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Studded or Studless: Choosing Winter Tires for Your Vehicle

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When you wake up in the morning, temperatures are already dipping into the 30s around in the Des Moines area. And it won’t be long before those temperatures drop even lower and turn passing weather systems into snow and ice storms.

When winter weather does arrive, the best place to be is indoors where it’s warm and safe. But if you’ve got to be on the road, studded or studless tires for your car will help you handle driving conditions that may include, snow, ice, slush, and excess water. But is there a difference between studded tires and studless tires?

winter driving tires des moines iowaStudded Tires
They’re legal to drive with on Iowa roads from November 1 through April 1. But they’re illegal in some states, and states that do allow studded tires have set their own dates for when they can be used on the roads.

Studded tires have tiny metal studs in the tread of the tire that help grip the road and provide traction, even when it’s icy or you’re driving on snow-packed roads. Instead of struggling to chain-up on a wintery day, studded tires make it easier to get in your car and drive in winter weather.

However, the studs are strong enough to damage pavement when the roads are clear, and that’s a major reason some states have banned studded tires. Studded tires are allowed in Iowa. But surrounding states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois have all banned the use of studded tires. If you’re from Iowa and just passing through, you can still drive your car with studded tires in these states during the winter season. Iowa’s other border states, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota allow studded tires for winter driving.

While studded tires are highly effective for winter driving, they’re also criticized for being too noise when used on dry roads.

Studless Tires
In Iowa where studded tires are legal, some people still opt for studless tires because they’re more environmentally friendly and aren’t as noisy. But in terms of performance, studless tires may perform as well as studded tires based on rubber compounds and engineering practices used to design them.

Studless tires are made with a type of rubber that doesn’t become brittle or hard when temperatures reach the freezing point or colder. This helps the tire remain flexible and improves traction on snow, ice, and wet roadways. Most studless tires also have deeper tread, compared to typical all-season tires, which helps improve traction.

Because studded tires are legal in Iowa, you’ve got the option of going with studded or studless tires on your car. Both will help your car handle better during winter driving conditions. But it’s better to get snow tires on your car early in the season, before the first big winter storm arrives.

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!

Before more ice and snow hit…

Fall is pretty, but any second it can turn to freezing temperatures and the dreaded snow fall, just like what happened last night. Although it may start to warm up in the next few days, make sure you bring in your vehicle to Beckley so we can do some maintenance checks on the following:

• Tire Checks (for every 18°F of temperature drop, tire pressure goes down by one pound – make sure your spare tire is fully as well)
• Battery check (batteries work harder when it’s cold and the colder temperatures can compromise its performance up to 60 percent. Having it tested to see if it needs replaced could save you from sitting outside in it during a blizzard)
• Cooling System Check
• Brake Inspection
• Headlight Check (this includes all the turn signals and hazard lights)
• Windshield Wipers (you never know when that blizzard will hit and you can’t have the wipers smashing snow about)
• Engine

At Beckley, we want you to be safe drivers, as well as be prepared of any situations. Having the following items in your car could help if there is an accident:

• Windshield scraper and snow brush
• Lightweight shovel
• Bag of sand, wire traction mat or abrasive substance
• Spare tire
• First aid kit
• Flashlight
• Flares
• Battery jumper cables
• Blankets
• Emergency drink or snack
• Extra coat or boots

Even though we have cell phones to call for help, it is still good to be prepared because you never know if your service will go down or your phone will be inoperable.  So stay prepared and let us help take care of your car so that your chances will be lesser in case.

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.