Posts

Check Engine Light Isn’t Always a Wallet Drain

, , , , ,

check engine light, engine diagnosticsVery few things can set your heart racing like an illuminated Check Engine light on your car’s dashboard. You start wondering how long your car has before the transmission falls out, the engine catches on fire or your car just expires on the side of the road. You also begin panicking trying to decide whether fixing the problem or buying a new car is more cost-effective.

The “Check Engine” light became standard around 1995 and can alert the driver to a slew of engine troubles, big or small. This warning light is attached to the computer in your car, and that computer is pretty smart. If it comes on and stays on, you need to get it checked as soon as possible. If it comes on and flashes, pull that machine over, turn it off, and call for help.

The only thing the computer and the check engine light can’t tell you, is what the actual problem is. Here are some of the top reasons your Check Engine light might come on:

  • Loose spark plug wires or faulty spark plugs
  • Faulty sensors, such as the oxygen sensor or the mass airflow sensor
  • A bad catalytic converter
  • A loose or missing gas cap

Some of these problems are more serious than others and are more expensive. But be wary of any DIY workarounds that you might find on the internet. If you mess with the data storage by disconnecting or running out the battery, you wipe the memory and make true diagnostics harder down the line.

The expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to diagnose any issue with your engine, whether your vehicle is foreign or domestic. And, the best part is that Beckley’s puts a cap on your cost for that diagnostic check. You won’t be charged more than $125 for that first step toward finding what’s wrong. Sometimes that’s all it will take to fix the problem, but the experts at Beckley’s won’t move forward on repairs above and beyond that cost without your approval. The diagnostic findings and a comprehensive repair plan will be outlined before you spend another dime. That’s the Beckley way.

The quickest and least expensive way to handle a check engine light is to bring your car to an expert that can identify the fault correctly and repair it without a lot of guesswork. Schedule your appointment online HERE, visit our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street or give our service staff a call at 515-243-8185 today.

Give Your Brakes a Little Love Before They Need It

, , , ,

brake systems, disc brakes, anti-lock brakes, ABS, brake repair, car brakesThe brakes on your car serve one purpose – to stop your car from moving. Whether you’re stopping for a red light, a pedestrian in the road or to avoid a collision, you rely on your brake system to perform; to perform well, reliably, and immediately. Your safety and the safety of your passengers depend on the condition of your brake system, so make sure you pay them the attention they deserve BEFORE they are put to the test.

There are different braking systems with different needs and issues, and the expert technicians at Beckley Automotive are trained and certified to meet all of those needs.

  • Drum Brakes – A hydraulic wheel cylinder pushes a brake shoe onto the inside of a drum while it spins. This style wears down more quickly because the heat produced by the friction gets trapped inside the drum. while drum brakes are certainly sufficient, they can become less effective when heat is allowed to build up.
  • Disc Brakes – Uses a hydraulic caliper with brake pads that grab the rotor to slow or stop the car, similar to the brakes on a bicycle. Because the thin caliper and brake pads are exposed to the air, the heat dissipates quickly and causes less wear. In high-performance and racing vehicles, four-wheel disc systems have become the norm, despite the higher production costs and purchase pricing.
  • Anti-Lock Brake System – Used in conjunction with one of the above brake types; uses an electronic system of sensors and high-pressure pumps to measure variables like car speed, brake force and wheel slip before actually pumping your brakes for you during an emergency stop in certain conditions. ABS has contributed to shorter stopping distances and a general increase in vehicle safety, although the system is still controversial.

Drivers shouldn’t wait until there is a brake failure to look at their brakes. The safety of family, friends and the general public are at stake, so don’t put off regular maintenance or addressing issues. If you experience grinding, squeaking, or shaking when you brake, or if your brakes feel “spongy” and you need a football field distance to stop, bring your car to Beckley Automotive for diagnostic testing and repairs.

Our ASE-Certified expert technicians will examine your entire brake system from front to back and will let you know exactly what needs to be done to keep you and your passengers safe. Schedule your appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street today!

How to Choose the Best Auto Repair Shop in Des Moines

, , , , ,

best auto repair shop des moinesWhen car troubles show up out of nowhere, it can be stressful figuring out who to call. Most people don’t have a mechanic or repair shop on speed-dial, and it’s easy to panic when faced with the prospect of going without a car for an undetermined period of time. How do you select the best auto repair shop? Do you rely on Google or Yelp reviews? Do you talk to friends and coworkers? Or do you choose based on location or because your dad used that facility?

Tips for Choosing the Best Auto Repair Shop for You

  • Be sure to research and find a repair shop BEFORE you need one. The first shop on the Google list isn’t necessarily the best for your car or your repair needs.
  • Have a plan for alternate transportation already in place. It’s easy to choose a repair shop closest to home or work without knowing their reputation or skill set. Some roadside assistance plans like AAA offer car rental coverage in the case of mechanical repairs.
  • Ask your friends and family where they go, who they would recommend and who they would recommend to stay away from. Find out their reasons for a positive or negative review so you know it’s about the shop and not just a bad day.
  • When you call the facility, ask if they specialize in only certain types of repair or certain vehicle makes and models. Ask specific questions about the qualifications of the technicians and what types of certifications they hold. Are they ASE certified? Is there a requirement for ongoing education to keep up with technology?
  • Put in the legwork and visit potential shops. You should be looking for cars in the parking lot or service bays that are comparable to yours in age and technology. Are there awards in the lobby regarding outstanding customer service or community involvement? Is the reception area neat, clean and professional?
  • Are diagnostic fees, acceptable payment types and guarantees posted? Is the staff courteous and willing to answer your questions and explain charges, services and procedures?
  • Be sure to reward outstanding customer service and repair work with repeat business. Show customer loyalty and make referrals through positive word-of-mouth. When you find the best auto repair facility, you’ll want to support the business and spread the word!

You never want to get stuck picking a service shop out of hat without knowing anything about their certifications, pricing or reputation. It’s important now more than ever to do your own research and form your own opinions. Take the time to look for professionalism, great customer service, current certifications or advanced course work and pricing transparency. If you put in the work, you will be rewarded with the best auto repair shop and peace of mind.

Are you in need of auto repair or routine maintenance? Beckley Automotive may just be the best auto repair shop for you! Give us a call at 515-243-8185, stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street, or schedule a service appointment online today!

5 Fun Facts For BMW Owners

, ,
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 Beckley Automotive to dig deep into the history and heritage of the cars we service. This allows us to 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 ownersThe 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.)
  3. The BMW “LOOK” – The kidney grille BMW owners have come to love was first used in the BMW 303. The 303 was a mid-sized saloon (meaning it had a closed body and a closed trunk separate from where the driver and passengers sit) produced in the early 1930’s. It was the first BMW to use the “kidney grille” which today is a hallmark of their model.
  4. The BMW Letter – BMW does not use automobile platforms like any other manufactures. Instead, each generation has a development code – an Entwicklungsnummeren. The “E” stands for “Entwicklung” which means “Development.” BMW progressed through the E series into triple digits and then switched to using “F”. At this time, we can’t find that “F” stands for anything – it was just the logical next step!
  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 BMW to Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche and more, we love what we do as much as you love the driving performance of the cars we service.

Feel free to contact Beckley Automotive with any questions you have about your car’s performance. You can schedule a service appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us at our convenient downtown location at 901 8th Street!

Don’t Wait to Fix Auto Recall Items

, , ,

engine noise warnings, auto recall, beckley automotive serviceHave you ever been subject to an auto recall? Car manufacturers will mail out auto recall notices to owners when the vehicle they own has any kind of faulty part that needs to be replaced. These recalls are generally free of charge and are put in place to keep the car owner and others on the road safe. But if you haven’t experienced any issues with your car, do you rush right out to get that service performed?

For example, in April 2016 Chrysler recalled certain 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 vehicles, as well as certain 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles due to issues with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Equipped with a monostable gear selector, there were reports of injuries and accidents resulting from less than adequate warning when the vehicle isn’t in PARK and the driver opens the door to exit the car. Owners also reported that the gear-shift design makes it difficult to read what gear the vehicle is in, with drivers mistakenly believing the car was in PARK when it wasn’t.

Recently, it is believed the actor Anton Yelchin, who portrayed Ensign Pavel Chekov in the newest version of the Star Trek franchise, died when his own Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway and hit him. It is unclear if his particular vehicle was part of the April recall or if this issue was even the actual cause of his death.

Auto recalls can be issued for something as simple as a faulty power window switch or as dangerous as defective brake parts or engine fire hazards. But the severity of the recall shouldn’t really matter; it’s a service provided by the auto manufacturer for the general safety of the driver and the public. It’s imperative that once you have received your auto recall notification you make your appointment to have the repairs made.

Are you unsure if your current vehicle is subject to a recall? Don’t worry – you can simply visit the National Highway Safety Administration Recall website and look up your vehicle either by year, make and model. You can also type in your car’s individual Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can be found inside the car where the dashboard meets the windshield on the driver’s side of the car. Notices can get lost when we move or mistaken for junk mail, so it’s a good idea to be proactive and make sure your car is safe.

Whether your car is part of an auto recall or simply needs a good tune up, Beckley Automotive has you covered! Make an appointment online HERE, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop at our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street!

 

Beckley’s Breathes New Life Into the Car You Love

, , ,

car you love, beckley's automotive serviceYou and your favorite car have likely been through a lot. Perhaps it was the first car you bought on your own, or your very first luxury vehicle, or maybe it just GETS you. But the years have piled up. Does it start rough? Are the brakes squealing or shuddering when you stop? Maybe it’s eating oil a lot faster these days. Now you’re worried that you’ll have to trade in the car you love for an expensive, newer model that you’ll have to get to know all over again.

Beckley’s Automotive can make a car you love last longer!

It doesn’t matter what you’re driving, Beckley’s provides expert service for all makes and models, whether domestic or import. Do you love European cars? Our technicians stay up-to-date with the most recent technology and are award winning Authorized Bosch Service specialists for Audi, BMW, Mini, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Beckley Automotive is also an Authorized Saab repair center and an AAA Approved Auto Repair center for ANY cars you may have.

We believe in the quality of our parts and workmanship and we back our repairs with a 24 month/24,000 mile guarantee. If there is ever a question or an issue, you can simply contact us and we’ll make it right because we stand by our work 100%. Serving central Iowa since 1979,  Beckley’s has been a Best of Des Moines award winner and an A+ rated BBB Accredited Business. Our technicians are ASE Master Certified and are trained and equipped with the latest computer diagnostics tools to resolve any issues you’re having with your vehicle.

The next time your car needs attention, whether it’s an oil change, factory maintenance, or a major repair, call Beckley Automotive and rest assured that your auto will receive the best service from the most experienced and knowledgable technicians in Des Moines!

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.44.23 AM

If you dread the thought of replacing a car you love, Beckley Automotive has service solutions and repair options you won’t find at other shops. Contact Beckley Imports today to schedule an appointment online!

 

Specialized B Service for Your Mercedes-Benz

,
Mercedes B service and maintenance in Des Moines, Iowa
Mercedes B service and maintenance in Des Moines, Iowa

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

The servicing of European vehicles is a delicate process and needs just the right touch from an experienced professional. Precision automobiles like the Mercedes-Benz require specific maintenance and check ups at different mileage thresholds. The Mercedes-Benz B Service, for instance, should take place at approximately 20,000 miles or one year after the previous A service. Beckley Automotive’s expert technicians are certified and ready to service your Mercedes-Benz to keep it running at top performance.

The 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

The Mercedes-Benz is a high performance, precision vehicle and it requires very specific timing for service to keep it running like new. The Mercedes-Benz Flex Schedule maintenance program reminds the driver when certain services are due. The very first service, an inspection and tire rotation, should occur at between 5,00 and 6,000 miles. The A Service occurs at 10,000 miles or one year after the initial service, whichever comes first. The B Service is then due after the next 10,000 miles or one year after the A Service. If this schedule is followed and maintenance is performed by certified, expert technicians like the ones at Beckley Automotive, you can expect a long life and high performance from your Mercedes-Benz.

Schedule your auto service or repair online HERE,  give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit our shop at 901 8th Street in Downtown Des Moines.

Looking For a Luxury Car? Check Out the Top 5

, ,

luxury car, car service downtown des moinesWhen the winter ends and that sun starts shining, many of us can’t wait to get out on the road. Windows open or top down, it’s time to blow off some of that cold-weather dust. Spring is the time of renewal and fresh starts, right? Why not entertain buying a new car? Beckley Automotive can service pretty much any make and model that rolls through our doors, whether domestic or foreign, but there’s really nothing that beats the performance and styling of a luxury car.

Whether you’re truly in the market for a high-end auto or you just like to dream, here are the top-selling luxury vehicles in the U.S. for 2016.

5.  Cadillac SRX  The Cadillac name has always been synonymous with luxury and this particular crossover SUV version is sleek and classy. Its fuel efficiency is nothing to write home about, especially in the luxury car market, but the safety features, elegant lines and nimble handling keep it a popular choice.

4.  Acura MDX  Another luxury crossover, the MDX boasts snappy handling with three rows of seats. It’s quick and quiet with good fuel economy and excellent safety, but isn’t quiet as flashy on the outside. The Acura MDX still has slick curves and lines, but is an excellent choice if luxury handling is what you’re looking for.

3.  BMW 3-Series  Upscale interior and spacious seating set this BMW compact luxury sport sedan apart from its rivals. The 3-series offers not only a pretty face but excellent handling, a powerful and fuel-efficient engine, and is a generally well-rounded and refined vehicle option.

2.  Mercedes C-Class  Are you looking for a gorgeous, powerful small luxury sedan with modern features? The Mercedes may be your dream come true. The C-Class offers high-tech safety and driver assistance features, precise engineering and construction, and a graceful and sumptuous interior. And the chic contours of the body on this luxury car will definitely get you noticed on the road.

1.  Lexus RX  Extravagance and elegance define the Lexus brand and the RX is the current king of the hill. With a comfortable ride and quality interior, this crossover SUV drives more like a car and handles like an extremely quiet dream. Stepping back from its traditional look with more aggressive lines, the Lexus RX offers plush leather seats and classy interior touches while still providing a smooth ride and impressive fuel efficiency. If you’re looking for that “Wow!” factor, you can never go wrong with a Lexus.

Have we piqued your interest? Are you salivating at the idea of sitting behind the wheel of one – or ALL – of these popular beauties and maybe calling one your own? We can’t really apologize, because we love them all, too! And don’t forget – Beckley also does Pre-Purchase Inspections!

No matter how high-end your automobile is, brand new or tried and true, Beckley Automotive will help you keep its engine purring and performing for as long as you keep it 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.

Will Your Car’s A/C Keep You Cool When It’s Hot?

, , , , ,

How hot will it get? You might think it’s too early to worry about blazing hot days in Des Moines, but it’s not. In fact, back in 1980 when you could by a new Ford Mustang convertible for about $5,000 or ride in style in a new Cadillac El-Dorado for $18,000, something else happened that year. Des Moines hit a blistering 93 degrees in mid-April. That’s hot.

car air conditioner service des moines iowaAnd when it’s that hot, you don’t want to suffer the consequences of a poorly working air conditioner in your car. Sure, you could roll down the windows, douse yourself with water, or mist your face with a spray bottle. But who wants to do that when you should be able to reach over, turn on the A/C, and feel a breeze of cool air blowing through the cabin of your car?

It’s not that hot…yet. If you want to stay cool when the temperatures start heating up, now is a good time to make sure your air conditioning system is working properly. Here’s what you can do:

Get an Inspection

Start by getting an inspection. A trained mechanic can identify cracks, leaks, and other potential problems that could cause you’re A/C system to fail or perform poorly on a hot day. You’ll want to do this before hot weather arrives, so you can be sure to enjoy driving in A/C-cooled comfort.

Replace worn or damaged parts

If an inspection does identify potential problems, get them taken care of as soon as possible. A full A/C replacement could be costly, but in most cases minor repairs are all that’s needed and cost a lot less. Replacing belts and hoses are easy and affordable fixes, that can often improve A/C performance. Or your A/C unit may need a new motor or a fix as simple as replacing a blown fuse. Replacing worn or damaged parts can usually save you time and money.

Recharge A/C system

Even if all the working parts of you’re A/C unit are in good condition, it’s a good idea to recharge the A/C system every season. It’s a process used to remove the old A/C coolant, and replace it with new refrigerant. You’re A/C system needs good refrigerant to blow cold air through your car.

Wondering if you’re A/C system is ready to keep you cool on a hot day? Don’t wait to find out. Bring your car in for an inspection, or schedule an A/C recharge. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

How Much Does a Tesla Really Cost?

, ,

Earlier this week an estimated 300,000 people forked over a $1,000 deposit to reserve a Tesla Model 3 electric car designed by entrepreneur Elon Musk. The car hasn’t even gone into production yet, and won’t be available for a couple years. When the Model 3 does begin rolling off the production line, buyers will pay an estimated $35,000 for this vehicle.

Some industry analysts said the recent Tesla launch created the kind of buzz similar to Apple releasing its latest iPhone. So what’s so great about this car?

tesla repair bills, electric car repairsThe driving force behind the popularity of Tesla’s latest announcement to create an electric car far below the $70,000-plus price tag of earlier models is its price point. But take closer look, and there’s more than one reason for its mass appeal. It can travel about 300 miles on a single charge. Step on the accelerator (not the gas pedal), and you can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. And it’s got a 15-inch laptop or tablet-style display that gives you all the information you need while driving.

Pretty enticing if you’re in the market for an electric car, and have the cash or financing to pay for it, right? We hope to see Tesla make the Model 3 a success. But Tesla owners could be in for a surprise when their car needs to be repaired. Industry research on current Tesla models shows that repairing a minor scratch or dent can cost an estimated $7,000. Some repair costs to its aluminum body for bigger dents or damage can range from $11,000 to $30,000. And mechanical repairs are just as expensive.

In other words, minor repair work to a Tesla could cost as much as a used car. And major repairs could be as much as the price tag for a new gas-powered car. That’s certainly something to think about before dropping $1,000 to reserve a Model 3, and fork over the balance when the car comes off the production line.

Owning a Tesla or other electric car can likely save you money in the long run, and have less of an impact on the environment. But if you’re not in the market for one, or can’t afford one, keeping your gas-powered car well-maintained can still save you money. Simple repairs and regular maintenance can have a big impact on fuel economy, performance and longevity.

Until the Tesla Model 3 electric car comes out, keep your gas-powered car running smoothly with regular oil changes, maintenance, and any necessary repairs by coming in to see us. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.