How Reliable Are Ford Cars?

Mark: Hi, its Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, talking about cars. We're going to talk reliability of Ford cars this morning. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well, Mark.

Mark: So, there's lots of Ford cars out there. We've talked a lot about trucks, but not much about cars yet. What do you think about their cars overall?

Bernie: I'd say they're mixed. Some of them are pretty good, some of them are not so good. I mean, Ford's been around for a long time and we've been working on Ford cars for a long time, so we've got pretty good experience with them. But yeah, overall I'd say they're mixed.

Mark: All right. So let's talk maybe some different models. The Taurus was very popular for a long time, but now there's not so many of them it seems like on the road. How have Taurus' been?

Bernie: I think Taurus' are mixed, in my opinion. I remember when they first came out when I was younger, and they were the most bizarre looking car. I remember thinking, "Man, these things are ugly," and it didn't take long ... I think they were just so far ahead of their game in terms of styling that soon they become the norm, and a lot of cars look like them, and when you look at a first generation Taurus now you go, "What an old looking thing," but when that car was new it was pretty amazing, the styling. Nonetheless, the old generations, I would say weren't that reliable. After a while they'd develop fluid leaks from all over the place. Remember replacing rack and pinions, and just oil leaks, there's a whole variety of issues, water pump, coolant leaks.

Of course, with cars it's always good to put things into context of the era, I mean cars are just a lot more reliable now than they used to be back in the 80s when those cars came out. We'll talk sort of newer Taurus', maybe around the late 90s, 2000s models. Overall not bad cars, but you really need to know which ones to buy. Say, for instance, say around the 2000 model year, three liter engine Taurus, the ones with the pushrod engines, very reliable, not a lot of engine problems. If you bought a 3.8 liter blown head gaskets are a problem. The three liter, the performance model with the overhead cams, again, issues with those. So, if you know which car to buy it's not a bad buy. There's a lot of things that do go wrong with them, there's coolant leaks, there's brakes wear out like they do on any car, nothing in particular. Again, the key thing is to do your research and buy the right car.

One example of a Taurus, we have a client, it's got over 300,000 kilometers on it, it's around a 2000 Taurus, early 2000s. He's meticulous with his maintenance, he does everything, and the car still drives like a brand new car. It's an example, even a car that's maybe not got the best reputation, if you take good care of it, you do all the work, it'll last you a long time. What you give to the car it gives back to you. Now, Taurus' don't seem to be so popular these days. We don't see many in our shop, any of the newer versions yet, but certainly some of the older ones. They need more work than your average car.

Mark: All right. What about Crown Victorias? They were very popular with the police and folks who like rear wheel drive vehicles. How's their record of repairs?

Bernie: They're pretty good, but they share a lot of drivetrain components as with the trucks. The V8 engine's one of the issues, they do blow the odd spark plug out in the earlier models, so that's one issue to deal with with Crown Victorias. Overall they're a pretty good car. There's some plastic components like intake manifold, and things where you'll develop vacuum leaks or coolant leaks, and that makes for an expensive repair. If someone wants your sort of traditional American rear wheel drive gas guzzling boaty kind of car, they're a pretty good option and actually one of the only ones left, because Chrysler and GM don't make that kind of thing. The reliability's pretty good considering the police use them and yeah. Overall, a good car if you want to go for something like that.

Mark: All right, let's move to the Mustang, that's been around since 1964. Awful long time. Where do you want to start with those?

Bernie: Well, start at the beginning. Pretty amazing car right from the beginning, and I would say up until the early 70s pretty nice car, pretty reliable considering the era. A lot of very beautiful looking cars, the fastbacks, the convertibles, fantastic. A lot of very fast ones, too. Very desirable. Of course, if you want an every day driving car you don't want to buy a '65 mustang, because it's just a little too old.

Good running car, we just had a client with a '72 Mustang who we did a bunch of work for, and I was amazed. Simple technology, two barrel carburetor, nothing fancy, the car starts nice, drives well. Again, it's a 1972, so you don't expect modern technology and air bags and all that kind of stuff, even the seatbelts are just lap belts. But just a nice driving, easy to drive, nice running car.

Getting into more modern Mustang, lets move up a couple of decades, around the 80s. Pretty horrible cars, like a lot of American cars. They're pretty horrible, lackluster styling, not a lot of performance and reliability, just a lot of problems with a variety of things. The one thing I do remember Mustangs for sort of around the 80s is the heater cores were really easy to replace. You could remove the glove box, slide the heater core out, something like less than an hour you could change a heater core, which is miraculous because a lot of cars it takes you a day or two to actually take the whole dash apart and change the heater core. They seem to fail a lot more back then, though, and I was thinking about it. Probably modern antifreeze technology cooling system components last a lot longer, whereas back then antifreeze would start attacking your coolant component and cause more leaks, so things have improved. Newer Mustangs, yeah, pretty good cars. We don't really see a lot of issues with them. They're good.

Mark: And maybe lastly, the Ford Fusion, I guess. I think we're going to talk about the Focus, too, but let's stick to the Fusion for now. How are those vehicles?

Bernie: Yeah, we'll talk about the Fusion and get onto the Focus. Fusion, not a great car. There's a lot of issues with these, like throttle body problems, this'll cause your vehicle ... You're driving, all of the sudden the vehicle just won't accelerate and it'll go into a fail safe mode, so there's a lot of issues with those. The other issues with Fusions that are very common are steering rack failures. These vehicles use electronic power steering, which is pretty common in a lot of cars, but there's a lot of failures with the electric power steering unit. So, again, it'll go into a manual steering mode, which is not great. So, I mean, it's not that the car fails to steer, but you just have a manual armstrong steering. My impression of the Fusion is it's a car that uses modern technology like a lot of other vehicles, but for some reason they kind of got it wrong. There's a lot of problems with it, so it would be a car I would avoid.

Mark: And the Focus?

Bernie: Probably not a car I would avoid. Focuses are a cheap car, but they're fairly reliable. They do have a few issues that we see reoccurring. Things like they'll develop coolant leaks from plastic thermostat housings, that's one issue that we see a lot of. Oil leaks develop after a while, usually valve cover gaskets, though, so they're not that hard to fix. Other than that, sort of normal brake wear, and some of the steering suspension components wear out over time. The Focus is one of those cars that just keeps getting better year over year. The Focus, it's a successor of the Escort, which was really kind of a piece of crap. Although we do have one customer who's got an older one that she keeps pretty good care of and it seems to be pretty reliable, but Escort, they had a lot of head gasket problems and things. Focuses don't have that, they're much more reliable. I'd say if you're looking for a low priced sort of economical car, Focus is a good one. Not as reliable as a Corolla, but usually a lot less money to buy, so you're further ahead of the game.

Mark: So, what about ... I'm going to toss a little bit of a wildcard at you. Ford has had some pretty horrific engineering failures over the years, and they've started another one with Fusions and Focuses where they're catching on fire again, they just issued a massive recall for those. How's Ford's engineering overall?

Bernie: I'd say mixed. We've talked about some of their trucks, the F350s with the six liter diesels, which I think are a kind of disgusting failure in terms of engineering, and just so many problems. The V8 engines with blowing spark plugs and seizing spark plugs. The 3.8 liter V6, which we touched on earlier in the Taurus, but also in Mustangs, they used them in a lot of different cars, chronic head gasket failures. You'd almost be guaranteed of a head gasket problem in those vehicles. So, I'd say Ford engineering is mixed. You get some cars that a really reliable, a lot of transmission problems in Fords, too, over a variety of models, too, which we didn't talk about earlier. I'd say they're mixed.

The Fords marketing department is fantastic, though, because they keep selling cars and they keep doing pretty well. I remember when they had all these problems with the 3.8 liter engine with the head gaskets, the problem was so bad they actually offered people $5,000 trade in credit on their vehicle. This would be over and above the trade in they give an extra 5,000 bucks to buy another Ford car, and I kept thinking, "Who would want to buy one after all those problems?" But it actually worked, it kind of kept the issue low profile, people don't really ever talk about it anymore. And I had a lot of clients who had those vehicles that actually bought new Ford products, so it worked. But overall, I'd say their engineering's mixed, but they're not the only ones, we can talk about other manufacturers.

Mark: Of course. So there you go, if you have a Ford that you're looking for service in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. You must book ahead for an appointment, or check out their website Thank a lot, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How Reliable Are Audi Q7’S?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’re talking cars and we’re going to talk about how reliable the Audi Q7 is. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing really well.

Mark: So Audi Q7, are they reliable?

Bernie: Yeah, they’re fairly reliable, I mean, you know to me I sometimes define reliability as can you get into your vehicle in the morning, will it start every time and the answer is of course, as long as you maintain your vehicle, yes they are quite reliable. There’s not too many surprise issues with these vehicles. They’re pretty good overall.

Mark: What items do you typically repair?

Bernie: Well, a lot of brakes, brakes don’t last very long in these vehicles, they’re also expensive to fix. Tires also wear out pretty quickly, I mean those are sort of the bulk of what we do on these vehicles. Also oil services, but because they use synthetic oil, they have a pretty large capacity oil pan, you don’t have to change the oil as frequently as you do on a sort of typical vehicle. But those are the main items that we do.

Mark: So why do brakes wear out so quickly?

Bernie: Well, that’s something that has puzzled me in a lot of these larger European sport utility vehicles, Porsche Cayenne’s, Audi Q7’s, Range Rover’s as well, they use a very large brake pad, a large brake rotor, you’d think that that should last a long time, but they’re heavy vehicles and the braking is very aggressive on them you know for safety reasons. So I think that’s part of what causes them to wear out so quickly but if you own one of these, expect you’re going to be doing a brake job every 30 to 50,000 kilometres and it’s always pad and rotors that wear every time.

Mark: Wow, and what about tires, why do they wear out so quickly?

Bernie: Again, it’s a sporty vehicle, they use a large tire, but they’re not, they’re more of a sports tire as opposed to being a long life truck tire. So again, it’s there for the ride, it’s there for the handling and so these tires just don’t last quite as long and rotating them regularly is critical because they start wearing funny and then they’re worn out. So again with tires you get 50,000 kilometres out of set you’d be lucky.

Mark: Ok, wow again. So what about engine concerns any of those?

Bernie: Overall the engines are pretty reliable, although we did speak at our last hangout about a rather expensive oil leak on a 4.2 litre V8. So things do happen but generally they’re pretty reliable. Some of the the concerns we do find are ignition coils wear out, this is pretty common on Audi’s. Fortunately, the coils are really cheap so I think Audi uses the same coils from a four cylinder to a V8, all over the place so they’re surprisingly inexpensive, but there is on a V8 for instance, there is 8 of them of once they start going you should change them all. Intake manifolds on the 4.2 litre, there’s a flapper inside the intake manifold that can wear out and break and that can cause the check engine light to come on. In extreme circumstances little bits and pieces can fall into the engine and jam up valves and can cause some pretty serious problems. So that’s another issue, but overall the engines are pretty reliable but they can be very expensive to fix. As again, if you look at our other previous hangout on the Audi oil leak situation. There’s a variety of engines in these vehicles too, there’s a 3.6 litre VR6 engine, 4.2 litre V8, gain runs really well, really good engine and then there’s a few different diesel options as well. The 3 litre diesel seems to be the most common, the turbo diesel, but there is a V8 as well and I’ve actually never seen this but I did a little research, there’s actually a V12 diesel that is available for three different model years. It’s got 493 horsepower and 738 foot pounds of torque. Now that would be an awesome ride. I’ve never actually seen one, I don’t know how many of them they made, but I don’t know that’s I’d even want to be around to repair it, I wouldn’t want to own that vehicle when it comes time to repair it but I thought that was pretty specification wise, pretty cool.

Mark: So are there any maintenance services that you would recommend as essential if you own one of these vehicles?

Bernie: Here’s a photo of a Q7 just to add a little flavour to our talk. Maintenance services, you know, regular oil changes are critical, the intervals on these vehicles are long, like a lot of European cars, I would shorten them up by, go 75% of the length, so if it’s 20,000 kilometres do the oil change at 15, if it’s 15 do it 10 to 12 thousand, better to do it sooner than later. Again if you look at our hangout with the oil leak and you look at the timing chains, the things in the back of the engine, you just don’t want these things to wear out. You don’t want, if you don’t want to be faced with a repair bill for something like that, so that’s critical. If you own a diesel you really need to drive that vehicle a lot, it needs to get warm, good highway drives are important. If you’re just doing a short little 5 kilometre commutes you’re really doing a disservice to that diesel. It’s going to cost you a lot of money to fix in the long run. So yeah, regular oil changes and regular services, rotate the tires, inspections every year or so depending on how much you drive. Those are the critical things.

Mark: This vehicle was, the platform was built with VW and Porsche and they have their own versions the Touareg and the Cayenne. How does the Q7 stack up against those?

Bernie: Well the Q7 and the Touareg are really quite similar. They use the same lines of engines although I believe the Touareg actually is available with a W12 V8 which is you know, again a ridiculously complicated engine but the Porsche I mean, it’s a similar vehicle but they’ve got their own drivetrains, they’ve got their own suspension systems, and their own engines and quite honestly, the earlier versions of the Cayenne were a disaster. The first V8 that Porsche had done since the 928 and they really botched it up for a few model years. I think the newer ones are better but those older ’05 to ’08 kind of era would be a vehicle to definitely avoid. So if I was going to choose any of that particular line, I’d go with the Audi because it’s got the nice luxury features and it’s a step up from the Volkswagen so if you’re going to have the problems with it, at least you’ve got the more luxurious vehicle. Although the Touareg is very nice.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Audi Q7 or any Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or on their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2007 Audi Q7 – Engine Oil Leak Repair

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, we’re going to talk cars. So we’re talking about a 2007 Audi Q7 that had an engine oil leak repair. How’re you going Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well this morning.

Mark: So what was going on with this Audi SUV?

Bernie: Well this vehicle came to us with an engine oil leak and it was quite an oil leak when the engine, with the engine running there’d be, every minute there’d be a, maybe every couple minutes there’d be a drip on the ground, so it was a pretty substantial leak. Did a diagnostic and we found that the leak was coming from the upper engine oil pan.

Mark: Ok, that sounds like a pretty serious leaking problem, what was involved in fixing it?

Bernie: There’s a lot involved and actually you’re right, it is a pretty serious leak. Serious in terms of the complexity of the leak and also the complexity of the repair. The upper oil pan basically requires removing the engine from the vehicle and dismantling an awful lot of the engine just to make the oil pan off to make the repair.

Mark: Ok, that sounds a little extreme. Is the oil pan gasket a typical gasket that seals the entire bottom end of the vehicle?

Bernie: No, it’s a little different and this is kind of common on modern engine technology. The parts are aluminum so they fit the pan together with, usually a high quality, I wouldn’t call it silicone, but it’s like a silicone type sealer, it’s form of gasket material and then any areas of crucial oil flow, they’ll put O rings. So there’s 4 O rings and then the rest of it is this silicone type sealer, a special type sealer which they use in a number of gaskets, the timing chain covers, the lower oil pan is the same thing but that’s how most modern engines are sealed now a days. The typical big, huge gasket or well in the olden days or a cork gasket, those are long gone now.

Mark: So does it really need to be so complicated?

Bernie: Well I don’t know if it needs to be but it is. When you’re driving an Audi, people buy them because you want the performance, you want the fuel economy and of course, emissions on engines, it’s just created a storm of complication but the good news is you can hop in your vehicle still in cold, runs great, works perfectly, the performance cold and hot is the same, where if you go back 20 or 30 years ago with carbureted engines, you’d be stalling and stumbling until the engine warmed up. So not to mention the amount of pollutants you put out. So there’s a lot of complexity. I’m going to share some photos here, we’ve got lots of them to look at so, let’s start with, here’s our oil leak, you see that ok Mark? Perfect. Ok so this is a view of the bottom of the engine looking up, this area over here, this is the crankshaft pulley and the serpentine drive belt and right where the red arrow is pointing, that’s where our oil leak was coming from. So this assembly right here, this is the upper engine oil pan and down here’s the lower oil pan. The lower oil pan by the way can be replaced inside the vehicle but the upper is a much more deeply buried component let’s say. So that’s where our leak was. This is what we viewed in the engine once we pull the engine out, this is another view of, kind of head on, this is a seam of the upper oil pain right here and so that where, again you can see the leak. The oil pouring down out of here, down here, as the engine was running. So let’s look at the complexity. There’s the back view of the engine. These are the timing chains of the engine. I mean, this is like a really really complicated set up, a lot of bits and pieces. Fortunately for our client, everything seems to be in pretty good order but there are a lot of parts and pieces that can wear here, a lot of money. So basically here is the crankshaft, so this is where it all starts turning from. You’ve got chains here driving the oil pump drive, then you’ve got chains here, this is the main chain that drives the camshaft gears and then you’ve got chains that drive the camshafts and these are the variable valve timing phasers, there are solenoids up here. So there’s a lot that goes into this to make this engine rune like the beautiful engine it does, but as you can see, there’s a lot of complexity here. What else have we got here, there’s a view of the vehicle, to pull this engine out, you basically pull the whole front cradle out, the transmission, the transfer case and the engine so that’s the assembly sitting on jack stands after it’s removed and the body of the vehicle is sitting up above. Almost looks like a Ford 6 Litre type of jobs that we do. Now one common, oh so here’s our lower engine oil pan, so this is what the unit looks like cleaned up and mostly cleaned up and ready to be reinstalled. Very precise piece of machine, you know precision machine piece of equipment. And yeah, so now one area of problem on these Audi’s, these engines are fairly reliable but there’s one engine, one problem area and that is the intake manifold. They’re inside the intake manifold there are runners to change the airflow inside the intake manifold, again this is what gives the engine the performance that it has. There’s a set of runners here, right by the intake ports, there’s a set of runners here and then inside the manifold is a set of runners that change as well. There’s actuators over here which are electronically controlled and when we took this manifold out, there’s actually some broken pieces that fell out, fortunately they never fell into the engine, we were able to retrieve them, but these are, this is part of the flapper inside the manifold that’s broken. This is actually a fairly common breakage problem on these engines. Sometimes it can result in pieces actually falling into the engine and causing problems. So this is something we’ll have to address with this repair. It’s expensive, unfortunately you have to buy a complete manifold and the part can only be purchased from Audi. So there’s a view of the complexity, some of the things, one of the things that goes wrong, a couple of things and there we have it.

Mark: So looking at the back end of that engine, kind of reminded me of a throwback to looking at an old V12 Ferrari engine with dual overhead cams.

Bernie: Yeah, same complexity, you don’t need, you can have that same level of complexity even in a Kia nowadays.

Mark: So how are these vehicles overall?

Bernie: They’re pretty good, I mean they, it’s an Audi, it more expensive to maintain of course, things that that wear out faster than you’ll find in a lot of other cars, it’s big, uses a fair bit of fuel, very nice vehicle, overall pretty reliable but there are some areas of issues and we’re going to discuss that in a future hangout.

Mark: Alright, so we’ve been talking with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. If you need service on your Audi from experts who know what they’re doing, so Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112 or check out their website Thank you

Bernie: Thanks Mark

1995 Jeep Wrangler, Brake Repairs

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik and we’re talking car repairs. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 1995 Jeep Wrangler that had some brake repairs. What was happening with this Jeep?

Bernie: Well the Jeep came to our shop for a comprehensive inspection and a look over, it had been a while since the owner serviced the vehicle and also there was, he had a few concerns. So through the inspection we found it needed some brake work so we’re going to talk about what we did on the front brakes this morning.

Mark: Was this a routine brake job or was there something unique about it?

Bernie: Well pretty much routine but there is one thing that is unique about it, that’s why I want to do a hangout about it. I’ll just start with sharing some photos here because it’ll be a good explanation as we go through. So this is a, it’s a little dark but this is a bracket, the brake caliper bracket and this is where the brake pads ride and when we took everything apart, you can see in this area here, there’s a big gouge. This is kind of normal after years of use and this vehicle is 22 years old, so it’s been around for a while but we see even on vehicles that are 5 or 10 years old. The brake pad wears in this area, it slides, it moves back and forth and creates a gouge. When this is worn it can cause clicking sounds in the brakes, it can also cause squeaks and squeals and just generally not a great feel in the brake pedal because things could get hung up. So what I wanted to talk about in this hangout is how we repair this particular thing. We basically, we have, so I’ll go to the next photo, this is the same bracket after it’s been repaired, it’s on the other side of the vehicle, it’s the top one, but this is the area where we repaired. This again had a big gouge in it. We welded it, filled in the missing metal and then ground it down, so it’s basically like a nice flat piece of metal now for the brake pads to slide on. And the final item here, this is the brakes put together, the red arrow points to that area of the picture there, so you can see, here are the brake pads, there’s a ear on the brake pads that slide in this bracket and that’s all been fixed so everything slides clean, there’s no excessive movement. We also apply our special orange, this is the sort of modern best brake lubricant available these days to any moving services, so it prevents any squeaks or squeals and everything works and lasts for a long time.

Mark: Wow, being a ’95 this Jeep is getting on in age, how is it overall?

Bernie: Really good. The thing about Jeeps is they’re one of those type of vehicles that seems to last for a long time. There’s certain vehicles where once they get to a certain age, I can’t remember the last time I worked on a 1995 Subaru, I mean they’re just gone you know, once they get to a certain age they just have no use. But Jeeps, I was actually surprised when I looked and oh it’s a ’95, it’s in really good shape, this one is unique too, it’s a four cylinder with an automatic which is kind of unusual and maybe not the most desirable but economical and easy to drive. Most of them are standards with straight 6 engines which are awesome. I mean overall it’s a great vehicle, still in really good shape, the owner’s doing a bit of work on it but works good and we work on Jeeps that are decades older than that. They can last a long time.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website Remember they are 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. If you want done right, these are they guys. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2015 Scion FRS – Electrical System Repairs

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, I really conflated that one. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing pretty good.

Mark: So 2015 Scion FRS, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle had some electrical issues, now you might wonder, it’s a 2015 and I’ll just tell you that it had less than 30,000 kilometres, so why would an independent auto repair shop be repairing electrical issues on a vehicle that’s only two year old, that is still covered by warranty and the answer is that the owner put in aftermarket lights, LED lights all around the vehicle and it kept blowing fuses whenever you turn the park and taillights on. The fuse would pop. So that’s what’s going on with this vehicle. And so, once you install aftermarket parts, your warranty is not valid for that particular issue, of course the engine warranty is still valid, but the electrical system would be at your own, now it’s your own thing.

Mark: So what did you find?

Bernie: Well, what we found, it was a rather lengthy diagnosis, and I’ll just explain a few of the procedures before I talk about findings. So of course, testing we verify yes the fuse is blowing. We then went to isolate all the tail lights, front lights, we went to isolate all the different parts of the lighting system and we unhooked the lights, we tested them all individually, they’re all working and found there’s no power drains. but when we went to power up the whole circuit, of course it was overloaded. So through a long and lengthy process we found that there was some side marker lights that had been installed, someone had soldered some wiring joints together and didn’t tape the joints properly so the wires were touching each other. I mean, it’s great that they used solder because that’s something we always recommend and so that’s a good job but not taping then and insulating them properly caused this whole problem and several hundred dollars worth of repair to the customer. So I’ll just share a few photos here, so what we’ve got, here’s our car, 2015, it’s a nice car. The owner did a few modifications, suspension and so they’re nice cars right from the factory, but with a few modifications it worked really well. This is the aftermarket LED tail light, this is the side marker light held on with tape by the way because it doesn’t fit properly. These are some of the front, these are some of the other LED bulbs, we actually eliminated these because the upper ones are little 194 equivalents for the license plate lights, one wasn’t working properly, the front ones only work as turn signals and not park lights as they’re supposed to. And here we finally get to our bad solder joint. So this right here, it’s a bit of a blow up, not super sharp, these are the wires that have been soldered onto the original wiring harness for the side marker lights and what I found when I took it apart was tape wrapped around it but these two wires had actually touched together so the taping job was improper. When you’re doing wiring work, you really do need to make sure you tape everything properly, as I said it’s great that someone soldered it because a lot of people just wrap the wires with these crappy butt splice connectors which come apart. But anyway. So I went to the other side, the other market light, even though that was working fine, just to verify that the repair had been done properly and it was, so the customer should have no further issues with that particular issue.

Mark: So basically it comes down to a do-it-yourselfer crappie workmanship.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. We also take the time when we do work in our shop to solder wiring connections, there are some times when you can’t do it, but 99% of the time you can. We solder, we use heat shrink tubing or make sure that we tape it extremely well because the last you want to do is have a problem like this come back, you want it to be done right and last for a long long time.

Mark: So what do you think about using the aftermarket LED bulbs?

Bernie: I don’t think they’re worth it, you know in this case, this whole thing created a lot of issues for the customer. Is there any advantage over this virus the bulbs that came in the car, no, you know, just costing more in the end and no, the bulbs don’t look any better. The other issue with LED bulbs, sometimes with turn signals you get problems because the turn signal circuit is designed to flash based on the resistance of the bulbs so if you’re using LED bulbs the resistance is different. So sometimes you’l have issues where they won’t flash or blink properly. In this vehicle, that wasn’t the case but it can happen so you do run into problems and many of these aftermarket LED lights, they’re cheaply made so you get what you pay for.

Mark: So these FRS cars look, performance kind of vehicle, what do you think of them?

Bernie: They’re pretty cool, they’re a neat venture, it’s actually a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru, the car’s actually built by Subaru but they took a Subaru boxer engine, a two litre engine and used a Toyota fuel injection system, it’s a dual injection system, a direct and port injection so it kind of has the advantages of both. But yeah, it’s a neat car, front engine, rear wheel drive so you can spin the back end around and they’ve got the appeal of that old fashioned North American performance car but in a nice small vehicle. Very good vehicle, and really reliable.

Mark: A good drifter basically.

Bernie: Yeah, yes exactly for those that like to drive out of control.

Mark: So there you go, if you need some service on your Scion, or your Toyota, or your Subaru, these are guys to come see in Vancouver. Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your next appointment or check out their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Ford Explorer: How Reliable Are They?

Mark: Hi it’s Mark, Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 17 times voted Best Auto Repair in Vancouver by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing really well.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about the Ford Explorer. It’s got a bit of a checkered history, a friend of mine who owned one nicknamed his as the Exploder, kind of had a lot of problems with lawsuits and rollovers, what happens with Explorers?

Bernie: Well speaking of that or those older models with the rollovers, that was an interesting issue. The Explorer was an incredibly popular vehicle when it came out and the rollover issue, a lot of it may not of been so much the vehicle but the tires and even the recommended tire inflation. What Ford had recommended is to inflate the tires to 26 psi which is pretty low inflation for a tire, especially a truck tire and the reason they did that is just so the vehicle would have a nice, more car-like ride as opposed to a bouncy truck ride. But the thing that happened with a lot of people is they don’t check their tire pressures, you loose typically a pound of pressure a month in your tire, so eventually not looking at if for a year those 26 psi tires were down to about, I don’t know, about 14 psi. Then everyone loads their vehicle up for a family holiday with lots of weight in it, the tires get hot, they explode. So you know, the vehicle, being the type of vehicle it is, it tends to roll over. So thats kind of a lot of what happened with that vehicle. I think had people filled their tires up to like 32 or 35 pounds, a lot of that may not of happened. So anyways, with that out of the way, lets talk about more modern Explorers because people aren’t buying a1986 Explorers any more, they’re looking at newer ones in the 2000 range. So there’s a lot of issues with these vehicles. Typically what we we see most of are engine problems, especially 4L engines,we see them continuously coming in with rattling timing chains. These are older and getting on with around 200,000 kilometres which is really high but the way the engine is designed there is a timing chain at the front of the engine for one bank and the timing chain at the rear of the engine for the other so you can just imagine if the rear chain fails, which it does, you have to pull the engine out to take it apart. It’s really expensive and really by the time they happen it’s almost usually not worth fixing.

Mark: Wow, so are there any other engine problems?

Bernie: Oh yeah, their engine misfires caused by bad ignition coils or spark plugs, I mean these don’t pop spark plugs out or seize spark plugs like the F-150’s and the other Ford engines but those are problems that happen. Coil failures, spark plugs, also cooling system issues, they use a lot of plastic parts in the cooling system like a lot of manufacturers, so the thermostat housings will leak and fail, radiators too are a pretty common problem, especially in the, I’m just looking at a couple of notes I have here, around the 2006 model year. For some reason radiator failures are really high, so that might be a model to avoid, we’ve repaired them and all sorts of different ranges of years.

Mark: How about the transmissions?

Bernie: Transmission failures are a really common item on these vehicles and that’s, as the vehicles have gotten newer, the 2010 range the transmission issues seem to have gone away but again, the earlier ones, a lot of failures, even going back to those earlier generations to flip over types, the transmission problems were really common in those too.

Mark: Steering, suspension, drivetrain?

Bernie: Fairly good, yeah not a lot of problems but again, we’ve run into electronic transfer casing issues from time to time but the differentials, the drive shafts, those types of things, they all seem to be built pretty solid, nothing exceptional in that area.

Mark: How about inside the vehicle, the common failures, a/c, heating, power windows, doors, locks?

Bernie: We seem to fix a few issues like the heating system like heater blower motor but nothing unusual. The fit and finishes, I just say ok, I mean we see a lot where the plastic interior parts wear out but that’s more of a cosmetic thing than anything else, but the power windows and those sorts of things are fairly reliable.

Mark: So bottom line, would you recommend a Ford Explorer for someone as a vehicle for someone to buy?

Bernie: Not really, no. To be perfectly blunt, I mean they’re nice vehicles when they’re new but there’s so much, so many things that go wrong with them. You’d be better off, dollar for dollar to look at something else, maybe a Toyota Highlander or something, not sure if I’m comparing the right equivalent vehicle there, but there’s other vehicles to look at. So if you want to fix your Explorer, we’d love to take care of you. We do a lot of them and we do it well.

Mark: So there you go, if you need to make sure you get the full life out of your Explorer in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website It’s world famous now, thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Common Problems with Ford F150 Trucks

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s most approved, most favoured, most voted for auto service experience. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing really well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about common problems with Ford F150 trucks. What, these have been around for at least 50 years, what kind of track record, they’ve had a great long track record, so what kind of problems do you regularly see with these vehicles?

Bernie: Well there are quite a few issues. You know F150’s in Canada, they say that it’s the top selling pick up truck, it’s been going on for years and years, so they must be doing something right, but there are a few common issues with these vehicles. Specifically, I mean some of them in my opinion are pretty serious, that’d make me not want to buy a Ford truck.

Mark: So what would be some example issues?

Bernie: Probably the biggest one over the years, and Ford has fixed this issue, but spark plug problems. In the early 2000’s, there were spark plugs that were blowing out of the cylinders, they weren’t enough threads to hold the spark plugs properly in the cylinders. I mean, bad engineering. Typically the problem would happen when say on a van, well we’re talking about trucks here, but they use the same engine, so you’ve got a van fully loaded with 15 passengers, you’re driving up a mountain grade and boom a spark plug pops out, not a great time to do that. Now to Ford’s credit, they fixed it but the spark plug that seizes into the cylinder head so when we go to change it, you’ve got 8 spark plugs in a V8, half the time if you get lucky you’ll get all 8 of them out, but most of the time one or two break off, again engineering, not a good design, but a little easier to manage at least the vehicle is in the shop. so I mean, that’s a really big thing now but in the last 2000’s Ford changed the design of their spark plug, lots of threads, normal kind of spark plug, no more breakage. So unless unusual circumstances, so that’s been dealt with. But to me, that’s the biggest issue, but some of the other things we see, exhaust manifolds, seems like most F150’s again around the 2000 range, the manifolds warp, you get big exhaust leaks, you need to replace the manifolds and gaskets so that’s another pretty large issue.

Mark: And an expensive one I would imagine too?

Bernie: Yeah, other items too around engines. They’ve gone to an overhead camshaft engine V8, runs really great, lots of power but there’s a lot os issues with the timing chain, there’s a cam phaser, it’s a variable valve timing adjustment piece, there’s solenoids that activate it. These parts fail, they cause problems and people don’t change their oil regularly, that causes them to fail too.

Mark: So what about transmissions?

Bernie: There are a few transmission issues on these vehicles, worse in the older years, better as we get into new years but yeah, there are some transmission issues. I can’t say specifically what some of them are but a lot of them do require overhauling.

Mark: So what about kind of other problem areas: heating, air conditioning, electrical systems etc?

Bernie: You know, we do fix a few things like door latch switches that don’t work, I mean the heating and the a/c system seems to be fairly reliable, there are things that go wrong, the heater blower motors, but nothing exceptional, the fit and finish in the truck is pretty good. I think another reason why they sell, they build a nice truck they’re nice to drive, nice to sit in, the controls work well and for the most part those things are fairly reliable. There are some things like any vehicle, it will go wrong but nothing overly common.

Mark: How about the steering and suspension?

Bernie: Yeah, pretty well built. I don’t see a lot of, you know again, ball joints and tie rod ends and things will wear out over time but nothing abnormal. Again shocks, suspension is pretty good, the drivetrain, we do the odd rear end in a Ford truck but there again, they’re pretty high mileage, they’ve been used well. So the drivetrains built pretty well, four wheel drive system works well, occasional issues with the electronic transfer case but again nothing really glaring.

Mark: So are there years that have more problems than others?

Bernie: It seems, so we work on a wide variety of vehicles, I can’t say from my own experience, as one year that’s worse than others but there’s a good website called They’ve got a really good listing of all different model years and for Ford F-150’s there’s a lot to times listed. It seems like 2004 is the worst year in their listing. But you know, one of the problems that they seem to list a lot of transmission issues with you know, in that sorry, engine issues in 07 to 09. So those are again, just stuff to watch and look at and a lot of those engine issues are around the timing chains. So if you’re buying something used, you really want to find someone who’s really maintained really well, if you’re the original owner, let’s hope you’ve ben doing your oil changes regularly because that does make a big difference for those kind of problems. A couple other issues too, just getting off of that, the EcoBoost engine, that’s a fairly popular option in the 2010 and up range. We don’t see a lot of these engines and in searching for issues, I don’t see a lot of them. I would imagine them being a twin turbo V6 that that kind of an engine is under a lot of strain, again change your oil. That’s the key, it’s a long life in that particular engine, it’s a good concept but with two turbochargers, you’ve got a lot of expensive accessories on the outside of your engine to go wrong.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Ford F150 in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment,you must book ahead or check out their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2008 Range Rover Sport, Parking Brake Module

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best loved, best voted and favourite place to get your car serviced. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Range Rover Sport and you did some work on the parking brake, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, the vehicle came to our shop with a warning light on the dash and a rather irritating bell ringing in the vehicle when you’re driving the car, every time you stopped at a light and then go to accelerate the warning chime would come on. There’s a warning light on the dash for the parking brake and then there’s an actual warning service parking brake system. So that’s what was going on with the vehicle.

Mark: So what did you do to try and diagnose this?

Bernie: So being an electronic issue, at least electronic warnings and Range Rovers being a sophisticated vehicle, we plugged out diagnostic scan tool into the vehicle and retrieved one trouble code for an overheated parking brake module and as soon as we cleared the code, the code had returned immediately, so we knew there’s a defect in the module based on that particular symptom and it was basically a matter of replacing the parking brake modular to solve the concern.

Mark: So the parking brake module, is that just an electronic part or was there mechanical parts as well?

Bernie: Actually, it’s a rather involved piece. It sounds like it’s just an electronic module here but when I hear the word module, I think a little electronic piece but the one actually is, there’s lots to it. I’ll show, I’ll share some pictures. So this is the parking brake module. This is the electronic and motor portion of the module. This module actually has, it’s electronic plus it has the actuator motors and the cables as well and in the next photo I’ll show you, this is the actual, this is a larger view of what you get when you buy the part. This is the old one removed from the vehicle. You can see there’s two large cables, one on each side. These go up to each wheel and actually link up to the parking brake shoes and there’s a third cable which is actually an emergency release. So should the electric motors fail for some reason, there’s actually a way you can manually pull a handle in the vehicle and release the parking brake. But in the case of this vehicle of course, that didn’t matter because the defect was in the electronic module itself. And while we’re just looking at pictures, here’s a 2008 Range Rover, it’s the vehicle we serviced.

Mark: Ok, so that sounds like a lot of work to replace. Is this a pretty common failure part?

Bernie: It’s a fairly common failure part on these things. We don’t do a lot of them but they do fail from time to time and the fact that the dealer stocks it is always to me, an indicator that it’s a common part. We have done a few of them from time to time and it is a lot of work to replace. The module was buried up underneath the vehicle, there’s covers and things to be removed to get to the module and then the cables of course, have to be removed. They’re all bolted in quite nicely, they don’t just flop around. They’re, it’s a nicely built vehicle, they bolt everything in every few inches. You have to remove that and then the brake shoes have to be removed to install the cable, so it’s a fair bit of work, a few hours.

Mark: So how are the brake shoes on this just as a side line?

Bernie: The brake shoes were fine, yeah they were in great shape and of course, once we take it all apart and put it back together we readjust for brake shoes as well so everything is in good shape. So yeah, it’s all done, all done good and it should last a long time.

Mark: So this sounds like a pretty complicated way of doing a parking brake, is this similar to other vehicles?

Bernie: Yeah, a lot of other vehicles do it, a lot of other European cars for sure, they’re, I’m not sure, sometimes I wonder why they make things so complicated. I mean, I guess sometimes I think it’s because they can and because you know, it’s nicer to go all you do is just pull a little button or push a button and your parking brake is activated and it activates it to the right sort of amount, but to me sometimes when you’re faced with a large repair bill like this job and chimes and warning lights and you have no option but to fix it, it makes me wonder whether it’s all worth it in the end or they’re just a simple cable system would be better. But anyways, that’s what is is and you will find that in a lot vehicles and most new cars have it, at least Europeans for sure.

Mark: So just to remind everybody and me, the parking brake is actually a different braking system than the main braking system of the car, isn’t it?

Bernie: It is yeah, the parking brake is separate, it uses it’s own brake shoes, although some of them will use the disc brake calliper in the rear and they’ll actually have a lever on the calliper so it mechanically activates the brake pads so there’s actually a few less parts in that system. So either way, there’s, I like the shoe system better because it isolates it from the callipers and makes it completely separate and I think actually in the end you have less trouble with that system.

Mark: So I imagine this is an expense repair and maybe not the most, if you’re living in a flat area probably wouldn’t be the most needed repair but with the warning lights and bells ringing after every stop, is not something you could avoid.

Bernie: No you can’t and I guess it’s good because even if you, like you said, even if you live in a flat area and you don’t use your parking brake and a lot of people with automatic transmission cars don’t use them, myself included, you know because once you put it in park it locks the vehicle in place but it’s important to have it as an emergency brake and if you’re on a steep hill it puts a strain on the drivetrain to just use the Park function on the transmission. So it’s good to fix it yeah, it’s hard to avoid with that bell ringing. We had a Jag a while ago that had a similar system, it was even worse. The moment you drive it you just a bing bing bing bing bing bing bing bing the whole time you drive down the road, so you really couldn’t avoid fixing that, it’s totally irritating. So yeah I mean it’s nice if you can put stuff off but this is not a thing on these vehicles that you can.

Mark: So then my way of fixing it which I like to use the black tape on the check engine light, I’d have to have some kind of ear muff, ear protection to be able to drive my vehicle.

Bernie: Exactly, you’d have to turn your radio up really loud.

Mark: Alright, well folks if you’re looking for a better solution than using black tape to hide your check engine warning light or wear ear protection to stop the bells ringing in your vehicles, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. They will look after your vehicle, everything from high end luxury vehicles to your general you know pony car that you drive every day to work, they fix them and keep them running for a long time, saving you a tremendous amount of money. Call them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website - we’ve got hundreds of videos on there, thousands of subscribers and we’re approaching the million video views - so check us out. Thanks a lot Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Pawlik Automotive How Reliable Are Lexus Vehicles?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s favourite auto service experience, 16, 17, how many times is it now Bernie?

Bernie: 17

Mark: Seventeen time winners of Best in Vancouver, how you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Really well.

Mark: So let’s talk about Lexus vehicles. How reliable are Lexus?

Bernie: Well in a nutshell, very reliable. There’s not a lot that goes wrong with them. They have a very good reputation. If you look at consumers reports and other reporting services for years and years and years, Lexus comes out on top for best reliability and lowest maintenance costs so they’re excellent vehicles in that respect.

Mark: So Lexus is the premium brand of Toyota, so how similar are they to Toyota?

Bernie: Well, in many ways they are very similar, although certainly they’re much more luxurious. So the interior fitments, you know the options in Lexus vehicles are definitely higher than Toyota’s. The Toyota Avalon is about the highest level of car that Toyota makes and Lexus kind of starts there and gets better, you find features like heated rear seats, just numerous luxury features that you won’t find in Toyota vehicles. But underneath the hood, a lot of them are similar and that’s a good thing because you’ve got shared components which keeps your repair and maintenance costs down and also allows the company to make more reliable components overall. So they are similar by they’re just you know, you won’t find a luxury version of a Toyota Echo for instance or a Lexus version of an Echo. But at the higher end models it just kind of goes up from there and they make a lot of sportier cars as well in the Lexus line which they don’t in Toyota

Mark: So what do you most commonly repair on Lexus vehicles?

Bernie: Seems like the most common repairs we do, I mean engine wise, so we’re talking newer, maybe in the last decade of vehicles, water pumps seem to leak, we seem to do a lot of shocks and struts and suspension items as well and again, these are on a little older side, you know they’re the 10 year and older cars, but really not a lot else, brakes of course things that just wear out in all cars, we do those. But it seems like suspension issues and the water pumps seem to be one of the weaker things, one of the components that seems to wear out more than other things. But other than that, they’re really exceptionally reliable.

Mark: So how about the hybrids?

Bernie: Hybrids are great. Hybrids, you know as a mechanic, they kind of scare me, not to fix them but just that there’s so much to go wrong, so much complexity and you’ve got your internal combustion engine and all the sophistication that goes along with that, plus you’ve got an electric motor, transmission unit, inverters, batteries, a whole plethora of other items that can go wrong and they rarely do. The only vehicle we’ve ever had was a Highlander hybrid that had a blown inverter. That’s the only major component we’ve ever seen go wrong with a hybrid. Now we don’t fit exclusively hybrids but generally there’s not a lot that goes wrong with them so it’s a kind of hybrid that I’d actually want to own myself. I don’t really want a car that I’d have to fix all the time especially one with the expensive parts, so the hybrid is, it’s a good option in these vehicles.

Mark: So what maintenance services are typically required on Lexus cars?

Bernie: So, things like spark plugs for instance, that will need to be replaced in the mid, between 100 and 200 thousand kilometres. We recommend fuel injection cleanings about every 50,000 kilometres for good improved maintenance, certainly oil changes on a regular basis are critical and especially when you get into the mid 2000’s and newer. The engine uses timing chains, you’ve got to change the oil regularly on these, you cannot let it get low. You’ve got to be religious with it, otherwise, you get into spending a lot of money and wrecking your engine, which you don’t want to do. Other maintenance items, timing belts up until the mid 2000, most Lexus, at least the RX330’s all use timing belts, some of the V8 engines use timing belts as well, even into the later 2000 model years, some of them use timing belts. So those are something that needs to be done around 160 thousand kilometres. Other than that, fluid flushes, transition, differentials that kind of thing, brake fluid, basic maintenance, timing belts are really the only big thing and unless you don’t change your oil then you’ll be doing timing chain repairs, which you don’t want to do.

Mark: So any final thoughts on Lexus automotive cars?

Bernie: You know Mark, they’re just really reliable, I highly recommend them. If you’re looking for a luxury vehicle, I’d recommend one of these over a Mercedes. I think sometimes they don’t quite have the prestigious feel for some odd reason, but they’re a beautifully built vehicle and very reliable which is worth a lot.

Mark: And that’s coming from a Mercedes owner

Bernie: That’s right, yup

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for repairs on your Lexus in Vancouver, the guys to go see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’ve got 5 bays to serve you but they’re busy so you’ve got to call and book ahead or check out their website Remember 17 time winners as voted by their customers for Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Pawlik Automotive Level 1 Maintenance Service

Hi, I’m Bernie Pawlik, I’m the owner of Pawlik Automotive, I’m talking about our level one maintenance service. This is our basic maintenance service. It’s an engine oil and filter change, along with a thorough maintenance inspection.

So what we include with this service is of course, changing your engine oil and filter, we use high quality motor oil applicable to your vehicle, regular oil or synthetic depending on what the vehicle requires or what you would like to have done, we also change the oil filter with a very high quality filter. We will inspect the air filter on most vehicles as long as it’s straight forward and simple. Some vehicles involves a lot of dismantling and we won’t include that but we do for any other vehicle that’s straight forward, so that’s most vehicles. We also include an inspection which I’ll go ver in a couple of minutes but basically we look under your hood, we look under your vehicle with a visual inspection, we also do all our oil changes on two post hoists so the advantage of that is that the wheels all come up off the ground and they’re free and we can spin the wheels and we can wiggle the wheels just to see if there are any immediate safety concerns. That’s something that a lot of shops, if you’re having your oil change done in a pit type of lube shop or if you’re having it done on a four post hoist, you won’t get that advantage. So that’s one of the things that we do. So I’ll just go over the inspection with you. We look at a variety of items - windshield, windshield wipers, horn, all your exterior lights, any dash warning lights that might be on, of course, we inspect the engine oil level and condition if we’re doing an oil change. The oil is going to be new, we look for oil leaks at the top of the engine as well as underneath, we look for coolant leaks, transmission fluid level and conditions inspected, battery and terminals are visually inspected, we also fill up your washer fluid and look for any driveline area fluid leaks. Additionally we also set your oil service reminder. We inspect tire pressures and adjust their pressures to factory specifications, we measure tire treads, we inspect the drive shaft axle seals and joints, brake fluid is looked at, power steering fluid if it’s applicable, the belt condition is inspected and the tension of the belt is inspected. We also inspect your air filter in most cases unless they’re a very difficult to remove air filter which is an additional service, PCV valve and breather system is looked at, clutch fluid if applicable. We visually inspect your hoses and all your differential and drivetrain fluids are also looked at.

So you can see this is a very thorough service. We’d be happy to book you in for an appointment, our phone number is 604-327-7112. Thank you.

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