Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Eighteen time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Dodge Grand Caravan. This is a long running series of vehicles and this one had some kind of problem with the rear brakes, what was going on with it?
Bernie: Well basically, the rear brakes were worn out which is not an unusual issue, but I want to do this hangout just because the way these brakes are worn out is kind of interesting to look at. There’s a log of rust on the rear brake rotors and pads which you know happens around these sort of climates with a bit of road salt, and yeah, I just I’d share that. And we’ll get straight into some pictures right now because that’s probably the most interesting part of the show. So here’s, so this is a close up of the rear brake rotor. Now I don’t have a new one to show but this is basically all the shiny surface material that the pads contacting, but normally the pad should actually contact from about here out to there, and on a new rotor that’s all nice shiny solid metal, but here when the brake pad applies it’s basically applying only to one small section of the brake. I mean it does rub against the rusty area but really doesn’t dissipate the heat in the way brakes are supposed to do so. The other thing that it does as well, is that it wears the pad in a kind of funny way and you can see these deep grooves in the pads, I mean the rotors are absolutely unusable you know, even at this point, but you can see that this is sort of the area where the shiny, the shiny spot was, this is sort of the flat, this is the contact area, you can see basically half the brake pad is not really properly contacting the rotor and dissipating the heat that it’s supposed to. Will you notice any difference slowing the vehicle down? Kind of hard to say but in a really big panic stop, it will make a difference for sure. The other thing with this pad too, is and again this is probably from the excess heat that’s built up because it hasn’t dissipated the heat properly, there’s a big crack, I should say little subtle crack running right down the middle of the brake pad. So the arrow is kind of pointing to the end. So that’s another issue with this brake. So that’s kind of what was going on with the brakes in this Caravan, needed new rotors and pads.
Mark: Alright, so was anything else damaged beyond the pads and rotors?
Bernie: No actually everything else is fine. The callipers which we always inspect very thoroughly were actually in good shape, surprisingly, you know what causes damage is usually road salt or a lot of exposure to salt. We also see it on trucks where people pull their boats in and out of the water, out os salty water. That’ll accurate rear brake rotor and pad wear. But yeah surprisingly the callipers were in pretty good shape. So we don’t change it unless there’s a problem with them. Now you know, there’s a lot of areas around Canada and northern US, all this is normal, we see these kind of brakes all the time but in Vancouver this is a little, we do see it from time to time, it’s a little rarer. Where there’s a lot of road salt, it will cause this kind of brake wear.
Mark: Is there any correlation between the vehicle that just run once in a while, like in sitting more where the rust could actually have more time to build up on the rotors?
Bernie: Absolutely, a very good question. It does for sure. Now if you’re in a really dry climate, it’s not going to make a lot of difference but it you’re anywhere that’s wet, the rotor, brake rotors are completely bare piece of metal and unprotected. So the moment it sits for a while, rust builds up and that’s normal. But yeah, if you were to you know, not drive the vehicle a lot between drives, the rust buildup can be excessive. But really, like salt is really what gets in there and kill it faster so especially being in a salty climate and you leave it for a while, it’s even worse.
Mark: And how about these Dodge Caravans, are they still as poplar as they once were?
Bernie: Well, I kind of wondered that before I did this hangout because, you know, we see a few here and there. We work on a wide variety of cars, but so the answer is yes. They are still the most popular selling mini van in Canada and the US. But interestingly in Canada, last year they actually out sold their competition, the next competing model was the Toyota Sienna, they sold three times as many Caravans as they did Sienna. So in Canada it’s quite a big change whereas in the US, I notice the Caravan, their nearest competition is Sienna and also the Chrysler Pacifica, which is a little different by still made by Dodge Chrysler Fiat, their numbers are almost as high as a Grand Caravan. So that’s kind of interesting in the US, it’s almost there, but their still number one.
Mark: So in spite of there popularity, Caravans are famous for certain model years at least, that they were, had a lot of problems, transmission problems, engine problems. Are they a better vehicle these days?
Bernie: I would say they are. We don’t see as many transmission issues with them as we used to so I think that they’ve got that issue fixed. I think overall, are definitely better like most cars seem to get to be getting better and better over time and they’re certainly a better vehicle than they used to be. But I think that one of the reasons they sell a lot of them is because price wise, they’re pretty reasonably priced. If you look at a Toyota Sienna van, beautiful van and probably more reliable, but a lot more money. So price wise, I think the price point of the Caravan is pretty good but usually with a cheaper price comes quality. But I think they’re definitely better than they used to be.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Grand Caravan or Dodge Caravan or Chrysler van product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you must book ahead, they’re busy. Or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, lots and lots of information on there, or our YouTube channel where we’ve go hundreds of videos over the last five years of all makes and models of cars and all kinds of problems and issues that we’ve repaired. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark