Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well
Mark: So we’re going to talk about Kia Optima today and how reliable, this is a fairly popular car recently, priced very affordably, how reliable is it?
Bernie: Well I’d say it’s fair. They have some significant problems in certain model years, They’ve been around since 2000 which is quite a while, and I would say that for the first decade it wasn’t a super popular car. In Canada it was sold as a Kia Magentis. Not a bad looking car throughout it’s time but not quite as reliable as you’d expect as with a Toyota Camry or the other competitive sized cars.
Mark: So Kia has had some major engine issues, so what can you tell us about that?
Bernie: So this is probably the biggest sort of stain on this car. So from 2011 to 2014 a lot of major engine failures, Hyundai uses the same engine in their Sonata and some other models. Major recalls, so the good news is if you have one of these cars, the engines generally fail and it’s covered by a recall. There’s a law suit from 2015 to 2016 on the Kia Sonata engines as well, I don’t know so much of the details of that but I think it’s a similar problem to the 2011 and 2014. So what happened in the manufacturing process, somehow they left metal behind inside the engine which is obviously not a good thing, somewhere in the crankshaft from what I’ve read, I’ve never actually taken apart and looked at it, but somewhere in the crankshaft journals, in the bottom of the engine in the machining process, metal bits got left behind and so eventually grinds the engine bearings and causes the engine to seize. A pretty catastrophic failure and apparently it can happen very quickly so there’s a bit of a safety concern as well which is probably why there’s a recall, because usually recalls are not for problems, they’re for safety type of issues. So anyways the good news is it’s a recall covered item so if you happen to have one of these cars and you haven’t had a recall notice, look out for it. If you happen to be buying a used car, make sure the recall has been done, or you do your research before hand because the last thing you wan is to have the car break down on you. But that’s kind of the major engine issue. Otherwise there’s really very few problems with the engines, they’re all good. Over the years there’s been a variety of different engine offerings, up to 2010 you could get a V6 engine as well which is a fairly reliable engine, no problems with that. The 4 cylinders are good, all newer like the 2011 and up models are 4 cylinder, you can get them with hybrids in some years, some are turbo charged, others are just regularly naturally aspirated engines.
Mark: Do you have any pictures?
Bernie: Yeah, I’ve got a couple. this is a fairly new model, sorry I’ll just enlarge this. I’m not actually sure what model year this is, probably a 2016, 2017, fairly new. Very nice looking car and also a view of a cockpit to a 2017 Optima Hybrid which is really, I mean look at this, it’s a really nice car. I’d say Kia is bottom end cars and so this is what you get at the bottom end which is pretty awesome. I was in Colorado recently and I rented an Optima, just a regular - I’m back - just a regular Optima and it was an awesome car, good gas mileage about 30 miles per gallon which I think is really good for a sort of mid sized car, fantastic gas mileage, everything about the car drove fine. I have zero complaints. You can go barreling down the highway at 80 miles an hour, it’s really comfortable, smooth, no problems at all so it’s a really nice car. Yeah so that’s a bit about the car, so what else are we going to talk about here?
Mark: Well, how’s the rest of the car? How are the brakes?
Bernie: Brakes are good, we don’t see any issues with brakes. It’s your typical sedan you’ll probably get 30 to 50 thousand miles, 50 to 80 thousand kilometres out of a set of brakes, front or back, that’s kind of you know an average kind of expectation on these cars. So nothing abnormal, they don’t wear out prematurely and don’t seem to have a lot of problems.
Bernie: Good, the only complaint I’d have, we had a client with a Magentis, it was sort of mid 2000’s, the engine mounts wore out so there was a lot of vibration and shaking in the car but that seemed a little, in my opinion, premature, it was a few years ago. Other than that the transmissions, we don’t see a lot of problems with them, they’re really good but I think being, when you make a car that’s cheaper, there’s got to be something that makes it cheaper and I think some of the engine mounts, suspension, bushings and things are probably made a little bit on the cheaper side.
Mark: How about steering and suspension?
Bernie: No real problems with those either. I do read a fair bit about cars and there are some complaints about the steering poles in these cars and nothing we’ve experienced ourselves and I don’t think it’s anything really major, it’s maybe a tire issue but other than that I mean, there’s no real, there’s nothing really glaringly bad about the steering or suspension that wears out. The shocks and struts seem to last a sort of normal amount of time as well. So normal meaning, you know 10 year old Kia’s seem to be in pretty good shape still.
Mark: Sure, and electronics are a big part of all cars, any issues in that line?
Bernie: Nothing that we’ve seen in particular, everything seems to be, you know again on average, there’s nothing, every Kia that comes in, Optima comes in has this particular problem, they’re pretty decent. There’s not really a lot of glaring electronic problems or computer problems with the cars.
Mark: So overall, how would you rate the Kia Optima?
Bernie: Well, saying from a new car, it’s quite a nice vehicle, you could, you know you can drive it, it’s a beautiful car as time goes by, not sure how it’s going to age based on the older ones we work on. I’d say they’re just a fair car, they tend to get old quickly and I kind of fear that a lot of the newer ones will probably go the same way. When the car is ten years old, it’ll seem a lot older than perhaps some European cars or higher end, like Japanese, Camry’s or Lexus. But would I buy one, you know, I’d consider it.
Mark: So there you go. If you have a Kia in Vancouver and you need service for it bring it to Pawlik Automotive, they’ll look after you, they’re mild fans of the car and they work on lots of them. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book an appointment, you have to book ahead, they’re busy or check out 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 talking cars. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well.
Mark: So Bernie, you’ve been doing car repairs for over 30 years, we have this little series running where we’re talking about the reliability of all sorts of different vehicles. Today we’re talking about the Toyota Sequoia. How reliable are Toyota Sequoias?
Bernie: I’d say to put it very simply, very reliable.
Mark: All right, that’s pretty definitive. What kind of competitors are there in this category, what does this vehicle even look like?
Bernie: Well it’s a full size SUV, let’s while you say what does it look like, let’s just share a photo real quick, so there is a 2005 Toyota Sequoia, as you can see it’s the full size, pretty much full size SUV, equivalent I would say to a Suburban, actually probably not as big as a Suburban, but maybe a Tahoe, a Chevy Tahoe, Ford Ex, a little smaller than a Ford Excursion, not an Excursion that’s a massive vehicle, the Expedition, the Ford Expedition. You know a little bigger than an Explorer so kind of in that category of mid to full size SUVs. So for competitors, I mentioned them really it’s the Chevy Tahoe Suburban type vehicle of the Ford Expedition/Explorer category and how does it fair?
Mark: How does it fair against those?
Bernie: I’d say very reliable. I’m not such a big fan of the Ford products, there are a few issues that they have that are I would say, put them on a much lower scale of reliability. I put the Toyota way up there. I find the Tahoe’s and Suburbans are really highly reliable as well. They’re all kind of equivalent quality vehicles.
Mark: What about some of the other Japanese and Korean makes?
Bernie: You know for some reason I can’t think of another imported vehicle that’s of this size and of these sort of model years that’s equivalent to it.
Mark: So this is bigger than like a Kia Sedona, this is larger.
Bernie: Yeah, this is larger. This is a body on frame truck, this is a full, actual real truck. Now I know that Nissan has the Nissan Titan, the pickup but I don’t believe they have a SUV version of that but the equivalent pickup trucks in the Nissan and full size Toyota are comparable.
Mark: So what kind of problems do you see with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well not a lot and I will say to be fair, we don’t see a ton of them because there’s not a lot of them on the road. They’re not a huge selling vehicle like a, there’s a lot more Tahoe’s and Suburbans and we work in a lot of Ford products. We don’t see as many of these vehicles and really I mean, very few issues with them. They are very reliable. I always look at research and what other people are seeing on them, there’s a few complaints of transmission issues in the earlier years, so earlier meaning around 2001 up to about 04, that vehicle I showed you in the photo is 05, by that time the transmission concerns seem to be non existent. But there’s very little it seems to go wrong with them and all we do on them with the clients we have is basic maintenance services, brakes, oil services and whatever other maintenance items are required.
Mark: Does this vehicle use a timing belt?
Bernie: Yeah, it does. Up to around 2010 on the 4.7 litre V8, they’re all timing belt engines so that’s something you need to address; 08 and newer there’s a 5.7 V8, those are all chain driven and once you get into the 2010 years and up, they’re all chain driving engines. So but yeah, the belt is something that definitely needs to be done and usually I think the service interval is about 168,000 kilometres which is a 105,000 miles I believe. So that’s when you need to replace it.
Mark: what about timing chains, do they ever need service?
Bernie: Not unless, not normally, I mean a timing chain, there’s no replacement interval on it. It’s meant to las the life of the engine, however long that is and sometimes that’s really up to how well you take care of your engine. Timing chain engines you really got to be rigorous with your oil changes, follow the maintenance schedule of sooner. Don’t leave it too long. It’s, that’s when the timing chains wear. There’s a lot of plastic guide rails and pieces and that’s when they deteriorate. So you really don’t want to do anything to cause your timing chain, timing chains to need replacement because they are so expensive to do
Mark: What about the resale value on these vehicles?
Bernie: Really high and that’s actually, I’d say that’s where the Toyota’s have an edge over the Suburbans and Tahoe’s and especially the Fords. Toyota’s always, they’re higher price to buy generally speaking for equivalent model, so you’re going to pay more to buy them but over time, the depreciation on Toyota’s is generally a lot less. So the good news is if you buy a brand new one you actually retain more of your value in the vehicle but when it comes to buying a used one, they often cost more money to buy but they’re, they are durable, they’re reliable. So you’re paying money for that. But yeah, the resale value is good for Toyota. I remember for years, the Toyota Forerunner actually had the highest resale value of any vehicle. You buy a new one for say $50,000 you can sell it three or four years later for $45,000 so that’s outrageously good resale value and I’ve heard that the FJ Cruiser which is a kind of unique little sport utility vehicle, again they have extremely high resale value. So that’s one thing that’s very positive about Toyota’s.
Mark: This would be a vehicle you’d recommend?
Bernie: Absolutely yeah, it’s a great vehicle. If you’re looking for a good quality, large SUV, you can even get these with three rows of seats, so you can haul a big family around, they’ll use a lot of gas, it’s a big vehicle but again super reliable, very nice ride, they’re available in a range of models right up to fully luxurious so, just short of a Lexus in terms of luxury features, so pretty amazing, very good vehicle.
Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for a Toyota Sequoia they get the mark of, the stamp of approval from Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. If you’re needing service on your Toyota products these are the guys to call 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Ford F350, your favourite repair vehicle, a 2008, these ones, this is a newer motor, the 6.4 liter diesel but there was an exhaust leak that you need to work on, what was going on this car?
Bernie: Yeah, so our client brought the vehicle to us, with the complaint of an exhaust smell inside the vehicle, very, very noticeable and very, very pungent smell.
Mark: So how did you find the source of the leak?
Bernie: Well we have a few methods; sometimes you can listen for a leak. In this case it wasn’t, there wasn’t really a lot of noise associated with it so we use one of our good methods which is a smoke machine. A smoke machine basically is a device that generates smoke and we use it for a variety of items in the auto repair industry for finding vacuum leaks, exhaust leaks, all sorts of useful things you can do with it. You can even find interior water leaks although we rarely do those sort of services but what we do is we can attach the, with adapters we can attach the smoke machine to the exhaust system and what it does is generates a very thick white smoke and wherever, whenever there’s a leak it’ll actually force the, force the smoke out; so with that we were able to find the leak.
Mark: So where was the leak coming from?
Bernie: The leak was coming from the back of the engine. There are three small exhaust pipes that connect the exhaust manifolds to the turbochargers in the EGR valve and one of pipes was badly broken. It’s common on these engines after a while for this to happen. I’ll just share some photos here.
Mark: So was it really loud?
Bernie: No it wasn’t actually and I’ll just share these photos and I’ll talk about the noises in a sec. Now can you see this?
Bernie: O.k. so there’s our F350 truck, it’s a little dirty, hard to get the vehicles washed and clean this time of year around Vancouver especially after our long, icy, snowy weather. This is the back of the engine, so this is a cab off repair job. You don’t have to do it but we opted to do it for the amount of time involved, makes for a much easier neater job. If you look at the left side of the back of the engine, actually I can use the mouse pointer here, you can see this is the pipe that was blown, you can see it’s just covered in black soot, there’s also some leakage present in this area here, it’s the second pipe so with the cab off it makes it a lot easier to replace the pipe and we opted to replace all three pipes, it really wouldn’t make a lot of sense not to do it while you through the effort of taking the cab off. So this the, after the repair all nice and clean, these are the three pipes, this one, so this pipe here comes from the right manifold to the turbo, this one from the left manifold to the turbo and this connects the EGR system.
Mark: Did you just replace it with Ford parts or did you, or is there an aftermarket fix for this?
Bernie: It’s all, sorry Mark, it’s all Ford parts. That’s really where they all seem to be available. I read that they, I mean I didn’t notice any difference but apparently they may have redesigned them to be a little, a little more durable but this truck is, what 2008, it’s you know nine years old, hundred fifty, hundred and eighty thousand kilometers so you know, it’s, if it lasts the same amount of time again, that’s a long time.
Mark: Sure, so I’m guessing this is definitely based as it’s a cab off repair, this is definitely not a simple fix.
Bernie: No, there’s nothing on a Ford diesel that’s simple on any vintage and you know there’re, it’s a lot of work no matter which way you slice it. This is a really, these engines are really complicated and the way they build things, there’s just not a lot of room around anything to get at things. You were asking too whether this was loud or not and the answer is no, it wasn’t but we’ve seen this on another vehicle’s where you’ll get under certain load conditions hissing sounds and noises similarly when these pipes start to go so that’s, that’s often an indication, you know especially at the back of the engine that the pipes are starting to crack even before you get the smell of diesel fumes.
Mark: So other than this, how are these 6.4 engines for reliability?
Bernie: Well there are issues, you know Ford only used these for three model years and I tried to do a little research to figure out why that was because they’re certainly not really not as bad as a 6 Liter engine but and I still don’t have the definitive answer on that other than I think their relationship with Navistar just went south, but. Reliability not, not fantastic I mean there’s a lot of issues with fuel getting into the oil, we can discuss these in further hangouts but fuel getting into the oil, there’s water and fuel issues, turbocharger problems, these exhaust pipes are another one, radiators leaking, so they’re not fantastically reliable compared to the Chevy or the Dodge and a lot of the issues are around the emission system. They get very poor fuel economy and that just bugs a lot of owners of these vehicles but they are a nice running engine, the first generation, that nice quiet diesel engine we don’t hear a lot of, lot of noise when the engine’s running and so I mean they are good in many respects but just not as reliable.
Mark: So, and they were replaced with the 6.7?
Bernie: They did, yeah. Yeah I haven’t seen any issues with that so far, so I think that’s been so far good, I mean like any engine, I know there are some issues out there but they’re not at all like their predecessors so I think Ford made a good move there.
Mark: So there you go, if you need some service for your Ford diesel vehicle and you want to keep it running, want to keep it running right it’s a big investment, these are the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, they’re experts, they’ve dealt with dozens and dozens of these vehicle and fixed them every time. These are the guys to call 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com; tons of information on there about all kinds of diesels and other vehicles. Thanks a lot Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best, favourite auto service experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well this morning.
Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a 2007 Ford F350 Superduty, you had to do a ball joint replacement on this vehicle. What was going on on?
Bernie: We replaced ball joints, we also did some brake work. The vehicle originally came in for front brakes, it was making some grinding noises and the front brakes were worn out. The owner is a regular, a somewhat regular client and he called us about the ball joints, actually quite some time ago and mentioned that they did need to be replaced, he had some new tires put on. So we had a look at the ball joints and found that yes, they were in fact, couldn’t wait any longer, he was on beyond borrowed time, very dangerous. So we replaced the ball joints and the brakes. I’ll share a video, this is really very interesting to look at, it gives you an idea what a worn out ball joint looks like. Here we go. So if you look at that wobbling thing up there, with a reddish colour, the red is rust. I’ll just repeat the video again, that should not be moving like that at all, there should be no movement there. This is really severe and we’ll play one more time, with that rust there, that indicates that the part’s been badly worn for quite a long time. This is the upper ball joint, this was the worst worn part but the lower ball joint, and we’re back, there was also a lower ball joint which I didn’t include in that video, it also had play but not as extreme as the upper. So that’s what a very worn ball joint looks like. I can’t get my words out this morning… what a very worn ball joint looks like and if, it should be replaced long before it ever gets to that point of wear.
Mark: So is there anything unusually complicated about this repair?
Bernie: Well a Ford, this particular Ford Superduty, they make it a little more complicated than an average vehicle. Just to talk a little bit about ball joints in general, the simplest ball joints are on a car with a McPherson strut suspension, it has one lower ball joint which is often not that difficult to replace. On this particular vehicle, it’s a four wheel drive, so it’s got an upper and lower ball joint, plus it also has a drive axle which goes right through the middle of the hub and in order to take the ball joint apart, you have to remove the drive axle first. You also have to take the brakes off which is typical of many ball joint jobs. You take the brake rotor and the caliper off, take the wheel hub off and then take the axel out, so that’s what’s involved in doing this job. So there are extra steps, mostly because it’s a four wheel drive.
Mark: So what does a ball joint do? Does that allow the suspension to go up and down and the wheel to turn basically?
Bernie: It does actually. It allows the wheels, it allows the steering knuckle which is the piece that the wheel is attached to, it allows that to turn and move and as you said, it allows it to move up and down. Now, actually on a truck like this, it doesn’t because this is a solid front axle or at least semi solid front axle, so there is actually no up and down movement in these ball joints, they only do a side to side movement or sorry, a rotational movement, but nothing up and down. But most cars and any independent suspension vehicle will have up and down movement to the ball joint as well it’s pretty complicated motion involved with it.
Mark: So is there anything that an owner of these vehicles can do to extend the life of their ball joints?
Bernie: Well, just before we get to that I do want to talk about just one other complication to the service on one of these Ford’s because what Ford has designed is they have an automatic locking hub which is more fuel efficient in two wheel drive to not have the hubs locked and there is less moving drivetrain parts, but on these vehicles, Ford’s mechanism for locking-unlocking hubs as well as making it convenient for the owner where he can just push a button in the car is to have a vacuum operated system, where it will actually, if you push the button, it’ll actually use engine vacuum to suck the locking hubs into place and lock them and when you disengage it unlocks it. So what they’ve done with this, they’ve added a bunch of extra seals around, not a bunch, but a couple extra seals around the universal joint where it slides into the wheel hub, so this adds more labour and more cost to doing the job. So I just wanted to throw that in there before we talk about what an owner can do. But basically as a vehicle owner there’s not a lot you can do unless you have a lubricatible ball joint and most, 99% of cars and trucks don’t have them anymore, they are all lubed from the factory, they’re sealed, they actually last a long time. However, when you replace ball joints, like these replacement units are lubable, so you need to lubricate them probably once every year just to make sure that they last. But there’s not much else you can do, they’ll just wear out in their own time. And some vehicles are better than others, these Ford trucks they do last a fair amount of time, Dodge trucks not so long as we’ve talked about, most cars they’re pretty durable they’ll last one to two hundred thousand kilometres.
Mark: So any other thoughts on this repair?
Bernie: You know generally, it’s a Ford, just to talk generally about these Ford trucks, I mean they’re awesome vehicles, tough, they can handle a lot of load, this is a diesel so you know it can haul very heavy loads, it can handle heavy loads but if you don’t need it, don’t buy the truck. This repair with the brakes and the ball joints, very expensive job so if you don’t really need that kind of weight, that kind of, it’s a tool and if you don’t really need that sort of sledgehammer toughness, well then you know, maybe you better get a lighter duty truck because it’ll cost you less money to maintain.
Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service on your F350, these are the guys to go see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, they are on Marine Drive near Oak Street. You can call them at 604-327-7112 to book, they are busy you must book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We’re going to talk about a 2005 Mercedes Benz CL55 AMG. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver are Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing pretty well this morning.
Mark: So, we’re going to, as I said a CL55 that had an ABC tandem pump replacement, what was going on with this sports coupe?
Bernie: So this vehicle came in with a few issues, but one of them is that the ABC warning light was on on the dash and there was an issue with the suspension system, so that was the main concern that the vehicle was brought in for.
Bernie: So the ABC warning light, basically stands for Active Body Control and what it is is Mercedes fancy suspension system, it’s hydraulic so it uses fluid, there are hydraulic struts on all four corners of the vehicle, there are some valve units that control within a hundredth of a second to make the re-adjustments on the suspension system, there are level and height sensors and also there is the pump, which is the unit that went bad with this vehicle. The pump is integrated with the power steering pump, it’s called a tandem pump, it’s actually two pumps in one. So one of the functions is to operate the hydraulic suspension system.
Mark: So what’s the ABC light all about?
Bernie: The ABC light basically, it’ll come on if there’s a problem with the suspension system. So our diagnostic procedure, as we say so many times, we hook a scan tool and computer up to the vehicle, access the trouble code see where, see what’s going on and then we can perform our tests from there. What we found was that the, from our tests, the pump wasn’t working, there was no pressure being developed in the system.
Mark: Ok, sounds expensive and complicated. What was wrong with this pump?
Bernie: Basically the pump had just died. We don’t normally take them apart to fix them, we replace them but yeah, everything on these suspension systems is expensive. First of all, it’s amazing, you can go around a corner and the vehicle doesn’t lean, the control is amazing but when things go wrong with it and they do, it costs a lot. The pump, it depends where you buy it, a rebuilt pump is about $700 bucks, brand new and from Mercedes is a bit under $2000 dollars plus there’s a fair bit of labour to put it in, so that gives you an idea of one end of the spectrum. The hydraulic struts, they can be bought re-manufactured, good quality re-manufactured units are $1200 bucks or more a piece. You can buy them new or rebuilt from Mercedes, they’re $2500 bucks, so there’s a lot of expensive pieces. There are four struts, there are valve units that are a couple thousand bucks, you could spend $20 or $30 thousand bucks fixing this thing, if everything happened to blow at one time, which it won’t but that’s kind of what you’re up against if you own one of these cars.
Mark: Don’t jump your Mercedes CL55 over big obstacles.
Bernie: Yeah, it’s not meant for jumping things that’s for sure, but on the road, it works fabulous.
Mark: So how did things work after you got the pump replaced?
Bernie: Really well. The warning light was off immediately, pump worked great, the whole suspension system was right back to where it’s supposed to be. So yeah, it worked really well. I’ll share a couple of photos while we’re at it. So here is our CL55, beautiful car. Unfortunately weI didn’t have a chance to wash it before I took this photo, it’s Vancouver, it’s salty roads and it doesn’t look as pretty as it could, but that’s the car, very beautiful vehicle, powerful. There’s the pump, the old pump that we replaced. So yeah, I mean, it doesn’t look much more than an old grungy pump but that’s the unit that’s a couple thousand dollars from Mercedes, but other than that it’s, there’s our piece. I’ll just close our photos here and I’m back.
Mark: So was anything else required for this repair?
Bernie: Well the other thing we did was we did a flush on the hydraulic system, it uses a special fluid, it’s a Pentosin CHF 11, it’s a special hydraulic fluid that is actually commonly used in a variety of European vehicles for power steering pumps and hydraulics. It’s an expensive fluid about $30 bucks a litre or so. But we did a flush on the system and this holds quite a bit of fluid but we flushed the system out, the fluid gets dirty over time and it’s actually, I strongly recommend if you own a vehicle with a Mercedes with a hydraulic suspension system, flush the fluid every probably three to four years. It’s a worthwhile service, the fluid gets dirty, it gets dark, it works hard and anything you can do to keep costs down on repairs for this vehicle is well worth it.
Mark: So I know you have one of these AMG’s, I don’t know what year yours is and you have a convertible model, how are these AMG cars over all?
Bernie: Well, they’re awesome and if you won one, you can expect that you are going to spend an awful lot of money to fix it. The finicky, complicated cars, there’s a lot to them, so if you want one I mean they’re amazing cars but be prepared to spend a lot of money to fix it. I sort of budget myself, I don’t know $5 to 10 thousand dollars a year for repairs which is an awful lot of money when you consider an average car is probably a couple thousand. But there’s a lot that can go wrong, you know they have big tires and they’re expensive and there’s a variety of those kinds of things but if you kind of keep that in mind before you buy one of these cars then you’ll know what you’re looking at. And some years you may not spend even a thousand bucks but you just never know. But the one thing is they tend to depreciate quite quickly which is why I own one, because after they’re 10 years old they tend to not be worth a huge amount of money so you can actually get an incredibly fancy car for not a lot, but you’re just going to pay a lot of money to fix it. So, but yeah, there’s a lot to them. It’s a good mechanics car, which is why I think the price goes down so much. If you have the money to buy one new, then you may as well buy a new one.
Mark: So great car with caveats.
Bernie: Yeah exactly. Great car with caveats, just be prepared to spend a lot of money on repairs.
Mark: So there you go, expert opinion from Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive and if you want Pawlik to look after your Mercedes or any other vehicle basically in Vancouver, these are the folks to call 604-327-7112 to book. They are busy you have to book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com couple years of hangout videos on there talking about all different kinds of cars. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a GMC Sierra Duramax diesel that you did a fuel filter replacement on, what’s the story with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought to us for maintenance service, excuse me, there’s a bit of feedback here, this vehicle was brought to us for maintenance service, it needed a full check over, service and just general maintenance and was also due for a fuel filter. The reason that I’m talking about it today, a fuel filter seems like a pretty basic service but there were some interesting things we found when we did the fuel filter.
Mark: So what was interesting with this fuel filter replacement?
Bernie: Well, fuel filters are important, especially on a diesel, a lot of gasoline cars no longer have the replaceable fuel filters built in to the gas tank. But on the diesel, it’s still a replacement item, it’s very critical, if you get any water in the diesel injectors or any dirt, they’re done for, so it’s critical to keep a very clean fuel supply and water free. All fuel filters have a water separator built in to them. Quite frequently we do these services, we take the filter out, drain the water separator, there’s no water the filter’s clean and you sort of think, “well geez, that could of lasted a lot longer”, but there’s a reason why we change the filters and what we do, and I’ll just show a couple of photos. With this vehicle we found some pretty ugly stuff in the fuel filter, I don’t know if it was just the age of it but it was probably within it’s regular service intervals. So let’s share some photos, you see that ok Mark? So this is the bottom of the fuel filter, there’s a sensor in the bottom, a water and fuel sensor, and this is what we poured out of the fuel filter. You can see that reddish, rusty coloured water, that’s basically what came out of the bottom of this fuel filter. I mean, the fuel filter is doing it’s job, perfect, then it’s certainly, absolutely time to get rid of it. This is the water separator, it’s been sitting in the bottom and you can see there’s a lot of guck just floating around in the bottom of this filter for a pretty long time. So very worth, am I back Mark? Ok good. Yeah so that’s basically the reason you want to change your fuel filter on a diesel. I mean these kind of things get into the fuel system, hard to know whether there is rust in the fuel tank or whether the owner went in and filled up with fuel at some point with some contamination but this is why you want to change your fuel filter on a regular basis.
Mark: So how often do you change fuel filters on these trucks?
Bernie: Well, I don’t have the interval off the top of my head, we have maintenance schedules we look at, but one thing about these 2009 era GMC’s, they have a maintenance reminder that comes on the dash. It’ll tell you when you oil is due for service, it’ll tell you when your fuel filter is due for replacement, I can’t remember the time frame, it’s probably 30 to 40,000 kilometres, but I would recommend don’t go any longer than 30,000 kilometres. Change it at least every couple of years if you don’t drive a lot because you never know what’s in there and what kind of damage will happen. A fuel filter replacement is cheap, fuel injectors are not. So you really want to make sure you don’t ever let that material build up to a point where it can actually escape the filter and cause damage.
Mark: And how are these trucks over all?
Bernie: Awesome, you know, the big three American trucks, definitely the GMC/Chevrolet are definitely my favourites. I think that they combine well, they’ve got really well built engines, very reliable, not a lot goes wrong with them. It’s got the good engine plus it’s got the body and the whole chassis of the vehicle is very good. The Dodge’s, the engines are fabulous but the front ends always requires repairs and replacement head ball joints and tire rods don’t last long but the Chevy is very durable and I think the best value for sure and less engine problems than Ford. Although the 6.7 Litre Ford’s don’t seem to have any problems yet but the earlier generation Ford’s were definitely issues, as we’ve talked about. So yeah, if you’re looking for a diesel American truck, I’d just go straight to GMC or Chevy right away.
Mark: So there you go, the expert opinion of Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They are Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair and Service in Vancouver as voted by their customers. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’re very busy so you have to book ahead or check out their website, tons of videos on there, years worth now, pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.