Posts

Protect Your Warranty With Beckley Automotive

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scheduled maintenance, protect your warranty, car warranty, auto warrantyOne of the great things about buying a new car is the warranty. Knowing that the manufacturer will stand behind the quality of the products they make helps take some of the stress out of the purchase. But there is some confusion about how, exactly, to use the warranty and what will truly negate it. How can you protect your warranty?

If the dealership tries to tell you that you have to bring the vehicle to them for maintenance and repairs, they may be committing a crime. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act established in 1975 makes it illegal for dealers or manufacturers to say that the warranty will be voided or denied if anyone but the dealer does the work. You can take your vehicle to any independent mechanic, retail chain shop or do the work yourself without negating the warranty. Of course, the manufacturer or dealer can require the use of specific facilities if the services are to be done without a charge to the consumer under the warranty.

How can you avoid problems with the warranty? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, there are a few steps you can follow to avoid issues:

  • Read Your Warranty: It’s important to know what it covered and what isn’t before repairs are needed. The warranty is usually in with the owner’s manual and will provide specific details of the warranty so there aren’t any surprises down the road. Most manufacturer websites will have an owner’s manual available online if you happen to misplace the one that came with your car.
  • Know Your Warranty Period: Warranties DO have an expiration – either a number of years or a number of miles. It’s important to know the time limits of your warranty so you can be certain to get problems corrected in plenty of time.
  • Service Regularly: While regular service is a good idea in any case, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule to be certain you are following the parameters of the warranty.
  • Keep All Service Records and Receipts: Whether it’s an oil change, new brake pads, tire rotations or a major repair, create a file to track all repairs and maintenance. If you have to take advantage of your warranty, it will be in your favor to be able to prove that you took care of the vehicle.
  • Fight For Your Warranty: In some cases, a warranty claim may be denied unfairly. If you feel this is the case, ask to speak with a supervisor or go to the manufacturer or another dealer. You can also file a complaint with your state Attorney General or the FTC if service is denied arbitrarily.

Beckley Automotive has been servicing domestic and European vehicles for over 30 years. Our technicians are ASE and Bosch certified and are well-trained in all the latest diagnostic and service tools. You can rest assured that our team will protect your warranty and your investment with integrity.

Do you have a question or concern about your car’s maintenance? Are you needing a repair estimate or a pre-purchase inspection? Contact Beckley Automotive today at 515-243-8185 or conveniently schedule an appointment online!

Oil Changes Every 3,000 Miles? Not So Fast…

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des moines oil change, european car service tips

Did you know automobile oil never wears out? It’s the additives in oil that help keep your engine clean and protected that cause the problems. Plus, oil gets dirty and abrasive from combustion contaminants which leads to sludge* and premature wear.

*We see more engine failures from sludge than old age. Sludge occurs from using the wrong oil or not changing oil frequently enough. It becomes thick like tar then clogs the oil passages. Not unlike what happens to us with a bad diet.

des moines oil change, european car service tipsConventional wisdom was “change your oil every 3,000 miles. Today, some new car manufacturers are recommending 10-15,000 miles between oil changes. How do you know what’s right for your car without spending TOO much? The answer depends on two considerations:

1.Conventional or Synthetic Oil?

Conventional petroleum based oils offer excellent protection for most circumstances and are recommended by many automobile manufacturers. They are also less expensive than synthetic oil.

Synthetic oils hold up better under extremes of temperature and extended drain intervals of 10,000 miles or more*. The only drawback is they can cost twice as much as conventional – about $8-$10 per quart.

*If you go an extended drain interval you need a premium oil filter to last as long as your oil, not the discount filters sometimes used to keep the price down.

At Beckley Automotive, we always advise using the type of oil the manufacturer recommends. Failure to do so can jeopardize any warranties and, as we’ve experienced, will hurt your engine if it’s not up to specification. We can tell you what your car’s manufacturer recommends.

2.How Do You Drive Your Car?

Your owners manual typically has two maintenance schedules. One for “Ideal” driving conditions, one for “Severe” conditions. How do your driving habits stack up? Unless you primarily drive long distances, most of us operate our cars under “severe” conditions. Here, your manual says to cut the “ideal” service intervals in half.

[one_third]

Ideal Driving Conditions

  • Mostly highway miles
  • Moderate temperatures
  • Moderate loads
  • Dust free environment[/one_third]

Severe Driving Conditions

  • Frequent trips under 10 miles or stop & go (city) driving
  • Very hot or cold temps (below freezing)
  • Towing or heavy loads
  • Dusty, unpaved roads

 

And The Answer Is…

Based on the car and oil manufacturers recommendations and our long experience with all European car engines we recommend to change conventional oil every 5000 miles and synthetic oil every 7500 miles. This is based on the typical mix of temperatures and driving styles we experience in Central Iowa.

One Final Consideration

If you drive a particular car infrequently, say under 7500 annually, change your oil once a year. Just because your oil lasts 15,000 miles doesn’t mean everything else will. Our experts will report on your tires, brakes, steering, etc. so you know your car is safe for you and your family. Do this in the fall if you’re going to store it. It will last longer with clean fluids.

When we change your oil at Beckley Automotive, your car gets a 30 point written safety inspection performed by a certified technician with years of training and experience on European cars just like yours. They know what to look for and how to respond to prevent any problems while you’re on the road. We use Mobil oil and original equipment (or better!) filters to ensure the longest life for your car and protect any warranties you might have. Plus we have the proper equipment to reset your service lights. Don’t forget – you also get a free car wash with every service.

So be sure to call us the next time you need service. We’ll be glad to give you a price and explain all the benefits our car care specialists will provide. Or you can go online and Schedule your service appointment today.

Poor Wheel Alignment Can Displace Your Bottom Line

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Iowa winters can be pretty harsh. But the salt, sand, ice and melting snow can be even worse on the roads. In Des Moines, the roads this year are showing exceptional wear and tear with ruts and potholes big enough to swallow your Land Rover! The crews are out fixing them, but for many of us, the damage has already been done to the wheel alignment on our vehicles.

wheel alignment, winter drivingThe wheel alignment of your car may be compromised from driving on rough roads, hitting a curb or two, or getting into a minor finder bender. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Misalignment can cause some troublesome and expensive issues:

  • Less than ideal handling
  • Vibrating steering wheel
  • Lower fuel efficiency
  • Excess or uneven wear on tires
  • Possible damage to your suspension and other components

It used to be that mechanics took a best-guess approach to fine-tuning the wheel alignment of a car. But even a few millimeters can make a difference in steering performance and tire longevity. At Beckley Automotive Services, we stay up to date with the latest alignment equipment and software to ensure perfect results for each and every car we service. We use a computerized wheel alignment machine that produces precise measurements for the camber, toe and caster. Our experienced specialists are trained on specific makes of cars, foreign and domestic, so you know you’ll get the best service available for your vehicle.

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

Reboot: Quick Tip for Fixing Electrical Problems

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It wasn’t that long ago that cars were designed with a basic electrical system. Wiring, fuses, and relays helped power basic things light lights, dashboard messages, and the radio. And there are still a lot of older cars on the road that don’t have any more bells and whistles than this.

car electrical systems, auto electrical problemsBut the vast majority of cars on the road today have a much more complex electrical system to power things like DVD players, automatic controls for doors and windows, navigation systems, mobile devices, and satellite radio.

And dashboard messaging is no longer limited to letting you know the emergency brake is on or flashing you with the dreaded “Check Engine” light. Now many cars are designed to monitor tire pressure in all four tires, let you know if a door is open, track the temperature inside and out, and much more.

With a greater demand for features powered by electricity in your car, there’s a greater chance for something to go wrong. And it does from time to time. Ever get a dashboard message you don’t recognize, and have to break out the owner’s manual or look it up online? It happens.

Diagnostic Tools Can Help Identify Electrical Problems

Then what? When we service cars with electrical problems, one of the first things we do is connect the car’s computer to our diagnostic tools. In a few minutes, our tools can gather a lot of information about your car and help identify potential problems, both electrical and mechanical.

Sometimes the solution to an electrical problem is pretty straightforward. Replace a fuse or sensor. Change out a relay. Replace wiring damaged by corrosion or worn out over time.

How to Reboot Your Car’s Electrical System

But is it always that way? No. In fact, we sometimes resort to using a technique that’s a lot like hitting Ctrl+alt+delete when your computer starts acting up. Giving your car a reboot can sometimes correct electrical problems. And it’s easy. Disconnect the battery from both terminals, touch them together, wait five minutes, and then reconnect.

In many cases it helps get that electrical problem unstuck, a lot like rebooting your computer or resetting a wireless router to get your Internet signal working again.

Have an electrical problem that you don’t know how to fix? Try giving your car a reboot. Or bring your car in and we’ll take a look. Click here to schedule an appointment, call us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Cold-Weather Tips to Improve Gas Mileage

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If you’re planning a road trip during the holidays, travel for work, or still have a lot of present shopping to do, you’re probably going to put a fair amount of miles on your car.

All the usual routine maintenance is important. But a more immediate cost you’re probably keenly aware of is the price of gas.

cold weather gas mileage, winter gas mileage, tips for winter fuel economyRight now gas prices are better than they have been for a while. In Des Moines, gas prices for regular unleaded range from $2.19 a gallon to $2.59 a gallon. But even with lower gas prices making things a little easier on your budget, it still makes sense to get the best fuel economy possible. Cold weather can interfere with fuel economy. But it doesn’t have to. Follow these five tips to improve gas mileage during the winter months.

  1. Park Inside. Whenever possible park your car in a place that’s out of the elements. A warm garage is best. Start your car when it’s already a little warm, and fuel economy will be better than trying to warm up a cold engine.
  1. Evaluate Your Travel Plans. Before you hop in the car and drive to work, the store, drop kids off at school, or go do something else, take a little time to evaluate your plans for the day. Look for ways you can combine trips. You’ll drive less, and you won’t be starting up a cold engine over and over.
  1. Don’t Idle Your Engine. If you’re serious about getting better gas mileage during the winter, don’t idle your engine. A lot of people do this to warm up their vehicle, but it’s wastes fuel, costing you more at the pump. If you really feel the need to warm up your engine, give it 30 to 60 seconds, and then be on your way.
  1. Check Tire Pressure. If you drive a newer car, it may be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensor. If you get a warning about low tire pressure, add some air. Driving around with low tire pressure, can wear out your tires faster, can be dangerous in bad weather, and reduces fuel economy. If you don’t have a TPMS system in your car, get out a tire gauge to check tire pressure, or bring it in for an inspection.
  1. Limit the Use of the Defroster and Heated Seats. Driving with a clear windshield is important. But you probably don’t need to run your defroster non-stop. And heated seats are really just a luxury some cars have. Both of these features take a toll on fuel economy, so only used them as necessary.

Get better gas mileage during the winter months by following these tips. Routine maintenance can make a big difference in fuel economy, too. And we can help. Click here to schedule a service appointment, contact us at 515-243-8185, or stop by at 901-8th Street in Des Moines.

Winter Isn’t Over Yet!

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BattJump_smThe days are getting longer and recent precipitation has been more rain than snow, causing most of us to get caught up in “Spring Fever.” But don’t get ahead of yourself – it is still winter and there’s still a good chance of snow, ice and frigid temperatures.

Is there a service you were putting off, thinking it would be spring soon enough and that repair or tune-up wouldn’t matter? Think again! Here are some services for your European Import you shouldn’t wait on:

  • Heating System: Does it take a while for your blower to warm up most days?  Are you to your destination before your car stops blowing freezing air?  Your European Import’s Climate Control system is one of the most complex systems on your car – but our technicians have the training and experience to save you frustration and money.
  • Brake and Anti-lock Systems:  With the quickly changing temperatures causing melting and re-freeze, this time of year is not the time to skimp on your brakes!  All of the brake pads, brake discs and hydraulic components we install meet or exceed NEW car specifications.  And, since Bosch was the originator of Anti-lock technology for today’s cars, our status as an Authorized Bosch Service Center means we have the training, tools and experience to keep this feature in tip-top shape!
  • Battery and Starter Systems:  These cold Iowa winters certainly put a strain on your Import’s battery, as do all of the other demands placed on your battery, such as sound systems, heated seats and high-powered headlights.  You don’t want to get caught with a dead battery, a short circuit or an underperforming alternator when the snow sets in or those wind chills drop below zero!  We use genuine Bosch starters and alternators on all European makes, and we include a two year parts and labor warranty to boot!

Iowa winters can last forever, as anyone who has been through an April blizzard can tell you.  Don’t take a chance on having serious issues with any of the systems in your European import car by waiting until spring.  Give Beckley Imports a call today to schedule your service appointment!

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.

 

 

Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold This Winter!

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replace battery before winter european cars des moines iowaShould I replace my battery now, or wait until it dies?

A few years ago that was an easier decision. Dead battery? Give it a jump, drive to the shop, replace the battery, problems over. Now it’s much more complicated.

  1. Batteries are fitted in trunks, under seats, behind multiple shields and covers making hooking up cables very difficult.
  2. One spark or wrong connection and your car’s computers can be toast.
  3. When a battery dies, it sets off fault codes and “check engine” lights in the computers that require special tools to reset and extinguish the lights.
  4. Towing is the only recommended solution by the manufacturers.

If you get 4 winters from your car’s battery you’ve done fine.

Some make it to a 5th winter, but having your battery fail these days is an expensive situation; so think of it like tires and replace it before it fails, especially with our harsh Iowa winters.

Additional considerations – I have heated seats in my cars, one has a heated steering wheel! You can laugh (I did at first) but I love it on cold mornings. Along with powerful stereos, headlights, and other accessories, batteries have a lot more work to do. Plus they come smaller and lighter for economy. Consequently, the size, shape and power required are unique to each make and model of car. In addition to poor starting, the wrong battery can cause short circuits, acid leaks and rattles.

Because we specialize on European cars at Beckley’s, we have the proper battery in stock for each of the makes we service including Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo. And, we have the expert staff and tools to replace your battery and reset any equipment and computers that power your car.

If your battery is 4 years or older Make your maintenance appointment today and we’ll make sure that your European car will perform as it should this winter.

“How Often Should I Change My Oil?”

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des moines oil change, european car service tips

Did you know oil never wears out? It’s the additives in oil that help keep your engine clean and protected that do. Plus, oil gets dirty and abrasive from combustion contaminants which leads to sludge* and premature wear.

*We see more engine failures from sludge than old age. Sludge occurs from using the wrong oil or not changing oil frequently enough. It becomes thick like tar then clogs the oil passages. Not unlike what happens to us with a bad diet.

des moines oil change, european car service tipsConventional wisdom was “change your oil every 3,000 miles”. Today, some new car manufacturers are recommending 10-15,000 miles between oil changes. How do you know what’s right for your car without spending TOO much? The answer depends on two considerations;

1.Conventional or Synthetic Oil?

Conventional petroleum based oils offer excellent protection for most circumstances and are recommended by many automobile manufacturers. They are also less expensive than synthetic oil.

Synthetic oils hold up better under extremes of temperature and extended drain intervals of 10,000 miles or more*. The only drawback is they can cost twice as much as conventional – about $8-$10 per quart.

If you go an extended drain interval you need a premium oil filter to last as long as your oil, not the discount filters sometimes used to keep the price down.

We always recommend using the type of oil the manufacturer recommends. Failure to do so can jeopardize any warranties and, as we’ve experienced, will hurt your engine if it’s not up to specification. We can tell you what your cars manufacturer recommends.

2.How Do You Drive Your Car?

Your owners manual typically has two maintenance schedules. One for “Ideal” driving conditions, one for “Severe” conditions. How do your driving habits stack up? Unless you primarily drive long distances, most of us operate our cars under “severe” conditions. Here, your manual says to cut the “ideal” service intervals in half.

[one_third]

Ideal Driving Conditions

  • Mostly highway miles
  • Moderate temperatures
  • Moderate loads
  • Dust free environment[/one_third]

Severe Driving Conditions

  • Frequent trips under 10 miles or stop & go (city) driving
  • Very hot or cold temps (below freezing)
  • Towing or heavy loads
  • Dusty, unpaved roads

And The Answer Is…

Based on the car and oil manufacturers recommendations and our long experience with all European car engines we recommend to change conventional oil every 5000 miles and synthetic oil every 7500 miles. This is based on the typical mix of temperatures and driving styles we experience in Central Iowa.

One Final Consideration

If you drive a particular car infrequently, say under 7500 annually, change your oil once a year. Just because your oil lasts 15,000 miles doesn’t mean everything else will. Our experts will report on your tires, brakes, steering, etc. so you know your car is safe for you and your family. Do this in the fall if you’re going to store it. It will last longer with clean fluids.

When we change your oil at Beckley Imports your car gets a 30 point written safety inspection performed by a certified technician with years of training and experience on European cars just like yours. They know what to look for and how to respond to prevent any problems while you’re on the road. We use Mobil oil and original equipment (or better!) filters to ensure the longest life for your car and protect any warranties you might have. Plus we have the proper equipment to reset your service lights. You get a free car wash with every service.

Call us the next time you need service. We’ll be glad to give you a price and explain all the benefits our European car care specialists will provide.

Schedule your service appointment today.

Thank you,
Steve Beckley

New MINI USA Pricing and Updates for 2013

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The popularity of the MINI has risen exponentially in the U.S. over the last few years, and we’re not surprised!  With a cute, compact body, a wide wheel-base for stability, remarkable passenger room and gas economy in such a small car, what’s not to love?

MINI USA just released the Pricing and Updates for their 2013 line-up, including some great features that were previously an option now coming standard.

For feature highlights and 2012-2013 pricing comparisons, check out this article at MotoringFile.com.


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!