September 20

2017 Mazda 3, A Service



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouvers best auto service experience. 24 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2017 Mazda 3 that had a Canadian eh service going on, what was going on with this Mazda? 

Bernie: Oh, it's the Canadian thing, they're an eh service. I like that. Yeah, basically the vehicle came to us for maintenance service. This vehicle had been purchased recently as a new owner. We did a pre-purchase inspection for him a while back and he came in to us for his first maintenance service.

Mark: So what's required with an A service? 

Bernie: Yeah. So then an A service is a basic oil change and basic maintenance inspection. So we adjust tire pressures, we you look at all the lights, inspect the fluid levels and quality of fluids, visual under-hood inspection. And we do a visual under the vehicle inspection as well.

Give the wheels a little wiggle to make sure there's nothing, you know, seriously dangerously loose, which you wouldn't expect on a car of this vintage, but it's always good to check or inspect as we like to say. And you know, if possible we look at air filters and that kind of thing as well.

Mark: Now, you guys have, and this isn't just off the top of your head. You have a checklist that you follow and that you actually give to the owner after the inspection is complete. Is that right? 

Bernie: Exactly. And not only do we have a checklist, we actually have a digital inspection. That's really awesome. And people love it. We get nothing but compliments from people. They're becoming more and more standard in the auto service industry, but I think we're one of the early adopters of the digital inspections, but they're amazing because we can look through things and we can send you the report by text or email or both, and you can review it while you're, you know, at home and you can see anything of concern we'll take pictures of.

So let's say there's an oil leak. We can take a picture of it. And often that has a lot more value than we go. Oh, there's oil leaking. Oh, you go, well, yeah whatever. But, you know, if you see a picture of it, it actually makes more sense. So we do that and it's documented, and of course, it's kept, you know, say a couple of years later, you want to go, Hey, you know, what happened with that inspection? We can look back on it. So it provides a really good record. 

And this program we have is really amazing too, because we can actually now do estimates. So we can look at your car and say, Hey, it needs a brake job, and we can do an estimate and send it out and you can review it, you can approve it without even phoning us.

If you go, Hey, yeah, that looks good. I'll do it. Or if you have questions you can call us and we can even do payments over the phone too. So that's how sophisticated things have become. It's really pretty awesome. 

Mark: So with this Mazda, did you find any concerns? 

Bernie: You know, the only concern we found is that the air filter was really dirty and we also replaced the cabin air filter because we figured if the air filter hadn't been done, the cabin filter probably hadn't been done either. So I'll actually just give them the little picture show. We can have a look at the the filters and things like that. 

So there's our Mazda 3. This is a GT model. Really nice car. I mean it looks to me kind of like a BMW or Mercedes or something with that flat front.

2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service

So filters. Yeah, let's have a look. So there's the engine air filter. This is the one we took out of the vehicle. Definitely 40,000 kilometres. Never been changed, exceptionally dirty. This is a brand new one. Just so it gives you kind of a reference point as to what a new air filter looks like. You know, at this point, definitely, the engine is not going to be breathing as well as it should be with a filter that dirty.  

Cabin air filter. So in all fairness, this is a charcoal filter. So it starts off a little bit grey, but you can see a lot of dirt, needles, bits and pieces. This is by no means the worst one we've ever pulled out. I mean, we, we take some cabin air filters that are absolutely horrible out of vehicles. But, you know, nonetheless definitely do, it's a great time to replace this filter. Perfect time. 

A couple of features on this car. So there's the engine compartment. It's a SKYACTIV engine, which is Mazda's kind of modern technology for fuel economy and mileage. And I think the really big thing about it is it's got a gasoline direct fuel injection, so that's, again, a service that we've talked about in the past. There's a maintenance service that's good to do on a GDI equipped car. 

But basically other that, automatic transmission, you get your standard Japanese battery with the little screw on top. It's been there for the last 40 or 50 years you see in Japanese batteries. A couple of other interesting features of the car, it's got a heads up display, this little thing pops up and it's got the speed, your speed, and possibly some other features. I didn't drive the car, but that's kind of a neat feature in this car. And really beautiful interior finish on this vehicle. There's another view of the heads up display. That kind of caught my eye. So that's our picture show. 

So why were the filters so dirty? Was this vehicle maintained by a dealer?

I can't say for sure because I don't know the previous history. This is the first service we've done on it. But we see this quite often where we have a new client who comes to us and yeah, I've had my vehicle serviced at the dealer. And almost every time, the air filter is hideously dirty. And it's just kinda surprising because you know, dealers have a reputation. That's the best place to take your car because they know your car, and true, they do. That's what they work on, but you know, they'll provide you the best service. So it's always a surprise to us that that kind of thing is kind of neglected and overlooked.

Mark: Any reason why? 

Bernie: Well, I think it's all in the flat rate pay system that they use at dealerships. You know, at our shop, all our mechanics are paid by the hour. So if it takes, you know, I mean, we don't want them to spend more time than they need to, but they're free to do that, to do a good job on the car. Whereas at a dealership, you're kind of running your own business as a mechanic. So you know, if you get paid at, say an hour to do an oil change, which is something you'd get in a fancier import kind of car, like a Mercedes. Something like a Mazda, maybe it's only half an hour, you don't have a lot of time to, you get paid that amount of money to do the oil service.

So the faster you get it in and out the door, faster you do the job, the more work you can do, the more money you can make. So if you're making 40 or 50 bucks an hour, you could be making 90 or a hundred bucks an hour. If you're really quick and get cars in and out the door. Good incentive. But what gets neglected is if it isn't on the list of what needs to be changed, they don't look at it. So if the air filter isn't on the list of it's due at this mileage, they don't even look at it. They just drive the car in and they drive it out, change the oil as fast as they can and do the basics. 

Mark: So what else was due for service at this time? 

Bernie: It was basically it, we did find that the brake fluid was starting to get discoloured and the vehicle is four years old. So we'd recommended a brake fluid flush for next time. And also gasoline direct injection services is something we'd recommend doing at next service because it removes carbon deposits from the valves, helps keep the engine running properly.

So those are things that are coming up. A B service of course, next time will be due. And the B service is basically the A service plus a full vehicle inspection. So we take the wheels off, rotate the tires, inspect the brakes steering, suspension, test the battery, more in-depth service.

Mark: So not really that many things to maintain on these kinds of vehicles. 

Bernie: No, there are a lot simpler, you know, I mean, I've been working on cars for since my hair was black and it was a lot of it. Like 40 years, cars have changed so much. I mean, I just think back to a 20 year old Japanese car, like something was made 20 years ago, would of needed a timing belt at 96,000 kilometres. CV boots often used to break. 

This vehicle only has 41,000 Ks so far from that, but still would have been coming up on a 48 K service, probably meeting spark plugs and you know, a number of things and this stuff that you use don't need to do for a long, long time. So, you know, even though internal combustion engines are certainly on their way out, you know, over the next decade or who knows how long, but the cars are much more reliable. Electric vehicles will certainly be even that much simpler, but, you know, for an internal combustion engine and much more reliable. 

Mark: So much less maintenance now, overall, but, and that sounds really good. But what are the problems with that? 

Bernie: Well the thing that I see the most, and we talked about it, you know, it's changing oil frequently, and a lot of cars have very long extended oil change intervals, which again, environmentally is good. You know, you're not using as much oil.

I mean, you're not to get your car service as much, but the thing is, is as the oil gets dirty, it tends to damage the engine. And there are some very expensive parts inside any modern engine. They're very tightly fit. There's a lot of precision components that never used to be there. Variable valve timing, any little gumminess that gets in there will cause damage.

So it really makes a whole lot of sense to change your oil more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. It's more critical now than it's ever been. You don't want to be too crazy cause it does last a long time, but just doing it sooner than the manufacturer recommends is in my opinion, I think a lot of other mechanics opinions, it makes a lot of sense. You'll save money in the longterm. 

Mark: And so how are these Mazda 3s for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, they're great cars. I mean, I think they're really nice as I was mentioning, not only is it, they're reliable, but it's actually a very nice car. I still think of a Mazda3 as kind of a lower end car. And yet this is amazingly nice car. It's very nicely finished interior. You know, the fancy features like the heads up display navigation, a lot of stuff you find in modern cars, but it's just a nice, it's a nicely built car. Drives really well, good fuel economy, and they are reliable.

They tend to go a long time before you start needing to do repairs on them. So we still service Mazda 3s from the early 2000s. And you know, there's a lot more stuff that's going on with them because they're getting older, but you know, they're still a good, reliable car. I highly recommend them. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Mazda in Vancouver, or you just need an A service on any vehicle the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them on their website You can book there. They will check with you. They'll get ready for your service or whatever kind of repair you might need. Or you can give them a call (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, you got to book ahead. They're busy. Check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We got close to a thousand videos on there. We've been doing this for over 10 years. Or of course on the Blog at Same thing, all the information is there, all types of makes and models of vehicles, all types and kinds of repairs. Tons of information there. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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