Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto repair experience and 19 time winners. 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and we're talking cars. How are you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So we have a 2017 Chevrolet 3500HD pickup, pretty almost brand new vehicle, what was pre-purchase inspection. What was going on with this and your new truck?
Bernie: Yeah, so the potential buyer brought this vehicle to us for a pre-purchase inspection, wanted to check out the condition of the vehicle before he bought it. So we proceeded to do our usually awesome pre-purchase inspection.
Mark: So of course this is a very documented procedure with hundreds of points of checking, so what did you find when you did this?
Bernie: Well, on the road test, which is the first part. Chris who did the inspection noted, he said there's a possible noisy wheel bearing from the left front. That was basically the only thing he noted otherwise the truck drove really nice. But when we got up in the hoist, we found some extremely interesting things and I wanted to share that with you.
So let's just get right into some photos. So here's our 2017 Chevy truck, I mean beautiful condition, looks really nice. Bit of a gloomy Vancouver day, so could have showed nicer on a sunny day. Getting into some other photos. Here's basically the odometer, 46,000 kilometres. So it's still, for a Chevy truck, I mean really barely broken in, almost new. But a fair bit of use for a two year period.
When we got under the vehicle, that's where the interesting things started to happen. They'd undercoated this vehicle over mud, which was just absolutely bizarre. So we'll just go through some photos here. This is the exhaust crossover pipe, you can see this vehicle has been exposed to an awful lot of mud. So right away, you could tell the usage of this vehicle is probably either in the mining industry or oil and gas, somewhere been driven off road in a lot of muddy conditions, maybe construction in a muddy area.
But transmission pan's covered in mud. But this black here is basically undercoating that's been sprayed under the vehicle. So, somewhere along the line, someone has tried to mask the vehicle, make it look better underneath than it really is, but this undercoating is done over top of mud. That's why it looks so bumpy, which is absolutely crazy.
So we found numerous, numerous areas like this. Here's the back of the vehicle, this is a computer module. I believe this is the fuel pump module, coated over in undercoating. Of course it'll be a real nightmare to do some diagnosis and testing. And not so much mud here, but there's some. Again, it's been undercoating over top of mud. What else have we got here?
Another example, I mean this is where the torsion bar goes through the front frame. Again, kind of hard to see, like in real life, it's way more noticeable. But again, here's the metal here and this is all just a huge layer of mud sprayed over. We've got this, no we've already looked at this. Did we already look at this? I'm not sure but here's another example. Lots of mud here. This is the front exhaust pipe, catalytic converter.
Now actually this is facing rearwards, actually. So where the torsion bar mounts, again, just caked mud. And to get into what, you know. So up in front, this is the front skid plate, you can kind of get an idea of the mud. I mean this is a three inch thick layer of mud. That's the four wheel drive actuator. Another similar view of the same area. Again, you can see the level of mud, so this was caked all over underneath the vehicle and just sprayed over top.
I don't know if there's anything else. And of course, they didn't even do that great of a job because there's just a bit of over spray in the oil filter and the oil pan and that's it. I can't stand looking at anymore, it drives me crazy. It's that bad. Gotta put some humour in here because it's just awful.
Mark: So, okay. So what's the big problem here of other than they're trying to hide something that this thing is coated in a ton of mud that should have been cleaned off, what's the problem created by undercoating over top of mud?
Bernie: Well I think you alluded to the biggest thing there. To me, it's like, "What are you hiding?" Or "Why are you trying to make something?" It's like putting icing on a cake made of mud, it's like when you cut the icing open, it's just mud underneath, it's not cake. So, I mean that's the first thing is, like why would you even spend the energy, if you're gonna do anything proper, a really good thorough pressure washing and cleaning underneath the vehicle would be the very first step before you undercoat it and try to make it look a little better. And maybe that would actually not be a bad thing to do, because it's been bounced around the bush.
But the other bad thing about it, of course is mud absorbs water and over time, when you get mud, if you wanna take good care of a car, you've always gotta flush the wheel wells of the car out, because a lot of times you get mud and it'll sit in little corners and water will sit in there and that's a perfect way for the moisture to attack the metal and eventually rust it out.
So, keeping things clean, mud free is important because water, it attracts water and it just keeps sitting in certain spots. So over time, this truck will definitely run into a number of problems, whether it's electrical connectors being damaged from water and mud to the fact that the undercoating's even kind of retaining the mud in place and keeping the moisture in the mud because it's like a rubberized type coating.
Mark: So, I can assume probably and correct me if I'm wrong, that if you went and looked at this vehicle yourself at the lot and drove it, you'd think, "Wow, this is a great vehicle. They've probably got a good price on it." Making a really huge assumption, but let's just go with that. It drives good, it looks good, it feels good, this is a great vehicle. Because you probably yourself, wouldn't necessarily go underneath the vehicle to see this. And this could happen with a reputable car dealer or a second tier kind of car lot or even a private seller. So how do I protect myself from this happening?
Bernie: Yeah, great question. Pre purchase inspection. It's really the key. Bring it somewhere, have it looked at. And I've got to tell you an interesting about it. So this is the second truck we've looked at for this owner. The last truck we looked at was a 2018 with 20,000 kilometres and he phoned initially to us and said, "I wanna bring this thing in for inspection," and I kind of thought, "You know what? That truck is so new, why bother?"
So we did the inspection on it and we actually found some problems. There were some worn front end parts. There was a CV joint boot that was leaking grease, and those are the couple things I remember, but there was a couple things and this truck is like I say, it's a year old. Obviously been used pretty hard. No mud underneath like this, so it wasn't that bad. But right away it just turned him off, he goes, "I don't wanna buy this truck because it's got stuff."
Now some of those things may have been covered by warranty because the truck wasn't that old, but again, just a turnoff. But it just made me realize, you never know. You think "Oh, this truck's not that new." I make these assumptions, because I work on cars all the time. A lot of times it'll be fine, it's only 40,000 kilometres on a two year old truck, what could be wrong? Well, here's the evidence.
So a pre purchase inspection is really the only way to be 100% sure. You know, some people go, "I don't wanna fork over 150 or 200 dollars." But you know what? You bought this truck, you're gonna be in there wasting many times that amount of money over the years over repairs that you wouldn't have needed to do had you bought the right vehicle in the first place.
Mark: So, once this was all done, was there anything else wrong with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, we did find a few things. There were some front end parts, like some tie rod ends that had some excessive play. The tires were worn out. I mean that's something you couldn't see, and they weren't severely worn out, but worn out to the point where, for the price of the truck, I would have expected to have a new set of tires put on it. Again, and those can be negotiating tools, but again with those worn out front end parts, you go, "Well, where has this vehicle been driven?" It's been banged around logging roads or back roads, gravel, through roads that probably don't even exist. So that takes its toll on a vehicle.
Mark: Is there a time where you wouldn't recommend a pre purchase inspection.
Bernie: Not really, I mean you should do it any time. Even if you're buying a $3000 vehicle, because you never know what might be wrong with it. And I mean I have bought vehicles in the past without doing inspections on them because sometimes I can get a pretty good feel for a car driving, but I've been in the business for a long time and I've bought a lot of crap. So I know the kind of telltale signs of stuff to look for.
But if you were saying, you're going, "I don't want an inspection on this vehicle," I mean the very least if the buyer had crawled under this vehicle and looked with a bit of a discerning eye, and you have some automotive intelligence, you would have able to say, "Hey, wait a minute. This is kind of shady, I really should have this looked at." So I'd say just any time you should. And there are some very reputable dealers around, but this vehicle shocked me because it was actually from a place where I would have never expected to find a vehicle like this.
So, usually name brand car dealerships, they only sell good cars because they value their reputation. But again, this has taught me, you know what? You can't really tell. Somehow this thing slipped by their whatever procedures they have.
Mark: There you go, if you need a pre purchase inspection on your new to you vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead because we're busy or check out our website, pawlikautomotive.com. We have a huge YouTube channel with hundreds of videos, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thank you Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching.