2007 Lexus GS350, Motorvac and Spark Plugs

Mark: Hey, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s favourite and best auto service experience. Bernie your audio’s a little loud, I can hear myself.

Bernie: I’ll turn it down.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 07 Lexus GS350, you were doing some motorvacing and spark plugs, what’s that all about?

Bernie: Alright, well so this vehicle came to our shop actually for a few services, one of the rear strut replacement which were leaking but that’s not really the subject of our discussion today, but it also was due for some maintenance service. The spark plugs were due for replacement based on mileage and also we had recommended a motorvac fuel injection cleaning which we usually do at the same time so that, that’s what’s up on this vehicle.

Mark: So struts aside are some of these other services the equivalent of a tune-up since we don’t really do that anymore.

Bernie: Yeah, these are, you can say this is a tune-up, I mean there’s nothing to tune up on a modern vehicle, everything’s electronically controlled which is fantastic, you just hop in your car, you start the car and away you go, I mean electronic fuel injection and electronic ignition really made that happen you know a couple decades ago but you know with modern cars it’s even, even more sophisticated yeah, this is, this is what we need to do for a tune up. The spark plugs have a certain lifespan, they generally last quite a long time on, on most vehicles and which is a good thing because there’s a lot of, it’s a lot of work to take the spark plugs out on these vehicles so they do have a very long lifespan but they do eventually wear out. These weren’t essentially worn out but you want to replace them before anything happens, you want a seamless driving experience and the engine smooth all the time, it’s critical.

Mark: So what about Motorvac? What is that, what benefits is that service provide?

Bernie: So the Motorvac it’s basically a brand name for a machine; Motorvac is basically fuel injection cleaning machine. How it works is it, you basically disconnect the fuel system in the vehicle, we hook the Motorvac machine up to the, directly to the engine, it has its own pump, it has its own gas and we add a very concentrated cleaner. We run it for about approximately half an hour, sometimes a little longer if the vehicle hasn’t been done in a long time and also a couple additional services we do as long as it’s reasonably accessible we clean the throttle plate as well which gets gummed up so I mean basically what it does is it removed carbon deposits from the engine, it cleans the fuel injectors, any gummy deposits; when you clean the throttle plate there’s deposits that build up as well so it allows the air to flow into the engine much better and also if there’s a lot of carbon deposits on the valves it, that can actually store fuel. We don’t see the problem very often but in the past the engine, they wouldn’t go up hill because there was so much carbon deposits on the intake valve that the engine would actually absorb the fuel that was being injected into the engine, but the Motorvac will remove all that and basically restore performance like back to like new.

Mark: Can every engine be Motorvaced?

Bernie: Sorry Mark can you repeat that, I got a couple audio issues.

Mark: Can every engine be Motorvaced?

Bernie: Um, no. Most engines can, the exceptions really are carbureted vehicles which you can Motorvac it but it doesn’t make sense because it’s easier just to pour combustion chamber cleaner right down the carburetor and let it sit overnight and almost no cars have carburetors anymore, so, like none do, only vintage cars at this time. The other, this machine we have does diesel so we can do diesels, the one engine that it won’t do is gasoline direct injection. Now that is basically similar to a diesel because it’s injecting fuel like a diesel directly into the combustion chamber but what happens is you still get carbon deposits on the intake valves but this machine won’t do anything about it because it sprays fuel directly into the combustion chamber so it’ll clean the injectors but you miss the benefit of cleaning the valves so those are one type of engine that we won’t do. Interestingly enough on this Toyota, there’s a couple unique things about this; it actually has a duel fuel injection system and has gas and direct injection and port fuel injection. The port injection is the one we can do the motorvac with and it’s been years, for many, many years and a lot of manufacturers are getting away from it to do gas direct injection but that’s a subject for another discussion.

Mark: So do you have any pictures of this Lexus?

Bernie: Yeah, I’ve got some pictures and we can talk about the fuel system as well but let’s just share a few photos here. Here’s the Motorvac fuel injection cleaning machine, it looks a little dirty, we use it a lot and it tends to get a little grungy around the shelf. This is a dual, I said it’s a dual machine, it will do diesel and gas and essentially you can see some hoses on the left side, these, actually this is the diesel, the gasoline side, these hoses hook up to the vehicle, to the fuel system and inside this machine this pumps in a variety of things, so that’s the unit. Here’s a photo of some spark plugs and these are the plugs that were removed from the vehicle. I didn’t actually look at to see how many kilometers were on it but these are the electrodes and there’s a lot of carbon deposits on these, so these plugs have been in there a long time and very, very good time to change them, they’ve, the owners really got his money’s worth out of these and finally there’s the Lexus engine. This engine is unique in that it uses, it uses gasoline direct injection and port injection as well, so that’s the engine and I believe I’m back.

Mark: Yep, so how does that work with dual injection like that?

Bernie: Well, how it works is the, and it’s all computer controlled, the vehicle will use the different fuel injection systems depending on engine speed, engine load, you know, going down the highway at higher speeds the port injection systems isn’t really working at all, the idle is kind of a mixture between the two and it varies different throttle openings and different times, it’ll use the two systems. It’s not just unique to Lexus, there are other Toyota vehicles that use it as well but it seems like a really good idea; extra complicated though, you’ve got to, you know two fuel systems so there’s a lot of extra stuff that can go wrong, of course being Toyota probably not a lot will which is a good thing.

Mark: So overall how would you rate Lexus vehicles?

Bernie: Very highly, really reliable vehicles, not a lot goes wrong with them, I mean they’re not bullet proof but you know really not a whole lot goes wrong with them and a very nice option for a luxury car, reliable luxury car.

Mark: So one thing I wanted to ask was about the Motorvac service, what, we sorted of touched on the benefits, it’s cleaning things, but how am I going to notice that in my car; what’s going to happen after I’ve had that done?

Bernie: Excellent question, so here’s some of the things that our customers notice because I do ask them frequently, how’s your car run; better fuel economy, the best report I had a 30% increase, better throttle response, you push the gas pedal down, it just responds faster and quicker, smoother idle, better start up, a lot of times a Motorvac is really good for taking care of subtle issues where the car just doesn’t quite, you know people come to us and go it doesn’t quite feel like it did when it was new and the Motorvac is often great at doing that because the vehicle computer will compensate for all sorts of little things like there’s a little too much carbon here or the injectors aren’t quite injecting the fuel, the computer will add some fuel, do a few things to mix it around but by actually removing all those items it will, it will, like the Motorvac will actually restore like new engine performance so it’s a great thing to do. Those are some of the things and to be honest I’ve had you know, one in maybe 10 customers tell me I don’t notice any difference, but it’s quite rare and almost everyone reports back, you know a noticeable difference to like wow, that’s fantastic.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Lexus in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can call them at 604-327-7112 to book your next appointment, they’re busy, give them a call or check out their website at pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark.

2004 Ford F150, Rear Differential Overhaul

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s favourite auto service experience, 16, 16, 17 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Ford F-150, you did a rear, some rear differential work on this vehicle, what was going on with this product?

Bernie: Well, this vehicle had some noises coming from the back end, noticeable when you’re driving down the road, there was a bit of a growling sound and so that’s what we, what we were repairing on this vehicle.

Mark: So what did you determine the cause to be?

Bernie: Well the causes was, was inside the differential, the bearings were noisy and how we find that you know when someone brings a vehicle to us for a noise like this, we will road test the vehicle, listen to the noise and quite often we get a pretty good idea where it might be coming from. From there we put it up on the hoist and we have a listen to the bearing, have a listen to the bearings and the drive train with a stethoscope and we can hear, we can listen to different areas around the underneath the vehicle, so there’s four bearings inside the differential and there’s also a bearing on this particular truck out at each wheel; it’s the axle bearing, so we have listen to those and then we can kind of determine where the noise is coming from and on this vehicle the noise, it was noisiest in the differential itself.

Mark: So, which bearing did you find worn out?

Bernie: The culprit was the one of the carrier bearings; the carriers the big piece that the axels slide into that section. It’s a large piece with the ring gear and there’s a bearing on each side of that, you know there’s also pinion bearings, that’s the shaft that attaches to the drive shaft and that’s the sort of small piece, I don’t have pictures of everything but I do have one photo to share of our worn out bearing which is kind of cool to look at, so here is the picture. This is the close up view of the carrier, so sort of where my mouse is pointing, that’s, that’s one of the bolts that holds the ring gear to the differential and the ring gears on the other side, we can’t see it. This is the carrier bearing and you can see it’s, that should be a beautiful shiny smooth piece of metal and as you can see it looks like you know, there’s just chunks and pieces missing so that was the cause of the noise. That was the worst bearing, the other ones all had some wear but this one definitely was the worst.

Mark: So when you do this, do you replace all the bearings?

Bernie: We do, yes we do, we replace them all because they’re all worn to a certain extent, also when this is worn of course there’s little metal filings and pieces and they’ve gone through the whole differential and you know, fortunately usually bearings are the most common thing to wear out in differentials, you know if you let them get bad enough and the bearing actually start getting sloppy then you start getting play in the gears and you can start breaking gears but generally bearings are the most common things that wear out. If you change them, you know, right when you start hearing noise usually you don’t need to do a whole lot more.

Mark: So here is a esoteric kind of thing, are there much difference in sound depending upon which bearing it is?

Bernie: Yeah, there is actually. You know for us, you know to provide an actuate estimate to our customer and we always like to know what, which part, which you know which piece is noisy, differentials are interesting because they take the, the drive shaft which is basically the longitudinal motion along the vehicle say in a rear wheel drive car and they and, and that’s bolted up to the pinion which spins at the same speed as the drive shaft which is coming to the back of the transmission so it’s spinning at a very high speed, it attaches to the ring gear and the differential carrier and that, that gear is usually about three to four times the size of the pinion gear here so it slows the rotation down so you can generally if you listen, if it’s a differential noise, if it’s a pinion bearing the noise will be a lot, it starts happening a lot faster, as soon as you get moving the noise gets louder immediately whereas a carrier bearing, it takes a little while because it’s rotating at the speed of the wheel so you can almost, I’ve had quite a few vehicles where I go, it sounds like it’s got a bad wheel bearing and then you listen and all the wheel bearings are quiet and it’s, it’s a carrier bearing because it’s spinning at exactly the same speed as the wheel so this is how we can kind of determine which bearing is worn . . . carrier bearing, it’s going to be a little subtler in sound than pinion bearings but you know, it depends from vehicle to vehicle.

Mark: Sure, so how did you repair this?

Bernie: This differential? Well we basically replaced all the bearings, cleaned everything so we removed, dismantled everything, cleaned it, then cleaned it, then reassembled it, made sure all the back lashes in the gears and the ring gear patterns was proper and yeah, changed all the bearings, cleaned everything out, that’s the important thing and then reassembled it. The bearings are you know are all pressed onto, it’s a fair bit of work to press everything on and off there, it’s a tight fit, we have good hydraulic presses and tools that make life a little easier.

Mark: So do you see a lot of differential issues in Ford trucks?

Bernie: We do a fair number of them but they’re actually overall quite, overall they’re quite reliable because we do service an awful lot of Ford trucks so I can’t say that differentials are really a weakness or a problem especially I find a lot of the larger ones that you know, that the three quarter ton and one tons almost seem to have less differential problems because they’re just built so tough but you know if for someone who’s hauling a lot of really heavy loads continuously, those, those differentials will wear but if you’re not hauling a lot of heavy loads those differentials can last almost forever.

Mark: So there you go, if you are looking for anything growling in your back end these are the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. We have four years plus of videos on there, tons of information about every kind of vehicle, just about that there is. Thanks a lot Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2005 Dodge Ram 3500, Cummins Diesel Engine Rebuilt

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 17 time winners, just won another award as voted by their customers; winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing really well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Dodge Ram 3500, 2005; you had to rebuild the Cummins Turbo Diesel on this vehicle, why was that?

Bernie: Well the engine, a couple issues, the engine was leaking some oil on the ground. It was coming out of the breather tube, this thing believe it or not actually has a breather tube that the crankcase, the blow by gas is actually going onto the road which is surprising because for a modern diesel they abandoned those in cars about in the mid-sixties because they’re so toxic but I guess diesels are theoretically not so bad but anyways this had a road draft tube. There was some oil dripping out of there, there’s a lot of, a bit of smoke coming out of there and the exhaust was just extremely smoky. Now we had replaced the fuel injectors a while ago in this vehicle because they were old and worn out, some 220,000 kilometers, kind of the age of, age to replace them but the smoke persisted in fact according to the owner was even a little worse. I would have attributed it that to the fact the injectors we’re not actually delivering enough fuel to the engine and now with the proper amount of fuel being delivered the engine was actually smoking worse which was unfortunate.

Mark: So what tests did you do to get the bottom of this?

Bernie: So we figured there must have been a cylinder problem because the other issue was that engine was running a bit rough, when it was hot the smoke pretty much went away and the engine ran quite smoothly but when it was cold to cool there was a distinct roughness like a misfiring of the engine so there’s some interesting tests we can do and I’ll share a photo here, one of our pretty cool tests. What you’re looking at here, this is actually on a lab skill that we have, it’s a wave form of the starter draw of the engine, so the starter motor turns the engine over and there’s six cylinders in the engine and every time it comes to a compression stroke there’s a, there’s an extra draw of power because it takes extra energy to push the, for the starter motor to push the engine through that cycle so if you look here you can see one hump, two humps, three humps, four humps, five and then where number six is supposed to be its flat. Now that basically indicates that one cylinder is really doing nothing. Now if everything was perfect they should all be six nice even humps but again there’s one missing here so that is the, that’s what was going on with that particular, so that was the first test we did. So we determined one cylinder was bad in compression, from there we did a compression test in the engine; now this is a really involved job, most diesels it takes a lot of work to do a compression test. In the case of the one we had to remove all the fuel injectors to install a compression tester and what we found this one cylinder had about 50 pounds of compression which is extremely low and all the others had 450 which is really healthy which explains again why the engine ran like a 5 cylinder, so from there we, from there we did a leak down test. Now a leak down test we blow air into the cylinder, number one cylinder that had the bad compression and with the cylinder top dead centre we can determine is it a valve problem, is it a piston ring or a piston problem and they’re only by the amount of air escaping, if there’s a lot of air escaping it was all going down through the piston rings, through the pistons so we knew we had to remove the head and investigate further; so the problems basically a piston ring problem not a valve problem.

Mark: So that sounds pretty severe, what else was damaged, was anything else damaged?

Bernie: Really when we took the engine out, we took it apart, uh basically what we found is that we when we took number one cylinder piston out there’s two compression rings on the engine, on the piston and they were both broken, they were actually broken into pieces, they all came out in eight different pieces and the other cylinders we took out, two of them had broken top compression rings so even though the compression was good they were definitely on their way out; also the cylinder wall had some pretty bad damage especially number one cylinder because the broken rings it causes a strange wear pattern in the cylinder so it required reboring the cylinder, makes for the engine block fitting with new pistons. I can share some photos, we’ve got lots of interesting things to look at here, so let’s have a look at some pictures. So here’s our, you can see this o.k. Mark?

Mark: Yep

Bernie: So we’re looking at this is the piston from number one cylinder, that, where the right here that’s where the number one, the top compression ring sits and this is where the lower compression ring sits. This bottom ring is the oil control ring which just basically prevents too much oil from, wipes the oil off the cylinder so you don’t get a lot of oil burning but basically these rings are both broken, you can see a lot of black carbon deposits along here, I mean this shouldn’t look like this. One of the cylinders that wasn’t, had good rings it had very little carbon deposits certainly none, it’s o.k. to have it above here because that’s normal but anything below that it’s you know, abnormal so that’s our, this is our bad piston, few other pictures of the engine just to go over some stuff. These are the timing gears so this is the crankshaft gear, the camshaft gear, the gear that drives the high pressure fuel pump and then the oil engine pump gears, really heavy duty stuff, I mean these are straight cuts just really solid big gears, you know it’s a Cummins diesel, this is kind of what you expect in this engine. This stuff is kind of bullet proof, not much can go wrong with it. A couple other interesting things, here’s, here’s our new piston with the, with the rings in place, you can see how clean and shiny it is, there’s the upper ring, the lower ring and the oil control ring, the uh and what else have we got to look at here that’s interesting. The other thing interesting on these engines is the connecting rods, usually it’s a fractured connecting rod instead of cutting these nice and smooth when they make the connecting rod it’s a big round circle basically, instead that bolts together, instead of cutting it and machining it they actually have a cool way of actually stress fracturing and cracking it and makes for a very precise fit and very solid structure so its commonly used in a lot of engines nowadays especially if its diesel, so if you look at it you can see the ripply lines there, it can only ever be fitted one way you can never mix them up, so uh yeah, so that’s basically a few photos from the engine, just going to get out of here so I can see myself again. I’m back.

Mark: So did you do any other engine repairs?

Bernie: Basically all the bearing were in pretty good shape and the connecting rod and the main bearings were in good shape, we replaced them anyways while you’re in there, you got to take them all out anyways, it’s not a lot of extra, you know it’s an extra couple hundred dollars to make sure that nothing’s going to wear in the future but everything was in good shape so basically the block was bored, a new piston, the only thing we did was we had the cylinder head redone. What can happen on these engines is the valve seats can suddenly drop out of the valves which causes the valve to jam open and the piston can hit the valve and can cause catastrophic engine damage so we’ve never seen that happen but apparently, it’s, it’s somewhat common so, so we had the head done at the same time even though technically we could have bolted the head back on and the engine would run fine but you just never know when, when that failure might occur so it makes sense to do it now.

Mark: Sure, renew the whole motor.

Bernie: Sorry?

Mark: Renew the whole engine.

Bernie: Yeah, basically it’s a complete engine rebuild; the cam shaft was in great shape, the tappits, those are other things that can wear, the rocker arm, those are all in fantastic shape so with the new injectors this will be basically a brand new, a brand new engine.

Mark: So we haven’t talked about engine repairs in these truck very much; people have the impression they’re bullet proof.

Bernie: Yeah, you know we rarely get any engine work on these engines, there’s really not a lot that goes wrong with them, they are really well built and I’m not really sure what, what happened with this engine, why, why it occurred like this. The owner’s you know, very big on maintenance, you know it’s not like its chipped or any high performance modifications, I mean those kinds of things will really can shorten the life of the diesel pretty quickly when you over boost the turbo or you know, hauling super heavy loads up a hill, you can see some of the burnt pistons from you know trying to fly up the hill with a heavy trailer on the back and an over boost to the turbo so you’ve got to be careful with it but with good maintenance it’s kind of surprising and they’re generally bullet proof but like anything they do have their problems.

Mark: Any guesses why it failed?

Bernie: Not really, you know I, yeah, really not certain, you know and it could be that the owner wasn’t the original owner so it could be that the previous owner you know, in its early days may not have maintained the truck as well as they should have, they may not have changed the oil often enough that caused enough wear in the engine early on that you know, contributed to damage. It’s hard to say and sometimes you know it’s like human health, I mean you can, you can do all the right things, you can eat good food, you can exercise properly, you can still drop dead of a heart attack at 40 and other people live a crappy life and live to a hundred and same with cars, I mean you get somewhere people maintain them badly they last forever and others where you know, you just miss a couple oil changes and it takes a good engine out or even its maintained well, something happens anyway, so.

Mark: If you’re looking for service for your diesel in Vancouver, diesel car or truck these are the guys to go see Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, they’re 17 times voted best auto repair in Vancouver, give them a call 604-327-7112, you have to book ahead, they’re always busy or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2000 Lexus RX300, Water Leak Diagnosis and Repair

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, in Vancouver, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver; they’ve just picked up another award. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I’m good, really good. Yeah proud to say we won the Best of the City in the Westender again this year for Best Auto Repair, so thank you for anyone who, anyone and everyone who voted for us. We really appreciate it.

Mark: I voted and you look after our vehicles and I appreciate it deeply, so we’re going to talk about a Lexus RX300; you had a water problem with this vehicle; what was going on?

Bernie: Well there was a lot of water in this vehicle; the carpet was completely soaked, there was you could hear water sloshing around in the carpets, front seats, back seats, passenger and driver side were completely, completely soaked with water, it was a real mess. It didn’t smell very good either, the leak had been there for quite some time.

Mark: So how did you go about finding this kind of flood damage?

Bernie: Well there’s a few, few things we can do and we always start with the simplest things; one of the simplest things any vehicle that has a sunroof, often the sunroof drains will plug up and that will cause water leaks to come into the vehicle so first thing, we test is the sunroof drains, were they good and in the case of this vehicle, they were fine. Some vehicles also have some common leak spots and so we’ll go to test those particular areas too, things that we know that are common. Now this vehicle there was nothing, the sunroof drains were good, and the common leak areas were all fine, nothing coming out of that area.

Mark: So where did you go from there?

Bernie: Where we went from there, things became really complicated. We had to strip the interior out of the vehicle so we removed all the seats, the front and back seats, we removed the console, we removed the carpets, basically removed everything from the inside of the vehicle, on the floor, dried everything out because that’s critical to figure out where the water’s coming in, there’s no obvious spots. Before doing that we sprayed around the vehicle and didn’t see anything obvious so there’s a lot of places water can leak into a car so this is the first step. We removed everything, hung the carpet out to drip, to drip out, wring out and drained the water out and dried the inside out, that was our, that was our first step and then from there we were able to spray the car down and find the leaks.

Mark: What did you find?

Bernie: Well so we found a few things. We found there was one at the floor of the vehicle on the passenger side, there’s, there’s rubber plugs that plug the floor, one of the plugs was missing, now that was probably a very minor contributor to the leak but nonetheless it was a source especially if you’re driving, water will spray up and it can seep in under the floor. There was one cause, the right rear door; the seal around the door at the top is leaking, a lot of water was coming into through that. We were able actually to reinstall the seal and it worked fine, it didn’t leak at all after that so the seal had kind of slipped out of position, wasn’t really obviously noticeable beforehand but once we started spraying we can see water coming in and we knew okay, that’s, that’s a leak. The third leak, this was the more complicated one was coming from around the front of the vehicle area and this involved a lot of disassembly, we could see water leaking under the dash near the driver’s, sort of where the driver’s left foot would be, called the dead pedal it’s like a sort of fake pedal where you can rest your foot and actually there was a leak from that piece as well as a bolt missing so that was causing water and spray in but there was a leak further up and we couldn’t quite see the source of it because it’s so much wiring and bits and pieces in the way so we had to end up taking the fender off the vehicle and the wiper linkage and everything to finally spray and found there was a leak at the very bottom left corner of the windshield so we had that resealed. We don’t do windshields ourselves, we sent it to a windshield shop and had it resealed, then before we put everything back together we resprayed the vehicle to verify that there was no water leaking. We also had the carpet shampooed as well as it was pretty, pretty stinky condition and dirty so it’s a good thing to do while you’re, while it’s all out. I’ll share a couple photos so you can sort of see the magnitude of what we had to take apart here, so this is the front left corner of the Lexus with the fender removed; so you can see there’s a lot of stuff off of here. The water leak was actually, this is the corner of the windshield most noticeable when we sprayed in this area but with the fender in place and all the wiper linkage and the panels in the back of the vehicle here, it wasn’t obvious where the water was coming from, it could have been ten different places at the back of the firewall so we were able to verify hundred percent where it was leaking from. The other photo I’ll share with you, this is just a pile of some of the parts that were removed so you have your fender here, the inner fender liner, these are the cowl pieces that go in the back of the vehicle, the windshield wiper linkage, just so, kind of gives you an idea of the extent of what we have to do, that we go through sometimes to find a water leak.

Mark: So how do you charge for this kind of a job?

Bernie: This type of job is basically, it’s just hour by hour, we have no idea of knowing when we start out where the leaks can come from or what it’s going to entail so we can give a rough estimate, you know of how many hours we think it’s going to take but really it’s, it can be anywhere from a couple hours to 10 or 12 depending on what, depending upon what we have to remove to find it and then what needs to be fixed so we found some interesting things in the past; we had a Mazda once where, you know it was a cracked body seam on the passenger front and the water would just spray in under a certain, in a certain time and again this is like we have to pull everything apart inside the car so it happens from time to time and usually when you get water this much in the vehicle you really want to take it apart and dry it out anyhow it gets pretty bad and you can get mold and health issues with that too.

Mark: So this is a definitely an older Lexus, 17 years old, is it, was it really worth fixing it?

Bernie: I think so, you know, Lexus are really well-built cars, they’re Toyota’s but they’re a luxury, luxury line of cars so they’re always, the features are a little ahead of their time, they’re really nice cars to drive new and still at 17 years old, still a nice car to drive, so I think you know, it largely depends on the mileage and how many dollars’ worth of repairs but we have, we have a lot of clients that hold their Lexus that continue to repair them and I think they’re, they’re worthwhile, you know, they’re well built cars and worth keeping.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Lexus in Vancouver these are the guys to call, Pawlik Automotive, again voted Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2005 Land Rover LR3; Transmission Service

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

Bernie: Good.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Land Rover, a transmission service. What was going on with this, I’m assuming it was an automatic transmission.

Bernie: It was an automatic transmission. Most of the, most of the vehicles we service have automatic transmissions, so yeah the vehicle has about a hundred thousand kilometers and a client of ours just bought the vehicle and he’s a very conscientious maintenance customer, he wanted to make sure the transmission service was all up to date so we did our usual awesome transmission service that we do which includes removing the transmission pan, replacing the filter, cleaning the pan and then flushing the fluid so it’s basically like, it’s almost a hundred percent fluid replacement along with cleaning and service.

Mark: So is that what makes your service a bit different than most transmission services?

Bernie: Well, I think a lot of certainly a lot of places do not do a transmission service to the level we do it. There’s, you know, I mean it’s simple, there are various ways to do it. I think some I’m not going to say any names but there are some places that will do a transmission service by simply draining the fluid, putting the filler plug back in, sorry the drain plug back in, refilling the fluid and that’s the transmission service. Now that is, that will basically replace about one third of the fluid so you drive around two thirds dirty fluid, not a very good idea really you may as well almost not waste your money. The other way to do it is to just leave the pan in place and to just run a flushing machine and flush out the fluid which again is not, it’s not a bad service because it will replace most of the fluid but it doesn’t deal with what dirt or debris might be left in the pan. Now some transmissions don’t have a pan so those, the only way to deal with that tranny service is to do that kind of flush and we do those obviously but if it has a pan, a removal pan, we always do that. It’s better to do it less often but do it thoroughly, in my opinion.

Mark: So is there an automatic transmission fluid filter and does, is that, is that fluid a different fluid than we would normally expect?

Bernie: Well the fluid, the fluid depends on the vehicle but the filter on this vehicle, we’ll just talk about the Land Rover specifically, it does have a filter, it has a removable pan, however Land Rovers made this one an extremely difficult service, it takes several hours to actually take the pan on and off the vehicle, the exhaust system has to be removed, there’s transmission cross member in the way and then the transmission needs to be actually lifted up to get the pan off and they do another unique thing that makes the service even, even more expensive and that is and I’ll share, actually I’m not sharing the picture here, hang on for a sec, going to take, for some reason I’ve lost the photo so we’ll leave it but I’ll explain what’s happened. So the transmission pan on this vehicle is unique in that it’s a plastic pan and it has, it has a filter built into it so if you want to change the filter you have to change the pan, it’s a whole one piece unit and so that adds a fair bit of expense to the job, so again it’s not something that you need to do very often, every hundred thousand kilometers, maybe a little more often you know, enough to keep the service up to snuff.

Mark: So is that ATF or automatic transmission fluid, is that usually a synthetic fluid on most vehicles?

Bernie: Nowadays it is. In the old, the good old days, whenever that was, you know they used to be a fluid called Dextron 3 for most vehicles, the Ford would use a different type of fluid but it basically, everything used that type of fluid then you know, for the last 15, 20 years a lot of transmissions have gone to synthetics and pretty much everything now is synthetic fluid, usually unique to the vehicle and so yeah, pretty much everything’s synthetic, so it does last a lot longer but it still gets dirty, it still gets contaminated and it’s you know, you want to last the longest and keep the cost down, it’s, it’s well worth doing on a routine basis.

Mark: How often would you say?

Bernie: How often? Generally about every 100,000 kilometers and it used to be we’d recommend 50 so that’s a good jump up for time.

Mark: So with the Land Rover LR3 do you see a lot of transmission problems with these vehicles?

Bernie: No, they’re quite good, I mean, we do, we work on a wide range of cars; we do a lot of Land Rovers, never seen a transmission problem. I’m certain that some shops that do nothing but Land Rovers will see more, more of transmission problems but it’s not, it’s not a huge issue with them, they’re pretty good.

Mark: There you go, if you need some service on your Land Rover on your transmission the guys to call in Vancouver is Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com; years’ worth of videos on there, every week were doing this. Thanks a lot Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2006 Smart Car, EGR Valve & Intercooler Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re talking about a Smart Car, something we’ve not really talked about before, a 2006 Smart Car, was this a diesel? What were you working on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This was a diesel, yeah, turbo diesel, sorry Mark.

Mark: Rarer version of this car?

Bernie: Well they most of the Smart Cars for the earlier versions, well they’re all sold in Canada, I believe they’re selling now in the US but for many years they were only sold in Canada so the earlier versions were diesels and then they started selling gas and I think they’ve gone back to diesel. I’m not sure on the newer models but all the older ones are diesel.

Mark: So what was happening on this car?

Bernie: Well this car came in with a couple issues, it had an oil leak, an engine oil leak, also had a check engine light on and the vehicle has been inspected at Mercedes, they’re diagnosed and the owner was told it needed EGR valve or and also a turbo intercooler so we did an inspection of the vehicle and verified that those in fact were the two issues that the EGR valve was stuck and full of carbon deposits which they typically do and the EGR cooler, sorry the EGR intercooler, losing my words here, the turbo intercooler was leaking oil.

Mark: So what did you notice with the car when you serviced it?

Bernie: Well basically those two items; there was oil dripping from it, from the vehicle and during our testing we were able to verify that the EGR valve in fact was not functioning. On further inspection we actually found that the valve was stuck so not repairable, not just due to excess carbon deposit but the actual valve itself had gone bad.

Mark: So this seems like it could be a little quite a bit of work on this vehicle, was it?

Bernie: It is a fair bit of work, quite, quite a few hours’ work to remove, there’s a lot to remove on these cars, and typically the engines are tucked into the back, very compactly. The bumper needs to be removed a lot of suspension components need to come off so you can get access to the, to the various parts; so a lot of labour just to get in there and get going on it. Unfortunately in these vehicles everything is just, it’s compact and everything’s put, put in very tightly but, yeah a fair bit of work but certainly reasonably straight forward once you get everything apart. I’m going to share a few photos, there’s our Smart car and there’s the EGR valve, so this is the old EGR valve where my mouse pointer, this is the electronic solenoid actuator section of the EGR valve and the actual flap is in this area here, so this piece was basically the motor was stuck internally so that’s why this piece needed to be replaced and then we have a look at the EGR cooler and there’s the old EGR cooler. 

Mark: Turbo intercooler, you mean, right?

Bernie: Sorry Mark?

Mark: Turbo intercooler?

Bernie: Turbo intercooler, I don’t know why I kept calling it an EGR cooler, we do so many EGR coolers, it’s the Turbo intercooler, thank you. This is, you can see a lot of fresh oil around this area here and then of course a lot of just dry, dried-up old dirty oil over here, so this part has been leaking for quite some time but it just got substantially worse over a period of time. So I believe I should be back, yes I am.

Mark: So what’s your overall impression of Smart Cars?

Bernie: Well, they’re not my favourites. I find their kind of tiny, you know, they’re a little small but if you want a small economical car, they’re pretty awesome. There’s a lot that does go wrong with these vehicles and they’re kind of finicky over time, you know things like the ignition, we’ve had issues with the ignition keys that don’t work. The transmission on these vehicles, it’s a manual, it’s an automatic manual transmission so things do go wrong with those, turbochargers, you know they’re not, you know, I look at different when we’ve worked on some that have quite high kilometers and seem to be pretty good but they’re a little bit hit and miss, they are a lot of things that do go wrong along the way and I think sometimes if you get lucky and take care of the car you can get a lot of kilometers out of it but there are a lot where you don’t get so much and they tend to end up with a lot of problems so you may end up spending a lot of that fuel savings on repairs; you know, unless you really want something small and easy to park and super economical there’s probably some better options out there but you know many people like them.

Mark: So there you go. If you are looking for service for your Smart Car in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, to book an appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark.

2004 Jeep Liberty 3.7 Liter, Coolant Tank Leak

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

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about jeeps, we’re back into the land of jeep, a Jeep Liberty 3.7 liter. So this is a gas engine which is a bit different than, talked a lot about their diesel vehicles, this is gas, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, this vehicle came to us for a maintenance service and an inspection so we had a look at the vehicle and found a few things, one of them was a coolant leak on top of the engine which was not a huge leak but definitely something potentially serious which is why we’re talking about that on this hangout.

Mark: So was there a lot of coolant leaking?

Bernie: There wasn’t a lot and the interesting thing is the way the coolant was leaking, you know the way because of where the coolant was leaking, it wasn’t a large leak and could never amount to a large leak but where it was leaking was what’s really the most important thing. I’ll just show some photos here, this is our actual coolant leak. So this is the coolant overflow bottle, it’s located on the right hand side of the engine compartment and it’s basically an expansion tank for the cooling system, this is where the radiator cap, it’s, it’s out of the frame off to your right over here but the radiator cap sits on top. This is where you fill the coolant, now the red arrows are pointing to what’s broken on this piece. There’s a very small diameter hose, it’s basically an air bleed supposed to keep air out of the system so it circulates coolant and where the bottom arrow here, is where this piece here is supposed to attach into the coolant bottle so what’s happened is this, this has actually created a coolant, a small coolant leak that spews coolant out. Now where this bottle is located on the engine is kind of the critical part. I’m just going to work my way through these shares here, so this is the result of that coolant leak and if you look down, this is the top of, this is the right cylinder bank of the engine, and coolant bottle sits on top, now all that reddish coloured stuff that’s dried up anti-freeze, Chryslers anti-freeze from the factories are reddish coloured so that, it ends up showing like this. Now around here we have fuel injectors, we have ignition coils, that’s kind of the critical piece, the ignition coils sit in this area here and coolant is dripping down on top of the ignition coils running down into the spark plug wells. We have one more photo here, this is, these are the spark plug, sorry these are ignition coils taken on that cylinder bank so you can see that these coils are, this one’s o.k. but these ones are covered especially this one in the antifreeze residue and its run right down into the spark plug tube and caused, created an engine misfire. O.k.

Mark: So besides leaking coolant and you know potentially causing overheating problems, what other problems did this cause?

Bernie: Well this was actually causing the engine a slight misfire, the sparkplugs in this vehicle were quite old and we replaced them but I mean, had it started leaking a lot worse the engine would have developed, definitely developed severe misfire and with coolant seeping into wiring connectors, it can cause damage as well so I think, you know this leak may have been going on for a little while but we caught it at a good time to fix it, so the repair, basically new spark plugs just based on age, cleaning up all the leaked coolant and the ignition coils and replacing the coolant bottle and we flushed the coolant system with fresh antifreeze as well.

Mark: So how reliable would you say these gas powered Liberties are in comparison?

Bernie: Comparison to the diesel is what you’re saying?

Mark: Or into the, just into their competitors even.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah I’d say these vehicles do have their issues, the engines have problems you know, we’ve seen timing chain issues with them, we’ve also seen one common problem with this engine and it’s a 3.7 liter V6 Chrysler, also uses a 4.7 liter which is basically the same kind of engine but it has two extra cylinders, it’s a V8 and not a V6. One common problem in these engines is the valve seats fall out which is, which involves some major engine disassembly and major expense so you know, overall they’re not the most reliable vehicles out there, there’s a lot of them and if you’re asking do we want, which is better the diesel or the gas, I couldn’t really say which is better but because the diesels are, the diesels have their engine problems and they cost a lot to fix so if you’re wanting a vehicle that doesn’t have any problems, this isn’t the vehicle to buy but they are nice little niche vehicle you know, their size and being all wheel drive.

Mark: Anything further on the Jeep Liberty?

Bernie: No, I’d say you know, if you’re looking to buy a used one definitely get an inspection done on it and just do your research and know these particular items, you know if the diesel you know the, you’ve seen our hangouts, there’s a lot of information on the diesel, the problems in the 3.7 liter engine which is the other offering, there’s issues with those so as long as you go in knowing what to expect then there’s no surprises and everything can be, it can only be better.

Mark: And would you say with a vehicle like this that doesn’t have the best kind of record that regular maintenance is even more critical?

Bernie: We it is for sure, regular inspections, regular maintenance definitely more critical. We just talked about timing chains on Acura’s in our last hangout, again these engines all have overhead, overhead cam systems with timing chains and so again regular oil changes are just absolutely crucial to the life of these engines, so yeah good maintenance is really important.

Acura Cars, How Reliable are They

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here this morning with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s favourite, best, most loved auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So 16 time winners of best in Vancouver, we’re going to talk about Acura cars and their reliability. Acura’s the luxury line of Honda and Honda’s are pretty good, so how are Acura vehicles?

Bernie: Basically the same as Honda, excellent vehicles only you get a little bit of a nicer package, you know, you get the leather seats in every model, the luxurious features, climate control, AC all those kind of things you expect in a high end luxury car but with the same reliability as Honda.

Mark: So no cars perfect, what problems do Acura’s sometimes show?

Bernie: Well, yeah, you’re absolutely right, so one of the biggest issues that Acura’s have had in the past and so this is going past around from 2000 maybe 2005, a lot of transmission problems both in the MDX, the TL models, very common and these aren’t you know, little reprogramming issues or sensors, its, it’s actually a full transmission rebuild job, so that’s something that you’ll come across on any of these well Honda products as well of those model years, so that’s probably the biggest single issue with these vehicles. Also the older ones, they do have a little more maintenance, little more heavy on the maintenance but we don’t see, we see very few problems with them. Now I’m just talking about the two models, the MDX which is the larger sport utility and the TL which is, yeah the TL which is the four door sedan and there’s a number of other models, we have the NSX that really cool mid-engine sports car which is very rare and then the RS, the RSX is the, get my models confused, the RSX is the, it’a a newer mid-sized sport utility vehicle, really nice vehicle, small engine, turbocharged, efficient, again luxurious, really nice, really nice vehicle, very reliable and the, uh it ends in X and RSS, NSX, that’s the one, excellent little car too, small, peppy, sporty, they do have the odd manual transmission issue with bearings and things like that but other than that, overall the whole line of cars is really reliable, and the newer, the newer models the transmission issues are gone.

Mark: So what kind of maintenance services are required on the Acura?

Bernie: Well, it’s generally like most cars nowadays, oil changes on a regular basis, the spark plugs do need to be changed rarely, timing belts are a thing of the past in most Acura’s, I think in all Acura’s actually now but the earlier again, the models that I spoke about with the transmission issues also had timing belts so that around 167,000 or sorry 168,000 k’s they require timing belt replacement so you can sort of add a cost in on owning one of those vehicles, but again they’re starting to get a little older but still very reliable. We have clients with them with three or four hundred thousand kilometers that actually, the car’s actually still work really well, so to me that’s always a sign of a well-built car but you know, other than that I mean a lot of these engines, they all have timing chains now and I’ve said many times before, you’ve got to change your oil regularly, you don’t want to miss oil changes on the timing change engine. I’ve seen some Honda’s where owners have abused them really badly, some type of Honda Acura where they’ve gone for a long time, way too long in changing oil, I don’t want to say how long, it’s frightening and for some reason the engines have survived but these are engines with timing belts and once you add the chain into the factor, there’s no tolerance, you know you’re going to wreak your engine really soon and cost a lot of money, so oil changes a big thing.

Mark: So why does the timing chain make a difference?

Bernie: That’s a good question; the reason was the timing chain is lubricated internally with the engine so it needs clean oil. Now old engines for instance, if you look at an old V8 engine the timing chain was basically a small gear, a big gear and a chain in between and that’s, you know sometimes they stretch and they did wear out but on modern cars they’re overhead cam engines so the camshaft is you know, the crankshaft is down here and the camshaft is way up here and on a V engine it has multiple timing chains, one to each bank of the engine and to keep that chain tight they use tensioners so these are plastic, generally plastic guide rails and then there’s an oil filled tensioning unit that presses against the chain it keeps the chain tight and the valve timing is always consistent, now you can imagine if you don’t have proper lubrication these plastic things start pieces start to wear out and metal pieces start to wear out so that’s one factor. The other, a lot of new engines have variable valve timing, it helps keeps emissions low, engine performance high; this is why most of our modern cars have such good performance on a lot of smaller engine size but variable valve timing requires, uses oil pressure and solenoids to actually vary the variable valve timing mechanism so again if you start running low on oil, the variable valve timing system won’t work and also of course if you’re a little low on oil things don’t get lubricated properly and things wear so that’s kind of the key and so Honda’s have these, Acura’s have these so change your oil regularly and use good oil.

Mark: Any further thoughts or last thoughts about Acura?

Bernie: Great cars, I mean really, you know people often ask me what kind of car do you want to buy and they’re looking at different lines of luxury cars and I’d never hesitate to recommend Acura, they’re very nice cars and generally very reliable.

Mark: There you go, if you’re looking for service for you Acura in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive are the guys to talk to, you can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’re busy, call ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, tons of information on there. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2008 Chevy HHR, Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver BC. Vancouver’s favourite auto service experience, 16 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver so far as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Chevy HHR, a real bit of an uncommon vehicle, this is a 2008; you did an engine replacement on, what was happening with this vehicle.

Bernie: Well this vehicle came to us, the owner of the vehicle experienced some engine issues. It wasn’t running well, the check engine light was on and it was running very poorly, quite roughly. Taken it to a GM dealer for a diagnosis and they told him the his engine needed to be replaced so he came to us for a second opinion on that.

Mark: So what did you find wrong with the engine?

Bernie: Well we found that the engine did in fact need to be replaced. There was no compression in number three cylinder and number four was a little on the weak side and also when you take the oil cap off there’s a lot of blow back, there’s a lot of pressure in the crankcase which, which would indicate something perhaps more serious than just, you can have low compressions from often it’s a bad valve but if you have like a lot of crankcase pressures it can be you know, perhaps it’s got a cracked piston or piston rings so, so the engine itself is definitely in very bad shape.

Mark: So what did you end up doing to repair the motor?

Bernie: So we put a used engine in the vehicle that was the most cost-effective repair to do on the vehicle, we removed the old engine and put a used engine in.

Mark: So how does a used engine compare with a new one?

Bernie: Well, cost is a huge factor I mean, you get this HHR, it’s not worth a huge amount of money at this point, it’s a nine year old, an almost ten year old vehicle, it’s a GM, it’s not, 150,000 kilometers, not worth a huge amount of money so a rebuilt, a rebuilt engine you know would probably cost somewhere around the $4,000 range just for the engine itself. We were able to get a used engine for about $1,200, low mileage, 70,000 kilometers so much more economical. The labour is pretty much the same to put a rebuilt or a used engine in but you know, used engine is certainly much lower price. Now a used engine is used so you know, there is a risk that we don’t know how it’s maintained so you’re buying something, there’s a definite risk to it, the warranty’s much shorter, usually a rebuilt engine is one to two years sometimes more on warranty, a used engine 90 days, so there’s a bit of a risk. We do lots of them and they tend to work out pretty well. Got a few pictures to share, while we’re at it, here’s our HHR engine, and actually I’m showing these out of sequence, but this is actually a back view, when you do an engine change in this vehicle you, you drop the engine and transmission assembly, it’s all held in and it’s called the cradle, it’s the front cross member, they built, they put everything together at the factory on this cross member and we basically when we do the engine job we just lower the whole cradle down with the engine and transmission and this is a view of the steering rack and this particular item here, I’m just pointing out, this is the steering shaft; what’s interesting about this vehicle, it has electric power steering which is a technology that’s pretty common for vehicles built in the last 10 years, some cars have it some don’t but it’s nice because there’s no hydraulic system, there’s no power steering hoses, there’s no power steering pumps, there’s a lot less, makes the job a little easier to do, a little less involved. There’s a larger view of the engine on, on the, this is actually a back view of the engine on the cradle still, this is the exhaust manifold we got the valve covers here, the transmission sits over in this area and then last photo to show you will be a front view of the engine, there we go, there’s a, there’s a front view of the engine sitting on the cradle again and there’s a number of accessories, things like the alternator that needed to be removed, transferred over but that’s, that’s generally what it all looks like on the . . . I think I close that, I think I’m back. So I can’t remember where we were for questions.

Mark: So what was the vehicle owner’s history with the car?

Bernie: Well that’s a good question, interesting question. He had actually just bought this vehicle and this could lead into a whole new hangout, but I’ve often said if you’re going to buy a vehicle, have it inspected because you never know what’s wrong with it and I asked what happened with it and he said well, we bought it and it had the check engine light on so obviously the price was probably a little cheaper, he said I figured it probably just needed some spark plugs. An expensive, expensive lesson in having a vehicle checked out beforehand because never make the assumption, I would always assume it needs the worst thing, if it’s something simpler the better but if you don’t really know get the vehicle inspected, I mean save money. I don’t want to talk about the bill for this job but you know, so there’s a lot of labour to put an engine in and also the catalytic converter was also damaged too because the engine had been running roughly for so long it damaged the catalytic converter so, you know a lot of expenses.

Mark: So how are HHR’s for reliability?

Bernie: I’d say they’re fair, and I won’t say fair, we don’t service a lot of them because they’re not the most common vehicle but this engine by the way is out of, came out of a Chevy Cobalt, so the drivetrain is very similar to a lot of other GM vehicles. They’re fairly reliable, not a lot goes wrong with them but you know, when you got a HHR was only a few years old with the actually exhaust, the exhaust pipe was cracked and leaking and needed to be replaced and just things like that strike me as not great quality but you know I’d say they’re sort of below average but not bad vehicles.

Mark: Inexpensive possibly.

Bernie: Sorry?

Mark: A little bit on the more inexpensive side?

Bernie: Yeah I would say, yeah. I mean, generally vehicles, American vehicles have always traditionally depreciated more than Japanese vehicles. I compare your Japanese, I mean European vehicles are more luxurious, they often start at a higher price, many of them depreciate very quickly as well but some of the Japanese for depreciation are the least, and American vehicles are definitely pretty high so you can get good deals on them. Just make sure if you’re buying a used one that it’s running right, have it inspected, and see if it’s worth the money.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking to get a new vehicle, a new used vehicle, a pre-owned vehicle then the guys to bring your vehicle in to see are Pawlik Automotive, they’ll give you a good idea whether it’s a useful buy or not or if you just need service on your vehicle, your check engine lights on, get it into somewhere so they can take a look at it, it’s not something to be driving around with it on all the time. Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

How reliable are GM brand cars?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience and we’re going to talk about GM brand cars; their reliability. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So GM has a lot of brands of cars and trucks and some of them are similar, they’ve cut some of that extra stuff out there but is there any one that’s better than the other?

Bernie: Well I would say not, I mean GM vehicles, so we’re going to talk just about cars in this, in this particular hangout. But I mean yeah there’s a lot of similarities among GM brands of vehicles, they share engines between say Chevrolet and while it used to be Pontiac and Buick and Chevrolet would often share the same engine and Oldsmobile as well and Oldsmobile and Cadillac would share some, some different engines. Cadillac is a little bit, Cadillac is unique, they have a lot of engines that you don’t see in Chevys but sometimes over the years they’ve blended things together. Is one brand better than the other? Not, not really, they’re all built the same way, same factory, they kind of all compete against each other and in the marketplace but yes as you mentioned GM’s really cut things down, there used to be you know, there’s now Chevrolet still there but and Buick is still there but Pontiac’s gone which they’re kind of more sporty line of cars and Oldsmobile which is a sort of lower end luxury car, those, those have been gone for a while and then Saturn is I don’t know what, that was a kind of an interesting experiment for GM. Saturn was actually, their cars were unique to start off with but as time went by they started sharing things among, with different cars on the platform but, you know Saturn had a, speaking of Saturn it had a very bad reputation for a long time but my personal experience of them is that they actually weren’t bad cars but they had a few quirks and issues but you know there’s still some Saturn’s that are you know, 15 years, 20 years old that are running around that are still good cars.

Mark: So for GM how reliable, would you rate them overall?

Bernie: I’d say, I consider them fair, I mean they are, they’re better than they used to be these days like over the last ten or more years they’re a lot better and I think about some of their, some of their lower end cars like the Chevy Cavalier, it used to be a piece of junk, I mean they don’t make the Cavalier any more but you know, as that line evolved they started getting better and some of the reliability problems like blown head gaskets just didn’t happen anymore. What you’re finished with is a cheap car that has, use the word finish, has a crappy finish but the reliability of the car was pretty good. I think overall that they’re pretty good, there again I always compare it with the Japanese, the Toyota and Honda, they’re not as reliable but they’re often much lower price point so you have to spend a few dollar on repair, you’re probably still further ahead buying a Japanese car; but yeah, I’d say nothing specifically jumps out at me about a list of everything about GM engines is bad, they’re generally overall pretty good product.

Mark: So any specific common problems?

Bernie: You know nothing that really leaps out at me, there’s such a variety of different, they have such a large line of cars, such a variety that there’s really, there’s a lot of little things here and there but nothing really that’s, that’s you know, you’ve got to avoid this car because, you know these engines all blow up or this happens, there are specific, there are specific problems but they’re just so, there’s such a broad range it’s hard to speak on anything in particular.

Mark: So you know there’s, we talked a little bit about Cadillac being different, they make a few different unique vehicles; the Corvette and the Chevy Volt for instance, how are those vehicles?

Bernie: Good, they’re pretty good, I mean I’ve never worked on a Volt, I mean it’s not a, there’s very few Volts around, they’re rare to see, it’s kind of neat concept of a car because you’ve got that plug-in electric car which is great for most people’s use, you almost never run the engine but, you know if you decide to go to Calgary, you know tomorrow you can just hop in the car and you don’t have to worry about where we’re going to find a charging station so I really think it really gives you the best of both worlds. Just did a little reading, I mean the reliability reports on them are not fantastic but I think overall they’re pretty good. I know people who own them speak really highly of them. So there’s the Volt, a really unique car and really most people are going to get it fixed at the dealer for the time being and who knows again how long those cars are going to be around, when they’re 10 or 15 years old people may not want them anymore because you know, there’s going to be better electric technology and people will just opt to buy that, why would you even want to be saddled with an old electric complex technology.

Corvettes, I mean great car, unique sports car, typically always reliable, good cars, fun. A Cadillac you know Cadillac’s is a unique line again, there good cars, the only I’d say about Cadillac’s is over time once they start getting older they’ve historically had some unique engines that are extremely difficult and expensive to fix so you know with the Cadillac you probably don’t want to, want to own an old one but the newer ones are a lot of fun. I say old like 15 – 20 years old kind of thing you know, 10 years is probably okay.

Mark: Right, well there you go, there’s the quick synopsis of the GM brands, their reliability based on, how many years you’ve been working on cars now Bernie?

Bernie: Rolling my head, just look up into my head to think about that, about 35 years, yeah over 35 years actually.

Mark: So that’s from the view from the west coast of Vancouver, 35 years of experience of fixing cars here in Vancouver and the reliability of GM. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: You’re welcome.

1 2 3 42