Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, host of the Pawlik Automotive podcast and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Of course, serving Vancouverites for over 38 years, repairing and maintaining cars and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How're you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So a Mazda 3 extensive repairs and maintenance. Extensive! What was going on with this Mazda?
Bernie: So, it's a 2005 Mazda 3 and the owner brought the vehicle to us who was heading on a long trip and wanted to make sure the vehicle was road worthy and had a few concerns. And we certainly noted a few when we road tested the vehicle. When you put the brake on, the brakes didn't work too well. There was some severe, sort of shifting in the front end of the vehicle when you hit bumps or applied the brakes. We knew there was something pretty serious in the front end. And this had been a customer that had been coming to us for quite a few years on and off so there was a bit, a couple of deferred maintenance items that needed to be done too.
Mark: So what, when you started tearing things apart, what'd you find?
Bernie: Well, we found a lot of interesting stuff. And I'll just get right into the picture show of what we've got.
So there's our 2005 Mazda 3. Still looks pretty good other than a few little scrapes and scuffs which is kind of normal but overall still a pretty decent looking car for a, what's that make it?
Mark: 14 years
Bernie: Fourteen years old. Yeah. So what'd we do? Well here's a nice pile of parts, and I think this hose here, I think snuck in here from a different job. I came into work Monday morning and there was this big pile of parts from Friday. These were a number of things that were replaced. So struts, we have a pair of struts here, we have a belt, a drive belt, there's a brake caliper here, there's a brake rotor that's been, actually, it was rusted on so badly it cracked in half when it was hammered off. There's brake hoses, there's a control arm bushing right there attached to a control arm, there's a control arm under here. What else do we got? There's am ABS wheel speed sensor sitting here and also some sway bar end links. So quite a few parts and pieces.
So what did we end up finding? So some of the shifting and the severe, dangerous feeling we felt in the front end was due to worn out control arm bushings and severely worn struts. There were some clunks as well contributed by the sway bar end links. So we basically replaced those major front end components. The brakes of course as you can see, the rotors were not in great shape, pretty badly rusted. So we replaced the brake calipers, rotors, pads and the brake hoses had cracks as well. So the brakes got a really good treatment, a full meal deal pretty much everything on the wheel side of the brakes was replaced. We also flushed the brake fluid. I mentioned there was some maintenance items that were deferred. We did a transmission fluid service. So that's a filter replacement and flushing new fluid through the system. No evidence of that in this picture. What else? And serpentine belts, they were worn as well so we replaced them.
There's also an ABS warning light on on the dash and we found that the ABS wheel speed sensor on the right front had a broken wire. You can see this broken wire here, the wiring connector was broken so we replaced it but the speed sensor still wasn't working and we found the actual sensor itself was bad. So we replaced both components and that restored that issue. So the ABS brakes were back in full function.
Just one other closer picture. This is a view of one of the rear brake rotors and you can just see the rustiness, I mean this surface from where I'm moving my mouse here, this should all be shiny metal kind of like this, and not rust. So basically the brakes are minimally effective, you know pushing against a rusted surface. So that's kind of our picture show. Lots of interesting parts, kind of fun when you do a complete repair like this and the car ends up driving away, no clunks and stops well. It's pretty rewarding. I know it was a fair size bill, but the client will leave going, "Hey I got good value for my money because my car's functional and safe again".
Mark: So it sounds like this was a lot of work, almost like a rebuild or partial rebuild of the vehicle. Was it worth doing?
Bernie: Well I think so, but of course every vehicle owner has to make a decision because sometimes when you're faced, and I'm not going to talk about the cost of the bill, but a lot of times vehicle owners are faced with a few thousand dollars bill and they go, No that's it, I'm out, you know, I'm replacing the car. And other people are going, No I'll keep going with it.
This car is, it is 15 years or 14 years old, it'll be 15 at some point. It's 165,000 kilometres, so not really high amount of mileage. I mean if it was over 200, I might be like, ah maybe it's time to not consider doing this. But 165 is not too much for this vehicle. Mazda 3s are a decent, reliable vehicle over all. So I tend to put them on a recommended list of cars to repair, of course, it depends on how far you leave it. But these are items that just needed to be done on pretty well any car if you leave it long enough. And obviously this vehicle has seen some rusty, salty climates to have brakes like that. So it's a little harder on the vehicle.
Mark: So that brings up a point, you said, where's the level of where they've left it too long, would it of been, I mean I know the answer to this, would it of been better to have been doing more regular maintenance and maintaining these items more gradually, rather than waiting for almost catastrophic failure to then repair everything at once? What's the better strategy here?
Bernie: Well I think it's better to repair on an ongoing basis because you don't get hit with a huge repair bill like this. And a lot of times, sometimes we get cars in and people you know, it comes with all this level of repairs and maintenance and people go Forget it, I'm getting rid of the car. Whereas if they'd, and so then they're faced with the purchase of another car which you know in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad idea but it's more economical to just keep repairing things as they go. For instance, it may be that if the car was brought in a year ago, we would of noted that hey, these struts and control arm bushings are worn, let's replace those right now and the brakes may have been ok. So smaller bill, spread out, it's a little easier on the wallet, let's put it that way, and terms of choices. A lot of times if you do things as things wear out, it's cheaper because you don't let things wear as far as they could. For instance, when you have severe front end wear, a lot of times you can end up wearing your tires out prematurely. So in this case, fortunately that didn't happen. But a lot of times, if you have a bd shock absorber or strut, it can cause your tires to wear funny and had you replaced them, you wouldn't be replacing tires as well.
Mark: So it sounds basically like Mazda 3s are very good cars overall and are there any other serious issues or common recurring issues with them?
Bernie: Well there's a few common things, like a couple of things come to mind like check engine lights will often come on and there's a variety of reasons that it'll come on. But one common one on Mazdas is that the thermostat will stick open or they open too soon and you not even necessarily notice a driving issue. Although in a cold climate, you may notice not as much heat in the vehicle, in the cabin. But a lot of times, that'll be a check engine light issue. That's a pretty common item. Ans also, there's a right side engine mount that will often fail and the vehicle will have a vibration when you're, if it's an automatic in drive, there's a certain vibration. So there's a couple common things that tend to wear out on these cars. And the only other issue we found, up until a few years ago, we used to think these were like bullet proof, reliable vehicles, but the 2.3 litre engine which this vehicle does have, does tend to have some problems. They will start burning oil and have some compression issues. So we've done a couple engine replacements on them. And this kind of came along suddenly and then we found out that a lot of other ones had that same issue. So the 2 litre model engine, sort of in this vintage or in the 2000 decade, tend to be really reliable but the 2.3 do tend to have problems after awhile. It's kind of hit and miss. Some of them go forever and some of them develop problems.
Mark: So maintain your vehicle regularly.
Bernie: Absolutely yeah, absolutely just maintain it and you'll get the best life out of it.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Mazda in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them in Vancouver at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You've got to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos and posts on there, over 600 actually, I checked the other day.
Mark: Repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars over many years. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing, over 400 videos there on repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars and light trucks. And of course, thank you so much to listening to the podcast and watching, we really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Yeah, thanks Mark and thanks for listening and watching. It's always fun.