nice seats and interior, new tires, a problem-free engine, and peak performance for all the other systems in your vehicle can give you peace of mind and improve your driving experience. But your car still requires regular scheduled maintenance.

scheduled maintenance bmw mercedesIf you’re as serious as we are about taking care of your car and getting the most out of that investment, reading through the owner’s manual is a good place to start. There’s more to learn in that little book than you might realize. It’s got all the how-to details about the controls in your car, and most also include a recommended factory-service maintenance plan.

Too many new-car owners don’t pay attention to the scheduled maintenance recommended for their car. If you’ve ever balked at the replace-your-oil-ever-3,000-miles recommendation, you’re not alone (even we advise some vehicles extend the mileage based on the engine and oil type). Ignore recommendations to save a few bucks and time may not seem like a big deal at first. After all, cars are engineered a lot better today than they were even a few years ago. The trouble is that over time, all the wear and tear on your car from driving to and from work, around town, and on vacation, eventually takes its toll.

All too often, we find ourselves working on cars that require major repairs that could have been prevented by following the recommended scheduled maintenance, usually every 30,000 miles. So what’s so great about regular maintenance? It’s a lot like getting an annual physical from your doctor meant to detect and treat any issues before a small problem becomes something chronic. When you bring your car in, we it up to a computer that scans all the systems in your vehicle to identify potential problems.

Based on the results along with your car’s mileage and performance, and scheduled maintenance recommendations created by the Motorist Assurance Program, we can create a tailored plan designed to help your car last longer, maximize performance, and potentially save you from the expense of costly and preventable repairs down the road. We’ll help you understand what maintenance recommendations are most important and help you prioritize any service and repairs.

When you buy a car, new or used, you want it to last and be problem-free. The best way to do that is by following the factory service maintenance recommendations. If you can’t find your car owner’s manual or locate service recommendations for your make and model online, we can help. We’ve got access to the factory service maintenance recommendations for most cars, both foreign and domestic.

Ready for regular maintenance to prolong the life of your car? 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.

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.

 

 

5 Signs Your Car May Have Pothole Damage

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If you’ve been excited to see the winter snow melt in Des Moines, you’re not alone. After all , we had some seriously cold-weather days, some heavy snow storms, and plenty of snow and ice-covered roads that contributed to a long list of traffic accidents.

pothole damageBut just because most of the snow is gone, doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing through spring and summer. Why? Because there’s a good change you drove your car through some rough patches of ice during the winter. And now that the snow is gone, there are plenty of potholes around to still do some serious damage to your car.

Driving through a pothole is unmistakable. With even a little speed, it feels like you’re off-roading, which isn’t exactly what sedans and minivans were designed to do. Potholes can damage the shocks and struts your car uses to cushion you from bumps in the road. Plowing through potholes can also damage suspension, alignment, tires, steering, and braking.

Think your car might have been beat up by one too many potholes? Here’s five telltale signs your car has pothole damage:

  1. When you turn, it feels like the car is moving more than you want it to.
  2. When you step on the brakes, the front end of your car moves downward.
  3. Your car feels like it’s sliding or out of control when driving on roughs roads with a lot of twists and turns.
  4. You frequently hit bottom when driving over speed bumps or other small bumps in the road that didn’t cause a problem in the past.
  5. When you look at a side profile of your car from the outside, it’s lower in the front than the back, instead of parallel.

When your car has battled it out with potholes (not uncommon in Des Moines), you might not always notice a problem with performance right away. But damage from potholes only gets worse over time. If your car demonstrates any of these telltale signs of pothole damage, schedule your car for an inspection or give us a call at 515-243-8185. We’ll make any necessary repairs to keep your car running properly and keep you safe when you’re on the road.

Knock, Knock… Is It Your Engine Knocking?

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If everyone could afford to drive a new car, most probably would. Hearing a brand new, perfectly-tuned engine is almost a magical sound (even if you’re not a mechanic). But the reality is that you’re not going to be able to replace your car as often as you wish. That means your car is bound to tally up some miles, experience some wear and tear, and need regular maintenance.

engine knock service des moines iowaSo what happens when you start up your car and hear a knocking sound coming from under the hood? Do you ignore it and keep on driving, hoping it will go away? Do you pop the hood and try to identify where the knocking is coming from? Or do you take your car to the shop right away?

While we prefer the latter, some times the simplicity of changing the way you drive and maintain your car can help.

3 Ways to Fix Engine Knocking

Engine knocking is nothing to ignore. It’s typically caused by a bad mix of fuel and air needed to power the engine. When the gasoline in your engine burns unevenly, it creates a kind of “POP” shock-wave that makes the knocking sound. Run your car for very long with this kind of problem, and it can cause serious engine damage.

The good news is that, in some cases, there’s a simple fix to the problem. Here’s the three things we recommend when you hear your engine making knocking sounds.

  1. Fill up with premium unleaded. The typical low-grade and least expensive gasoline at the pump may be the problem. If you normally use this type of gas, fill up with premium unleaded next time. Higher-octane fuel can often help correct a knocking engine.
  1. Add fuel detergent. Pour in detergent in your dishwasher or washing machine, and it helps clean the dishes and clothes. Fuel detergent works the same way. Most gasolines include some fuel detergent, but if your engine is knocking, you may need something a little stronger. Kind of like using the stain-buster detergent when you want to get some grass or grease stains out of clothes. Adding the right fuel detergent can help remove carbon build-up that could be part of the knocking problem.
  1. Replace spark plugs. If your car has ever been serviced, it’s possible the original spark plugs were replaced with the wrong ones. They may still fire, but not the way they should. Making sure the right spark plugs are installed for your car can often help silence the knocking.

These are a few basic do-it-yourself strategies to consider if you hear knocking sounds coming from your engine. Troubleshoot it yourself or bring it in for an inspection. Fixing the source of a knocking engine sound sooner than later can save you time and money.

Beckley Imports works on all make and models of cars. From BMW to Ford and everything in-between. If a knock or other strange sounds are starting to concern you, call our team of professional technicians at 515-243-8185 or click here to schedule your car for service.  After over 30 years in the industry, we’re darn certain we’ll be able to clear it up and get you back on the road quickly.

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!