March 4

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 Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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