Posts

How Do You Know What Your Check Engine Light Means?

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Car Air Conditioning Services Will Get You Ready for Summer

, , , , , , ,

car air conditioning servicesThere is nothing like a beautiful summer in Des Moines, whether you’re driving down the highway with your favorite music blasting or heading off to one of the nearby lakes for a weekend getaway. With so much fun to be had, you don’t want to put a damper on it with a non-functioning air conditioner. While the heat in your vehicle runs off of the engine block, the cool air must be generated and the process involves many more moving parts. Should your AC fail to live up to your expectations, it is important to seek out car air conditioning services from Beckley Automotive.

Coolant Flush

It’s always a good idea to flush the coolant once a year or so. The coolant helps prevent the engine from freezing in the winter and from overheating in the summer. If your coolant is low, the engine could get too hat and might cycle the air conditioner compressor off and on, alternating cold and warm air. Flushing the coolant will remove rust and sediment and replacing it can improve engine performance.

Recharge the Refrigerant

Is your AC blowing warm air on hot days? Your refrigerant might need to be recharged. It doesn’t take long to perform and you don’t need to spend money on new parts, which saves you money.

Freon Leak

Freon leaks usually don’t happen overnight. This is a slow leak, causing your AC temperature to slowly increase over time until you realize your vehicle is not cooling like it used to. Freon is the chemical used to cool the air in your vehicle and since most modern AC systems in vehicles are on the sensitive side, a loss of Freon can cause a substantial change in how your vehicle cools. Checking for a Freon leak and repairing it should correct your AC problems and ensure you fully enjoy your Iowa summer.

At Beckley Automotive, it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you drive, how old it is or how many miles it has on, we can work on it and have the expertise on hand to restore your AC’s functionality. When we’re done, it’ll likely feel cooler than it has in years.

No matter if you’re in need of a general tuneup, are interested in a car air conditioning services or you’ve reached your vehicle’s recommended maintenance point, call Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185 or schedule your appointment online today!

Check For These Common Vehicle Electrical Problems

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

vehicle electrical problemsVehicle electrical problems today are more and more common. As cars utilize new, innovative electronic systems on a daily basis, your car is more likely than ever before to run into an electrical issue. If you are running into problems with your vehicle’s electrical system, it’s important to take care of it sooner rather than later, as even a minor electric issue can turn into a much more serious situation quickly.

While some of these issues can prove rather intricate and extensive, there are some electrical problems you can look for yourself and possibly correct. Should your own vehicle electrical problems prove to be much more problematic, Beckley Auto is here to assist every step of the way.

Check The Fuses

Before any other troubleshooting, always check the fuses. Burned out and damaged fuses can cause cars to malfunction. If your radio goes out when you open the car door (while the vehicle is still running) it likely is a dead fuse. Consult your owner’s manual for the fuses associated with each system in the vehicle. Additionally, make sure the vehicle is turned off before checking the fuse.

Battery or Electrical System?

If the car doesn’t turn on at all it likely means the battery is dead. Having a battery tester on hand is always a good idea. This way you can determine if all you need is a charge. A great investment for your vehicle is a self-charge system. Such a device does not require another vehicle to jump. You simply charge the device every 30 days, then if your car battery dies you connect the one sided jumper cables and run your vehicle as you would a standard jump.

The Spark is Gone

Do you lose power as you switch gears? Does it feel like the gears aren’t engaging, lurching forward? Your internal combustion might not be, well, combusting. The culprit in this case is usually loose or old spark plugs and their cables. If you have the proper tools such as a ratchet, a torque wrench and a spark plug socket and gap gauge, changing your own spark plugs should take roughly an hour. But if you’ve never done it before or you aren’t certain spark plugs are the true problem, give Beckley Automotive a call.

At Beckley Auto, it doesn’t matter if you drive an older Saab or a new Land Rover, your vehicle electrical problems will be addressed quickly by our expert technicians.  Call Beckley Auto at 243-8185 or schedule an appointment online today.

Car Battery Troubleshooting Tips

, , , , , , , , ,

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!

Common Muffler Problem on Early 2000 Toyota

, , , ,

early 2000 toyota, toyota muffler problemToyota is one of the most respected auto companies on the planet. Between Toyota and Lexus, the vehicles are built to last. If you own one, chances are it is not your first, and more than likely it is not your last. While it may seem like the vehicle doesn’t run into as many problems as the competition, even the best designed vehicles have flaws. Have you noticed your early 2000 Toyota vehicle sounds loud, as if there is a problem with the muffler, but the muffler is still there, completely in tact? While not something that all models run into, this is something that occurs from time to time on Toyotas. At Beckley Auto, we can help correct the problem and return the vehicle back to its quiet, well running self.

The Problem

The issue at hand may be different for your particular vehicle, so it’s important to have your vehicle inspected to determine the problem. However, if there is a loud sound, as if there is no muffler on your vehicle, it usually is because an element in the car’s exhaust system is no longer there. If you follow the muffler, you’ll see where it connects to the exhaust  pipe. However, this is not just a straight pipe. There are a few connectors involved (without getting into overly technical terms).

On several Toyota models, two different kinds of metal are used in these connectors. While it makes for a secure, tight fit, when two different metals come in contact with one another, the metals are more likely to rust, which is why many plumbers will not connect different kinds of metal piping together. The crazy Iowa weather can certainly influence rusting, and this damages this particular connector part of the exhaust line, and it will eventually fall off.

The Toyota Repair

This repair simply requires a replacement part to get your early 2000 Toyota sounding as good as new and to get you back on the road. Beckley’s technicians are trained and experienced on pretty much any vehicle you can bring us, so you can rest assured you’ll receive the best service at the best price from the best in the business.

Whether you own a Toyota Corolla, a Lexus ES 350 or a Ford F-150, Beckley Automotive has you covered. Call our knowledgeable service department at 515.243.8185 with any questions or schedule your appointment online. We’ll get your vehicle running smoothly and on the road again.

What is an ASE Certified Technician?

, , ,

ASE certified techniciansHave you noticed Beckley Automotive’s “ASE Certified” signs or stickers displayed in the shop or on the website? You’ve probably wondered what that’s all about and what it means for you and your vehicle.

ASE – the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence –  offers consumers a way to find a reliable, knowledgeable auto technician. It’s hard to feel confident trusting your car to a new mechanic. How do you know he’ll be able to diagnose your car correctly AND have the ability to fix the problem once it’s found? ASE takes the guesswork out of the equation by vetting vehicle technicians all over the United States so you don’t have to.

How does it work?

  • Every year, roughly 100,000 technicians take the difficult national ASE tests. To become ASE Certified, each technician must have two years’ of work experience as well as a passing score on at least one ASE exam. A technician can attain Master Technician status by completing a tough series of further specialized exams on top of meeting the experience requirement.
  • ASE tests are developed by industry experts and then administered by ACT, the college entrance exam group, so you know the tests are comprehensive and challenging.
  • There are eight tests available for auto technicians that cover all car systems: Manual Drive Train and Axles, Suspension and Steering, Automatic Transmissions, Heating and Air Conditioning, Engine Performance, Brakes, Engine Repair and Electrical/Electronic Systems. ASE also offers comprehensive exams for parts specialists, collision repair technicians, engine machinists and more.
  • ASE credentials do expire, and technicians have to pass exams for re-certification every five years to ensure they are up-to-date on the newest technology.

Your car is an essential component of your everyday life. You rely on it to get you to and from work, to play, to transport your children to practices and school and family functions. Is that something you want to take a chance on? Doctors have to pass rigorous tests to be able to practice medicine, letting you know that they can be trusted to have the knowledge and skills to take care of you and your family. Why would you take any less precaution when entrusting your vehicle’s care to a technician? You can rest easy knowing your car will be in the hands of Beckley’s certified, knowledgeable and skilled technicians.

Beckley Automotive is proud to participate in the ASE Certification Program and to provide peace of mind to our customers. Schedule your auto maintenance or repair appointment ONLINE today!

 

 

Roadside Assistance Plans Keep You on the Go

, ,
roadside assistance plan

roadside assistance planDuring the spring and summer months when more people are traveling, there’s bound to be more breakdowns. And that’s especially true for people who want to see the sights off the beaten path. If your car hasn’t had the best service history or a regular tune-up, there’s a chance you might encounter an engine problem, electrical failure, broken water pump, or something else to hit a travel dead end. And there’s no doubt that locking your keys in the car, getting a flat tire, leaving your lights on and running down the battery, or experiencing a breakdown can spoil your day and your plans for some summer fun.

So if you’re in the middle of Des Moines or on some dusty road outside of town and you’re stuck, what do you do? If you’ve got some mechanical skills, you might be able make a minor repair and get back on the road. But even that might require a trip and back to a parts store. If you’re not packing any tools, or don’t have the mechanical skills, then what? It’s the kind of situation no one wants to find themselves in. And that’s why we encourage people to carry a basic roadside assistance plan.

You can get a roadside assistance plan through organizations like AAA, the National Motor Club, and AARP. And most insurance companies offer various roadside assistance plans as an option when you buy a car insurance policy. Most basic plans only cost about $50 a year, and it pays for itself the first time you use it. Roadside assistance plans can save you a lot of money and typically include services at no additional cost like:

  • Free towing up to 50 miles
  • Dead battery services
  • Tire change service
  • Lock-out assistance
  • Gasoline delivery

Some plans even include a reimbursement for food and lodging if you have a breakdown that interrupts your travel plans. And if you slide off into a ditch or down an embankment, some plans even cover the cost of extrication and winching. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

At Beckley Imports and Beckley Automotive, we’ve been taking care of cars for nearly 40 years. And you’d be amazed at the calls we field to send out a tow truck to get people out of trouble. Even if you only use your roadside assistance plan once every couple of years, it’s worth every penny. Just to call for a tow truck can cost $50 or more. And paying out of pocket for some of the other services typically covered by a roadside assistance plan can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you already have a roadside assistance plan, keep it. You never know when you might need it. And if you don’t, check out your options before you’re stranded and need roadside assistance.

Remember, Beckley’s can get your car ready for any trip. From tuneups and oil changes to complete engine repair, we’re here to help get you on the road. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Delaying Auto Repairs Can Cost You Big

, , , , , , , ,

When your car stops running it’s easy to know that something major is wrong and you have no choice but to head to your mechanic immediately.

don't delay auto repairs, beckley automotive beckley importsBut what happens when there’s a minor noise, a slight firing delay, an occasional stutter? You can still drive the car so it must not be catastrophic, right? The demands of real life – work, family, friends, fun – certainly enable us to put off that visit to the auto shop as long as the car still gets us from point A to point B every day. Plus, who wants to spend the money if they don’t absolutely have to?

Putting off auto repairs is never a good idea. Let us explain:

  1. Your antifreeze is leaking, but it’s only a little bit. You can just add more every week, right? Unfortunately, that can only exacerbate the problem and you will still probably overheat your engine, causing a chain reaction to the tune of thousands of dollars. Ignoring a “little” problem can spread like a virus throughout your engine. Each system is connected to and relies on another, so if one isn’t working properly, it can cause the next system to fail, as well. Then you’re staring down the barrel of a multi-problem fix instead of just the original “little” one.
  2. That knocking in your engine has been there off and on for a couple weeks without any issues, so you’re cruising down the interstate on your way to the tournament or a hot date. Suddenly, the knock becomes more insistent, louder, the wheel begins to shake, smoke pours out from under the hood and with a last sputtering gasp, the engine quits completely while you limp to the side of the road. Now what? You’re late to your appointment plus you’re out the cost of a tow truck and a taxi (or a favor to a friend) as well as the parts and repairs. You have to sit on the side of the road alone, or with your family stuck in a dead car with nothing to keep them entertained, while other cars and semis zoom past at terrifying speeds within inches of you and what you hold most dear.
  3. A regularly scheduled oil change and routine inspection may feel inconvenient and, for many, falls under the category of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” But those inspections are imperative to keeping your car running and keeping you and your family safe. It’s more than just an oil change and a cursory glance under the hood. Routine inspections are where minor leaks, dirty filters, frayed wires and loose screws are found. If these things are skipped you are looking at the possibility of whole lot more than just inconvenience!

Are you sure you want to gamble with the life of your car’s engine and the safety and peace of mind of your family and passengers? No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night, or worse, during rush hour!

Don’t wait until your engine figuratively – or literally! – falls out, dead, in the middle of the road. Bring your foreign or domestic auto into Beckley’s for minor repairs, a check-up and oil change! Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

 

Has Your Car Been Recalled?

, , , , ,

If you’re the owner of a new car and it’s been recalled for some reason, you’ll get a notice directly from the manufacturer. And even though we live in a high-tech world where the car design and manufacturing process gets heavily scrutinized before production begins, recalls do happen.

30-Plus Recalls in a Month. That’s Normal.

automobile recall, vehicle recall, car recall, recall repair, recall serviceFor example, in December alone there were more than 28 recalls from major manufacturers for things like faulty locks, defective fuel pressure, ignition fuel leaks, wiring problems, defective air bag deployment, drive axel issues, and other problems that could potentially lead to a fire or accident.

Recall Notification for Original Owners

If you find out that your car is on the recall list, you also receive instructions on how to get the problem taken care of (usually at an authorized dealer/repair shop specified by the manufacturer).

Sure, it’s a hassle, but it’s better than the alternative that can occur if you choose to do nothing about a known problem. And if you do find out your car has been recalled, take care of it as soon as possible. Sometimes manufacturers end up putting customers on a waiting list because they run out of parts needed to complete the recall repair.

If You’re Not the Original Owner…

So what happens if you’re not the original owner of a car when a recall is issued? Nothing. You won’t get a visit from the Car Recall Response Team, letter in the mail, or even a phone call from a spammy-looking number.

Want to find out if your car has been recalled? Check with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Visit the site and check Recalls & Defects to see if your car has been recalled for a problem. You can also find recall info on tires, motorcycles, and travel trailers.

Deadline for Recall Repairs

Car recalls happen pretty frequently. But there’s one detail you don’t hear very often from car manufacturers when a recall occurs. You have up to 10 years from the original sale date of the car to get a no-cost repair for a recall.

If your car doesn’t seem to be running right, or you’re concerned it may have been issued a recall, do something about it. Check with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, or bring your car in for an inspection. Our team of certified and experienced mechanics stay up to date on the latest recalls, and can let you know if your car is on the list.

Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Not your Typical Repair Shop

, , , , ,

You’re in a rush to pick up your kids from school. But with afternoon traffic and hundreds of other parents trying to do the same thing, you’re running behind. And if it’s not picking up kids, you probably know what it’s like to fight traffic when you’re trying to get to work, go on vacation, make a delivery, or get to an important appointment.

car repair, beckley automotive, beckley imports, great customer service, auto repair des moinesSo what do you do? You deal with it. You listen to the radio, talk to others in the car, check your phone messages (But no texting while driving. It’s against the law in Iowa), or people-watch as drivers and other cars go by. All the while, you’re counting on your car to get you from here to there.

But what happens when your car has a problem?

All hell breaks loose. Right? Or at least that’s what it can feel like.

It happened to an Altoona mom recently. Her car overheated. Quick thinking and a Google search pointed her to our shop, and she rolled in with smoke and steam billowing from under the hood. Fortunately, it wasn’t a major problem, but it was going to take the rest of the afternoon to repair. And that had this mom a little worried.

“I just picked up my daughter from school,” she said. “And I took the afternoon off to take her shopping, and spend some time together.” She was worried their plans were going to be canceled because of car trouble.

Our waiting area is nice and comfortable, but there’s probably other places you’d like to be with some free time on your hands. We like taking care of our customers, so we worked out an arrangement that let this mom keep the shopping date with her daughter (check it out, here). A couple hours later, and we had her car fixed and ready to roll.

“We had a wonderful afternoon,” she said. That’s not the typical response you expect to hear when you ask someone about getting their car repaired. But then again, we’re not your typical auto shop.

We’re the best automotive repair shop serving the Des Moines area since 1979.

Got car trouble? Need repair work done, or just routine maintenance? We can help. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.