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5 Reasons Your Check Engine Light is On

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check engine light is on des moines

Your Check Engine Light is On. Now what?

Murphy’s law – If anything can go wrong it probably will. So you’re on your way to an important job interview or sales call. You’ve just packed up the family car and left town on a road trip you’ve been planning for months. Or you’re just feeling a little stressed out and think the last thing you want is car trouble. Then a red light blinks on in your dash. It’s the Check Engine light, and you immediately envision worst-case scenarios like expensive car repairs or the ultimate demise of your car.

check engine light is on des moinesIf your Check Engine light comes on, chances are pretty good that your car isn’t going to stall out and leave you stranded right away. But it’s not something you want to ignore.

As soon as you’re able to, take your car to an auto parts store and ask them to run a diagnostic test on your vehicle. They’ll hook up a computer to your dash that can identify the reason your Check Engine light is on. In some cases, it’s a simple fix. You may also need the help of an experienced mechanic, but at least you’ll get an idea of what the problem is.

Here are the five most common reasons the Check Engine Light gets activated:

1. Defective Oxygen Sensor. Most cars have two to four oxygen sensors which essentially help regulate oxygen and fuel to help your car get the best gas mileage possible. When a sensor fails, gas mileage declines, and more emissions will be present in your car’s exhaust. It’s a relatively easy and low-cost repair to make. But if you ignore it for too long, a faulty oxygen sensor could damage your car’s catalytic converter, and that can be an expensive repair.

2. Check the Gas Cap. Most cars on the road today have engine sensors linked to your car’s fuel system. If your gas cap isn’t on properly or tightened down enough, or it has a crack, your car’s fuel efficiency will be off. If this is the source of your problem, you can fix it for free or less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee. Check your gas cap and make sure it’s tightened down. And if your gas cap has a crack or faulty seal, buy a new gas cap at and auto parts store to replace the old one on your car. It’s one of the easiest fixes associated with the Check Engine Light.

3. The Catalytic Converter Needs to be Replaced. This isn’t the news you want to hear if you remember reading about this in connection with a defective oxygen sensor. It’s an expensive repair that can cost an estimated $2,000. If your catalytic converter is failing, eventually it will quit working completely and you’ll be calling a tow truck. Give us a call and we’ll get your car back up and running.

4. Mass Airflow Sensor is Failing. When your car’s mass airflow sensor begins to fail, your car can’t get the right amount of air and fuel mixture to power your engine. Your gas mileage will start to decline, and your car will stall more and more frequently. Like the oxygen sensors, it’s a relatively easy repair to do on your own if you’re willing. And most mechanics will install a new airflow sensor for under $300.

5. Spark Plugs Need More Spark. When the spark plugs in your engine start to fail, you’ll notice periodic jolts or fluctuations in your engine’s power when you’re driving. Sparks plugs are like a lot of car parts that just don’t last forever. Older cars may need the spark plugs replaced every 30,000 miles, while the spark plugs in newer cars should last 100,000 miles or more. If you have the time and patience, you can replace the sparks plugs on your car with a few basic tools. And it’s generally a low-cost repair if you bring it in to the shop.

If your Check Engine Light comes on, don’t panic. It’s your car’s warning system giving you an indicator to get your car checked out. But just don’t ignore it. Schedule an appointment with Beckley Auto immediately to find out the issue and fix it as soon as possible!

Don’t Leave Home Without a Roadside Assistance Plan

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roadside assistance plan

What Would You Do Without A Good Roadside Assistance Plan?

During the 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 simply run out of gas. 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.

roadside assistance planSo 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’s worth every penny. 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.

We’ve been taking 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 send out a tow truck can cost $50 or more. And paying out of pocket for some of the other services 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.

 

Des Moines Auto Repair – Service to the Core

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Aaron Lukacs - Beckley Auto

Auto repair gets a bad rap. In Des Moines, there are in the hundreds of service shops you can go to, but which one can you trust? Which can you guarantee service and support after the sale?

Our service writer, Aaron, talks a bit about the job he provides at Beckley Auto. With his focus on the customer, honesty and drive, where else would you want to take your car to get serviced?

If you’re looking for a great auto repair shop with the staff and support that will exceed your expectations, bring it down to Beckley’s. Aaron and the others are ready to help you out.

To schedule an appointment online to have your car serviced, just click on the “Schedule Service” button to the right.

We look forward to seeing you!

European Car Owner Tips: Don’t Put Off Repairs

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mercedes heater repair des moines iowa

We’re all thinking it: someday this winter will end. And it has to be soon, right? So it’s not that big of a deal if we put off checking up on the heating system or the starter system til next fall when it gets cold again.

mercedes heater repair des moines iowaYou would be sorely mistaken if you thought you could put off these important checkups and repairs! Besides, it doesn’t look like it’ll be warming up anytime too soon.

Harsh Iowa winters (and I think we can all agree this one has been especially harsh) put a huge strain on your starter system and battery. It takes more gas and power to get it started in the extremely cold winters, and constantly starting it up without getting it checked or updated can lead to damage and battery failure; not something you want to be dealing with in negative temperatures.

Cold temperatures also put a strain on your heating system; if your car is heating up slower than usual, you may have a problem. The climate control system in your European car is more complex than other types of vehicles, and it’s important to have a certified European car technician work on it; they know what they’re doing and can save you time and money while avoiding expensive mistakes.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your brakes and anti-lock system are working, your oil is fresh and up to date, and your electrical system is up to speed. All of these factors are crucial in keeping a European car running smoothly and efficiently, and all of these services are provided by Beckley Imports.

If you would like to speak to one of our technicians, or schedule an appointment for your vehicle, we welcome you to give us a call at (515) 243-8185. We hope to hear from you soon!

The Proper Wheel Alignment for your European Car

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wheel alignment des moines iowa

European cars are extremely sensitive to proper wheel alignment; if it’s off, the tires wear off more quickly and adjustments are needed constantly. At Beckley, we stay up to date with latest alignment equipment and software to ensure perfect results for each and every car we service. Additionally, our experienced specialists are trained on specific makes of cars, so you’ll get the best service available.

At only $35 per car for a Wheel Alignment check, you’ll get excellent service and peace of mind at a great value. Call us today to schedule an appointment: (515) 243-8185.

Rock Salt & Proper Winter Maintenance

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bmw rock salt damage winter

While we’re in the time of year when warm temperatures and “car wash” days are few and far between, you have to understand how Rock Salt and Winter damage the exterior (and interior) of your car. Opportunities for winter car washes need to be capitalized upon, and Beckley’s helps you do that!

bmw rock salt damage winterBeckley’s oil change service includes an oil change specialized to your vehicle, a 30 point written safety inspection by an ASE certified technician, and a hand wash (weather permitting) and vacuum.

The hand wash is our way of adding a special touch, because not only is it important to take care of the mechanical parts of your car; if you want to keep it looking great, and have the maximum resale value when you’re ready to sell, you need to take care of the exterior as well.

Rock salt used to melt snow and ice in the winter is great for what it’s used for, but can do a number on the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Rock salt can lead to rust and corrosion in the undercarriage of the vehicle, which can be costly and difficult to repair. It also can cause rust around your tires, fenders, and doors, causing paint to chip and your resale value to diminish. If possible, you should rinse your car every 10 days; bringing it in for an oil service and tune up on one of our nice days ahead will really take care of any built up salt on your car.

Rock salt can also cause damage to the inside of your car; it stains if left to sit, diminishing the attractiveness and resale value of your vehicle. Loose rock salt can also be dangerous to any children or pets that ride in your car. Our service technicians will completely vacuum the inside of your car to prevent staining or other damage from salt.

We want to do everything we can to help you keep your European car in great shape in the coming months. If you have any questions, or if you want to schedule a service, don’t hesitate to call us at (515) 243-8185.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

European Car Sales on the Rise in Des Moines & Around the Country!

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european car sales in des moines

Good news for European Car dealers and owners! European Car Sales rose for a third consecutive month in November, which is the largest growth in the industry in the past four years. It’s a great signal that the industry-wide decline in sales could be coming to an end in the next few years. In 2013, European Car registrations were up 0.9% from 2012, another indication that sales are on the rise.

european car sales in des moinesSo, which cars are contributing the most to this growth? Here are the top three:
Volkswagen Golf Hatchback
Volkswagen Skoda Rapid Spaceback
Renault Captur

Overall sales in the industry are still low, but do seem to have reached their very lowest point, which will hopefully lead to a recovery in the near future. One European Auto Maker, The Fiat Group, is said to have plans to invest up to 9 Million Euros (equal to 12.4 billion American dollars) on reviving its factories and developing new models. They are focusing more on the Fiat line, a subcompact, low-budget line of vehicles, while also trying to bolster sales for the Maserati and Alfa Romeo lines with new models.

If you’re considering purchasing a European car, the time to start looking is now. Prices are good, and the industry is back on rise. Beckley can help you care for and maintain whichever vehicle you decide on.

No Such Thing as a “Maintenance-Free” Vehicle

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no care is "maintenance free", needs an oil change

Vehicle Maintenance Is Never Free

But it’s a matter of professionalism as to how much it’s worth…

If you’ve purchased a vehicle recently, you know that car salesmen like to go on and on about how this vehicle is “virtually maintenance-free”. Unfortunately, many of them are only half right (at best).

no care is "maintenance free"Many new cars now have extended service intervals. This is mainly to cut down on how much work is done during the warranty period (i.e., how much money the manufacturer has to cough up or lose out on). However, it’s common knowledge that all vehicles need maintenance at some point. Neglecting maintenance and upkeep on your car may seem okay in the moment, perhaps you’re short on cash or don’t have time, but ignoring it will lead to larger (and more expensive) problems down the road.

3,000 to 6,000 Miles is Key

Maintenance and upkeep is designed to keep your car running smoothly until your next service. It’s like preventative health for your vehicle; if you don’t do it, you’ll pay for it in the long run. Most car manufacturers recommend a major service for your vehicle every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. This includes replacing things that get worn out or consumed, like filters, fluids, belts, and spark plugs, and scanning the vehicle’s computers for any problems that aren’t evident at first glance. Technicians will notate the required repairs that are essential to keep your car running, and will make recommendations for future repairs and service the vehicle may need. This setup puts you in control of your car’s future, and provides you with accurate information to take the next steps in prolonging your vehicle’s life.

Trust Your Vehicle Maintenance to Beckley Imports and Beckley Auto

Not only will we run all of the tests and provide the services listed above, we will also take the time to explain any and all options for your vehicle, and answer all of your questions. We believe that our customers should be empowered to make the right decisions for their vehicle and situation. And, as European car lovers, we understand how important your vehicle is to you. Rest assured we will do everything in our power to keep it running smoothly for a long time.

Call to schedule your vehicle service check today! 515-243-8185 Or click here to go right to the schedule appointment page!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Importance of Pre-Purchase Car Inspections

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bmw pre-purchase european luxury vehicles

bmw pre-purchase car inspection european luxury vehiclesAt Beckley Imports we take care of all your European car pre-purchase car inspection needs.

When you’re looking to spend a substantial amount of money on a pre-owned European vehicle like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo or any number of these beauties, you want to know that you’re getting the value you expect from a European Car – style, performance, reliability, and economical value!

Having your future vehicle inspected by someone you trust is also important. At Beckley Imports, our European car specialists give you the facts and verify the listing against the potential issues you may have after the vehicle purchase.

The Beckley Imports pre-purchase inspection includes:

  • An under the hood inspection, where we check the engine and any signs of leaks.
  • Body inspection, where we check out all the body panels to look for any signs of previous accidents or any damage the seller may have not reported.
  • Road test to see if the transmission is working properly, as well as the rest of the car.

As soon as you drive the car off the lot, the liability is all on you. So make sure that you have your vehicle inspected before you purchase. We’d love to help you make a good decision in your luxury ride!

Schedule an appointment today or call us at 515-243-8185

5 “Did You Know” Answers for The Passionate BMW Owner

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bmw owners, BMW information des moines iowa

While Des Moines BMW owners have unmatched passion for their European autos, being the “Go-To” service location for European cars requires us to dig deep into the history and heritage of the cars we service so we can give the best maintenance and support to your European car as possible. Along the way, we pick up odd and somewhat amusing tidbits of European car information.

Check out these 5 “Did you knows” about our beloved BMW:

  1. passionate bmw ownerThe BMW Name – BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke. In English, that would be: Bavarian Motor Works
  2. The BMW Logo – The Roundel logo stems from the days of its aircraft heritage, and symbolizes a spinning propeller.
    A huge component of the BMW logo is the blue and white fields, and those come off the Bavarian flag. (Bavaria is a state in Germany. Yes. BMW’s come from Bavaria.)
  3. The BMW “LOOK” – The kidney Grille was first used in the BMW 303. The 303 was a mid-sized saloon produced in the early 1930’s. It was the first BMW to use the “kidney grille” which today is a hallmark if their model.
  4. The BMW Letter – BMW does not use automobile platforms like any other manufactures, instead, each generation has a development code (Entwicklungsnummeren ), E = Entwicklung = DevelopmentSo, why did they switch to “F code” with the new 7-series? Did they run out of E-numbers? We’ll have to look into this… 🙂
  5. The FIRST BMW – The first car made by BMW is: The BMW Dixi!!!
    BMW bought the Automobilwerk Eisenach in 1928 and, with it, the rights to build the Dixi car… Soon after that, they dropped the Dixi name.

European cars run in our blood (almost literally). From BMWs to Mercedes, Jaguars, Porsche and more, we love what we do as much as you, as owners, love the driving and performance.

Reach out to us if you have any questions concerning your vehicles service and performance. Beckley Imports and the entire Beckley Automotive Group can handle any question and help get you back on the road.