January 26

2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. That must feel pretty good, Bernie. 

Bernie: It does. Yeah, it's very exciting. Especially in this year of some tenuous news with COVID. It's nice having some good news and another win for Best of Vancouver. It's really good. Thank you everyone. 

Mark: So we're going to talk about a 2017 VW Golf that had some basic maintenance service. What was going on with this fairly new car? 

Bernie: Yeah, fairly new car. The vehicle is due for some maintenance services, the oil service, and a couple of other things had already been done elsewhere, but the owner brought it to us to do some larger catch-up items.

Mark: So, what was the mileage on the vehicle? 

Bernie: It's got 55,000 kilometres. So still pretty young. As you mentioned, it's a 2017, so that makes it about three or four year old car at this point in time, depending on when it was purchased and 55,000 Ks. So still young, you know, runs great. Just due for some maintenance to keep it young and running great. 

Mark: So, did you replace some things at this service? 

Bernie: Yeah, we replaced spark plugs, we flushed the brake fluid, changed a couple of filters, a cabin filter and the engine air filter, did a tire rotation. There's also a concern with the tire pressure monitoring system. There's a warning light on, but that just turned out that we just needed to do a reset on the system. So that was pretty straightforward. So not a huge amount of stuff. 

Mark: So do we have some photos? 

Bernie: We do have photos. Let's have a look at some pictures.

2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services
2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services
2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services
2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services
2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services
2017 VW Golf, Maintenance Services

So there's our nice shiny red 2017 taken on a bright day in Vancouver. Nice treat. The engine, so that's a 1.8 litre TSI. It's turbo stratified injection is what that means. It's basically a fuel injected turbocharged 1.8 litre engine, very efficient. The direct fuel injection system. We'll talk about that in a few minutes, but kind of state of the art technology for an internal combustion engine these days for getting the best power in mileage you can get out of such a thing.

There's a view of the back of the engine you can see the turbocharger at the back of the engine there. Just the top of it and the exhaust down-pipe. Other pictures. What do we got here? The spark plugs I mentioned we did replace those. Kind of a unique looking spark plug. If you're familiar with looking at spark plugs, what's unique about this is it doesn't have that long connector on the top of the spark plug.

Usually there's a, you know, it sticks up about half an inch where the spark plug wire ignition coil sticks on. And this is almost flush with the top of the ceramic insulator. That's got a kind of unique ignition coil design that kind of plugs into the top. And also the insulator, a lot of them have ribs on them and some don't.

So to me, it also has kind of a unique look when it doesn't have the ribs on it. I think the ribs are primarily there for a spark plug wires to clip onto it. It's probably why they originally designed them like that. But, you know, with modern engines, the coil just sits over top of it. So it's not really all that necessary. 

I mentioned we did a brake fluid flush. So this is kind of how the brake fluid flush looks down at the wheel side of the vehicle. We basically open up the bleeder screw. We have a flushing machine, which I'll show you the next picture. We have a bucket here with a hose on it. So we don't pour brake fluid all over the ground, but we basically just pump, this is a pressure bleeder. It pumps fluid through the system from the master cylinder down to the brake lines. And eventually when it comes out clear, then we stopped the flow through that one. And that's the pressure bleeder. This is a very old looking thing. Looks, I always thought it kind of looks like R2D2 on Star Wars, got the three wheels and it's basically a tank filled with brake fluid and we put air pressure in the bottom and it attaches to the top of the master cylinder. Pumps fluid under pressure. It really good way to bleed brakes and if you're alone doing a service, it's perfect because you can pump the fluid through you don't need a second person to do it. Plus for flushing brake fluid, even better because you can move large volumes of fluid through the system. So that is our share for today. 

Mark: So, was there anything else that could have been done to service this vehicle? 

Bernie: Well the other thing we didn't do, and I'm not certain why we didn't, is a direct injection cleaning service, direct fuel injection cleaning service. We call it a GDI service, gasoline direct injection service.

So those vehicles, I mentioned that has direct fuel injection, what direct fuel injection is, is the fuel injector sprays a fuel right into the cylinder, not on the intake valve, like it used to happen traditionally and direct injection is, it's always what's been used in diesel, but it's been adopted for gasoline engines for, you know, 10 years, most modern cars have it. Some don't still. Even some Toyotas actually have a dual system where they have the port injection and a direct injection system. And it's used at different times. I mean, talk about added complication, but I guess they feel like it works, but for the Volkswagen, it's got the direct injection.

Now what happens is overtime, the intake valves used to get sprayed with fuel and port injection system. So they kept clean, but over time, because these aren't sprayed in fuel, carbon deposits build up on top of the intake valves causing performance issues. And it can lead to some expensive repairs if you don't service the vehicle properly. So doing an injection clean, probably every 30 to 40,000 kilometres is really important on any direct injection engine. 

Mark: Well, what again, what happens if you don't do that service?

Bernie:  So what happens if you don't do it? Carbon buildup will become excessive and you'll start developing performance issues. The engine may not idle properly. It might lack power, stumble, you know, all sorts of issues like that can happen and removing it becomes very expensive if it becomes too thick. We, the system we do, the service we do is with a chemical it's sprayed into the engine and it basically softens the carbon off the engine, which burns off.

It can handle small amounts if you do it on a routine basis, but if you leave it until it, you know, there's a huge crust of carbon, it can either involve removing the cylinder head from the engine you know, very expensive or there's another technique called Walnut blasting where you can remove the intake manifold, sort of seal things up and you blast the intake valves with crumbled walnut shells, which is similar to sandblasting. But of course, as you can imagine, blasting sand into an engine is not a good thing to do, but walnut shells are hard, but not hard enough, they'll basically they'll burn up in the engine. They won't cause any further damage, but it's an expensive service.

So getting the injection system cleaned every again, 30 to 40,000 kilometres is an important thing to do on this Volkswagen or any other vehicle with gasoline direct injection. 

Mark: So basically this is because the fuel, the gasoline fuel is also a solvent, when it's put into port, it's hitting the top of that valve which is a, I don't know, almost a triangular shape. 

Bernie: They call them the tulip shape. It's like a triangular shape. 

Mark: Yeah. And that top part isn't in a hot part of the car. It's on the cool side of the cylinder, but that fuel is hitting it. And then it opens and the fuel, runs into the cylinder, cleaning the carbon off of there that might build up. When you're putting it straight into a cylinder, you don't have any fuel in the port above. 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. No, you might think, yeah, that's right. You might think to yourself well, why, if it's just the intake valve is basically air being sucked in the engine, you think, well, why is air causing carbon deposits to be built on the valves? And so most of it comes from the crankcase breather system where there's you know, the engine we've talked about this in the past, but an internal combustion engine has to have a breathing system.

If it's completely sealed, it'll explode because certain amount of pressure escapes, the piston rings. And the engine would blow up. So it has to breathe. Now, if you breathe those gasses to the environment, it's horrific, it creates horrific pollution, plus it stinks. So for a long time, they've had a PCV valve system. It's a closed system. It sucks the crankcase vapours back into the engine to re-burn them. But in that there's always a tiny little minute amount of oil vapour and that eventually will stick onto the intake valve. So that's really what causes a lot of that. It's from that system.

Mark: And that oil being deposited on there, even though it's minute amounts, the valve is obviously extremely hot. Thousands of degrees probably close to. 

Bernie: Oh, not even that. It's actually not it's in the hundreds, but it's still pretty damn hot. It's hot. You don't want to touch it. 

Mark: It would cook your burgers pretty easy.

Bernie: Oh yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah. 

Mark: And so that basically changes the oil into carbon and a deposit is stuck on the valve and causes problems, essentially. 

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah. 

Mark: So you want to wash it off? 

Bernie: You want to wash it off and clean it? Yup. 

Mark: Is there anything that I could do as an owner of one of these direct injection cars that could prevent these carbon deposits from building up on the valves? 

Bernie: Well, there is a couple of things. First of all, gasoline manufacturers have developed a standards called top tier fuel. So if you use a gas, that's got top tier, and you'll get that at any name, brand station, well in Canada, like Esso, Chevron, any of those kinds of stations their fuels are all top tier. I bought gas in the US, you see on the pump a lot of times it'll say top tier fuels. So just because you're buying gas from a non-name brand station doesn't necessarily mean it's not top tier, but I would check into that because it can make a big difference. The way they formulate the gasoline has cleaners in it that will prevent carbon deposits to a certain degree, but not entirely it keeps them at a minimum.

The other thing you can do is change your oil regularly, and that's probably more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. Don't push it to the very limit where if they tell you it's 12,000 Ks, change it at 10. Do it a little early because again, it keeps the oil clean and fresh and that can prevent the deposits from happening also.

Mark: So, that's the maintenance services on this vehicle. So how are VW Golfs for reliability? 

Bernie: They're good vehicles. Not overly expensive, European technology vehicle. They run well, they drive nice. I'd say they're a good car. You know, they're not overly expensive to fix. The engines are generally pretty good on these cars. We've run into a few issues on the style of engine on some other models. No eventually there's some issues developed with timing chains. I'm not sure if this particular model has any issues with them, but some of the Tiguans have a similar design have that, but overall I'd say it's a good car. For a compact car, it's a nice car to drive for sure. I would recommend it. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your vehicle, any make, model, type of vehicle, any kind of light truck. The guys to see in Vancouver, BC are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. You have to call and book ahead because they're busy. They only take reservations folks, you just can't walk in most days and get in there. They're busy. 

Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. If you're not sure about what kind of service you might need for your vehicle. We have hundreds of videos and articles over the last eight, nine years. Same on the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. You can find it on there. Thanks so much for listening to and watching our podcast. We really appreciate it. And thanks Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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