Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. And of course we're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 20 time winners, 20 times, as voted by their customers of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And of course we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: A Nissan Sentra 2007, there was something going on with the heater. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: This vehicle came in, it had a very noisy, when you turned the heater blower fan on, it was making quite a hideous racket and needed to be repaired and replaced.
Mark: What's involved with repairing a heater motor?
Bernie: Well, on most cars it's, on many cars it's not that complicated. You can usually remove the blower motor through a little panel under the dash, maybe takes an hour or two worth of work. Unfortunately, on this vehicle, it actually involved removing the whole dash to get at the heater blower motor. It was an extremely involved job. Not too many cars like that. I'm thinking, some BMWs are like that, some Volvos, but kind of surprising for a Nissan. But that's what was involved, so the whole dash had to come out, the heater box dismantled to change the blower motor.
Mark: When you took the motor out, what did you find?
Bernie: Well what we found was a rodent's nest inside the blower motor, inside the heater box and all the items that the rodent had used to make the nest, which was mostly the insulation from under the hood, the firewall installation had been completely chewed away and conveniently moved into the a heater box. That was basically, it had basically plugged the cabin air filter. It had, there's debris all over the inside of the squirrel. Okay, this is kind of funny because we call this the blower off, get pictures of this thing. We call it a squirrel cage. It's kind of funny that that's named after a rodent, but it looks like kind of one of those hamster wheels that they run on. Inside the squirrel cage was just full of debris causing the motor to be off balance and caused a huge racket.
Let's get in some pictures because this is a fun part.
There's our Nissan Sentra, your basic, good basic economy car and the more interesting pictures we can get into are, let's get a look at the, there's the cabin air filter that we took out. Kind of broken apart, but you can see just full of, a lot of this is just debris. It may not have been serviced properly, but there's a lot of dirt, debris, very, very, very contaminated cabin air filter. Here's the, the squirrel cage of the blower motor. And again you can see it's full of leaves and debris and pieces of stuff. And I probably should've taken pictures. I didn't have a chance to take pictures of everything else that was in there because there was a lot more debris in there that was causing noise.
And it also looks like one of these fan blades is actually missing a piece, which will cause quite a vibration. We call this a squirrel cage. The motor's located back in here and that turns this big round wheel here and blows air so you know any amount of debris in it will cause it to go off balance. And of course create a huge, huge racket. As I mentioned, a lot of this was insulation from under the hood. This is the engine here. Looking backwards to the firewall, you can kind of see the wiper blades here and the windshield would be up in this area and this area here would normally have a some insulation. And what's left of it is basically whatever pieces are held to the attachment points and it's been completely chewed away.
That's where everything went. It migrated from, miraculously migrated from under the hood to inside the heater box. And we didn't see the rodent by the way, it had vacated the premises.
Mark: Just a winter home.
Bernie: Yeah, winter home. Yeah. Who knows. I'm assuming it had been done more recently, but because otherwise it may have been the blower probably would've been noisier, but it may have been made awhile ago and somehow got sucked into the fan. For whatever reason the rodent was gone. They kind of tend to come and go. That's maybe a good thing.
Mark: How often do you see this sort of thing?
Bernie: Well, not too often with heater boxes, we see it occasionally. But more commonly wire chewing is a common occurrence under hoods. This is very common. We do see some hoses being chewed from time to time as well. But wires are chewed because over the last 10 or more years, manufacturers have, to be more ecological or environmentally friendly have started using soy based insulation on their wiring. And this of course is tasty to many rodents and a disadvantage to car owners of course.
Mark: Anything that can be done to prevent rodents from chewing wires or attacking the under hood area of your car?
Bernie: Well, we're going to, I'm not going to get into all the details of that because there's some complexity and I haven't quite figured it all out myself, but we're going to put a link on the bottom of the video that has a really good website with some very specific ways and this person has got some very detailed ways you can prevent rodents from chewing, from getting under your hood and doing your wires. To be honest, I think it's almost more than I'd want to get involved in, but they're, if you followed it thoroughly, I'm sure it would work. If you took perhaps a few of his ideas, that would probably work well too. Interestingly enough, one common vehicle, there's a Honda that has a wire that often gets chewed and causes a check engine light and it sits right underneath the intake manifold in a Honda V6 engine.
It's an expensive repair, Honda actually sells a new wire and it has a wrap around the wire and it has a little picture of a mouse with an X through it. It's actually a rodent proof wire right from the factory and that's how bad rodent chewing wires are. And then actually the problem is so bad there's actually class action lawsuits against several manufacturers for rodent, for the wiring that they've put in their cars. It's a big thing.
Mark: After repairs, I assume everything was good in the heating department in this vehicle.
Bernie: Yeah, it worked fine. Nice. The fan was nice and quiet. Everything worked really well. Yeah, just like it's supposed to do.
Mark: And how our Nissan Sentras for reliability?
Bernie: Generally they're good cars, it's an economy car. We see very few problems with them other than basic maintenance. It's a pretty well built, decent car.
Mark: There you go. If you're looking for support for your vehicle, if you've got any kind of rodent problems or if you need your Nissan Sentra or any Nissan product, looked after the guys to see in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112, to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles and videos on there as well. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, over 350 videos on all makes and models of cars and all types of repairs. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thank you for watching and listening. Always a pleasure.