2006 Ford F350 – 6 litre Diesel Head Gasket Replacement

Mark: Good Morning, it’s Mark Bossert here with Top Local Rankings; we’re with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s top, best auto service experience, how’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Ford 6 litre diesel , something we’ve talked about a few times before and you seem to work on a few of these, this is a 2006, what was going on?

Bernie: Well this vehicle had a coolant leak, blown head gaskets which is not a surprise since it’s a pretty common issue and I know we’ve talked about it in the past. The engine was blowing a lot of smoke and occasionally the, when we went to start it, it actually wouldn’t turn over, the engine was hydro locked; that’s a condition that happens when you have fluid inside the engine cylinder and it’s the cylinder you know as you crank the engine over the cylinder moves up to compress the air but it’s actually trying to compress liquid which doesn’t work very well and the engine won’t turn so fortunately this engine sometimes you can just crank it a bit and it’ll eventually blow the coolant out so this was a pretty severe head gasket leak for one of these engines.

Mark: So there was a lot of coolant leaking into the cylinders?

Bernie: Yes, I mean that’s what happens with the head gasket when it blows, it usually blows coolant into the cylinder and when it’s in an early stage it’ll usually just you know a small amount will just go in but this, this one there was quite a lot of coolant like a lot more than usual. I’ll just share a photo here, this is kind of an interesting thing to look at, get the screen share up here, are you seeing this?

Mark: Yup

Bernie: O.k., yeah so that’s a picture of when we started dismantling things, we removed the turbo charger and the exhaust pipes and that view is looking into the right exhaust manifold with the, where the pipe comes out and goes into the turbo charger and that green liquid there is all antifreeze, now that’s just coolant inside the exhaust manifold, definitely shouldn’t be there, there should only be air in that area so that’s, it was interesting to find that, it’s pretty severe leak for this type of thing.

Mark: So is that indicating that the exhaust is filled right to the catalytic converter almost?

Bernie: Well in this case it’ll fill the exhaust system like further down in the pipes with antifreeze and I imagine, we just got the vehicle finished, got to go for a final road test today but I imagine there’ll probably still be quite a fair bit of smoke burning out because when it starts pumping coolant like that sometimes it takes quite a while and antifreeze tends to burn very white so it can make quite an ugly and kind of an embarrassing drive until it’s all burnt out.

Mark: So did you just do the head gaskets or were there more that you had to be done?

Bernie: Well we did more on this engine, I mean usually there is more to do be done, you know, we’ve talked a lot about these in the past and anyone who knows about 6 litre diesel you look at the list and there’s a lot of things that go wrong with it so, we basically did all the fix ups, the bullet proofing on this engine. We changed the engine oil cooler, with the original Ford cooler, we resealed the oil pump, the engine oil cooler seals, there’s a lot seals that tend to leak and there’s’ a fitting called a STC fitting on the high pressure oil system, they tend to blow apart you know, and they can and actually I’ve never seen it but it does happen so we replaced with an upgraded piece, so there’s an oil stem piece that we need to replace those, we put studs into the head bolt so that ensures the head gaskets are attached to them more firmly with bolts. What else did we do, oh we did bullet proof each EGR cooler as well as the EGR coolers tend to leak on these things too, so we basically fixed everything up, bullet proofed it and it should be good for quite a long time.

Mark: So how assured would an owner be if they do all that work on the head gaskets and all the other stuff you guys did that the gaskets aren’t going to blow again?

Bernie: Well you can be pretty much assured they won’t but you know I don’t want to say but, things do, there are a lot of things that do go wrong with these engines and you know it really depends on how you drive them, what I’ve noted it seems like the people who put heavy loads in the vehicles that tends to be harder on the head gaskets, if you do any performance modifications you’re risking the head gaskets going or if you just drive it just like a drag racing car you know, you’re risking the head gaskets going so if you’re driving normally, gently, not hauling massive loads all the time it’ll probably last forever, you know the bullet proof cooler for sure last way longer than the Ford cooler, never replace one after doing it, the head studs you know, help keep everything down but you can still damage can still occur if you abuse it.

Mark: Sure, so do you have any tips for owners that have 6 litre diesel that might help keep the repair costs down?

Bernie: Well, certainly regular maintenance as with any vehicle, regular oil changes, change your fuel filters, flush the coolant when needed, that’s not needed too often but just keeping on top of those kind of things, you know avoid performance modifications on these vehicles, you know if you do you’re, stuff will happen and you’ll be paying more money and just drive a little more gently especially if you have a heavy load, if you’re hauling a trailer or something, don’t go bombing up hills as fast as you can, just go a little gently and gently, however I said that and you’ll, it’ll last longer, so that’s kind of the thing, it’s really a pretty well-built engine the bottom end it’s just has a few defects that unfortunately are costly but if you take care of it, it’ll generally last quite a long time.

Mark: I don’t know if I’ve asked you this, do they actually manufacture this motor anymore?

Bernie: No, the last I believe the last time they installed it was in the 2010 Ford vans and interestingly enough you know, we’ve never done really much in the way of repairs on vans other than a few fuel injectors and things like that but never head gaskets and I think it may well be that vans, they just don’t get loaded as heavily as pickup trucks or they’re subject to as much abuse but that’s not to say they don’t blow head gaskets and it would be a lot more of a job to do a van but yeah a 2010 was the last they used it in a van and I think 07 was the last they used it in the pickup trucks. So yeah it’s not made anymore, long since surpassed by the 6.8 litre and then the 6.7.

Mark: So, if you’re the owner of a 6 litre diesel in the Vancouver area and you need to get it fixed or maintained the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or call to book an appointment 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2003 Chevy Silverado, Diesel Fuel Injector Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark at Top Local Lead Generation; we’re with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; talking about Chevy diesels. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing well Mark.

Mark: So something we really haven’t covered before I don’t think even ever, is a any kind of Chevy diesel stuff, so we’re talking about a 2003 Chevy Silverado and the fuel injector replacement, what was going on with this one?

Bernie: So this vehicle was suffering from an interesting issue, uh running pretty well but what was happening is that there is over a period of time the crankcase was filling up with diesel fuel, there’s an internal fuel leak inside the engine and so over you know, a period of say an oil change, I would add two or three extra liters of diesel fuel to the crankcase which is not a good thing you really want to be lubricating your engine with motor oil not diesel fuel.

Mark: Yeah, even tho they run on oil that’s not the right oil to lubricate it.

Bernie: No, I mean it’s better than running gasoline but at least it’s not exactly proper.

Mark: So is an internal fuel leak common on diesels?

Bernie: Well it is on some, it’s this 6.6 liter GM diesel which is actually made by Isuzu, awesome engine, very reliable, all the fuel injection plumbing is pretty much inside the engine. I’ll show you a few pictures in a minute but the injectors are inside the valve cover, all the fuel lines, I mean there are external fuel lines but all the return lines are inside the valve cover, the fuel pump, the high pressure pump bolts into the front of the engine, it can leak into the engine as well, um you know it’s common on a lot of engines, the 6 point, we’ve seen a lot of 6.4 liter Ford diesels have that issue but most, many diesels have the injection plumbing inside the engine so it can happen on any, even Ford we’ve seen quite a few where the, there’s actually a high warning light will come on or the check engine light will come on if the oil level actually gets too high so it’s a sensor to actually deal with that on the Ford.

Mark: So how’s the injector replacement on these trucks?

Bernie: It’s a huge job, it’s an enormous jobs with about 12 hours’ worth of work, can be even more sometimes but it’s a lot of work and I’ll just share a couple of photos here just to kind of give you an idea of what, what we have here, um so this is the, I’ll just expand the picture a bit, we still there?

Mark: Yeah

Bernie: O.K. so this is what, this is the top of the engine looking at the valve cover, there’s a lot of wiring and accessories and pieces that we remove. This is looking at the right cylinder bank and I’ve just gotten sort of front three cylinders you can see the back one is out of the picture because there’s piping in the way and not making such a good photo but the, this is basically what you’re looking at before you take the valve cover off so those three pipes that are bent into interesting shapes are all the high pressure fuel pipes that come to the fuel rail and go into the fuel injector. Now in our next photo we’ll have a look with the valve cover removed and this is the valve cover off and also there’s a, there’s a metal plate, spacer plate that goes between the valve cover and the and the cylinder head and that, that’s been removed as well so you can see a little more. We’ve also removed the wiring harness from the fuel injectors so this gives us a clean view of the injectors and the return lines and where some of the possible leaks can occur. All the red arrows point to the fuel injectors, the blue arrow points to the return pipe so this is sort of excess fuel that the fuel injectors don’t need and that returns the fuel back into the fuel tank through of course a lot of plumbing and the green arrow points to a couple of possible leaks. Now there’s I didn’t put green arrows everywhere where it could possible leak but there are seals, banjo bolts and seals in all, in these particular areas plus it goes to each injector so there’s, there’s more points but there’s you know, there could be any sort, if there’s any fuel leak in any of these pipes just goes directly to the crankcase and fills the oil and the injectors themselves can leak also so these are some of the places fuel can leak. This is what’s on the inside again, it takes many, many, many hours of removing pieces just to get to this particular view so it’s a large job.

Mark: So once it’s all done, what’s our final outcome here?

Bernie: Aw, the engine runs great now, I should, I didn’t talk about the diagnostic process we went through to this because it’s, it’s a little tricky to find you know, a fuel leak inside an engine when you can’t actually run the engine uh, by the time you remove everything you can’t run the engine to find the leak so we have to look at you know, mileage on the vehicle, what are the possibilities and so prior to doing any removal we get some diagnostic tests with a scan tool and you can look at the fuel rate and what the you know, how much fuel the injectors are actually injecting and see you know, what sort of compensation is being made either worn or leaking injectors and we found that several of the injectors of the fuel delivery rate is much higher than expected but this vehicle had 330,000 kilometers, talked to the owner, he’s owned it since 80,000 k’s and said never replaced the injectors so he’s got very good life out of these injectors and, and really the most common cause of the problems is bad injectors so or injector so we replaced the injectors, it’s not a 100 percent guarantee that this is going to solve all the problems but I would say first of all the engine’s going to start firing and running properly using an even amount of fuel. The only other real possibility because we’ve changed all the seals on the return pipes is the high pressure injection pump which is located on the front of the engine and with this kind of mileage it’s possible that that pump could be leaking as well but short of doing this repair first it’s really impossible to tell which you know, where it’s leaking, it’s always, it’s one thing about diesels is it’s really complicated often to diagnose things and you’ve got to by experience and knowledge, common problems first and then go from there.

Mark: So you said a word that I don’t think we’ve talked about a lot, like these are under a lot of high pressure, like how high is the pressure inside?

Bernie: You know some of these like 25,000 psi, this is just an insane amount of pressure in the system so there’s a, there’s an amazing amount of pressure and fuel injectors in these modern vehicles and that goes for modern gasoline engines too, they’re extremely high-tech you’re dealing with enormous pressures, you know, extremely precise fuel delivery I mean, I don’t have the measurement terms to say in this you know, found out but these, the amount of fuel delivery is so minute and a lot of these injectors on diesels, now this is an old 3, it’s kind of old but like a lot of newer diesels you can barely hear the engine running because it’s because the injection, some will do actually up to 7 injection pulses per combustion strokes so they’ll fire a couple little shots of fuel as the pistons coming up, they’ll fire the main shot then they’ll fire a couple more and that’s what keeps the engine from actually making the loud knocking noise that you hear on diesels typically, it’s just pretty, pretty incredible but things do go wrong, this is why you need to change your fuel filter. Now this is another interesting point, I talked to the owner, he goes you know don’t worry about changing my fuel filters, I just changed it last week because I change it religiously every six months so this is an owner that’s really conscientious about taking care of their vehicle, you know every six months is probably too much but you know what, he’s got three hundred thirty thousand kilometers on a set of fuel injectors, there’s most diesels never go that far so you know, good maintenance does pay off.

Mark: Absolutely, that’s the message of all these really isn’t it?

Bernie: It is.

Mark: Maintain your vehicle and it’ll treat you a lot better than not maintained.

Bernie: Yeah, you know we’ve had a couple Mercedes that you and I have talked about over the last six months, 3 litre Mercedes diesels where people have not changed their oil, one of them cost you know $22,000 for a new engine, another one a couple weeks ago, the turbocharger basically broke in half and these are under 50,000 kilometers and like Mercedes 3 liter diesel taken care of it, it will last you three, four, five, should last 500,000 kilometers, you know just change the oil regularly, yeah there’s a few things that will go wrong, you’ll spend some money but overall you know it will last a long, long time .

Mark: So back to this Chevy and how are Chevy GM diesels comparing to the other American diesel trucks?

Bernie: I think they’re really good, you know personally, you know to me it’s between this engine or Cummins if you’re looking at these older generation diesel and actually into the newer years and I guess the Ford 6.7 we haven’t run into any problems with that yet and I haven’t heard of any problems, Ford may have finally figured things out but I mean they had two generations of really bad engines, just very, very costly and a lot of dissatisfied owners so I would not, they’re nice trucks I just wouldn’t touch a Ford diesel, you know it’s either and I think the Chevy’s are more reliable in terms of the actual truck, less front end parts as I was alluding to in an earlier hangout, we talked about Jeeps and you know, GM or sorry Dodge front ends wearing out I mean, by the time you hit 100,000 kilometers on a Dodge you’re doing all the ball joints and tie rod ends, they’re just, they all wear out so Chevy seems to be a lot more reliable, I mean overall I think that’s the truck I’d go for.

Mark: So, any final thoughts on this whole repair service.

Bernie: You know what, it’s only you know, due good maintenance, if you’re buying a diesel do your homework and I mean the other thing about diesel I’ve mentioned quite a few times is if you’re thinking about buying a diesel ever ask yourself do you really need one because they do cost a lot of money to fix, I mean this is not going to be a cheap repair bill for the customer but if you need a diesel to haul a lot of weight well then it’s worth it but if you’re just buying it just for show, I don’t know maybe a sports car might be a bit cheaper and more fun or get a truck with a gas motor, you know an F150 or you know, a half ton truck is, it’ll be more reliable and cheaper.

Mark: So, if you want some real honest truth about your vehicles and how to maintain them properly or you have a Chevy diesel and it’s getting up there and you need to get the injectors changed, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver 604-327-7112, they’ve done a lot of this kind of work, they’re experts there someone you can trust, check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Talk to you again soon.

2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Ball Joint Replacement

Mark: Morning, it’s Mark at Top Local Lead Generation; we’re with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Jeep Wrangler and some ball joint repairs; what was going on, what did you do on this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought in for an inspection and a brake vibration and during the inspection we also found that the ball joints all four upper and lower as well as all the tire rod end were all worn excessively and loose so we proceeded to replace them. That’s basically what we did for this service.

Mark: So are front end repairs pretty common on these vehicles?

Bernie: They are actually and they yeah, it seems like every Jeep, this was a 2008 so it’s now a 8 year old vehicle, we’ve seen quite a few of these vehicles recently and they all seem to typically have ball joint issues. Vehicles around this vintage they also seem to have ball joints that are worn out, some of them I think a little on the premature side, we’ve had some that are under a 100,000 kilometers and the ball joints have excessive play as do all the tire rod ends as well so sometimes we don’t need to necessarily always do them all at the same time you know, it could be a pretty big bill so it can be prioritized but it’s always best to, if you’re going to do ball joints do all the ball joints at one time and then you know, do the tie rods at a separate time but if anything’s really, really loose of course it needs to be done, it’s a safety issue.

Mark: So is there, are there lots of other problems that are common to Jeeps?

Bernie: No, overall they seem to be pretty good vehicles, front end issues are common and it seems like it’s, it’s a Chrysler, it’s a Dodge truck type of phenomenon although Jeep is kind of a separate brand it is a Dodge truck made by Dodge and it seems like a any Dodge
F150, F250, sorry I got the wrong brand there; Ram 150, 250’s and 350’s, the tie rod ends and ball joints all tend to wear on those in a pretty high rate to typically, you know under a 100,000 kilometers, like close to a hundred thousand K’s you probably have worn out ball joints and tire ends if you have a Dodge truck as well so it’s, it’s pretty common, I mean other issues on Jeeps they seem to be pretty reliable overall, the engines are good, you don’t find a huge amount of you know, a lot of fluid leak problems so they’re pretty good, they don’t need tune ups very often like any modern car, they seem to run pretty well so front ends are kind of like the biggest thing.

Mark: So I know I’m throwing you a curve here, we’ve talked about the diesel Mercedes 3Litre diesel and I know that Jeep uses that motor and some of the older vehicles, any problem with those?

Bernie: Well I always talk about these 3Litres quite a lot and it’s funny, I kind of for some reason when you were talking Jeeps I guess I‘m thinking more Wrangler style of Jeep and forgetting about the Liberty and which has its own diesel and issues as well as the Grand Cherokee with its diesel and, and I mean like, as far as a Grand Cherokee I mean, it’s like the same as any other Mercedes we have posts on that, I won’t get into that right now but there’s definitely issues with those as well as the Liberties, well there’s a whole book that could be written about those too but I mean other than I’m talking more about the gasoline powered, the more traditional type of Jeep. This one, I’ve got a couple photos to share actually which I almost forgot about here, let’s get a little photo show, so we get the screen share up and going, there we go. So there’s our, these are, this is a sample of the ball joint, the top item is the ball joint that we removed from this vehicle, that’s one of four, there’s upper and lower ball joints and then on the bottom of the pictures is one of the tie rod ends, again there’s four tie rod ends that tend to wear as well. That rubber sort of piece that’s got a crack in it that’s a rubber dust boot and that was actually broken in the removal process but you know, if those are ever broken on the car while it’s in the vehicle those will shorten the life of the joint because water and dirt can get in and wreck the joint but in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean the joint’s bad but these are, this is a sort of view of what the pieces that we replaced. Uh, there’s our Jeep Wrangler, so this is sort of while I wasn’t talking about the diesels and the motors because I had more on my mind to be Wranglers, we’ve had a few of these recently and, and done services so my brains been a little more on the gasoline powered models.

Mark: So those pieces are basically part of the structure that holds the wheel onto the car basically.

Bernie: Yeah, the ball joint basically attaches the steering knuckle which is the piece that moves when you, when you turn the wheel in your car the ball joint allows the actual wheel on the road to pivot back and forth so there’s basically there’s uppers and lowers on this type of suspension so I mean if they break then you’re wheel will basically flop sideways or back and forward. It’s a very serious condition that you know we get the odd car, it’s very odd, very rare and I thank God because it’s, it’s a harsh thing if it ever breaks while you’re driving. The tie rod end that, that’s a longer piece on the bottom of the picture, those link steering together so on this vehicle when you turn your steering wheel it goes down the steering box which is basically a gearbox that attaches to the steering linkage and those tie rod ends all attach to the linkage so if any of those break or if they’re excessively loose like they were in this Jeep you get a lot of wander so you turn the steering wheel and it doesn’t respond as well as it should so that’s why, that’s what’s critical about replacing these parts, now when they get too loose and worn and you know then they can actually break and pop apart and your wheel will point, one of your wheels will be in control and the other one won’t but there’s actually one joint that can break, I shown this Jeep two of them that could break, completely lose control of your steering so you never want that to happen, you don’t want to ever get even close to that kind of place but every once in a while I’ve seen a car on the road where you see a broken tie rod end and the one wheels pointing to the left the other pointing to the right; can’t be a nice scenario when you’re driving that car.

Mark: No. So and a lot of play it’s not, it’s not a feature like it was in the 50’s.

Bernie: No. It’s funny, we have a 58 Impala in our shop, we’re doing some work on and it’s interesting to drive a car that old because and this one is actually in quite nice shape but I mean one of the first thing I noticed was the steering, it’s just all over the road and this vehicles actually in pretty good shape too so it’s just, just kind of the way it was back then, but yeah on a modern car it’s not a feature.

Mark: So Jeeps are pretty popular and a lot of people like them, what do you think about them?

Bernie: I think they’re pretty good but they are, I mean they are certainly have their quirks and when I think about it I think there’s a lot of people who like Jeeps because of the functionality, you know this Wrangler Unlimited it’s kind of a neat vehicle because it gives you that, it’s a four door vehicle with nice comfortable, a lot more comfortable seats but it gives you that sort of ride of a traditional old Jeep and the look so I think it was a smart idea that they’re quite popular and we work on a lot of them. I think more stuff tends to go wrong with Jeeps than your average vehicle, they’re kind of like the I want to call them the British sports car of American cars, they’re not that bad but you know there’s a lot that goes on with them but people seem to like them and so they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep the car going but, but overall I like the details if that’s the kind of vehicle you like, I mean they’re awesome. People don’t use them off road as much as they could because they’re pretty decent off road.

Mark: Yeah, so if you’re looking for service for your Jeep to make sure that it’s steering properly or if you’ve got any looseness, looseness or play in there that you need checked, you’re in Vancouver give Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive a call 604-327-7112, they’re busy, you got to book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, they’ve got years and years of, of these broadcasts on their, tons of information, check it out. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: You’re welcome, thanks Mark.

2006 Honda Civic Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re with Bernie Pawlik, Vancouver’s best auto repair service experience, Pawlik Automotive. They are 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a Honda Civic, now this is a little bit unique. You did an engine replacement on a Honda, that’s kind of different. What happened?

Bernie: Yeah, so we replaced an engine on a Honda. It’s a little unusual. Basically it’s a 2006 Honda Civic, came to us for a maintenance service and it had a coolant leak so we pressure tested the cooling system and we found the engine block was actually split and was leaking coolant right out of the engine block. I’ll just go straight into sharing a couple photos because it’s interesting to look at here. Now are you seeing this? Ok - so that’s the front of the engine block on the Honda Civic, that sort of dark reddish thing you see up above with the two bolt holes, that’s the exhaust, that’s where the exhaust manifold bolts up to the engine. The red arrow points to the area where the coolant was leaking and you can see a bit of a bluish discolouration below it, that’s the Honda antifreeze. Now here’s a closer up view of that area and you can see the bluish stain now, the crack is actually not visible and I kind of regret not taking a photo when we had the pressure tester because you could see coolant spraying out but that red arrow points to the leak, it’s on that sort of casting web of the engine was where the coolant was leaking out so basically nothing you can do about that but replace the engine.

Mark: So is that a common occurrence on this kind of motor?

Bernie: Well strangely enough it is, although this is the first time we’ve ever seen it and prior to this week I would of told you that Honda engines are bullet proof and they pretty much are, but this is a common occurrence on this engine and actually Honda has issued a TSB. They’ve extended the warranty on this vehicle to ten years for any engine problem for this particular issue - 2006 to 2009 model years.

Mark: So you know that is a common occurrence because of the, how do you know that it’s a common occurrence if you guys haven’t seen it that often?

Bernie: Well, what I judge as a common occurrence, even though our shop is growing, we’re still a pretty small shop, I mean we don’t do Honda’s all day long so, there’s a whole world of things that happen that we don’t see. But the first thing you do, our junior technician, he’s the one that did the diagnosis, he looked up, looked for technical service bulletins which is something that we do in our business and found a bulletin for this particular issue and there’s a 10 year warranty. So sadly enough for the customer, we got the repair job because this vehicle is just a few months out of the warranty period. Sadly for the customer, it’s too bad it didn’t happen four months ago because then he would of got the engine job done for free. So once there is a technical service bulletin issued that becomes a common problem because manufacturers identified there are issues and they need to rectify, they need to deal with it and they tell their service departments and the general public that this is something that needs to be done and this is how you fix it.

Mark: So no warranty on this vehicle, I guess it was, what kind of motor did you replace this faulty engine with?

Bernie: We got a good used engine, it was a low mileage used engine. I don’t anticipate that they’re going to see any problem with this engine. Obviously it’s used and you’d think well it might happen again and yes, it could possibly. But these engines besides this issue were incredibly reliable and we do work on a lot of these Honda’s and this is the first time we’ve seen one. So, just to go a little further just because it’s a bullet, doesn’t mean every single one of these cars has the problem, it’s just a more frequent occurrence than it should and that’s why Honda extended the warranty to give good will to their customers.

Mark: So is there anything that a Honda owner can do to prevent this from happening?

Bernie: No, it’s just basically a manufacturing defect that will show up on some engines and just to keep in mind if you have a 2006 to a 2009 Civic and the engine block splits, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a warranty. Although with the 2006 model, again that time is passing so by the end of the year it will be in the 2007 range. You can do the math. So yeah nothing you can do just, change your oil, flush you cooling system, change your fluids and do your service. These are very reliable cars, they’re excellent.

Mark: So if you need some service on your Honda Civic on your Honda anything, these are the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112 to book, they’re busy give them a call or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Remember Vancouver’s best auto repair service experience. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you soon.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Turbocharger Replacement

ML350

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark for Top Local Lead Generation and we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

ML350

2012 Mercedes ML350

Mark: So we have another Mercedes Diesel GL350 with a big service. What happened with this vehicle?

Bernie: The engine started making some pretty horrible noises, and the owner took it to Mercedes where they told her she needed a new engine. She wasn’t extremely happy with their price quote, which was high, it’s a lot of money to do an engine in one of these cars and she brought the vehicle to us.

Mark: So it’s another diesel with the motor perhaps gone, what ended up having to be replaced?

Bernie: Well what we found actually was the turbocharger was bad in the case of this vehicle. But this is another vehicle, a 2012, so it’s only four years old at this point, 48,000 kilometres, still young and to my mind, almost a brand new vehicle. The oil hadn’t been changed in over a year and according to the dash was 20,000km over due for an oil change. A very bad thing to do on any engine, especially on a Mercedes 3 liter diesel. We’ve already talked about this in a previous blog post about the engine we replaced. So we did our diagnosis on it and listened to it: it sounded like the engine was blown with horrible knocking sounds. We authorized engine repair work and started taking things apart.

Mark: So what, tell us about the diagnostic process, what did you go through to get to that level of that you might need that level of service?

Bernie: Well, initially listening to the engine, and black smoke blowing out along with the check engine light on for a variety of different trouble codes; just the sound of the engine and based on the lack of oil change and we made a pretty quick assumption that there’s something in the bottom end of the engine had given way. What was interesting is when we authorized the engine repair, we started pulling things apart, we took the turbo duct off and Matt, our technician, who was working on it, he noticed that the turbocharger was severely worn. This is completely blown and I’ll show you a video in a minute of the turbo. The turbo is a little turbine and it sits in a bearing and it usually has a tiny bit of play, but this one is actually completely broken and we thought wait a minute, maybe it’s just the turbo. So we thought, let’s take a diagnostic a little, let’s be a little more thorough here, so we put everything back together, we’ll drain the oil out, found the oil wasn't all sludged up which was the case with our last engine job, so that was a positive sign. We took the oil filter out and cut the oil filter apart just to examine it and there were a few metal particles, but not much, just a few little fine particles. We thought, hey maybe it’s the turbo that’s bad, so we put some fresh oil in the engine, started it up and listened to it and really the only noise we could hear was coming from the turbo. So at that point we authorized with the customer to change the turbo,  flush the oil a few times because it’s been so long overdue and see what happens from there.

Mark: So what was involved with the repair process?

Bernie: Well we basically replaced the turbocharger, but in the process, we also, there’s a turbo oil stand which we have to remove, found that to be partially flooded due to the oil sludge. We tested and verified that there was actually good oil flow through there because we didn’t want to find, perhaps an oil passageway plugged up and we put a new turbo in and it blows it. But clearly the turbo had been damaged from lack of oil changes. We drained the oil out, again found there was really not much sludge in the oil which was a positive sign. We did a couple of hot oil flushes, so we actually did two oil changes on the engine then we filled it with proper oil. So that was basically the repair procedure, put it back together and that was it.

ML350

Top of engine view of 2012 ML350 diesel engine. The red arrow points to the turbocharger

Mark: So let’s see that turbo. What’d that look like?

Bernie: Yeah, let’s look at a couple things here, first I’ll share some pictures and here, we’ll start with some pictures. This is the picture of the actual engine compartment. That red arrow points to the turbocharge and so the turbocharger, if you look, there’s a sort of black piece that goes across the front of the engine, right in front of that red arrow and that’s the air intake. So the air is sucked into the engine into the turbocharger, there’s a turbine blade in there and that blows the air out through that silver pipe that goes forward towards the front of the engine and that give the engine it’s boost, it’s high pressure and the turbine sits inside this turbo mechanism. Just another quick photo, there’s our 2012 GL model vehicle. So let’s go back here, I’ll start the screen share again and we’ll look at this turbo. Ok so there’s our turbo - ok so here’s a quick, crude video.

https://youtu.be/JUnw1E8EAbw

Mark: Oh, that’s not supposed to happen

Bernie: Yeah, all that movement there is not supposed to happen at all and the camera is supposed to be steady too but I did a quick video without the tripod. I’ll just show it to you again, it’s pretty amazing, like that is just worn beyond belief. Now we’re looking at the exhaust side of the turbine here, the intake side which is on the other side, and the shaft is broken between the two, so there’s no turbo boost and this blade gets spun when the exhaust runs through, so you can imagine the kind of racket, the kind of noise it would be making. So the good news is that was basically it. Now after we put the turbo in and we started the engine up and it ran, but it started blowing a lot of smoke out because when the turbo failed there are oil passageways inside the turbo and it just filled the exhaust system and the intake system full of engine oil. So it was a bit of an embarrassing drive for Matt when he went out: there were clouds and clouds of smoke everywhere.  When he came back the engine was running quite rough, making some bad noise and we thought oh oh, it’s not fixed. But the good news is we shut it off and left it for a little while, ran it for a little longer and I think what was happening was there was so much residual oil in the intake system, and being a diesel, an oil burning engine, it would get little blasts of engine oil coming in that would cause the engine to run intermittently rough and make knocking sounds from bad combustion. So we took it out for a good long drive, burnt the rest of the oil out, embarrassed myself a little bit, after about 15 minutes the oil burning stopped and the engine ran smooth and it was good.

Mark: So it sounds like maybe this owner dodged a major bullet.

Bernie: I think so, but I wouldn’t count on the longevity of this engine. And this is actually the scary thing, we did a few posts about buying used cars and it might be that this owner may sell this vehicle and it’s going to be running great but how would you know if you bought a used car that this amount of work had been done? That this oil has been neglected like that? There’s no real record of that other than if they showed the bill for this work or if someone actually contacted us, so that’s a bit of a risk you know, just to add to our used car post we’ve had. You just hope and assume people have done good maintenance and this is why you need to ask people, do you have receipts for all your maintenance, have you done all your oil changes on time? Because if people can’t produce them that can be a real red flag, as we talked about the last person who had this particular issue had a twenty two thousand dollar job for a blown engine and his turbo for some reason was working. So yeah, I think the owner dodged a major bullet here which is great, very fortunate.

Mark: And then probably the life of this motor is compromised?

Bernie: Absolutely. You know, there’s no doubt about it. You just can’t go that far without oil changes, without causing some kind of damage.

Mark: So final lesson is if you have a diesel, change your freaking oil.

Berne: Exactly, I mean I can’t say enough and especially with so many modern cars, especially a Mercedes, I mean it tells you right on the dash, change the oil. Just follow that. It’s so simple. They couldn’t make it any simpler unless, we phoned you up when it was due and kept calling every day you didn’t do it. It’s just, the clock keeps ticking, it’ll tell you 20 days over due/ 21 days, 22, its like you got to do it, otherwise you’re going to spend a lot of money. Those are my final thoughts, change your oil unless you drive a Tesla, change your oil.

Mark: So if you need service on your vehicle from a guy who cares, from a company who pride themselves on incredible customer service and giving you the best deal and the best advice possible, not spending a dollar more of your money than is needed or deserve, these are the guys to call in Vancouver. Pawlik Automotive. You can book your appointment at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: You’re welcome. Thanks Mark.

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2006 Pontiac Grand Prix A/C Condenser Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s best automotive experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark. How are you?

Mark: Good. So air conditioning repairs, hard to think of right now given that we’re in the middle of you know fall in the summer of 2016 here in Vancouver; it’s been rainy but I guess you had a 2006 Grand Prix that had some ongoing air conditioner problems.

Bernie: It has, and um it’s a good example of how air conditioning systems can be a little complex to fix over time, um yeah so basically so what was happening with this car, a few months, actually I think over the last few years the owner had experienced some problems with the air conditioning and a few months ago he said let’s get this fixed up so we did a diagnosis on it, found the compressor had a pretty substantial leak and looked around the rest of the system, couldn’t find any other leaks at the time so we replaced the compressor and we also replaced the accumulator at the same time which is kind of a filter drier filter, replaced that unit at the same time, felt the system was working great, went out of town for about a month or more, came back and it wasn’t blowing cold as he had wanted it to.

Mark: So how did you find the first leak?

Bernie: Well the first leak we found initially with a refrigerant detector; we have multiple methods of finding refrigerant leaks; they can be very tricky sometimes it can be kind of small, sometimes they can be large. Large ones are always better to find but the, with this particular refrigerant leak the original one we found with an electronic refrigerant detector; the second time around we looked at the vehicle and we found that it was in fact low in refrigerant again, not empty but low so we did some tests, now when we did the first repair we added some UV dye to the system, it’s an ultraviolet dye and when the vehicle, when the leak occurs it, it mixes with the oil and it comes out you can see like a green glow, so I’m going to share a photo, screen share a photo here with you, if I can get this to work. There we go. This is a picture of the condenser, so this was what we found was faulty the 2nd time, this is the condenser, it’s like a radiator that sits in front of the engine and if you notice on the left, bottom left corner of the picture you can see a very greeny kind of glue, you can see that there’s like an oil coating on that side and if you look on the right side of the picture you see it’s just sort of black, blackish type of film but when you look towards the left you can see a sort of oiler film on it and in the bottom left corner you can see a green dye which is absolutely a hundred percent conclusive evidence of a leak from the condenser. So the leak, the leak UV dye is one of our favourite ways to find leaks because it, it’s extremely conclusive but many times a leak that’s small we can’t find it.

Mark: So what was involved in replacing this condenser?

Bernie: Well a condenser, it’s located at the front of the vehicle and it’s always in front of the radiator so uh it’s usually a fairly labour intensive job in this car and it was. In this vehicle you have to remove the radiator and then drain the cooling system, remove the radiator and then you can take the condenser out and some are not so difficult and others are even worse but that’s basically what’s involved and of course we have to evacuate whatever refrigerant is in the system first, then remove the condenser, replace it and then do another service on the, on the AC system so we deep vacuum it and then refill it again.

Mark: So you mentioned that you repaired this vehicles AC system a couple months before, did you charge for each diagnosis?

Bernie: No we don’t; what we do because the way air conditioning systems work and we can never be 100% sure we fixed it, what we do at our shop is we have a one year basic diagnostic warranty on air conditioning diagnosis so it’s something if we look at the vehicle and we determine it’s this particular problem we will do the repair if the customer wants to, see how it works out, if it works fine great, but if something else were to happen then we’ll just continue diagnosing it for you know within the year for no extra charge and in this case too we also evacuated and recharged the system for no extra charge as well. It doesn’t make sense to be paying for things over and over but often we just cannot see the other leaks and things until you know, again the system is repaired and it gets up to pressure and starts working.

Mark: So it’s almost like it, it causes cascades, one you got a big problem in one area and that seems to be the only issue but once you fix that, then all the little problems start to show up, is that kind of what’s going on in the case?

Bernie: Exactly, you know the thing is you know, the system hadn’t worked in a few years so it may have developed a leak in this condenser that you know, was not noticeable until the system is actually functional and the pressures were back. Air conditioning is really interesting because it involves, I mean, it has a, I don’t even know what it’s called, I guess a chemical like a liquid but the refrigerant, the R134 is basically, it changes state from a high-pressure gas to a high pressure liquid to a low pressure gas to a low pressure liquid and the temperatures fluctuate throughout the whole system so it’s under a major amount of stress plus it sits under the hood of a car where it’s at least, you know, it’s extremely hot so it, it’s amazing how well they work and how reliable they are but you know, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Mark: So air conditioning can be pretty expensive to fix?

Bernie: It can be, I never like to use the word expensive, I was thinking about that word because it’s always a judgment or a perception in people’s minds but yeah, generally it’s not the cheapest thing to repair I mean, sometimes you may get away with a couple hundred dollar repair, it isn’t like some simple electrical item, but often like, like a job like this particular vehicle is probably I’m thinking it’s probably $1,500 to $2,000 but with the two repairs, so it’s a fair amount of, it’s a fair amount of cost. I usually find there’s sort of two camp of people with car air conditioning, there’s the people who want it and are willing to spend the money to fix it and there’s the people who just don’t care and don’t spend it so.

Mark: Yeah, it’s not that big deal for us here.

Bernie: Well, exactly it’s not exactly I mean Vancouver doesn’t stay hot a lot long, I mean we had like a summer in March, April and May, it’s kind of different but you know again you can always roll the windows down we seem to get used to air conditioning in cars and one time air conditioning was a luxury option and now it’s I find it rare, very rare to find a new car that, that doesn’t have air conditioning, it’s just like very car has it, it’s real standard equipment, even more popular that power windows now.

Mark: So if you’re in Vancouver and you love your air conditioning, it’s not working right, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can call them to book your appointment at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How to Buy a Good Used Car – Where to Buy Cars

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, 16 time, maybe more winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark.

Mark: So, um, we’re going to talk about the last kind of section of buying a good used car; where’s a good place to buy a car?

Bernie: Well as I see it there are three options to buying a good used car, actually buying any used car whether it’s good or bad, one is a private sale, second from a dealership, and the third is from an auction.

Mark: Alright, so what are the advantages of a private sale?

Bernie: So for private sale, I usually think price is one of the advantages, not always, you have to do your homework as I mentioned in previous hangouts but price is definitely generally better and also you get to meet the owner of the car, you get to know how did this person take care of the car, you can talk to them about, you know, see if they have maintenance receipts, um, often you can buy a car from the original owner, if it’s an older car you can see how they maintained the car and it gives you an opportunity to decide, hey do I want to buy this car based on the person who’s even owned it, so that something that you don’t get when you buy from a dealer or auction house, is to get to know who’s owned the car and how they’ve taken care of it. So that to me is an advantage of the private sale, much more personal.

Mark: Yeah, I remember looking for a car and we went, quick story, and we went and the guy jumped in this car, started it, floored it, literally floored it right cold, blam and o.k. guys take it for a test drive, and it’s like, no thanks.

Bernie: Yeah, that’s an excellent example of you know, where you see the personality, the person who owned the car and you go I don’t think so, you can just tell the cars going to have problems. So that’s a very good, very good example.

Mark: So what about buying from a dealer? What’s the advantages from buying from a dealer?

Bernie: So dealers, there’s a few, there’s a wide range of dealerships. There are your branded dealerships like your GM, your Subaru, your Volvo dealership and generally these dealerships only sell what I call good cars, they’re usually late model cars, probably not much more than 5 years old, they’ve still got some, they’re still higher priced, they’ve got some good value, they probably took them in a trade in and they make sure they sell cars that are fairly decent. Your next category of dealership is your independent dealership; now these range anywhere from you know, you’re extremely sketchy auto sales person that’s made a reputation, made the car sales business horrible up to some very high quality used, independent used car dealerships. It’s really worth doing your homework before you buy a car again from these kind of people, find out where the dealership is, I mean if you like the car that you’re looking at, you know suss out the dealership and you’ll get an idea whether they sell good quality cars or not. So advantage of dealers, I mean you know, some of the lower end dealers will sell any piece of crap and try to make it look good, but the higher end independent dealers will again sell pretty good cars because their reputation’s on the line, they don’t want to sell you a piece of junk. What else, oh yeah, dealerships will often offer in-house financing, especially the larger dealerships so that’s, that’s another advantage, I mean of course you can finance pretty well any car but you know, it’s kind of a one stop shop, you can buy the car and finance it and take care of the whole transaction in one shot.

Mark: Alright, the final category, excuse me, is auctions, what, what are the downfalls or advantages of using an auction?

Bernie: Well, I think auctions are risky, this is where you really need to do your homework, this is really where you need to know what’s a good type of car, you don’t want to walk into an auction going, well I’ll just put a bid on any car, that’s a bad mistake, I’ve seen people who’ve bought cars at auctions that wouldn’t be worth owning for free. So you need to do your research, if you know exactly, hey I want to buy this you know, 2000 or say, I don’t 2009
BMW X5 and you know the price range, you know what looks good, you know what doesn’t, what the price range is for mileage you can look over the car although you can’t really take it out on a road test, you don’t really know the history of the car but can probably get a pretty good idea but again, it’s about knowing the car, doing your research, then you might have the opportunity to get a good deal. The thing about auctions is a lot of times people get caught up in the hype of the auction, they end up bidding way more money for a car that isn’t worth it, so you’ve got to know what you’re doing for auctions. I would say it’s probably your final option and the thing about the cars, it really becomes a commodity in an auction house, is just a machine that’s sitting there and who knows how it’s really been taken care of or who’s done what to it, there’s not really a lot of, you know, I’ve got to say a good independent car dealer or even a you know, a branded dealership usually does an inspection on a car and goes over it, so an auction house won’t even go that far, but there are some guarantees in place but it’s a little dicey. So I’d say that would be my very last choice for buying a good used car.

Mark: Yeah, it’s probably something where if you’re willing to do a lot of the research and you really know cars, although you don’t even get much of a chance, lifting the hood isn’t going to tell you a lot about how the car’s going to run or just starting it and seeing if it’ll, you don’t still know if the brakes or steering are any good but it’s, there’s a lot that can go wrong even with a low mileage car as you’ve pointed out, you know, 50,000 kilometer vehicles and the motors are done.

Bernie: Absolutely, we’ve got a, you know we’ve seen a couple where you know, just recently worked on some cars where you know, we’d done some work on the engines and I know they don’t have a lot of life left in them and you know, some could be some of these things in auction and it could actually pass your sort of immediate test, oh that car’s not bad, it might actually work for a while and blow up in a year so, I mean how of a used car is that? So um, yeah, that’s so, as I say auctions are definitely, I mean a lot of dealerships buy from auctions but you know, they’re experienced pros and they don’t always make the right choice either. If you’re buying a used car you usually have one shot at it and most people don’t want to buy a couple. Oh, I’ll get rid of that one, it’s a lot of work. You want to make your choice and do it right the first time.

Mark: Any final thoughts?

Bernie: Yeah, I mean, I guess a lot depends on how much money you have to spend as well, I mean if you’re looking only to buy a $3,000 used car you’re pretty much going to be in the market of buying for a private sale is really the way to go, you don’t want to go to some car lot and buy a $3,000 car, I mean it’s I don’t know it’s just, to me it’s just too risky, they pawn off too much junk but if you’re looking, you know if you have a budget for a 2 or 3 year old car I mean you’re pretty much, pretty much going to be buying that from a dealership of some sort whether it’s a good independent dealership or a, or a brand, a branded dealership and often those cars have a bit of warranty left on them as well. So, it depends on what you’re buying and it’s almost as important when you buy a used car to be realistic, if you’re buying a 3 year old used car, not much is going to go wrong with it but if you’re buying a 12 year old car, well it’s old, you know and stuff is going to happen no matter what, so you know, don’t buy a 12 year old car expecting it to be like a new car.

Mark: Right so if you’re looking to buy a new car and you need an inspection before you purchase the believe me, learned the hard way, you must get an inspection before you put your money down; these are the guys to call Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

How to Buy a Good Used Car Part 2

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of the famous Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark.

Mark: So we’re going to talk a little bit more about buying a good used car and some of the other pitfalls to be avoided. What are some of those?

Bernie: So I’m going to talk about some categories of cars that you should be extremely cautious, possibly avoid completely but if you’re going to buy one just be extremely cautious. So I’ve basically broken it into four areas; first one, rebuilt write-offs, second old cars, third rusty vehicles and fourth, vehicles that are priced low because they need a lot of work. So these are some of the areas where you need to tread with extreme caution.

Mark: Alright so rebuilt write-offs is the first category, what, what is a rebuilt write-off and why would I be, want to be cautious about them?

Bernie: So a rebuilt write-off is basically a vehicle that’s been damaged to the point where the insurance company has written the vehicle off, it’s basically not repairable but that doesn’t mean it isn’t repairable, it’s just not economically repairable to say you crash your car, it cost $10,000 to fix the car, it’s worth say 9 or 10 thousand dollars. They decide, we’re not going to fix the car, we’re just gonna scrap it so that doesn’t mean it would cost $10,000 to go to the conventional body shop route but for somebody who would buy the car for cheap they might be able to get used parts, put the car together and make it work and then sell it and make some money but this is where you’ve got to be really cautious, you need to know what was the damage and who repaired it. I’ve seen some cars that have been so badly repaired it’s just, it’s, it’s scary and so you can save money by buying a rebuilt write-off but often the savings are not to be had at all. An example, I had a customer who bought a, it was only about a one year old Chevy Cavalier few years back paid about $4,000 less than the going rate for a year old cavalier, the car had been so badly repaired and the first clue was when we found 2 oxygen sensor wires had been plugged together the wrong way so it was very evident that whoever had worked on this car had no idea what they’re doing with cars. It had a transmission leak but long story short, by the time he was done getting the car back into reasonably good operating shape it cost him the same amount of money as it would cost to buy a good used cavalier. He’d bought that used cavalier he would have still had a couple years warranty on it because once your cars written off there’s no manufacturer’s warranty anymore and he would have been able, and he would not have had a car with a rebuilt title on it and who knows what else is really wrong with the car too, you just never know, so um, so that’s a good lesson to avoid. A happy story of a rebuilt write-off with a customer a while ago that a CX5 Mazda had dents all over the roof and hood and it was pretty evident when you looked at it, this thing was probably in a hail storm and it was dented everywhere and I talked with the customer about it, yeah we bought this thing, it was a rebuilt write-off from Alberta, it was pretty cheap and you know that’s probably a pretty good deal if you’re happy to live with a dented car you know and pay less money, mechanically it’s perfect so, that’s the thing about rebuilt write-offs. I’d just share something here if you’re wondering how you know the vehicle’s a write-off, of course you might want to ask the, ask the person you’re buying it from and they should tell you, is this showing Mark? Can you see this?

Mark: it’s up now

Bernie: OK, cool, ok so this is a copy of a British Columbia Insurance paper of a vehicle registration paper, you notice the red arrows I put in there, it says vehicle status but these vehicles are

Mark: we’re back to you Bernie

Bernie: Back to me, o.k., uh, let’s see what’s going on here. Let’s see if we can re share this thing because this is an important piece of information to know. All right, all right, let’s try this again. . do you see it?

Mark: Yup

Bernie: Good, o.k. so there is arrows pointing to a line that says Vehicle Status and right there if this is a rebuilt, if you’re buying a rebuilt vehicle there are the words rebuilt will be right in that area so that’s something to look for.

Mark: So what is that form?

Bernie: That is a registration, that’s a Vehicle Registration form in British Columbia, every car has one so I don’t know, other I mean other provinces and states have, have all have registration sheets, they should have something that mentions that because a rebuilt vehicle in Canada is the same as rebuilt vehicle in the United States, it’s all, it carries with the title and the serial number of the vehicle all the way no matter where you go with it so. The other downside of a write off vehicle as I may have mentioned, it’s always worth less money so if you buy a rebuilt write off for less money than say the going rate when you go to sell it you’re going to get less money too, of course when a car’s 15 years old is anyone going to care, maybe not but you really got to think about it. I personally just avoid buying a write off vehicle no matter what the price is.

Mark: So your 2nd category was old cars, how do you define old cars and why should we, they be approached with caution?

Bernie: So old cars and I mean these are, everyone has a different opinion of an old car because I meet people who have a four year old car go oh my car is getting old but to me a 4 year old is not an old car, it’s still practically brand new, I mean to me like after 10 years a car is starting to get old, more things go wrong and once you hit the 15 to 20 year range you, you’re really looking at the realm of old cars and the thing is when cars get older it’s harder to get parts, they become less mainstream, it’s harder to get new parts, hard to get used parts and more stuff goes wrong with the car so again you know, you can buy old cars for cheap but we see so often people they buy like an old, like an 1992 Mercedes and you know it’s a nice car but it’s old and things go wrong, they cost a lot to fix, um newer cars are also a lot easier to diagnose and repair than older ones are so I personally unless you really want an old car, like if it’s a classic that’s probably worth the money and it’s going to be your second car but if you’re looking for a daily driver, I’d avoid an old car, you’re just going to run into problems and you’re going to be our shop a lot more frequently than you probably want to be and probably be disgruntled about spending the money but you know, if it’s something you really want this car, you love it, it’s great and you’re willing again it’s always approaching with your eyes open knowing what you’re going to get into, knowing that you’re going to have more repairs and parts might be harder to find then it’s o.k. but personally I’d avoid it.

Mark: Alright, so next on your list was rusty cars, this seems pretty obvious but why should we avoid rusty cars?

Bernie: While rusty cars, I mean it’s like buying a, you know I hate say it but it’s like dating someone with cancer and you’re hoping for a long-term long life, you know, it’s not going to last but I mean rusty cars are, are safety comprised, again you’re probably going to get one for cheaper, again this goes into cheap car categories at least we hope but the repairs can be more expensive as well because things like brake lines rust out and just parts that don’t normally need to be fixed on a non rusty vehicle costs more money to fix so again you know, if you’re buying a used car I would avoid anything with you know, excess rust and especially if you’re in a collision, rust is you know, it weakens the vehicle so you could be hurt or severely.

Mark: So your last category is vehicles that need a lot of work, what do you mean by that?

Bernie: So, so sometimes you can come across a vehicle that’s you know, that this for sale at substantially below the market value and it’s because it needs some work. A really good example we had a while ago, I had a customer bought a Range Rover, it was about I don’t know, he paid about $15,000 for it when the going rate on these particular Range Rovers in good condition is about 25 so that’s a lot cheaper, you know, that’s 10 thousand bucks off, it’s a great deal but this vehicle looked like someone, I mean it’s kind of shocking for a luxury vehicle that someone would treat this thing like a piece of garbage, I mean the interior had like scratches and scrapes and there’s parts missing, it was, it was someone’s beater but I guess if you have, you know, if you make a million bucks a year you can afford to turn a Range Rover into a beater but this car it had like mechanical problems and had like the body had a few scratches and scrapes and long story short by the time we ended up fixing the vehicle back into decent running condition, he paid about, I think he paid about 7 or 8 thousand dollars in repairs so that put the vehicle from 15 up to about 23 thousand and the vehicle still esthetically needed some cleanup and work and some other mechanical items so really you got to be really very cautious when you buy these kind of things, to really do the math, to really look at it and go what am I actually going to be spending because honestly he would have probably been better off to find, to spend 25 thousand bucks on a nice Range Rover you know, that someone had taken good care of, I mean karmacally it also feels better when you buy a car where someone’s taken care of but again cars that need a lot of work usually end up not being worthwhile but you know again you got to do the math and whatever has a theme with all these stories is give us a call, call a mechanic you trust and say I’m looking to buy this vehicle, it’s a rebuilt write off, what do you think or this cars got a bit of rust, you know this car needs a bunch of work, do you think it’s worth it and you know run it by your professional and get an opinion, best way to save money and make sure sort of thing if an ounce of gold is say worth a thousand dollars and you can get it for 900 bucks, well that‘s a good deal but with a car you never know whether a used car is really worth, it’s hard to equate, there’s a lot of variables, where an ounce of gold is an ounce of gold.

Mark: So if you want some help with your gold purchases or your cars and you’re in Vancouver, give Bernie Pawlik a call at 604-327-7112, book your used vehicles in for a repair, maintenance or if you’re looking at buying something, if you need an inspection they’re experts at it, they’ve seen a lot in many, many years of doing this or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2007 Mercedes CLK320 A Level Service

Mercedes A service

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of the same Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Mercedes 2007, fairly recent, only 9 years old, not quite an old car yet, a CLK320, what’s this A level service that we’re going to talk about?

Mercedes A service

2007 Mercedes CLK320

Bernie: Yes, so this is a nice convertible Mercedes and as you mentioned it's 9 years old but really to me it’s not old: it looks like a new car and drives like a new car. This is a very low mileage car. The A Service is basically a Mercedes basic maintenance service and Mercedes has different levels of service but A is basically the starting point.

Mark: OK so how often does an A Service have to be done?

Bernie: Generally every 12 to 15,000 kilometers, there’s a reminder on the vehicle that will come up that will tell you it’s due for an A Service or B sometimes there’s a C and D, different Mercedes they have different things but generally every 12 to 15,000 kilometers is the service interval on this vehicle.

Mark: So what the other service levels, I guess what other maintenance services need to be done on Mercs?

Bernie:  I'II explain an A Service first which is basically an oil change along with a maintenance inspection so with that service we would look at the fluid levels, adjust the tire pressures, check the lights, wiper blades, visual under hood and under car inspection. It’s not generally a wheel off, brake inspection and that’s when we get into the B Service which is a more thorough service and that’s done every second time. As far as other maintenance services for Mercedes there are fluids that need to be changed from time to time and spark plugs of course, not very often though, but the A Service is the most common.

Mark: So what other, is there other additional items that are required in an A Service?

Bernie: Generally not but air filters may need to be replaced, the cabin air filter also is not difficult to inspect so depending on the mileage that may need to be replaced and on Mercedes the brake fluid generally needs to be flushed every two to three years so that’s something we would look at, so those might be additional items but again we evaluate it during the A Service.

Mark: So why would brake fluid need to be flushed?

Bernie: Brake fluid absorbs water out of the air and it’s called a hygroscopic fluid; it will somehow, I don’t know how, it’s kind of magical but water seeps into places like in through plastic parts and metal and hoses and somehow it gets into your brake system. We have a tester where we can test the water content of the brake fluid. European manufacturers they’re really big on flushing brake fluid. I guess the northern European climate where a lot of Mercedes and German vehicles come from, its a rainy type of climate so moisture gets in there. European manufacturers are concerned about that kind of thing where a lot of other manufacturers are not, and they should be. That’s why brake fluid needs to be flushed and the more water that is in the fluid the will lower the boiling point goes and it’s amazing if you ever look at a chart, it’s kind of scary when you get up to 4%, the boiling point drops by 100 degrees Fahrenheit or maybe it’s even 150, it’s quite a lot. If you’re going down a really steep hill and you need to put your brakes on a lot you could actually lose them if there’s too much water in the brake fluid.

Mark: And that is definitely a scary thing if you’ve ever had that happen, it is, you press on the pedal and nothing happens and it is not good.

Bernie: I’ve actually experienced it, I had a Subaru that we got the brakes kind of cooking hot, we didn’t quite lose them but it was hard to stop the car and so it I’ve noticed it but it doesn’t happen too often. I’ve got a couple photos to share of this car if we have a minute here to look.

Bernie: Yeah, o.k. yeah so there’s our Mercedes and there’s a view of the engine compartment, not a lot to see other than those nice plastic covers that hide all the little details but a simple clip and removal and the engine is visible underneath. It’s a V6 in this car; it’s a 3.2 litre V6. You can usually tell what size engine a Mercedes has by the name of the car CLK320, it’s a 3.2 litre engine. So we’ll leave here, we’re back.

Mercedes A service

3.2 Liter engine with plastic covers hiding the complex components

Mark: So as a Mercedes owner, can I count on the dash reminder system?

Bernie: Yes, they’re actually quite reliable. So this is the reminder that comes on and tell you A Service due: visit workshop or B Service, it’s quite reliable and I like it more than some other cars such as BMW’s that have 24,000 kilometer oil change intervals, Mercedes are more like the 15,000 range which I think is really reasonable. They all use the same kind of oil even though BMW specifications is different than Mercedes, they’re all meant for the same specifications but by the time you hit 24,000 kilometers it’s pretty ugly but at 15 your oil still has some life left in it which is what you want. You don’t want to change really old oil, so yeah, you can count on it and the other thing it also has is a timer so if you only drive, 5,000 kilometers a year it’ll remind you after a year or so, maybe a little longer that you should change your oil because it’s getting old. So yeah, I would count on it, it’s good.

Mark: Any final thoughts about Mercedes and servicing?

Bernie: Yes: as a final thought change your oil. We’ve got another Mercedes diesel in our shop where someone has gone 20,000 kilometers beyond the oil change interval, blown their engine and it’s another you know over $20,000 bill, actually this one the turbochargers wiped out too so it’s going to add even more money. Oil changes on Mercedes aren’t cheap but engines are way, way, way more expensive so follow the reminders on your dash, they make it easy.

Mark: So cautionary tale, make sure you follow your reminders on your Mercedes and if you need service for it the guys to call in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 book your appointments, they’re busy, smoking busy because they’re popular, they do a great job and check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark

How to Buy a Good Used Car

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, the 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark.

Mark: So it’s a bit colder and wetter in Vancouver more like we’re used to. We’re going to talk about buying a used car, a good used car. So how and why would I buy a used car?

Bernie: Well there’s a lot of good reasons to buy a used car and I think especially nowadays cars are built so well contrary to what some people have you know, they think that the good old days are better. Modern cars are built so well, if you were to buy a car let’s say even a couple years old you may as well be buying a brand new car at a hugely reduced price so there’s a lot of financial value in buying a used car.

Mark: So is price really the only reason to buy a used car?

Bernie: I think so, I mean for any given model of car that you take, a used car is always cheaper and sometimes substantially so if you give it a few years. Depreciation is a huge issue with cars when you buy them and the moment you drive them off the lot you lose a lot of money right away so there’s a lot of good value in used cars, I’ll just share some stuff, share something with you here, just some quick research I’ve done. Here’s some price comparison, so for $20,000 just a few of the brand new cars you can buy would be a Chevy Cruise, a Kia Elantra, Toyota Corolla a Honda Civic and there’s a lot of others that I haven’t mentioned here Mazda, there’s Volkswagen, there’s a lot of offerings for $20,000 but if you spent your $20,000 on a used car you can get something a little larger like say a 2012 Honda CRV, extremely reliable car, will last a long time or a 2012 BMW 328i Xdrive with a navigation system, a lot fancier of a car or again for $20,000 you can buy 2011 Subaru WRX with only 51,000 kilometers, nice sporty fast car, you can drive around in style and you know, so those are some of the options that are available in that, in that. Now if you were to spend $40,000 you know, you can buy, you know a brand-new fully loaded Subaru Outback or Forrester, slew of other you know sort of lower end European luxury cars. There’s a lot of Japanese really good Japanese cars for 40,000 bucks but you know you can also buy a 2012 Audi S5, V8 Quattro or uh or something more practical like a 2013 Toyota Highlander, I mean not a very old vehicle, you know and a little larger or a luxurious 2010 Range Rover supercharged. Those are, those are some of the options and if you want to spend less money like in the $10,000 will buy you a great used car, even $5,000 bucks if you do your homework you can probably buy a good used car as well.

Mark: So aren’t there a lot of pitfalls or potential pitfalls with buying some of these fancier vehicles and wouldn’t maintenance start to become a financial burden?

Bernie: Absolutely and the fancier the car you buy generally the more problems you’re going to have with it and you know, sometimes the repairs can be astronomically more expensive I mean for example if you were to take a $40,000 vehicle and you chose either the Highlander or the Range Rover, the Highlanders going to give you almost no problems for many, many, many years, you know very cheap to maintain. The Range Rover on the other hand is going to have problems, I mean if I was going to buy one of those I realistically probably consider spending you know, budgeting three to five thousand dollars a year on repairs and maintenance. So if you know that kind of thing and you really want the Range Rover I mean you’re going to save a lot of money over a new one and have a great car.

Mark: All right so what do I do to protect myself and make sure I’m not buying a car or vehicle that’s not going to be, I’m not inheriting a lot of somebody else’s problems?

Bernie: Well there’s a few things; so first of all you do your research, you set a budget, how much do you want to spend on the car and then you, you’ve got to factor in maintenance costs as well, you can’t just go, oh the car’s 10,000 bucks and it’s a BMW, great, I’m going to buy it. Just remember there’s a reason why the car that was worth $50,000 a few years ago is only worth $10,000 now because there’s repairs and things that are going to need to be done, so you really have to look at the big picture. You look at reliability reports for cars and you talk to people, you call, you call people like us at our shop here in Vancouver, you know you’re looking at a car, call us, we can give you some advice, let you know what kind of car is good if what you’re looking at is a worthwhile thing to buy or you can consult your mechanic that you trust. There’s lots of resources out there, but do your homework, that’s the most important thing. There are other things that we can do beyond that but the first step, do your research, do your homework.

Mark: Well having been through this experience what about making sure, I meant to but didn’t darn it, was to bring the vehicle into you to get a vehicle inspection prior to buying it, isn’t that a good idea?

Bernie: You know I think that’s the most important consideration and when I think of over the years of people who have bought you know, made bad used car choices I think they could have all been avoided, I mean every one of them could have been avoided by either calling someone like us, like a trusted mechanic someone they deal with or ourselves, you know to ask you know, I’m thinking about buying this car, what do you think and then if you know if the advice you get is yeah that seems like a good car, then get it inspected, don’t just assume you know, we charge about $150 plus taxes to do an inspection on a car, it’s, it’s cheap, I mean there are cars that I have seen over the years that aren’t even worth owning for free so it’s a $150 even if you spend it three times, it seems like a lot of money but it’s well worth it to get the right car because it’s like a marriage, you want to marry the right person otherwise it’s going to cost you a lot in the end. I was going to say too I mean just from experience, just talking about reliability of vehicles and in doing research I mean it’s also important to choose the right car and not to get emotionally attached, we can talk about that further in our next, next hangout but you know really important to make the right car choices.

Mark: So this is all great, kind of overview info, are we going to dig into this a little bit more coming up?

Bernie: We are absolutely, you know I was just going to say to summarize, you know what we’ve talked about, you know it’s great, great to buy used cars because you can save a lot of money, you can get a better and fancier car than you might be able to afford but the key is to do your research, do your homework, make sure you know what you’re buying, you know, don’t make a bad decision, don’t make an emotional decision, consult somebody, yeah and so our next episode were going to look at you know, types of cars to avoid and the steps you can take to make sure you buy a good used car.

Mark: So we’ve been talking to Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They do an amazing job of looking after your vehicle, vehicle maintenance and service and repairs in Marpole in Vancouver. Give them a call to book your appointment, they’re busy 604-327-7112 or check out their website; packed with all kinds of information pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

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