Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, and they're 21 time winners. I think they're pretty good. You think if you win 21 times in a row, you're pretty good. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing today Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well. I always love that introduction because it does make me feel pretty good.
Mark: 26 and you know, you're welcome. It's earned, you earned it. You guys do a hell of a good job.
Bernie: Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you everyone for voting for us because it really does, it's a real honour.
Mark: So 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid you have, we're doing some service work on this vehicle. What was going on with this Toyota?
Bernie: The vehicle was brought in as a new customer, brought in for a maintenance service and due for a B service, which is, we often say a B services in oil and filter change along with a full vehicle inspection.
Mark: So hybrid vehicle, what's unique about it?
Bernie: Well, of course, the hybrid drivetrain is unique. But there's not really a lot different in the servicing. I mean, it's still, it still has an internal combustion engine that needs an oil and filter change. You know, we do a, we do a thorough vehicle scan of this vehicle with an electronic scan of the vehicle, which is, which we include in a lot of other vehicles, but it's especially important in a hybrid because there are a lot of electronic systems that.
If there's a fault of some sort, it could be picked out. Of course, if it's a major fault, there'll be a warning light on your dash, of some sort. But it's just good to just see if there's anything there that might be any cause of concern for the client, but other than that, you know we inspect the brakes. Wheel off inspection, rotate tires if necessary and needed. I mean, some cars you can't rotate the tires because they're different sizes. A Highlander you can, so we rotate the tires, lube the door locks, hinges and latches. And just to do a general inspection of the brakes, steering, suspension, cooling system, charging system, that type of thing.
Mark: So were there any other additional issues that found with the vehicle?
Bernie: A couple of dirty filters, like the engine air filter and the cabin air filter. But other than that everything else was good at this time. Not due for any other service items at this particular time.
Mark: And what was the kilometerage on this vehicle?
Bernie: Kilometerage! Glad you changed that, because I always write mileage. I go, why do we do that when we use kilometres in Canada, but a 90,000 kilometres, so just under 60,000 miles for those folks across the border or in England who still use miles.
Mark: And what maintenance services were due at the specific amount of usage?
Bernie: Yeah. So for this vehicle, basically the oil change interval is a 16,000 kilometres, 10,000 miles. I personally would do it a little more frequently, like maybe 10 to 12 on the oil service. I think it's important to change the oil just a little more often than manufacturer recommends, but that's nonetheless the manufacturer recommendation.
Spark plugs 192,000 kilometres, I think that's 120,000 miles somewhere in there, transmission fluid and 160,000 kilometres, a hundred thousand miles and engine coolant is 160, transmission actually doesn't have an interval on this vehicle unless you do it using it for heavy duty use.
But I think it's important to do it probably around a hundred thousand kilometres. You know, there's a lot inside the electric, you know, the electric motors are bathed in the fluids, so it's important to change it. So next service we'll recommend to the owner to change the transmission fluid.
And it's not a difficult service on these vehicles. It's not a flush, like a traditional automatic transmission fluid. In this vehicle it's more of a drain and fill like a standard transmission. So simpler, you know not that costly compared to an automatic service.
Mark: So, do you know off the top of your head, is this a nickel metal hydride battery or lithium-ion?
Bernie: I, you know, I don't know. For some reason I'm going to, I'm going to take a guess that it's a lithium. But I could be wrong. I know Toyota, they, they're kind of around the cusp of changing a few things around, so it might still be a nickel metal hydride because it's a straight hybrid and not a plugin, but I'm pretty sure the plugins all have nickel metal, lithium ion, sorry.
Bernie: Let’s get into a couple of pictures here.
So there's our redesign, actually redesign in 2016 a Highlander. Good looking vehicle. What else do we got here? For pictures, there's, there's the outside, of course, several look under the hood. Here's the under hood view. So this is the internal combustion engine located under this hybrid synergy drive plastic cover. Over on this side is where the transmission is located. We actually have the air filter out of this vehicle. So that's why that strange gap is there, which you may or may not notice, but anything marked orange, those are all high voltage cables. So this is where, you know, any servicing has to be done with caution around these high voltage cables. And there's not a whole lot to see on, you know, there's a lot of covers and things that can be removed, but it does have a radiator in the front. Interesting, what I find interesting about this, and actually I'll go into the next picture. So I've kind of split the next pictures to look at two different sides of the compartment.
So let's, this is a sort of internal combustion engine side, but, so on the right hand side, you notice the brake reservoirs over here and the ABS brake and a number of brake components are located over on the side of the vehicle. And yet the brake pedal is actually over on the other side. So this is a fully electronic braking system. it's all drive, I mean, most brake systems on hybrids, they're all essentially brake by wire. But this is interesting because they moved the reservoir and everything over to the passenger side of the vehicle, completely away from the pedal like you would find in a traditional vehicle. And the actual pedal it's interesting. It feels like you're pushing on a brake pedal, but that's all controlled electronically and with dampers and things to give you a feel like you're actually pushing on a brake as you would in a traditional car, but it's actually just, it's completely electrically activated, so when you push the brake, you may actually not even be activating the brakes in the car. It may just be the hybrid drive unit that's slowing the vehicle down in regenerative braking, but of course, when you put a hard activation, then it uses the regular brake system fully. That's a view of that side of the engine compartment.
This is kind of a closer view of the sort of call a transmission side. The hybrid drive unit is actually down here. The transmission, which has a two electric motors and there's, this is the cooling system for the hybrid. There are two separate cooling systems. So one for the hybrid side, one for the internal combustion engine and being an all wheel drive vehicle, the Highlander, along with a Lexis counterpart, has an electric drive motor in the rear. So the all wheel drive is actually accomplished electrically and not with any coupling between the drivetrain. So there's no transmission tunnel and going down the middle with the driveshaft. It's all done, the rear drive is all electric and that's our picture show for the day.
Mark: Is the battery basically underneath the floor pan?
Bernie: I believe so. Older Highlanders it is. And so I would say that this would be in the same spot. I didn't really tear it apart to look in detail. It's funny that there's not a lot of information about these. I mean, I sort of go, you know, just to educate myself for the podcast. I'm okay wonder where, you know, let's have a look at this and how is it different from the previous model years. And there's really nothing, nothing out there, you know, in order to find a lot of these things, you really have to, you know, go rip through repair information or actually start tearing the car apart. But I would say that they wouldn't have redesigned the vehicle much any appreciable way. I mean, that's a good spot to put the battery under the seat.
Mark: And how our high a Highlander hybrids for reliability?
Bernie: Well, they're really good. Now this generation, there's no issues that I could find with it, but you know, I know that on the older generations we're talking like the, I guess would be the second generation Highlander or first, anyways it was a, you know, in the a 2000 model years. First decade of the two thousands a lot of them had inverter problems. Most of those were covered by a recall or factory extended warranty, at least in the US they were. In Canada we weren't so lucky and often owners were had to foot the bill, which is substantial, huge, like, you know, a bit shy of $10,000 parts, labor to do an inverter so they're a very expensive item. And I don't know why they didn't extend that warranty to Canada, but probably not enough people yell and scream up here or something or we don't have enough lawyers to to make that happen. But anyways, inverters have been a problem. Pretty frequent problem. But interestingly enough, I looked at some sites just to get some more information on, it's called carcomplaints.com. It’s pretty good. It's got a lot of good information on issues. In 2009, they just show the Highlander Hybrid is having an enormous spike in problems compared to others. But they all seem to be brake related issues or ABS brake system and nothing with the inverters. It's funny as none of that's mentioned. So my caution is you got to watch websites that have information. Because a lot of times it's just a vent for people to complain about stuff and it doesn't quite paint the full picture of the vehicle. So there's a lot of stuff that happens on these that isn't showing there. And a lot of things I wasn't aware of that people are complaining about. So, but you know, to me it's a good vehicle overall. It's just got to watch the inverter on the older ones, the newer ones I'm sure they've solved that issue.
Mark: And how about, is this a vehicle that you would recommend?
Mark: Depending on year, I guess?
Bernie: Yeah, it depending on year, but you know, I think anything older that you buy, you've just gotta be a bit cautious and just know that, you know, when it's out of warranty, you know, there's the potential for some extremely expensive parts to fail. You know, there's the hybrid battery.
Generally they, you know, these have all lasted a lot longer than people have thought, but, you know, there are potentially more expensive items to fix. But you know, I mean, this vehicle is newer. I mean, I definitely recommend them. I think they're really well built overall. There's very few problems with them. It's a Toyota. They're very good, you know, if you get something with lower mileage, you're probably better off, but you will pay more money of course. And I think with hybrids, it's always a balancing act of, you know, are you actually going to get the value out of the improved fuel mileage if you're, you know, if you're driving strictly highway driving, you're probably not going to see any benefit. If, you know, if your most of your driving is around the city, then you, then you'll get the benefit of the approved mileage and the efficiency that a hybrid offers.
Mark: Versus the extra cost of having a hybrid versus just as plain ice engine model.
Bernie: Yeah. Versus the extra cost. And you know, we see that, I mean, we, we do a lot of diesel repairs. I'm not going to single out any other manufacturer, but you know, we do, we see a lot of diesels and some of them aren't so well-built and all that money you save on diesel fuel is often spent in our shop or other shops fixing mechanical problems. And you go, well, where's, where's the actual savings? You would've been better just to, I don't know if it's better for the environment. I don't want to say that, but you know, you may have been better off to just burn that up and fuel then have them, you know, spend the money. There's no savings there. So it's always a balancing act. You never know. And then of course there's the environmental issues to take into account when you try to formulate it all it gets kind of complicated. But the other thing about a hybrid is there's less CO2 going out into the air from your vehicle. For sure. That's an absolute fact when you're driving it.
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your hybrid in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call them, book ahead. They're busy or you can check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds over 600 articles and videos of all makes and types of repairs. For many years now we've been doing this. And of course on YouTube, over 350 videos, do a search for Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Leave us a rating on iTunes or Spotify. We would much appreciate that and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe. We love doing the material.