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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!

Improving Gas Mileage With These Simple Tips

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improving gas mileage des moines

improving gas mileage des moines

Improving gas mileage is on the top of all of our minds…and wallets! If you commute to work, do a lot of driving around town, or you’re planning a vacation, you’re probably keenly aware of gas prices at the pump. The current national average is $2.268 per gallon, but in some areas, gas costs more than $3 a gallon.

Fluctuating gas prices have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, improving your gas mileage is easy with these simple tips.

1. Get a Tune-Up – Your car needs regular maintenance to deliver peak performance and optimal gas mileage. Improving gas mileage is as simple as common repairs like changing the oil and filter, installing a new air filter, inspecting and changing belts, and replacing spark plugs. A regular tune-up can identify these problems and save you money in the long run.

2. Check Your Tire Pressure – Many newer model cars are designed to tell you if your tire pressure is low. It might be annoying to see a low-tire pressure light in the dash, but properly inflated tires help improve gas mileage. Use a tire gauge to measure air pressure and inflate your tires to the recommended PSI for your vehicle.

3. Change the Oil and Air Filter – You’ve heard the recommendation to get your oil and air filter changed every 3,000 miles. It’s one of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your car and maximize gas mileage. Your engine operates more efficiently with clean oil and a new filter. Replacing the air filter on a regular basis also improves fuel economy, acceleration, and engine performance.

4. Check Your Gas Cap – If you haven’t thought about your gas cap as a potential source for poor gas mileage, you’re not alone. But the truth is a faulty gas cap that’s loose or has a missing or damaged seal allows gas to vaporize. This can force you to spend more money at the pump, but it’s an easy fix that typically only costs a few dollars.

5. Take Care of Major Maintenance Issues – As you put more miles on your car, there’s always the chance for wear and tear that needs special attention. Taking care of maintenance issues like cleaning or replacing fuel injectors or replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can be a significant way of improving gas mileage.

6. Improve Your Driving Habits – Your driving habits may also be a factor that determines the gas mileage your car gets. Here are some things you can do: Follow speed limits. Avoid rapid acceleration, quick stops, and excessive idling. Remove any heavy items from your trunk. These simple changes can also help improve fuel economy.

This simple list of tips will go along way toward improving gas mileage. You should see a change over the next few times you fuel up at the pump.

Bring your car to Beckley Imports and let our expert technicians help you get your vehicle in top shape this summer. Call our service department at 515-243-8185 or schedule an appointment ONLINE today!

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.

Give Beckley Automotive Service as Father’s Day Gift

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Father's Day giftThis Sunday, June 18, is the day for you to show your dad how much he means to you. Whether he’s helping to shop for a new car, giving valuable job search advice or just being there to bounce ideas off of, he deserves a great Father’s Day gift! But instead of the old tie or “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug, why not do something Dad will really appreciate?

Bring his car into Beckley Automotive for the royal treatment this Father’s Day!

You know how much Dad loves his car. It doesn’t matter if he’s driving a brand-new Porsche or an older model Chevrolet, your dad is really proud of his vehicle. It’s important to him to keep it clean, inside and out, as well as running smoothly and reliably. But too often, schedules get full and car maintenance falls by the wayside. Sure, the big things that keep the car running get taken car of, but how long has it been since Dad had the time to really baby his car?

Some of the items Beckley Automotive can take care of for your dad as a Father’s Day gift include:

  • air conditioning
  • battery and starter systems
  • engine
  • detailing & dent removal
  • brake and electrical systems
  • oil change and service
  • car tire & wheel alignment

Has your dad been putting off fixing those annoying hail dings in his car’s hood? Maybe he’s been meaning to get new tires and just hasn’t gotten around to it. It could be that Dad just isn’t able to do all the maintenance he used to do when he was younger. Beckley Automotive services as a Father’s Day gift will give your father that peace of mind that his car is well taken care of and he can still be proud to drive it anywhere.

Call Beckley Automotive at 515-243-8185 today to schedule an appointment or simply use our convenient online scheduling page. Just ask Dad for the keys, and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

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.

Car Air Conditioning Services Will Get You Ready for Summer

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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!

5 Tips For Buying a Used Car for Your Graduate

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buying a used car, pre-purchase inspectionBuying a used car is an excellent way to save money on a newer set of wheels, especially for a college student or a recent graduate staring down student loans. Vehicles depreciate in value faster than just about any other major purchase, so buying used can really slash the price. But buying used brings about a different set of risks. Is the seller being truthful about the car’s history? Will the engine fail as soon as you drive away? How can you be sure you’re buying a reliable vehicle for your son or daughter? If you are thinking of buying a used car for your new high school or college graduate, bring it to Beckley Automotive first for a Pre-Purchase Inspection. You can also save yourself some time and hassle by knowing what to look for in a used vehicle.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when buying a used car:

  1. Get the CarFax

    You’ve seen the commercials. A CarFax report is one of the most helpful documents you’ll obtain regarding a vehicle. The report details every kind of service performed over the life of the car. Whether it has been in an accident, had a new engine put in or the previous owner just put on new shocks, it is all listed here. Request a CarFax report whenever buying used.

  2. Beware of Leaking Fluids

    Any kind of leaking fluid is a sign to stay away. Naturally it’s not going to leak sitting in a lot or garage. Take the vehicle for a test drive, then let it idol for 30 seconds or a minute. From there get out, look under the vehicle and pop the hood. If you see any leaking you need to pass. A pre-purchase inspection can also identify possible leaks.

  3. Bring Your Kelley Blue Book

    Look up the vehicle on Kelley Blue Book. Make sure you have the exact trim model and mileage and any extra, third party features noted. Kelley Blue Book will then detail if the price is fair or not.

  4. Check the Windshield

    This is easy to miss, but look over the windshield carefully. It’s easy to miss little nicks and scratches when looking at everything else on the vehicle. However, even a small nick can end up costing you hundreds in glass repair later down the line.

  5. Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection

    If you’re buying the vehicle from an independent seller this is a must. Even with the CarFax, a professional inspection gives you a complete overview of the vehicle. Our trained technicians will point out any potential and upcoming problems.

Shopping for a used vehicle can be daunting. You don’t want to waste time and money on a possible lemon when you need a reliable car to get your student to and from college safely. Take some of the stress out of the process by getting a pre-purchase inspection from the experts at Beckley Automotive.

Whether you’re buying a Landrover to handle the Des Moines winters or a slightly used BMW convertible for the Iowa summers, Beckley’s can service everything. Give us a call at 515-243-8185, stop by our shop at 901 8th Street in Downtown Des Moines, or set up an appointment ONLINE today!

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!