Posts

Top 5 Gifts for the Car Enthusiast

, ,

gifts for the car enthusiastIt can be difficult finding just the right gift for the car enthusiast on your list, especially if you aren’t a gearhead yourself. Buying a new or classic car each year really isn’t an option, so how do you find the perfect gift for the car lover in your life?

Here are the Top 5 Car Enthusiast Gift Ideas from Beckley Automotive:

  1. LifeProof Suction Mount with QuickMount  Our cell phones are our lives and there isn’t one of us who doesn’t react like Pavlov’s dogs when it dings, rings or vibrates. This suction mount keeps your phone at eye level on your windshield so you won’t ever have to take your eyes off the road when the phone beckons. You can give the gift of driving safety for roughly $40.
  2. Lego Caterham Seven 620R Model  Return your car enthusiast to childhood with this detailed Lego set! The life-size Caterham Seven 620R is a stylish performance car and the fastest that Caterham makes, accelerating 0-60 in a mere 2.9 seconds. While the price tag on the real Caterham is probably a little more than most people are looking to spend, you can encourage the dream with this Lego set for $80.
  3. Porsche: Origin of the Species Book    This hardcover, 356-page book is perfect for the performance car lover, especially if Porsche is his first love. With a foreward by Jerry Seinfeld and exclusive photos of his very own exceptionally rare Porsche Gmünd coupe 356/2-040, this history of the Porsche will be an exciting addition to any personal library. Buy now for about $125.
  4. Escort Max 360 Radar Detector  If you have a lovable leadfoot on your list, this gift may well be worth the price! This windshield-mounted detector is tops in range, with red-light camera detectors and directional arrows to show you where the radar is coming from. If your car enthusiast pays a lot in speeding tickets each year, the $650 price tag is a priceless value!
  5. Rusty Wallace Racing Experience  Every car enthusiast dreams of actually being behind the wheel of a race car, going Mach5 with his hair on fire. This year, you can be the hero who gives him that chance. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience runs at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, and offers different packages based on experience. You can ride along as a passenger or drive the car yourself, but you can rest assured the adrenaline will be flowing freely! Packages for the 2017 season in Newton run anywhere from $300-$2300.

No matter your price range, there are many options for gifts for your car lover for Christmas. Maybe you’re looking for a more practical gift. Does your car lover need some repairs or routine maintenance that they just haven’t gotten around to? Give us a call and we can help you schedule some TLC for their favorite vehicle – making you the hero of the Holidays!

Schedule an appointment online HERE, call our service department at 515.243.8185 or stop in to our shop conveniently located in Downtown Des Moines at 901 8th Street for more information on Beckley Automotive services.

 

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.

Is It Time to Replace Your Shocks and Struts?

, , ,

shocks and struts, beckley automotive suspension repairsDes Moines roads are generally less than smooth-riding, and are definitely inconsistent. Have you ever found yourself cruising down a straight-away at a good clip when you suddenly realize the road ahead is torn up and full of potholes? Rough roads can do a number on your car – especially your shocks and struts. While most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 15,000-30,000 miles, that estimate changes if you haul heavy loads or regularly drive on rough roads with potholes, bumps or washboard ridges. So how do you know when you really need to get new shocks and struts?

There are a few clues to let you know when you need to bring your vehicle into Beckley Automotive for a suspension system check. These are just a few:

  • Nose Dive  Does the front end of your car dip down when you stop? Although it can feel like your car is going to flip end-over-end, it really won’t. But there can be associated safety issues like longer stopping distance or steering issues that need to be considered.
  • Squatting  On the other end of the car you may notice something called “squatting”. This is when you accelerate from a stop and your front end rises slightly off the ground. It looks cool in car racing movies, but it’s a bad thing in real life.
  • Excessive Bounce Do you bottom out on railroad tracks or speed bumps – and then continue bouncing your way down the road? Here’s a test: Push down on each corner of your vehicle (SUVs can be tricky). Does it continue bouncing after you let go? Get your shocks and struts checked.
  • Sways and Leans  If you fear tipping sideways when you turn a corner or change lanes, you may need look at your suspension. Other things you might notice that should give you pause include poor steering, steering wheel stiffness or noise when turning the steering wheel.
  • Visible Wear  Check your tires for unusual wear patterns like “cupping” which is when a tire shows scalloped dips around one side of the tread. You can always get under your car and find your struts and shocks – are there dents, cuts or leaks?

Shocks and struts wear out gradually, so you may not really notice any of the above issues. There won’t be a particular moment that your vehicle’s ride gets bouncy or “loose.” You just get used to the changes little by little until they’re part of your driving experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you suspect you need your shocks and struts looked at by an expert, bring your auto into Beckley Automotive. You can make an appointment online HERE, give us a call at 515.243.8185, or stop by our convenient downtown Des Moines location at 901 8th Street.

Pre-Purchase Inspection Takes the Fear Out of Car Buying

, ,
bmw pre-purchase european luxury vehicles

bmw pre-purchase european luxury vehicles, pre-purchase inspectionPurchasing a new car is an exciting event, and at Beckley Automotive, we want to keep it that way! When you’re looking to spend a substantial amount of money on a pre-owned vehicle like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo or any number of domestic beauties, you want to know that you’re getting the value you expect – style, performance, reliability, and economical value! That’s why Beckley’s offers a pre-purchase inspection to set your mind at ease and ensure you’re getting what you pay for.

By scheduling a pre-purchase inspection with Beckley, you can save yourself from inheriting someone else’s problems, not to mention saving potentially hundreds of dollars. Our specialists have years of experience with most makes and models – domestic, Asian and European – so you know you’ll be getting the best service around. We’ll check the brakes, steering, tires, and more, giving you a clear, written explanation of results when it’s all said and done.

Having your future vehicle inspected by someone you trust is also important. At Beckley Automotive, our certified experts 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 for any signs of leaks.
  • A thorough 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.
  • A comprehensive 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. Whether buying from an established used car lot or an individual in the paper or online, the seller may not be truly forthcoming with all the details. Even the fear that the seller isn’t telling you everything can make the car-buying process far more stressful than it needs to be.

Make sure you have your vehicle inspected before you purchase to avoid unexpected and expensive repairs down the road. Let Beckley Automotive help you make a good decision in your luxury ride – schedule an appointment online HERE or give us a call at 515.243.8185 today!

Protect Your Warranty With Beckley Automotive

, ,

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!

It’s Not Too Early to Get Your Car Ready for Winter Driving

, , , , , , , ,
car battery, winter driving bmw des moines iowa

It’s hard to imagine prepping your car for fall and winter driving with the 80+ degree temps we’re currently enjoying.  But reality is that fall is practically here and that means football, turkey, presents and HARSH WINTER DRIVING are just around the corner.

TIP:  When you see the garden centers closing up and the patio furniture on clearance at the stores – it’s time to winterize.

winter driving bmw des moines iowaWinter puts an amazing strain on your car’s systems and fluids.  And if you leave your car outdoors overnight, it endures even more punishment.  Here’s what you should do now to avoid shivering on the roadside waiting for a tow.

Get caught up on recommended maintenance

If the summer was just too busy, it’s a good idea to get caught up on the simple things.  We’re sure that with other shops you’ve visited, you might have felt “taken” a bit with add-ons and extras that didn’t seem necessary.  We guarantee that our technicians will recommend only what’s necessary for your vehicle and give you clear guidance on additional maintenance items that you should consider.

TIP:  Sometimes you just feel like asking, “Is it OK if I wait on servicing say…my water pump…until the next time I visit?”  Don’t feel awkward about it! At Beckley, you’ll get an honest answer that does not contain a hidden agenda or innuendo.  We’ve built our business on honesty and good value…so ask any question you’d like and we’ll give you a straightforward answer.

Kick the tires

Possibly the most essential element in the winter equation is tires.  If you don’t do a summer/winter tire switch, make sure you have tread – and lots of it.  Sometimes when you’re at that “in between” stage where there’s probably just enough tread to get by until Spring, this is a tough decision.  Safety should be your first consideration here.  Stopping distances go through the roof on snow and ice and tread is your friend.

Get the cooling system ready to be REALLY cool

It might seem like “cooling” systems are less relevant in the winter.  It’s true you’re less likely to have overheating issues from a 10-minute drive when it’s 20 degrees outside.  But a properly operating cooling system is essential to your engine’s life at ALL temperatures.  Freezing temps can really push an old water pump to the limit, so if you’re approaching or are over the max life for that part – consider a proactive replacement.

Put the scraper and winter emergency kit back in the vehicle

It’s a great idea to keep a plastic bin containing simple roadside survival items in your trunk.  Be sure to check your items each year for expiration dates and put in fresh batteries. Some things to include are:

  • spare gloves/hats
  • jackets
  • flashlights
  • first aid kit
  • blankets
  • small shovel
  • food
  • knife
  • chains
  • jumper cables

TIP:  Consider putting one or more 40 pound sandbags in the rear of your car.  This will help with traction in a rear wheel drive car of course.  But a side benefit is that if you get stuck, you can grab the knife from your winter safety kit, cut open the bag, and lay the sand down under and around your tires for extra traction.  You’d be surprised how much this helps when things get slick and you’re spinning those gorgeous wheels.

Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment online to get your car ready for the harsh Iowa winter. Our convenient shuttle can get you to work or home and our service advisers can help you with further transportation arrangements. Call Beckley Automotive 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!

New Audi Brings Luxury and Fun Together

, , ,
Audi a4 Allroad, audi care des moines

Image courtesy of caranddriver.com

This fall, a new Audi beauty will roll out for all you car enthusiasts who appreciate functionality as well as comfort and luxury.

The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad wagon will become available in the fall of 2016 after a fantastic showing at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. With the A4 sedan’s redesigned 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and an impressive 252 hp, this upgrade of the 2016 Allroad will meet all expectations of Audi fans. Some of the best features of this gem include:

  • Standard quattro all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance
  • Redesigned five-link suspension for better maneuvering on curves and off-road
  • Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and five drive-select modes
  • Standard leather seating, panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control

The 2017 Audi Allroad wagon will also provide more cargo room than the A4 sedan and offers options like Audi side assist and pre-sense rear in the Prestige models. If you’re thinking of picking up this new Audi this fall, you’re looking at a price tag of anywhere from $44,950 to over $52,000.

Whether you bring this baby home in the fall or if you have an older Audi, Beckley Automotive is your leading Audi care experts! From batteries and electrical systems to brakes and suspension to a simple oil change, Beckley is your one-stop shop for all things automotive repair and service!

Schedule your appointment online today, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or stop by our convenient downtown location at 901 8th Street!

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

, , , , , , , , , , ,
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.

Keep Your Car Cool in Iowa’s Extreme Heat

, , , , , ,

overheated car, summer heat, extreme heat wave, Beckley AutomotiveThe recent heat wave here in Des Moines basically has us melting and remembering with fondness winter snow storms. While we rely on the air conditioning in our homes, offices and cars to save the day, we don’t usually think about other critical auto maintenance necessary in Iowa summer’s extreme heat.

  1. Stay on top of tire pressure. Weather plays a big role in your tire pressure: cold weather can cause your tires to be under-inflated while hot weather can cause them to be OVER inflated. When your tire pressure is off, it can lower your gas mileage and cause extra and uneven wear on the tread. Make sure you check your tire pressure during extreme heat and keep tires inflated to the number printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner’s manual, not the number on the tire.
  2. Maintain your cooling system. Does it take forever for your auto air conditioner to actually get cold? If you haven’t flushed your cooling system in the last 5 years, that could be why. Engines these days have a lot of aluminum parts and require great corrosion protection to last longer. It’s also a good idea to park out of the sun whenever possible so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard.
  3. Top off all fluids. Motor oil does so much more than keeping the moving parts moving – it also absorbs heat from all the friction. You’re aware that you need to keep coolant at the right levels, but there is a lot of evaporation going on under the hood that a lot of people forget about. You’ll burn through transmission fluid faster and battery fluids don’t always last through extended high temperatures, like we’ve seen recently.
  4. Plan for an emergency. Nobody wants to think they could get stranded out in the middle of nowhere during the summer, but planning ahead could save a life. Put together an emergency package with things like bottled water, a flashlight, a car charger for your cell phone, a first-aid kit, road flares, granola bars, instant cold packs that activate when needed, and anything else you think you might need in an emergency. It’s always better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.

This extreme heat will pass, but make sure you can get your car through it without any major breakdowns or problems. If you think ahead and stay prepared, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and a lot of money.

Need to make sure your car is ready for the current extreme heat and brutal summer months ahead? No matter the make or model, you can contact Beckley Imports today to schedule an appointment online, give us a call at 515-243-8185, or visit us downtown at 901 8th Street!