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Stop. It’s Time for a Brake Inspection

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We hate to hear stories of vehicle accidents, especially when, with a little preventative maintenance, they could have been avoided.

When a car hit a curb near 19th St. and Clarke Ave in Des Moines on Thursday morning, the impact launched the car into the air, then rolled and hit a tree.  Investigators haven’t determined an official cause for the crash, but officers first on the scene reported “minimal skid marks.”

preventative maintenance brake repair des moines iowaWe may never know all the details, but “minimal skid marks” raises some questions that could point to bad brakes a possible contributor to this accident. When you step on the brakes to slow down, the pedal should feel firm under your foot. The harder you press on the pedal, the firmer the brakes should feel. And if you’re in a situation that requires a sudden stop, mashing down on the brake pedal will feel almost as firm as stomping your foot on the ground.

What if your brakes don’t feel firm when you slow down or need to make a sudden stop? If you’re like most people, that sensation can leave you feeling a little anxious. When you press on the brakes, you want to know without a doubt that they’re going to slow your car down.

Getting your brakes checked periodically can be a lifesaver. In many cases, simple and inexpensive repairs and preventive maintenance can keep your brakes in working order for many miles. Check out these three warning signs that suggest a problem with your brake system:

  1. Brake pedal quickly goes to the floor when you press it. This may be a sign that your brake system’s master cylinder is no longer pressurized and could have a leak.
  1. Pressing the brake pedal feels soft or has less resistance than normal. It’s often caused by low levels of brake fluid.
  1. Braking feels rough. Worn brake pads and uneven rotors can make braking feel rough and bumpy. You may even hear screeching or grinding noises coming from the wheel hub where the brakes are located if these parts are worn or warped.

If you’re wondering if your brakes are working properly, don’t wait to find out until you’re faced with making a sudden stop to avoid an accident. And even if you think your brakes are fine, but it’s been 30,000-plus miles since your brakes were inspected, is a good idea to have them checked out.

Need a brake inspection or brake system repairs? We can help. Give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Is Your Car’s Air Conditioning Ready For Summer in Des Moines?

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car air conditioning des moines iowaModerate springtime temperatures can deceptively make you forget about the dog days of summer in Des Moines not too far away. When you wake up in the morning and head to your car, it’s a cool 40 degrees outside. By mid-afternoon and a little sun, it’s in the upper 60s, which generally isn’t hot enough to make you think about turning on the air conditioning.

But if you’ve been around Des Moines, and the Midwest long enough, hotter days are ahead. Within a month, we’ll be approaching 80-degree-plus temperatures that will be here to stay for a few months. That’s hot enough to seriously heat up the interior of your car and feel the need to crank up the air conditioning.

You might not be thinking about hot summer weather yet, but you should. Driving a car on a hot and humid day in Des Moines without a properly working air conditioning can be a miserable sweat-soaked experience. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can give your car’s air conditioning system a check-up to see if it’s ready to handle the rigors of summer in Des Moines. We’ll inspect your car’s air conditioning compressor, motor, electronics, blower, and ducts. We’ll check to see if your car’s air conditioning is capable of keeping things cool, even on a hot day, and take a look at the refrigerant level of your air conditioning unit needed to help you chill out when you want to.

In many cases, a simple diagnostic evaluation and additional refrigerant is all you need to maximize your car’s air conditioning performance. Before you’re battling the next summer heat wave on a cross-country road trip or sitting in an overheated cabin on a hot day, stop in or schedule an appointment to have your car’s air conditioning inspected and serviced.

If you’ve got questions about your car’s air conditioning, we can help. Bring your car in for an inspection or give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

3 Decades of Car Care – Customer Testimonial – Peter Brown

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Peter Brown is a Des Moines corporate real estate broker who has been coming to Beckley’s for decades. His passion for driving, performance, and focus on quality drove him to Beckley with some of his first auto repair needs. Now he frequently refers friends and family to Beckley auto for their auto maintenance and repairs.

For over 3 decades, Beckley Automotive has been providing superior auto maintenance and car care for the Des Moines area. We have some of the most loyal customers and best support a car repair shop could wish for, and when they step up and provide testimonials like this, we couldn’t be more proud.

Say Hello to Peter Brown!

For more information on how Beckley’s can help serve your auto repair and service needs, please reach out to us through the contact page or simply call us at 515-243-8185!

Would Your Car Pass a Vehicle Emissions Test?

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Thirty-one states in the U.S. require annual or bi-annual vehicle emissions tests, but Iowa isn’t one of them. If you celebrate the fact that you don’t have to pay the testing fees other states require, you’re not alone.

emissions testing des moines iowaBut that doesn’t mean vehicle emissions tests are useless. In fact, emission regulations are intended to help make the cars on the road as efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible. Would your car pass a vehicle emissions test if it was required in Iowa?

Some of the most common reasons cars don’t pass vehicle emissions tests can have a major impact on performance. Iowa may not require vehicle emission testing, but these problems could be costing you money.

  • Fuel Meter Problem – It’s often caused by a problem with a computer system in the car, the carburetor, or the fuel injection system.
  • Bad Oxygen Sensor – It’s common problem that can trigger the Check Engine light to come on. Left unchecked, it can cause your car to overheat, interfere with acceleration, and fuel economy.
  • Ignition System Error – If your car is emitting a higher than normal level of hydrocarbons, you’re not helping the environment. This can be caused by problems with your ignition system or spark plugs going bad.
  • Vacuum Leaks – Take a look under the hood of your car, and you’ll see lots of hoses can connections your engine needs in place to operate efficiently. Leaks in hose lines and gaskets can prevent your car from running clean.
  • Fuel Mixture Problem – A problem with the mixture of oxygen and fuel can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. It’s often caused by a failing oxygen sensor or fuel injectors.
  • Air Injection System Defect – Your car may be producing higher than normal levels of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide if there’s a problem with the air injection system. It’s not environmentally friendly, and the gases your car releases when this is a problem are poisonous.
  • Excessive Gasoline Vapors – This is another common emissions-related problem that can interfere with engine performance and fuel economy. Defective hoses, vents, valves, and gas caps are usually the problem.

Just because you don’t have to pass a vehicle emissions test in Iowa, doesn’t mean the testing procedures used in other states are useless. In fact, keeping your car in working order and handling these common issues can improve your gas mileage and engine performance, and be better for the environment.

If you’ve got questions about your car’s emissions or any of the issues mentioned above, we can help. Bring your car in for an inspection or give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

 

 

Your Car’s Electrical System Maintenance

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Were you aware that your car’s electrical system needs scheduled maintenance, too?

car electrical system help des moines iowaIt wasn’t that long ago that most cars were made with a basic electrical system. A fuse box and series of relays delivered power to electrical features like the radio, dash lights, turn signals, and power locks and windows. Now these are standard features in most cars. Improvements in technology and consumer demands for mobile-everything have made car electrical systems far more complex.

It’s great for things like Bluetooth compatibility, global positioning navigation systems (GPS), and DVD players. And many new safety features like back-up cameras, tire pressure monitors, car alarms controlled by your smartphone, and other on-board indicators all depend on your car’s electrical system to function properly.

Your car can literally be a mobile office on wheels or keep the kids entertained on a road trip with a movie, video games, and even separate climate controls for the front and rear of the cabin thanks to your car’s electrical system. But what happens when something goes wrong with a fuse, wiring, or relay, and these much-loved features quit working?

A blown fuse that disables your DVD player might be a minor inconvenience. But if you were just about to go on vacation, it could be incredibly frustrating. If you can’t turn your headlights on, your turn signals don’t work, or your car alarm can only be shut off by disconnecting the battery, it’s more than an inconvenience.

Beckely’s – Car Electrical System technicians for over 30 Years

Fortunately, we’ve been unraveling crossed wires, fixing blown fuses, and troubleshooting electrical problems for more than 30 years. We know the ins and outs of vehicle electrical systems from the basic commuter car to luxury SUVs and everything in between.

When your car has an electrical issue, we’ll diagnose the problem and aim to fix it for less than $125. When your car’s electrical system needs help, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the problem. Some mechanics with the best of intentions might rack up the labor costs trying to find the source of an electrical problem, and that’s not good for customers.

We created a strict policy to help keep repair costs as affordable as possible. When car electrical system issues costs more than $125 to fix, we won’t proceed without providing you with a full diagnostic report, explaining what’s required to fix the problem, and receiving approval to proceed.

If you’ve got an electrical problem that’s buzzing, shorting out, or a feature that’s no longer working, we can help. Bring your car in for an inspection or give us a call at 515-423-8185 or click here schedule an appointment.

 

Knock, Knock… Is It Your Engine Knocking?

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If everyone could afford to drive a new car, most probably would. Hearing a brand new, perfectly-tuned engine is almost a magical sound (even if you’re not a mechanic). But the reality is that you’re not going to be able to replace your car as often as you wish. That means your car is bound to tally up some miles, experience some wear and tear, and need regular maintenance.

engine knock service des moines iowaSo what happens when you start up your car and hear a knocking sound coming from under the hood? Do you ignore it and keep on driving, hoping it will go away? Do you pop the hood and try to identify where the knocking is coming from? Or do you take your car to the shop right away?

While we prefer the latter, some times the simplicity of changing the way you drive and maintain your car can help.

3 Ways to Fix Engine Knocking

Engine knocking is nothing to ignore. It’s typically caused by a bad mix of fuel and air needed to power the engine. When the gasoline in your engine burns unevenly, it creates a kind of “POP” shock-wave that makes the knocking sound. Run your car for very long with this kind of problem, and it can cause serious engine damage.

The good news is that, in some cases, there’s a simple fix to the problem. Here’s the three things we recommend when you hear your engine making knocking sounds.

  1. Fill up with premium unleaded. The typical low-grade and least expensive gasoline at the pump may be the problem. If you normally use this type of gas, fill up with premium unleaded next time. Higher-octane fuel can often help correct a knocking engine.
  1. Add fuel detergent. Pour in detergent in your dishwasher or washing machine, and it helps clean the dishes and clothes. Fuel detergent works the same way. Most gasolines include some fuel detergent, but if your engine is knocking, you may need something a little stronger. Kind of like using the stain-buster detergent when you want to get some grass or grease stains out of clothes. Adding the right fuel detergent can help remove carbon build-up that could be part of the knocking problem.
  1. Replace spark plugs. If your car has ever been serviced, it’s possible the original spark plugs were replaced with the wrong ones. They may still fire, but not the way they should. Making sure the right spark plugs are installed for your car can often help silence the knocking.

These are a few basic do-it-yourself strategies to consider if you hear knocking sounds coming from your engine. Troubleshoot it yourself or bring it in for an inspection. Fixing the source of a knocking engine sound sooner than later can save you time and money.

Beckley Imports works on all make and models of cars. From BMW to Ford and everything in-between. If a knock or other strange sounds are starting to concern you, call our team of professional technicians at 515-243-8185 or click here to schedule your car for service.  After over 30 years in the industry, we’re darn certain we’ll be able to clear it up and get you back on the road quickly.

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!

Want A European Vacation?

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european vacation and vehicle delivery packages

A new car…and a European vacation?

european vacation and vehicle delivery packagesIt can happen easier than you think! European Vehicle Delivery programs are becoming more and more popular among American buyers, and it’s easy to see why. European Vehicle Delivery is a program that allows the buyer to drive the car where it was made, wherever that may be, on the dealer’s dime (after you pay for the car, of course).

The trip usually includes a one-night stay in a 5 star hotel (which you can add on to with your own money if you want to stay longer), free airfare and travel, and a discounted purchase price on the vehicle. You and one guest of your choice get a chance to take a VIP tour of the factory your car was assembled in, and then take the car out for a spin. Want to drive your brand new BMW on the Autobahn? Go for it. After you’re done taking your new car for a drive, you return it to the factory, and they’ll ship it to your home overseas. Many purchasers even choose to extend their trip (sometimes the dealers will throw in a little extra for this) and tour the country in their new car.

Sound a little too good to be true? Visit some of these dealer sites to learn more about the European Vehicle Delivery program:
BMW Website – European Vehicle Delivery
Volvo Website – European Vehicle Delivery

When you get that new car (and get back from your vacation), bring it in to show us at Beckley Imports. While you’re here, we’ll look it over and get your information so that we can help you keep everything running smoothly.

Have you been on one of these trips, or heard about them before? We’d love to hear your stories!

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.

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!