Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and video series. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 20 time winners, Best AutoRepair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and of course today we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well this morning.
Mark: So, Audi. We're going to talk about the Audi, how a reliable are Audi vehicles?
Bernie: Well generally I'd say they're quite reliable, but they do need a fair number of repairs and service over time. There's a couple of models that are probably a little more problematic than others, but generally I mean, they're a very nicely built car and I tend to think of reliability as can I go out and start my car and will it drive me to where I want to go and generally Audi's are really good in that department, but they do have a number of problems and issues that come up from time to time, some more common than others.
Mark: So what are some of those problems that you see with them?
Bernie: Well why don't we start and sort of break the car down into different areas and sort of look at the reliability of each piece because there's a number of factors. We can start with the brakes and under the car, so I mean brakes generally are quite reliable on these vehicles but some of the larger SVU's like the Q7's, the breaks tend to wear quite quickly. It's a heavy vehicle, even though they have enormous brakes they do tend to wear quite fast. On the cars the life span is pretty normal, I think in 50 to 80,000 kilometre range and if you have one with a standard, you're going to get a lot more life out of the brakes then you would with an automatic. So brakes are good. Brake fluid flush is certainly a service that needs to be done on a regular basis, usually about every two years, but that's not really a reliability factor, so we've got the brakes there.
Mark: Steering and suspension?
Bernie: Yeah, steering and suspension. So for the steering and suspension, generally again, steering components are pretty reliable, the odd tie rod end will wear out here and there, again as the car gets older. Some control arm bushing issues, again these have some fairly complex suspensions in some of them and ball joint wear is also common in some of them. Again, this is over time, we're talking over five years, in the five to ten year old range of the car and older. So that's kind of steering and suspension, shocks and struts are generally pretty good but given you keep the vehicle long enough those kind of components will wear out over time.
Mark: What about the drive train?
Bernie: Drive trains are pretty reliable, but there are some transmission issues. Audi's use a variety of transmissions, they've got standards in a lot of vehicles, they've got that direct DSG, the direct gear shift box automatics, which apparently there's a lawsuit out around. We haven't seen any problems ourselves in our shop but there's certainly some issues going on with some of those. Clutch replacement we seem to do maybe a little more often than needed. I think things in the clutch, it's not so much wear but something will actually break or malfunction in the clutch and a lot of them use dual mass flywheel clutches, so they can be pretty expensive to fix.
Some standard transmission baring wear happens from time to time and the automatics generally are pretty reliable but the two wheel drive models use a CVT transmission and they can be very expensive to fix as well. But the all wheel drive systems are really quite reliable and I can't really think of anything we've ever done to fix an all wheel drive problem on an Audi, so they are also very good in terms of the way they distribute their all wheel drive in terms of driving, the way the distribution works to each wheel and providing the traction you need. But overall, that part of the drive train's pretty good, and I'm not saying transmissions are bad but there are probably more issues with them then a lot of cars.
Mark: What about the engine and cooling system?
Bernie: Engine and cooling system, that's kind of the big part and this is where Audi is probably, more issues happen than other things. I mean there are oil leaks that happen on a lot of different models, some of them can be pretty difficult to fix, there's an S4 model with a V8. Now the S4 it's like an A4 but they've actually crammed the V8 into this and it's a pretty spectacular vehicle to drive but when there's an oil leak in that, it's basically pull the engine out time to fix, so that can be very expensive to fix and all the engines do tend to develop oil leaks over time. The cooling systems, a lot of plastic parts, so they will develop leaks over time as well. Engines, generally the actual guts of the engine are pretty good with the exception of a couple models, like the Q5 comes to mind, there's a lot of oil consumption issues with those engines and to me, that's kind of a show stopper sort of problem.
Although, if you have to add a litre of oil every couple thousand kilometres it's kind of annoying but it's really not the end of the earth. Compared to the way cars used to be built a long time ago, that was not a huge amount of extra work but nowadays we kind of expect our cars to go a long ways without having to add any oil. But that to me is probably maybe of their more problematic engines, but generally the engines are pretty reliable, there are censors, things like oxygen censors that wear and of course the biggest thing that seems to go on in Audi's and Volkswagen's are ignition coils. But the good news about that is they're cheap. Audi's, sort of in the last decade or two, they've used the same ignition coil on their four cylinders, their V8's and their quite inexpensive, and generally easy to replace, they sort of pop out and they don't require a lot of labor to replace, so that's one edge that they've got, although they do tend to fail a little more frequently.
I mean, overall the engine's are good but there are some expensive things to do and timing belts are another area. So some engines have timing belts, some don't. A lot of them are chain driven, and it's important as an owner that you know which one it has because of course if it has a timing belt, you do need to replace that at the recommended interval. This just reminds in the early A4's when they came out, when they were really good, to me when they switched to an A4 that's really where Audi became a sort of decent vehicle, before that they were kind of a bit oddball and quirky but they kind of became a little more mainstream, and we had a client with one, the timing belt started making this clattering noise and they used more bizarre tensioning mechanism.
I can't really describe it here, but I looked at it and go, "This is supposed to be a highly engineered car, and it uses little ball socket joints on the tensioner," of course the replacement part was it was a regular style hydraulic oil filled tensioner and I don't know why they used that in the first place but every once in a while you find a strange thing like that but that was for the very early '97, '98 sort of model, so you'll never see that on anything newer, but as I say, if you got a timing belt, you need to know that it needs to be done. Timing belt is definitely a maintenance thing if the engine has one, and a lot of them don't.
Mark: Interior body and electrical system issues.
Bernie: Pretty good overall. I mean these are obviously nice, it's the luxury brand of Volkswagen, so there's a lot of fancier stuff but generally things seem to operate pretty well, we don't repair a lot of electrical issues with these cars. The power windows are pretty reliable, door locks, those kinds of things they're all pretty durable. With any car if you keep it long enough and it gets old enough something will happen, but it's not a problematic area for sure. Bulbs, on the models that have replaceable bulbs because this is starting to become a thing of the past with LED lights but those vehicles, bulbs tend to burn out. I had a client with a Q7, I remember every time he'd come in for service, it was at least a few times a year because he drove a lot, there would be five bulbs burnt out in the vehicle and of course the dash would be lit up like a Christmas tree morning, warning you that your lights are out. It's good having those warnings but it's kind of annoying because it always seems like there's something wrong with your car but electrically they're pretty good. Problems people might have would be more unusual than normal.
Mark: So, on all of these things, would you say that you see the S models, sort of the RS models a little more often just because they're more very high end, high performance range in the Audi series?
Bernie: We don't see a lot of RS models, I mean the RS's are even rarer. We do work on a few of them, the S's a little more, but I mean, more of the cars we work on are the regular. The lower end, the A line kind of models, but the S's are kind of the same thing that they just cram something a little more high performance in it and along with that comes more expensive repairs, so just so you know if you're going to buy that you're going to get a much fancier car, much faster, more fun to drive and more expensive to repair car, if that answers the question.
Mark: Absolutely. So, what maintenance service is required to keep all these Audi's running well?
Bernie: Well certainly regular service, so changing the oil as recommended and actually I'd suggest, not just as recommended by the manufacturer but more frequently because a lot of these, they're all synthetic oil changes. A lot of them they stretch the interval out along ways and it's better to do it probably ... We can discuss that kind of thing or you can discuss that with your service provider but more frequently than the manufacturer recommends I think is a good practice. Some other services, of course there's break fluid that should be flushed and engine coolant once in a while, there's other drivetrain fluids that need to be changed.
These aren't frequent services that need to be done they're in the 50 to 100,000 kilometre or 30 to 60,000 mile kind of range services. But fuel services are a really important thing, especially with a lot of newer generation Audi products, I say newer generation like last ten years even a little longer now use a direct fuel injection system and carbon deposits on valves can be a really big issue, so there's a cleaning service, it's like direct injection cleaning fuel injection cleaning service is highly recommended probably every 30,000 kilometres, 20,000 miles. It's really important to do that because if you get too much carbon build up on the valves, the engine can sometimes require disassembly to fix that, so this is a place you don't want to go and the services are not that difficult to do and not that expensive.
For the older models, before the GDI systems, the direct injection systems and Audi often calls them FSI or TFSI systems, a motor vac fuel injection type cleaning works really well to keep combustion deposits under control and keep the engine running well and of course, a part of good maintenance is using good quality gas and that doesn't mean necessarily premium gas as opposed to regular, it's good to use what's recommended, and a lot of Audi's will use premium because they're turbo charged performance engines, but using a top tier rated gas is good because they put the right additives in to keep the engine clean.
Mark: And how do you compare Audi with Mercedes, BMW and Porsche?
Bernie: Well, they're all kind of different. They all have their problems, they all have their issues. I'd say Audi's are a little more reliable and less problematic than BMW's. Maybe a little worse than Mercedes, it's kind of hard to say and it really depends from model to model, I mean they all have their goods, they all have their bads but they're all up there and I'd like to kind of call finicky German cars. They're in some ways, just a little bit overly complicated in many areas and a little more problematic but I mean, I'd say they're all kind of in the same realm.
Mark: And you're saying this as a Mercedes owner?
Mark: And BMW owner.
Bernie: And a BMW owner, and I have to say I like the Mercedes better, I find it's a little more reliable, but it depends from model to model.
Mark: So there you go. Audi vehicles. If you need any service or repair on your Audi in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy or check the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of blog posts and video posts on there about makes and models and types of repairs for many years and as well our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair where we have hundreds of videos and of course we'd really appreciate you listening and watching the podcast and thank you Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you Mark and thanks for watching and listening.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. I'm the producer of our cast, our videos, our stuff. We do the websites. We do all kinds of stuff. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: I'm doing very well.
Mark: Kind of got lost there for a minute. We're gonna talk about a 2002 Audi A6. What was going on with this fine German automobile?
Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop. The owner was complaining of a loss of coolant. Not huge, but over time it was leaking coolant, so that was the client's complaint, coolant loss.
Mark: What tests did you do to find a loss of coolant?
Bernie: There's a couple ways we can test the cooling system. The way we generally ... Besides a visual inspection to verify a leak, which we can do under the car and on top, is a pressure test. What a pressure tester does, it actually puts the cooling system under pressure, same as what occurs when the engine actually warms up. The way a car cooling system works is it's a pressurized system. There's a sealed cap, which will blow off if the pressure exceeds a certain amount. Usually it's about 16 pounds per square inch, Psi. Some engines are a bit lower, some are a bit higher, but that's sort of the average. The pressure tester basically puts the ... We can put it under that level of pressure, and that'll force coolant out of the system. The thing with a coolant leak is, again, when the engine's cold, there's no pressure, so there may not be a leak. Sometimes there is a leak when there's no pressure, and then when it pressurizes, there's a leak. It's kind of odd the way cars work. Generally speaking, the more pressure you have, the easier the leak will occur. So we pressurize the system and then look for leaks. Sometimes it'll take a matter of seconds if it's a large leak. Other times, we've had vehicles where we pressurize it. An hour later, we look, can't see a leak. Leave the pressure tester on. Next morning, we come into the shop and there's drips on the floor and go, "Ah, that's where it is." Sometimes it's quick, sometimes it takes a while. There is one other test we do, and that is for combustion gas leakage if we suspect a cylinder head problem, but that wasn't the case in this vehicle. The only testing we did on this was a pressure test.
Mark: And what did you find?
Bernie: What we found was there was a leak under the intake manifold around the back of the engine, which required further disassembly. What we did eventually find was the auxiliary water pump, which is located underneath the intake manifold, was leaking. That was the major cause of our leak. With Audis, there's so many hidden bits and pieces. This is true of a lot of cars nowadays. There's coolant pipes that run in various spots that are hidden under the intake manifold, under covers. There's a lot that often needs to be removed just to find a leak. But that's what we found on this car. Auxiliary water pump was leaking.
Mark: What was involved with repairing these components?
Bernie: A lot of disassembly. It's a lot of work. The other thing we did was replace the heater hoses as well. Let's just get into a bit of a picture show here.
Mark Bossert: Go to the pictures.
Bernie: Yes. The pictures. If you open the hood of this Audi A6, it's a V6 bi-turbo engine, which right away tells you there's a lot of stuff under the hood. There are two turbocharges hidden, one on each side buried way down, almost impossible to see.
This is basically the engine cover, the air intake pipe on the top, covers over the battery, plastic covers around the ... There's a lot of covers.
This is what we found once we removed the covers. The intake manifold, and that's the auxiliary water pump. This is located brilliantly, right in one of the hottest areas of the engine underneath the intake manifold. Obviously not a bad spot, because the car's a 2002 and it's 2018 right now, so that's a good 16 years of use and it's just started to leak. It possibly could be a better spot, but that's why it's there.
The other item I mentioned we replaced were the heater hoses, and I'll show you a picture in a minute. The heater hoses run from this area here. They run beside the battery, underneath the firewall here, through a tube, and they terminate somewhere way under here that you can't even see. Again, just for perspective, this is with the cover on. This is with everything removed. You can see there's a lot that's changed.
Now heater hoses. The heater hoses were not leaking, but we did this as a maintenance item. While we were working on the vehicle, we noted that the heater hoses were quite swollen. If you look, this is a brand new hose here, and this is the old hose here. Just take a minute to look at it. You can see where this clamp goes, how the rubber is much larger here. It's much larger in diameter here. By the way, that cut was just done for removal purposes. But you can see the whole hose itself is quite a lot larger. Wasn't leaking, but when a hose gets like this, the rubber's deteriorated really badly, and it's only a matter of time before it blows.
Mark: It looks like a good bratwurst.
Bernie: It does, exactly. Very good. Yeah, so anyhow, that's ... Yeah. That's our hose. Again, this is basically done as a preventative maintenance. Definitely extra labor to do it, but while we had the intake manifold off, made a lot of sense because it saved the client quite a few hours of labor, hence money.
Mark: These are complex vehicles, Audis. We've talked a lot about Audis, and they always are complex, so that means it's expensive and somewhat complicated to repair. Is it still worth it at this age?
Bernie: I think so. It largely depends on how the vehicle's maintained and who the owner is and how you take care of it. We've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years now. Previously, all the service they did on it was pretty up-to-date. When you keep a vehicle in good shape, it's just a matter of repairing the items as you go. Yes, they are expensive to repair. It's also an expensive car to replace. This particular model, the A6 with the 2.7 turbo was not a cheap model in its day. Again, calculating the cost of repairs, if you look at it over a period of a year and you think, "Well, say I spent $5,000 in a year." Most people think, "Oh, that's a lot of money." But you think a lease payment on a car like this, probably $1,000 a month. That puts you about $12,000 a year. Yes, you do have the benefit of a brand new car, but for about a third of the price, you can maintain an old one and take care of it. I think it's a good way to go. Either way with a car, it's money out the door whether you're making monthly payments, whether you're saving money and you buy the car cash, or whether you're repairing it and maintaining it. It's money out the door. You just gotta look and see how much it is.
Mark: That's one way to amortize or look at your car repair costs then, I guess.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. I've had, interestingly, conversations with people where they ... "Oh, the car's worth $4,000. I don't wanna spend two on it 'cause that's half the value." I'm thinking, "What does that have to do with it?" It's really about looking at how much money's actually going out the door, 'cause no matter what you do, money is gonna have to go out the door. If you keep it in good shape and take care of it, it'll be better overall. I think it's important to just kinda calculate your overall costs. Of course if you buy a new car, which is fantastic to have, the insurance costs are higher on a newer car than an older one. I don't know. It's a matter of just crunching the numbers, looking at it, seeing if it works. Of course if your car's in the shop every month for a breakdown, that's not very good either. There comes a time and place where it's time to retire a car, but in the case of this Audi, the mileage is still fairly low. The owner takes pretty good care of it. They're able to part with it for a few days every once in a while to do some maintenance and repairs.
Mark: Speaking of the Audi A6, how was it after the repairs?
Bernie: Yeah, really awesome. No further coolant leaks. Again, with those heater hoses replaced, we prevented a further unexpected repair. We could've left those. But somewhere down the road those hoses are gonna burst, and it'll be driving down the highway or driving down the road somewhere where you're on your way to a meeting. This is what we like to do at our shop, is find those kind of things and prevent them from happening. That's the whole key to preventative maintenance is fixing it beforehand. And it's cheaper and less stressful.
Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your fine German automobile in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, 'cause they're busy. Or check out their website, PawlikAutomotive.com. We have hundreds of videos on YouTube. Check us out there. Or thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years of servicing and repairing vehicles in the Vancouver BC area and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. Eighteen times, voted by their customers as the best in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a 2003 Audi A4, brake flex hose replacement. What was going on with this Audi?
Bernie: Well this vehicle came to our shop with a few concerns. Did an inspection on the vehicle and one of the things we found was, for a lack of bette term, a very pregnant brake hose and I’ll just get right into pictures because that will be the best way to actually show you what was going on with this vehicle. So here’s a quick view of the 03 A4 that we serviced, and we’ll just get into the brake hose which is right here. So there’s our Audi A4, 03 that we serviced and there is the brake hose. So this is the front left corner of the vehicle. You can see the McPherson strut here and that red arrow points to as I said a very pregnant brake hose. There’s a big humongous bulge in this brake hose. Shouldn’t be there. You can see the rubber, very continuous piece and actually, interesting, I didn’t even notice this on the vehicle, but there’s a very slight bulge here too which is also a problem as well. But this was the major issue on this hose and warranted immediate replacement.
Mark: So I’m going to assume that this didn’t occur in the normal way that pregnancy occurred? What would cause this to happen?
Bernie: So a brake hose, I’ll just keep looking at this picture, a brake hose is basically a multi-layered rubber, it’s got rubber, it’s got you know it’s got fibrous, it’s got cords that run through the hose in different directions. It’s a very strong hose. This hose will handle at least 5000 psi pressure which you know, a brake system will undergo on a very high panic stop and we’ve seen, and actually tested on a gauge over 4000 psi and there’s probably some that put out even more. So this hose has to hold a lot of pressure. Now what likely happened with this hose, is there’s a, it probably developed a pin hole somewhere, like the rubber deteriorated somehow, developed a pin hole and the outer jacket of the hose is actually filled with brake fluid. So this is a pretty serious condition. As I mentioned, this other bulge here, which we didn’t really even notice, at least I didn’t when I took the picture, you know is also a serious condition, there’s deterioration there as well. So this hose is basically rotting itself from the inside out.
Mark: So what would happen if the hose was left un-repaired?
Bernie: Basically it would just blow and at the worst, usually these kind of things can often happen at the worst of times. You’d be driving down the road, you know, you hit the brake in a panic stop and the pedestrian runs out in front of you, you nail the brake hard and the hose just goes boom, and of course your brake pedal drops to the floor. Now a modern vehicle, you won’t loose all of your brakes but you’re going to lose at least half of your braking ability at a time you don’t want it to happen. So anything like a cracked brake hose, or sorry, a deteriorated brake hose, it’s a serious issue. You need to fix that.
Mark: Any other problems that happen with brake flex hoses?
Bernie: Well the other thing that happens a lot is they’ll crack. The rubber will crack. That’s probably the most common issue we find with them. As you look at the hose, especially where it meets the metal crimping’s at the end, it’ll usually start developing cracks and that’s a good sign that hey, this hose is wearing out, it’s time to replace it. The other issue that happens with brake hoses that we see from time to time, is they’ll actually develop an internal blockage. So sometimes, if you have a vehicle that’s pulling to the left or to the right, and you hit the brake, that could be a front brake hose that’s plugged. A lot of times it’s a calliper that’s seized but it can also be a brake hose that’s plugged or if you go to bleed the brakes or flush the brake fluid and there’s absolutely no flow of brake fluid, it could be due to a blocked brake hose. So that happens from time to time. More common is these leaky hoses or cracks, cracks are the most common. Second would be these bulges and third would be the blockage.
Mark: So I’m going to assume this isn’t just an Audi problem?
Bernie: No, it happens on all cars. They’re all, all the hoses are made from more or less the same materials and designs so it happens on all vehicles.
Mark: And is there any correlation between how much somebody’s, you know, if you’re driving really fast a lot and hitting the brakes a lot, is it going to wear your brake hoses out faster?
Bernie: Really good question, I would say not. Really they just, they’re just a kind of part that wears over time and not really so much with brake usage. I don’t really, I’ve never really thought of brake hoses as any preventive maintenance, to say, you know really probably the only, the biggest killer might well be road salt because it deteriorates the metal crimps on the ends but overall they’re, they just wear and then they wear out when they do. You can’t really wreck them.
Mark: And that’s a regular check item when you guys to maintenance on any car?
Bernie: Oh absolutely. Yeah, whenever we do a maintenance service inspection like a, in our shop, a B service inspection, which is a full inspection or a brake inspection, we always look at the hoses very thoroughly. Something you should do you after the car’s a few years old, I mean, every year you should have that kind of level of things inspected because it could be good this year and you know next year, it’s got a hole in it or even you know, six months down the road, things develop. So that’s why it’s good to have, important to have your vehicle inspected annually.
Mark: So you work on a lot of Audi’s, how are the A4’s for reliability?
Bernie: Yeah, they’re pretty good, you know, I often say, probably sound like a broken record, most European cars, more things tend to go wrong, they cost a little more money to fix and maintain but overall, they’re quite good vehicles and you get a nicer ride than your sort of average car. So yeah, they’re quite good.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Check our their website pawlikautomotive.com, we’ve go five plus years of videos and now we’re adding Podcasts to the mix. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: You’re welcome Mark, thanks
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 18 time winners, 18 times, come on, Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well this morning
Mark: So, Audi S4, these are a fun little vehicle, this is a 2004 with the V8 and there was a drive belt change. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well the vehicle came to us with a couple of issues, actually the belt wasn’t the major one, it was, but we’ll talk about the belt anyways, but actually the major issue, it came in with some smoke coming out under the hood and the steering felt really stiff and it turned out that the power steering racket had a severe leak and also one of the hoses as well. So we replaced that, that was a very major amount of work in and of itself but we’re here to talk about the drive belt today. Basically, we’ll talk about the drive belt, there’s a bit of complexity involved in changing it.
Mark: I bet, this is a V8 crammed into basically into a vehicle designed for a 4 cylinder engine on the platform, how does that, how did that work?
Bernie: Well in order to get the, yeah, it’s very tightly fitted actually when you look down into the hood, you can barely see the drive belt, I mean, there’s no room to even put a tool on it. It’s wedged in extremely tightly, the clearance is probably like between the front place of the engine and the radiator, maybe an inch but no room to put any tools in.
Mark: So what needs to be done to get the belt replaced?
Bernie: Oh so that’s a really good question. So Audi has engineered in a solution and basically what you do is you remove the front bumper of the vehicle and then you, there’s several bolts that move the rad support forward and actually, the hoses, coolant hoses are all designed and anything attached, it’s designed to be flexed out a few inches so you can actually get in and access the belt area. So we’ll just share some photos at this point. Here’s our S4, it’s still a nice looking wagon, practical and certainly very peppy with that V8 engine in it. So there is a view looking down on, looking straight down into the engine compartment, there’s the pulley’s with the belt off, it’s not a large belt on this vehicle, it actually, this just drives the alternator and the AC compressor on the front, power steering is driven off the back of the engine which is another nightmare in and of itself. We won’t get into that one today but basically this is the actual, this is with the rad support moved forward so you can actually access the belt. I’ve got another photo to share here, this is a sort of view of the front, so the bumper’s off here and a kind of view looking at the engine but you can see even this doesn’t have a lot of clearance but there’s just enough to get in there.
Mark: so I there’s a lot of other services on this vehicle that need that same procedure, right?
Bernie: Well anything that requires work on the front of the engine will need that and a lot of Audi’s with timing belts, you actually have to do this too. So some of the V6 models with timing belts or even the 4 cylinders, you have to put it in the service position to pull the bumper off and slide it forward. I mean on this vehicle too, if you need to get the alternator out, you’ve got to get that. There’s a lot of things that need to be done to do it, so I mean, it adds a fair bit of work to every job but that’s what you get when you have an Audi.
Mark: So I’ve driven an S4 and ridden in the V8 model, I’ve even driven the V6 supercharged one, which is a later version of this, these things are little rockets, how are they for reliability?
Bernie: I’d call it a fair car, I mean you know, Audi’s are, there’s a few things that go wrong with these cars that are a little more than average and once they older of course, things will go wrong. The steering rack on this vehicle is a pretty expensive job based on the price of the part and there’s a lot of labour involved to remove it as well. So they’re complex vehicles when things do go wrong they cost a lot more to fix. They’re generally pretty reliable but some things that come to my mind on the various models and I’m not saying just specifically for the V8 but there are various models that there are things like crankcase breather issues which are common on a lot of European cars, ignition coils on Audi seem to die frequently and they’re actually one of the things that are pretty cheap to fix, the coils themselves are inexpensive and the labour is really easy. Yeah so, the ignition coils are mounted right on top of the engine on actually all Audi’s, the V8’s, the V6 is 4 cylinders and they remove extremely easily. So there’s one thing, even though they do fail, they’re extremely simple to replace, that’s a positive thing. But overall, I mean they’re nice cars you know, again and I say this with a lot of European, if you want to get a fancy European car you’ve just got to be prepared to spend more money to fix it.
Mark: And service becomes really important, regular
Bernie: Absolutely, I mean more important than any other car, it drives me crazy when I see someone who owns an expensive car like this, and they don’t change their oil regularly enough knowing what the cost of an engine replacement is on the car like this, you just don’t ever want to go there. So change your oil, do all the maintenance service, you just want to do anything extra, because extras will come along but just do whatever you can do to keep it maintained and lasting a long time. A lot of European car engines will last for 20, 30 years, you know there’s Mercedes out there even with 40 or 50 year old engines that are still running. So if you take really good care of your vehicle, it can last a long time.
Mark: So there you go, if you need service for your Audi, A series, S series, whatever it is, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you must book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel - just search for Pawlik Automotive. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’re talking cars and we’re going to talk about how reliable the Audi Q7 is. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing really well.
Mark: So Audi Q7, are they reliable?
Bernie: Yeah, they’re fairly reliable, I mean, you know to me I sometimes define reliability as can you get into your vehicle in the morning, will it start every time and the answer is of course, as long as you maintain your vehicle, yes they are quite reliable. There’s not too many surprise issues with these vehicles. They’re pretty good overall.
Mark: What items do you typically repair?
Bernie: Well, a lot of brakes, brakes don’t last very long in these vehicles, they’re also expensive to fix. Tires also wear out pretty quickly, I mean those are sort of the bulk of what we do on these vehicles. Also oil services, but because they use synthetic oil, they have a pretty large capacity oil pan, you don’t have to change the oil as frequently as you do on a sort of typical vehicle. But those are the main items that we do.
Mark: So why do brakes wear out so quickly?
Bernie: Well, that’s something that has puzzled me in a lot of these larger European sport utility vehicles, Porsche Cayenne’s, Audi Q7’s, Range Rover’s as well, they use a very large brake pad, a large brake rotor, you’d think that that should last a long time, but they’re heavy vehicles and the braking is very aggressive on them you know for safety reasons. So I think that’s part of what causes them to wear out so quickly but if you own one of these, expect you’re going to be doing a brake job every 30 to 50,000 kilometres and it’s always pad and rotors that wear every time.
Mark: Wow, and what about tires, why do they wear out so quickly?
Bernie: Again, it’s a sporty vehicle, they use a large tire, but they’re not, they’re more of a sports tire as opposed to being a long life truck tire. So again, it’s there for the ride, it’s there for the handling and so these tires just don’t last quite as long and rotating them regularly is critical because they start wearing funny and then they’re worn out. So again with tires you get 50,000 kilometres out of set you’d be lucky.
Mark: Ok, wow again. So what about engine concerns any of those?
Bernie: Overall the engines are pretty reliable, although we did speak at our last hangout about a rather expensive oil leak on a 4.2 litre V8. So things do happen but generally they’re pretty reliable. Some of the the concerns we do find are ignition coils wear out, this is pretty common on Audi’s. Fortunately, the coils are really cheap so I think Audi uses the same coils from a four cylinder to a V8, all over the place so they’re surprisingly inexpensive, but there is on a V8 for instance, there is 8 of them of once they start going you should change them all. Intake manifolds on the 4.2 litre, there’s a flapper inside the intake manifold that can wear out and break and that can cause the check engine light to come on. In extreme circumstances little bits and pieces can fall into the engine and jam up valves and can cause some pretty serious problems. So that’s another issue, but overall the engines are pretty reliable but they can be very expensive to fix. As again, if you look at our other previous hangout on the Audi oil leak situation. There’s a variety of engines in these vehicles too, there’s a 3.6 litre VR6 engine, 4.2 litre V8, gain runs really well, really good engine and then there’s a few different diesel options as well. The 3 litre diesel seems to be the most common, the turbo diesel, but there is a V8 as well and I’ve actually never seen this but I did a little research, there’s actually a V12 diesel that is available for three different model years. It’s got 493 horsepower and 738 foot pounds of torque. Now that would be an awesome ride. I’ve never actually seen one, I don’t know how many of them they made, but I don’t know that’s I’d even want to be around to repair it, I wouldn’t want to own that vehicle when it comes time to repair it but I thought that was pretty specification wise, pretty cool.
Mark: So are there any maintenance services that you would recommend as essential if you own one of these vehicles?
Bernie: Here’s a photo of a Q7 just to add a little flavour to our talk. Maintenance services, you know, regular oil changes are critical, the intervals on these vehicles are long, like a lot of European cars, I would shorten them up by, go 75% of the length, so if it’s 20,000 kilometres do the oil change at 15, if it’s 15 do it 10 to 12 thousand, better to do it sooner than later. Again if you look at our hangout with the oil leak and you look at the timing chains, the things in the back of the engine, you just don’t want these things to wear out. You don’t want, if you don’t want to be faced with a repair bill for something like that, so that’s critical. If you own a diesel you really need to drive that vehicle a lot, it needs to get warm, good highway drives are important. If you’re just doing a short little 5 kilometre commutes you’re really doing a disservice to that diesel. It’s going to cost you a lot of money to fix in the long run. So yeah, regular oil changes and regular services, rotate the tires, inspections every year or so depending on how much you drive. Those are the critical things.
Mark: This vehicle was, the platform was built with VW and Porsche and they have their own versions the Touareg and the Cayenne. How does the Q7 stack up against those?
Bernie: Well the Q7 and the Touareg are really quite similar. They use the same lines of engines although I believe the Touareg actually is available with a W12 V8 which is you know, again a ridiculously complicated engine but the Porsche I mean, it’s a similar vehicle but they’ve got their own drivetrains, they’ve got their own suspension systems, and their own engines and quite honestly, the earlier versions of the Cayenne were a disaster. The first V8 that Porsche had done since the 928 and they really botched it up for a few model years. I think the newer ones are better but those older ’05 to ’08 kind of era would be a vehicle to definitely avoid. So if I was going to choose any of that particular line, I’d go with the Audi because it’s got the nice luxury features and it’s a step up from the Volkswagen so if you’re going to have the problems with it, at least you’ve got the more luxurious vehicle. Although the Touareg is very nice.
Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Audi Q7 or any Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or on their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, we’re going to talk cars. So we’re talking about a 2007 Audi Q7 that had an engine oil leak repair. How’re you going Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing really well this morning.
Mark: So what was going on with this Audi SUV?
Bernie: Well this vehicle came to us with an engine oil leak and it was quite an oil leak when the engine, with the engine running there’d be, every minute there’d be a, maybe every couple minutes there’d be a drip on the ground, so it was a pretty substantial leak. Did a diagnostic and we found that the leak was coming from the upper engine oil pan.
Mark: Ok, that sounds like a pretty serious leaking problem, what was involved in fixing it?
Bernie: There’s a lot involved and actually you’re right, it is a pretty serious leak. Serious in terms of the complexity of the leak and also the complexity of the repair. The upper oil pan basically requires removing the engine from the vehicle and dismantling an awful lot of the engine just to make the oil pan off to make the repair.
Mark: Ok, that sounds a little extreme. Is the oil pan gasket a typical gasket that seals the entire bottom end of the vehicle?
Bernie: No, it’s a little different and this is kind of common on modern engine technology. The parts are aluminum so they fit the pan together with, usually a high quality, I wouldn’t call it silicone, but it’s like a silicone type sealer, it’s form of gasket material and then any areas of crucial oil flow, they’ll put O rings. So there’s 4 O rings and then the rest of it is this silicone type sealer, a special type sealer which they use in a number of gaskets, the timing chain covers, the lower oil pan is the same thing but that’s how most modern engines are sealed now a days. The typical big, huge gasket or well in the olden days or a cork gasket, those are long gone now.
Mark: So does it really need to be so complicated?
Bernie: Well I don’t know if it needs to be but it is. When you’re driving an Audi, people buy them because you want the performance, you want the fuel economy and of course, emissions on engines, it’s just created a storm of complication but the good news is you can hop in your vehicle still in cold, runs great, works perfectly, the performance cold and hot is the same, where if you go back 20 or 30 years ago with carbureted engines, you’d be stalling and stumbling until the engine warmed up. So not to mention the amount of pollutants you put out. So there’s a lot of complexity. I’m going to share some photos here, we’ve got lots of them to look at so, let’s start with, here’s our oil leak, you see that ok Mark? Perfect. Ok so this is a view of the bottom of the engine looking up, this area over here, this is the crankshaft pulley and the serpentine drive belt and right where the red arrow is pointing, that’s where our oil leak was coming from. So this assembly right here, this is the upper engine oil pan and down here’s the lower oil pan. The lower oil pan by the way can be replaced inside the vehicle but the upper is a much more deeply buried component let’s say. So that’s where our leak was. This is what we viewed in the engine once we pull the engine out, this is another view of, kind of head on, this is a seam of the upper oil pain right here and so that where, again you can see the leak. The oil pouring down out of here, down here, as the engine was running. So let’s look at the complexity. There’s the back view of the engine. These are the timing chains of the engine. I mean, this is like a really really complicated set up, a lot of bits and pieces. Fortunately for our client, everything seems to be in pretty good order but there are a lot of parts and pieces that can wear here, a lot of money. So basically here is the crankshaft, so this is where it all starts turning from. You’ve got chains here driving the oil pump drive, then you’ve got chains here, this is the main chain that drives the camshaft gears and then you’ve got chains that drive the camshafts and these are the variable valve timing phasers, there are solenoids up here. So there’s a lot that goes into this to make this engine rune like the beautiful engine it does, but as you can see, there’s a lot of complexity here. What else have we got here, there’s a view of the vehicle, to pull this engine out, you basically pull the whole front cradle out, the transmission, the transfer case and the engine so that’s the assembly sitting on jack stands after it’s removed and the body of the vehicle is sitting up above. Almost looks like a Ford 6 Litre type of jobs that we do. Now one common, oh so here’s our lower engine oil pan, so this is what the unit looks like cleaned up and mostly cleaned up and ready to be reinstalled. Very precise piece of machine, you know precision machine piece of equipment. And yeah, so now one area of problem on these Audi’s, these engines are fairly reliable but there’s one engine, one problem area and that is the intake manifold. They’re inside the intake manifold there are runners to change the airflow inside the intake manifold, again this is what gives the engine the performance that it has. There’s a set of runners here, right by the intake ports, there’s a set of runners here and then inside the manifold is a set of runners that change as well. There’s actuators over here which are electronically controlled and when we took this manifold out, there’s actually some broken pieces that fell out, fortunately they never fell into the engine, we were able to retrieve them, but these are, this is part of the flapper inside the manifold that’s broken. This is actually a fairly common breakage problem on these engines. Sometimes it can result in pieces actually falling into the engine and causing problems. So this is something we’ll have to address with this repair. It’s expensive, unfortunately you have to buy a complete manifold and the part can only be purchased from Audi. So there’s a view of the complexity, some of the things, one of the things that goes wrong, a couple of things and there we have it.
Mark: So looking at the back end of that engine, kind of reminded me of a throwback to looking at an old V12 Ferrari engine with dual overhead cams.
Bernie: Yeah, same complexity, you don’t need, you can have that same level of complexity even in a Kia nowadays.
Mark: So how are these vehicles overall?
Bernie: They’re pretty good, I mean they, it’s an Audi, it more expensive to maintain of course, things that that wear out faster than you’ll find in a lot of other cars, it’s big, uses a fair bit of fuel, very nice vehicle, overall pretty reliable but there are some areas of issues and we’re going to discuss that in a future hangout.
Mark: Alright, so we’ve been talking with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. If you need service on your Audi from experts who know what they’re doing, so Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thank you
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repairs in Vancouver.
Mark: So, Audio S6, this is a pretty hot little number; you had to do some maintenance?
Bernie: Yes, it had about 25,000 kilometers and was due for a maintenance service. Basically the service that was required at this point in time was an oil change, oil and filter, the air filter was dirty and we replaced that, wiper blades were smudgy, those were replaced and a full vehicle inspection and we didn’t really find a lot of issues with the car, low mileage, 25,000 kilometers is still pretty low so the brakes were good, everything else was in good shape.
Mark: So what does the Factory Maintenance Schedule say to do for this Audi?
Bernie: So, it’s oil changes is every 15,000 kilometers or once a year, every 12 months which I think is great. There are a lot of European cars, BMW specifically, they have 24,000 kilometers oil change intervals which and actually Porsches are like that too. I think it’s ridiculous, I mean that’s a really long time to go with engine oil.It could probably be OK if you did nothing but straight highway driving and you put that kind of mileage on in a year, but anything else you really have got to change it more often and Audi at 15,000 kilometers with 8 ½ litres of oil: that’s a really good oil change interval. The oil’s going to get dirty but not excessively at that point; so that’s a good time. It is an expensive oil change in these cars just like it is on a BMW or a Porsche but, you know, it’s worth the money to spend a little extra to keep the intervals done at a more timely fashion.
So that’s the annual service, it’s an oil change and the basic inspection, then the every 2 years’ service is, includes the inspection we just did so it’s a full comprehensive inspection, also replace cabin air filters and brake fluid flush are recommended every 2 years on this car, other than that there’s not much else, I did look at the maintenance schedule further ahead, spark plugs are up at about 90,000 kilometers so you have a long ways to go before you replace those.
Mark: So this is a fairly high performance car, what kind of features does it have?
Bernie: Well, it’s pretty amazing, it’s a twin turbo V8 engine and it goes like stink, it’s just awesome. The interior features: I could go on for a long time, amazing upholstered seats and climate control and navigation system and all that stuff but I thought I would just share a couple pictures because every once in a while I come across a car and it’s just got an absolutely gorgeous looking engine. Almost all cars now a days have plastic covers over top of their engine but even this plastic cover is a beautiful work of art. So many of them are just plain covers but this looks beautiful just without taking it off; but underneath is where it’s really cool and this is what’s underneath that cover which is almost scary. There’s a lot of stuff under this cover and we’re not even really looking at the engine at this point, those nice shiny gold pieces are the two turbochargers so you’ve got your air inlets and exhaust system. Underneath is the engine; it’s a kind of car where you really don’t want to be getting into doing any service at all on this thing, you want to make sure it stays in good shape for a long, long time because it will be expensive, there’s a lot in there to take care of.
It’s also got the direct fuel injection which makes this car so powerful and responsive, it’s an awesome feature, Volkswagen uses this on a lot of their engines and in a lot of cars nowadays: it’s like the diesel fuel injection where the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and not into the intake manifold like traditional fuel injection. This actually brings me to another maintenance item which is not on the manufacturer's list but is something that should be done probably every two to three years and that is doing a fuel system cleaning to remove carbon deposits from the engine. That’s something we can do and we can talk further about that in another hangout but that’s a service that like the Motorvac Fuel Injection Cleaning we used to do but that service is really not relevant on an engine like this because of the way the fuel injection system is differently designed. We’ll do a hangout on that in the future and talk about that.
Mark: Any further thoughts on the S6?
Bernie: No, it’s just a nice car, if you’ve some money to buy a nice car to bomb around in, all-wheel drive, go fast and very comfortable too, it’s a great car.
Mark: Great, so if you need some service on your Audi, these are the guys to go see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. They have a lot of bays now they’ve expanded and a lot of great techs doing a lot of great work or you can check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. There are many years of amazing information. Bernie gets calls from all over the world, sometimes that’s not good but it is an example of a worldwide authority on auto repair and so if you want somebody like that working on your car these are the guys to go see. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
For more about the Audi S6 click on this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_S6
Our featured post is clutch replacement on a 2010 Audi S4
While this article is about clutch replacement what inspired its writing was not the dual mass flywheel or modern clutch technology but the use of innovative weight saving materials related to this job.
Auto manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to save weight for improved fuel economy and engine performance. It only makes sense that shaving a few hundred pounds from the car will require less fuel, and that a 300 horsepower engine will move a lighter car much faster.
On many high end cars, aluminum frames and body metal are utilized; this is moving down to vehicles like the Ford F150 pickup which now utilizes an aluminum frame.
Our featured Audi certainly has aluminum in the body but it was while doing this clutch replacement that we saw some additional weight reduction features. First was the transmission to engine bolts which are made of aluminum. It’s quite bizarre to hold these large bolts in your hand: they are feather weight. From years of working on cars we definitely get a feel for the weight of a bolt and these are so light. Its like holding nothing.
The only disadvantage of these bolts is that they are one time use only. We notice this happening with more European cars, and for many jobs, bolts must be costed into the service.
The other weight reduction part that we noted from this job was the clutch slave cylinder which was made entirely of plastic. It too was feather weight.
These are just a couple examples of what manufacturers are doing to reduce weight. While the bolts and slave cylinder probable reduce the weight by a kilogram at most when these materials are used throughout the car the reduction can be impressive.
Clutch replacement on this Audi S4 is time consuming and expensive. As with most high end European cars many hours are required to remove the transmission and clutch, replace the parts and perform the reinstallation. It seems that German car makers just have a way of making things more complex than they need to be. This clutch utilizes a dual mass flywheel and there is no single mass conversion kit available. With all the labour involved in removing and reinstalling the transmission it makes no sense to risk not changing the flywheel at the same time as the clutch.
This Audi S4 is a beautiful car to drive: it’s handling is tight, the engine is agile and powerful and the manual transmission shifts beautifully. All of this expensive and complex clutch technology along with lightweight materials is just a small part of what make this happen.
For more about the Audi S4 click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_S4
For an interesting study on vehicle weights and reduction options click here https://mitei.mit.edu/system/files/OTRin2035_Chapter-3.pdf