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Spring Break Road Trip? Give Your Car a Check-Up Before You Go

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spring break, road trip, car inspection, beckley automotive, beckley importsWhat are your plans for spring break?

It’s that time of year when a lot of people take a road trip. Some will catch a plane and head to super-sunny places like Hawaii, Cancun, or the Bahamas. But for a lot of people with kids home from school, a week off work, or a spring-fever feeling for some much needed R&R, getting behind the wheel and driving to a spring break destination is the way to go.

Preventing Car Trouble Can Save Your Vacation

Sounds simple enough, right? Pick your destination. Pack up the car. And hit the road. But what happens when you’re in the middle of nowhere and your car has a problem. You can’t anticipate every car problem you might experience on a road trip. But you can take steps to prevent car trouble from spoiling your spring break.

Inspection Time – Before You Go…

Take a few minutes to inspect your car before you go. Check the following:

  • Tires – Check the tire pressure. Make sure it’s inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. Low tire pressure can reduce gas mileage and cause the tires to wear faster. Inspect the tread, too. Bald spots or bulges raise your risk for a flat or a blowout. And if you don’t have a decent amount of tread left, traction, regardless of the weather, will be compromised.
  • Belts and Hoses – Pop the hood and inspect the belts and hoses like the ones attached to the engine and radiator. These are usually made of rubber and can become loose or cracked over time. Taking care of any aging belts or hoses before your trip can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
  • Fluids and Filters – It’s also a good idea to check fluid levels for key operating systems (i.e. oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and antifreeze). A clean air filter will also help improve gas mileage for your road trip.
  • Lights and Wipers – Have someone step on the brakes, turn on the lights, and use the turn signals, while you walk around the car. It only takes a few minutes, but can alert you to any lights that need to be replaced before your road trip. Check the lights inside your car, too. And if it’s been a while since you replaced your wiper blades, before your trip would be a good time to replace them, especially if you know you’ll be traveling in rainy or snowing conditions.
  • Battery and Brakes – To give your battery a basic inspection, make sure it’s got a good connection, and the battery terminals are free of acid or corrosion. And if your brakes are squeaking or you feel a lot of vibrations when you slow down, it may be time for new pads and/or rotors. Or bring your car in for a battery and brake inspection.

When you make plans to take a road trip for spring break, you want to enjoy the experience. Making sure your car gets you there and back without any problems will help, regardless of your destination.

Ready for a pre-road-trip inspection? Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

The Four-Step, Go-Green Guide for Car Owners

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go green, eco-friendly car, beckley automotive, beckley imports, environmentally friendly autosEver heard of Elon Musk? He’s one of the masterminds behind a series of high-tech companies like SpaceX, SolarCity, and PayPal. But he’s not just a savvy businessman and entrepreneur. He’s also an engineer, inventor, investor and founder of Tesla Motors.
If you ever thought about driving a hybrid vehicle or all-electric car to save on gas money, reduce emissions, and protect the environment, driving a Tesla should be on your list. But there’s just one problem with this for most people. The typical price tag for a Tesla starts around $70,000 with luxury models priced at over $100,000.

Pretty expensive. Of course there are more affordable electric and hybrid cars to choose from, too. But what if you’re not in the market to buy a new car or don’t have the cash to drive a Tesla? Is there anything you can do to make your gas-powered vehicle more environmentally-friendly?

Yes! Follow these four steps to go green, save money, and keep your car running efficiently.

  1. Get regular maintenance. Ignoring the little things like regular oil changes, replacing the air filter, changing brake pads, and neglecting to flush the radiator can take a toll on vehicle performance. Taking care of your car can help reduce exhaust emissions, help you get better gas mileage, and save you money in the long run.
  2. Stick with your old car longer. A lot of factors go into buying a new car like a more luxurious interior, electronic upgrades, additional seating, or more storage capacity. But take a closer look at what you’re driving and you might find that your current car is running just fine. Take good care of it, and you’ll be able to drive it longer, save on car payments and insurance, and avoid adding another vehicle to the junkyard.
  3. Recycle car waste. There’s a right way and a wrong way to dispose of car waste. The wrong way: illegally dumping a pile of old tires in the woods, or pouring chemicals down the drain. But it happens, a lot more than you might think. If you want to go green, do your part to make sure car waste like old tires, oil, batteries, and other fluids are recycled or disposed of properly. If you’re not sure how, call us or check with Metro Waste Authority.
  4. Consider an engine replacement. Here’s another way you can go green and cut down on waste when it comes to cars. Instead of buying a new car when your current vehicle needs major engine work, consider getting a rebuilt engine. It will save you a lot of money, improve engine performance, fuel economy, and emissions output.

If you’re not in the market for an electric or hybrid car, or can’t afford one, that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to help the environment. Smart car care, regular maintenance, and other environmentally-friendly practices can make a difference.

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

Pushing Limits Can Damage a Car’s Fuel Pump

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When it comes to performance vehicles like BMW and Mercedes, drivers often push the 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 withe the fuel gauge on “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 consider getting it topped 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 in more likely to burn 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 is 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 need from your car while protecting your finely tuned systems, contact us at 515-243-8185, send us an email at service@beckleyimports.com, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

 

 

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!

We Have A Soft Spot for Mercedes

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Beckley Imports has been working on Mercedes vehicles in Des Moines for 35 years. We have the Mercedes factory tools to communicate with your Mercedes. If you  own a Mercedes, live in Des Moines and are looking for someone who can be a trusted source for your vehicle, give us a call. We can help you with repair work and maintenance.

Replacing The Headlights In Your European Import

Slide6-des-moines-mini-cooperFor as long as there have been cars on the roads, they have needed headlights.  Headlights are necessary for safety – that of everyone on the road as well as the driver, himself.  They are essential for driving at night, in rainstorms, snowstorms and fog, and make your European import visible to drivers and pedestrians alike.

Did you know that there is more wear and tear to your headlights besides just the bulb burning out?  Over time, your headlights can suffer from a grime buildup – even on your European import! This buildup comes from things we encounter every day; bugs, tar, road dust and, of course, Iowa’s winter road treatments.

We at Beckley Imports know that your European auto is more than just a car, it’s an investment and a source of pride.  So why take the chance with poor visibility and risk damaging your “baby?”  Here are some tips to get the most safety out of your headlights:

  • When you stop at the gas station, give your headlights a quick scrub when you wash your windows.  Removing the dirt and dead bugs can make a big difference.
  • Always replace your headlights and bulbs in pairs, instead of one at a time to ensure that they illuminate evenly.
  • You don’t have to wait for your headlights to burn out to replace them.  Almost all headlights will dim over time, even if they don’t burn out completely.  Replacing them regularly will increase your road safety.
  • Grab a friend and make sure all of your lights are in good working order on a regular basis.  Check your headlights, brake lights and turn signals to keep yourself visible.
  • If your European import still has yellowish halogen bulbs, it’s a good idea to upgrade to the whiter high performance bulbs that are more visible at night and are closer to the color of natural daylight.

Not all headlights are created equal, and your European import won’t accept just any old headlight.  Here at Beckley’s, our experienced and knowledgeable technicians will find and correctly install the right headlight for your vehicle.

Please give Beckley Imports a call or visit our website to schedule your European import service appointment today.

 

 

What Does A B-Service For My Mercedes Include?

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Mercedes B service and maintenance in Des Moines, Iowa

While servicing of European imports should be done on a regular basis and at a certified European car service center, the routine service needs of each European car ranging from Mercedes-Benz to BMW, Audi and others varies greatly.

Mercedes service and maintenance in Des Moines, Iowa

The 2012-Mercedes-SLK-AMG-V8-Engine, A thing of beauty!

The Mercedes-Benz requires specific maintenance and check ups for their cars at different mileage dates. A Service B, for instance, should take place at approximately 20,000 miles or one year after previous service, but determined by Flexible Service System; then every 20,000 miles or 2 years.


A Mercedes-Benz B-Service Includes:

Interior
· Function check
· Check warning and indicator lamps, illumination and interior lighting
· Check windshield wiper, windshield washer system, headlamp cleaning system
· Reset maintenance service counter in instrument cluster
· Replace dust filter (not applicable to SL-Class)
· Replace combination filter (SL-Class)
· Check parking brake (function test only)

Wheels, brakes
· Check condition/thickness of front and rear brake discs
· Check front and rear brake pads for lining thickness
· Check tires for damage and condition
· Measure tread depth, record in mm
· Correct tire inflation pressure

Underside of Vehicle
· Check for major components leakage
· Check for chafe marks, line routing, damaged components
· Check condition of front axle ball joints and rubber boots
· Check condition of mechanical steering components and rubber boots

Engine Compartment
· Check for major components leakage
· Check for chafe marks, line routing, damaged components
· Check and replenish all fluid levels
· Change engine oil and filter
· Check engine cooling system, antifreeze and corrosion protection
· Check brake system
· Check power steering
· Check Active Body Control
· Check windshield washer system
· Check and correct battery fluid level
· Check battery condition
· Check catch, safety catch and hinges on engine hood for proper operation
· Check condition of poly V-belt

Trunk
· Check battery condition
· Correct tire inflation pressure in spare tire


Beckley Imports  – Servicing European Import Cars Since 1977

Because Beckley Imports has solely focused our services on European Imports, we have the certified technicians, facilities and the right equipment to properly work on your European import car.

For more information or to schedule a service on your Mercedes, please call 515.243.8185, or go to the “Schedule Service” page on this website to make an appointment TODAY!