Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

Why Get A Pre Purchase Inspection?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local where he was Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about pre-purchase inspections today. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well?

Mark: So you've seen a couple of vehicles come through your shop lately that have had post-purchase inspections. What have you found? 

Bernie: Well, they're not exactly happy stories. We do get a number of people who come to us and, Oh, I just bought this car and it's got some issues. And, so yeah, it's a post-purchase inspection. This is why we're talking about pre-purchase inspections.

Now, sometimes they're happy stories and we find, Hey, there's not much wrong with the car, needs a couple of little things. But in the case of these two cars, there was a lot going on. 

First one was a Nissan Quest, mid two thousands. Person kind of needed to buy a vehicle in a hurry. Right off the bat she wasn't really, I spoke with her for awhile about the whole purchase process and right off the bat, she wasn't really very happy with the, didn't get a good feeling about the people she bought the vehicle from. They told her some work had been done. It was kind of like someone was selling it for their aunt or uncle. I can't remember all the details, but I hear these stories so often and I've seen them myself. Anyways did buy the vehicle. It wasn't a lot of money, but the vehicle ended up needing a huge amount of work, like thousands of dollars worth of work just to make it safe. There's one sad story. Had this vehicle had a pre-purchase inspection, they probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place, but if they did, you know, if they would have got the vehicle for next to free, that would have probably been, would have maybe made it an okay purchase. 

Our second story, older Dodge van, some younger people wanting to go on a trip. Bought the vehicle for cheap price. Again, they were told, you know, certain things have been done and this and that, but there was a problem with something they tinkered around with a few things. Finally brought it to us. So we did a good, thorough, comprehensive inspection on the vehicle. Found again serious problems worn out rear differential, loose ball joints, worn front brakes, you know, and like really serious expensive items. Again, you know, many thousands of dollars worth of repairs far exceeding the value of the vehicle. 

So there's a couple of sad stories right there. And the reason why you really do want to get a pre-purchase inspection, because you want to know what it is before you buy it. You don't want to find it after you buy it, oh, crap, now I'm faced with all this money to spend. And the vehicle and then, you know, if you decide, Hey, I'm going to sell the vehicle, then you've got to BS your way into selling the vehicle. Whereas perhaps the other people before were just ignorant and they say ignorance is bliss. 

Because you know, for me, I can't sell, you know, I could never sell a car if I knew, Hey, this ball joints about the break. And most people who know those kinds of things are not, don't feel ethical about doing that. 

Mark: So what's a positive story about pre-purchase inspections that you've encountered lately?

Bernie: I've got lots of positive stories, but I'm going to go into one. We had a client and I believe we did a podcast about this, he was looking for a, you know, a fairly new three quarter ton pickup truck. So he went to a GM dealer, local dealer. Very good reputation. Brought the vehicle to us. It was, it was only like two or three years old, not very old, pretty low mileage, like 30,000 kilometres or something like that. So there was a fair amount of money, this purchase, because it was a fairly new vehicle. We put up on our hoist and were shocked to find that this vehicle, it obviously, you know, spent most of its life somewhere in Northern BC or Alberta, where there's a lot of mud on the road.

There was two or three inches of caked on mud all underneath the vehicle. And it had been sprayed with undercoating. So, you know, we kind of curtailed the inspection halfway through said, you know what, this isn't a worthwhile vehicle to buy. He agreed, took it back, eventually found another vehicle from the same dealership, came back same thing. We did another, you know, almost of an inspection and say, you know what? Same thing. So he got a little discouraged with it. I think he found a Ford truck from somewhere else. We did an inspection, great vehicle and you know, he was happy with his purchase.

But if you're spending a lot of money, you want him to get the right truck. And smartly went through the process. You know, we've had people where they do one inspection and I don't know, for some reason they just don't want to spend the next amount of money to do the next inspection. This customer was smart. He did it, you know, we found the right truck and we haven't seen him since, because the truck didn't need any maintenance or repair and he's really happy with it.

The thing I'll say, you know, this was bought from a reputable dealership and I had actually ended up talking with the sales manager about it. Cause I said, Hey, I don't know if you guys actually looked at these trucks, but they probably, I'm assuming they bought them from auction somewhere. You know, they, they kind of bought them on the premise of the mileage was low and, and it's true, but you know, there were some maintenance issues, you know, care, taking issues with the vehicle that should have been dealt with, you know, had someone got under the pressure washer, really cleaned it and done a good job. It would have made the vehicle probably decent. 

Mark: So what could that customer have done to not have to go through three vehicles to find the right one? What quick tips would you have for that? 

Bernie: Well that's a really good question. I mean, I think, you know, before you buy, you really need to do your research. You know, what car do you want? How's the car work? You know, you go for a test drive and make sure the car feels fine. Now this guy did all that. And I think, you know, and then the question is, who do you buy it from? 

If it's a private sale? All you've got to go on, is your intuition and feeling for the person. But if you buy a private sale vehicle, you know, if you got someone to go, Hey, I've got all these maintenance records. I've serviced my car at this place for, you know, at the dealership or this shop for like the last 10 years, they've got those maintenance records. Those are really positive things, you know, in the favour of the car.

But again, for this person, they're buying from a reputable dealership. And I think just something happened, something fell through the cracks. I mean, I wouldn't hesitate to, I was surprised because most car dealerships, especially name brand GM, Toyota, Mercedes, wherever you buy it, you know, their reputation is at stake. They don't want to sell crap. So it kind of surprised me. And there are a lot of independent dealers that are good and some that are crappy. 

So I think you just gotta kind of do your research first. And you know what, at some time, every once in a while you get a, you know, a story like this, where something kind of falls through the cracks.

Mark: Any final thoughts on pre-purchase inspections? 

Bernie: Well, you know, I'd say if you're buying a used car, it's a process. It really is a jungle out there in terms of trying to find the right car. So do your research figure out which car you want and just go with your gut feeling on, you know, who you're buying it from, but get a pre-purchase inspection because you never know whether you're buying a good car from a bad person or a bad car from a good person or a, you know, the, maybe a reputable dealerships got some crappy cars for some reason, their, their systems and procedures slipped. So you get the pre-purchase inspection, again you're going to know a hundred percent that you're buying a car that's good.

Mark: So there you go. If you need a pre-purchase inspection, because you're looking for a good used vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead because they're busy even now, as we start to open up. As well, there's over 600 videos on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, check us out there, all makes and models and all types of repairs. And of course the website pawlikautomotive.com and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts we'd really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and get your car inspected.

A Tale of Two AMGs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Now we're talking AMGs, how are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So a tale of two AMGs. What was happening with these two Mercedes high-performance vehicles?

Bernie: So the first car we'll talk about the C63 came our shop for some service. I found something interesting about this car. I actually own a SL55, a bit older and, there was a commonality between these two cars, not just that they're AMGs that I thought was, this is kind of neat. Lets let's do a podcast and talk about AMG vehicles.

So the C63 came to our shop with a few issues. The owner suspected that perhaps he had a head gasket leak because his coolant was down. The engine was running rough. Fortunately for him, we never found any of those issues. And I think he may have been a little, I don't know, maybe read some stuff on the internet or got a little, jumped the gun anyway.

There are some other issues with that C63 that we found, but I think that the base engine itself is probably in pretty good shape. 

Mark: So your car is about 17 years old, 180,000 kilometres or so I think. Yeah. So what's the difference? What was the commonality between these two vehicles? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the commonality is that these engines, so AMG engines are hand-built in a very fancy factory. I might add. There are a lot of really cool videos you can watch them on how they build these. I've watched one myself. It's pretty neat. So it's not like some guy in a dusty shop putting an engine together. This is like a, you know, building an engine in a laboratory, but the AMG engines are all hand assembled.

And on top of the engine, they have a little tag that has the name of the engine builder. So what I noted is that the engine builder for these two cars was the same. These engines was the same guy. Ricardo Beck. So if you actually get a chance to watch this podcast here, your engines are still performing well out there. 17 years later on an SL55 with 180,000 kilometres. Still runs like a dream. So good work, Ricardo.

Let's look at a couple of pictures while we're at it. So this is a 2003.  These cars look kind of the same for quite a few model years. 

And the other vehicle we have in our story here, this is a 2009 C63 AMG as well. You know, quite different cars, I mean the SL55 of course is a hard top convertible Roadster. This is basically a four door base model sedan, but with the large 6.2 litre engine in it.

So, let's get into looking at some pictures of engines. So this is the engine in the C63. And you can see the name tag right here, Ricardo Beck. And this is a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. And this is Ricardo's older work the SL55, 5.4 litre supercharged V8.

Mark: So what's different about these two engines other than the size? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the displacement is different, obviously. So we'll let's talk about the 5.4 litre the, in the SL55. So this is supercharged V8 5.4 litres. It's an overhead cam engine, three valves per cylinder, two spark plugs per cylinder. Interesting. It's just kind of technology of the day, and non variable valve timing. Whereas if we look at the, we'll just get into the six point, this is a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated. 

So the other engine we'll look at it in a second.

This is the intake manifold, the air filters sit here and a lot of that is done for visual. I mean, these are nice looking engines. When you pop the hood, they look good. Even my wife is not really a car person looks under the hood of our. SL55 and that's a good looking engine. So they've done a really nice job in terms of the visuals of these engines. Especially since a lot of cars, they put plastic covers around everything. You can't see anything. These are variable valve timing on intake and exhaust cams. So it's more sophisticated in terms of how the actual, the base engine itself is built than the 55, which is kind of older technology. The supercharger sits right here. These are the intercoolers, which cools the air that goes into the engine. Then the air filters sit out here, but kind of, you know, kind of a similar sort of look to these engines. 

Mark: So what about performance wise? How different are they? I imagine that the huffer-less (supercharger-less) one is a little bit less juice.

Bernie: It's a little last, but not a lot. I mean, they both go really well. They've got a lot of immediate and instant power. I really like superchargers and not just in the Mercedes, but in other vehicles. And remember, years ago I had a customer, the Ford Lightening truck. So it's about the same size engine I think, it's a 5.4 supercharged. And because this is a pickup truck like an, F-150. Driving it you tap the gas pedal and it's like, the power is instantaneous. Like, Oh man, you can really get addicted to this. It's pretty nice. You know, probably basically equivalent to like, you know, a decent electric car has. It's about as close with an internal combustion engine I think that you can get to an electric car feel. Because it's the power, so immediate. And you know, compared to like, you know, Mercedes has a lot of turbocharged twin turbo models, they kind of got away from supercharging, not a hundred percent sure why, but you know, you can notice, I mean, even though the turbo models have an immense amount of power, there's just this immediacy of the supercharged engine. That just has that microsecond of extra, immediate power that you don't get even with two turbos and all the engineering they put into it. 

Mark: So are there different levels of AMG engines and vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, generally speaking, the AMG engines are pretty much the same and one thing that's nice about AMG is even though they are kind of an exclusive upper end car, they are mass produced. And you know, the nice thing about any of these engines are available in a wide variety of lines of vehicles. So for instance, the 5.4 litre supercharged engine is available in a G wagon, you can get it in E series, you can get it in an S series, CLS. Variety of models. So it's available across the platform and same with the C63. You see that again in a variety of models also. 

So the engines are pretty much the same. Some of them have slightly more horsepower, slightly less, but they're pretty much the same. There's certain trim packages that are slightly different. For instance, in the SL55 I have, you can get different brake packages and mine has the cheaper brake package. Although it's got, you know, fantastic, huge rotors and pads, it doesn't actually have the real, the extra AMG brake package. Which provides even better breaking than, you know, I mean I can stop that car almost instantaneously. But you can get better brakes.

The good news about having the cheaper brake package is, it's way cheaper to fix. The brake rotors on the AMG package are about $1,200 a piece. The ones on the one I have are about $300, which is kinda nice when it comes time to repair it. But, you know, if you're driving continuously, racing, you'd probably want the fancier brake package.

So those are a couple of things. But the other thing that just to watch out for, you can certainly see a lot of cars in the road that says AMG on the back. People, you can buy AMG tags. You can get wheels that are AMG package. So Mercedes offers, you know, a little upgrades and people sometimes put them on to try to make the car look fancier, but you can always tell if it's a true AMG by the actual model number of the car. 

For instance, like a SL55, is the AMG version. Whereas the non AMG is an SL500 or an SL550, depending on the year. So if it has the three digit sort of engine code or model code, then it's not an AMG. So that's kind of the difference. 

Mark: So reliability is probably not a major concern for someone who's looking at an AMG, but how reliable are they?

Bernie: Well, they are really reliable. You know, that's the nice thing about them too you can get a really high performance car that's super reliable and, you know, while it's not a Lamborghini or Ferrari, it's pretty damn close. An SLS is upscale, is up in that class, but you pay a lot more money for that model. But you know, they depreciate heavily which is nice. So if you're looking for a used one, you can buy one for pretty cheap and they are pretty reliable. I mean, they're well-built cars. I, haven't spent a lot of money on the SL55 I've got considering the mileage. I mean, fortunately I can fix it myself, which is a savings. And I mean, don't expect to buy one and have it be cheap to maintain because they are expensive, but they are generally a well built, reliable car. They're just complicated. There's a lot that can go wrong with them and parts can be expensive. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your AMG or any Mercedes-Benz product in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Always check out the website. pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2013 BMW 328i, Maintenance Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada in the midst of the lockdown COVID craziness times, and we're talking cars. And Pawlik Automotive is of course, 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Today we're going to talk about a fairly popular vehicle. A BMW 328i. How are you doing this morning, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So what was happening with this three series BMW?

Bernie: So the car is a 2013 328i. The owner had a couple of issues. One was, an oil leakage, some warning lights on the dash, the engine didn't feel like it was performing properly, possibly some misfires. So those are the client's concerns and things that we looked at. 

Mark: And so you did some diagnosis, what did you find? 

Bernie: Yeah. So we start with a scan tool diagnostic. We basically hooked the scan tool up, did a full code read of the vehicle. There was a couple of codes in the engine, did a visual inspection of the vehicle and noted a lot of oil leakage. It was severe. 

There was oil leaked out everywhere, all over the top of the engine, the bottom, sort of the usual spots that we might find oil leaks on this engine, like around the oil pan gasket area. It was oil around the oil filter, housing area down the front of the engine and in a lot of spots. But of course, without cleaning things up and doing proper diagnosis, it's hard to tell where it's leaking from. And we don't want to sell a bunch of work the customer doesn't need. 

So first step, we did an engine shampoo. We cleaned it up thoroughly.  And then ran the engine and noted immediately an enormous oil leak coming from the oil filter cap housing area. Actually where the cap sits, there's oil leaking right between the cap and the housing. 

The other thing we noted was the engine oil service was way overdue, like by thousands of kilometres. So first thing we proceeded with was an A service, an oil service on the vehicle, and sealed that all up. And then we proceeded from there. We figured a lot of the problems with the engine may have actually been due to the fact that the oil level was a) low and b) just very old. So that's kind of where we proceeded. 

I'm going to show a picture here actually of the oil filter while we're talking. So this is actually the car. It's as a 2013, you know, a classic BMW three series, you know, definitely their most popular model. Four door sedan. Nice vehicle for sure. 

This is what the oil filter looked like. So we took the oil filter out. It had been in there so long, it actually just broke in half when we took it apart. This is the O ring seal that goes around the filter cap. I don't have a picture of the filter cap. It's basically a plastic cap and there's a replaceable seal. The seal is hard as a hockey puck. I mean, if we grabbed it, we could probably crack it in our hands. It was so hardened. So this is why the oil was leaking out. I mean, the filter,  this is not uncommon when we see vehicles that have been way overdue for oil services. Mercedes or BMWs, any cartridge filtered vehicles. The material just breaks down and it goes hard and it just cracks apart.

Mark: Which engine is this? 

Bernie: This is a two litre turbocharged engine. So BMW has done something interesting in the 2011 model year. Instead of using the six cylinder like they did in most models, or they did, in the say the three series that they had some four cylinders as well. You can usually tell the size of the engine by the number of the vehicles, say a 328. It would be a 2.8 litre engine. A 318 for instance, would be a 1.8 litre, which is a four cylinder. But now they've kind of got away from that and they changed the numbering around, but that doesn't necessarily reflect the displacement of the engine. 

So this is a two litre turbocharged engine. Pretty amazing technology. BMW's used it for awhile. It's got all the bells and whistles, you know, of the best of internal combustion engine technology. Twin scroll turbocharger, variable valve timing. It's got, which BMW calls the dual VANOS systems. So intake and exhaust or variable valve timing. It's got the Valvetronic System, which is variable valve lift. It's got a gasoline direct injection. It also has a start and stop technology. So you're getting like the best fuel economy and performance you can really squeeze out of out of an engine like this. 

Of course there's performance modifications, and they can make it a higher performance model. But you know, for an average driving car, you're really getting the best of both worlds. Fuel economy performance, reduced exhaust emissions, everything in one bundle. 

Mark: And this is a four cylinder, rather than the old kind of tried and true six cylinder that they used for decades. 

Bernie: Yeah, it is. It's a four cylinder. And they still make the six cylinder models, you know, with all of this technology as well. But they've gone down to the four cylinder in a lot. They use it in X3's, you know, the three series sedans and coupes, you know, so it's awesome. I mean lots of power. I can't remember the actual, I think it's 250 horsepower or something like that, which is pretty damn good, you know, for a little engine like that. And it's a nice compact engine too. There's a lot of room in the engine compartment because you can put a six cylinder engine in there. So it's actually nice to have a vehicle that has some, some extra space in an engine compartment that they haven't just crammed it all full of everything. 

Mark: So as you mentioned, probably the height and what really all of the current popular auto manufacturers, or what we consider the historic auto manufacturers, are the best that is making really high performance or really efficient gasoline or diesel powered internal combustion engines. And are they ready for the future? 

Bernie: Are they ready for the future? Well, they're trying. This could be a whole separate podcast. I know we talked earlier about Volkswagen and how their ID series is sitting idle. Maybe that's what the ID stands for, idle, due to software problems.

Whereas another manufacturer, like Tesla for instance, it started off more as a software company and a unique manufacturer. And they've kind of taken things in a different direction. I mean, I have no doubt that a lot of, you know, like the original car manufacturers are going to come through with some pretty neat cars, but they're just, you know, they'll muddle their way through for awhile and some of them probably won't survive.

Mark: So you've talked about the value of scheduled maintenance many, many times and how doing that, when it's due and how important it is for internal combustion engines and especially BMWs. But also many other manufacturers as well, especially with these high performance tweaked to the nines engines that are doing the very best possible way that they can. So what can happen when you leave your oil changes too long? 

Bernie: Well, of course, we already looked at this picture of this oil filter. You know, that's not a good thing. This is supposed to filter and clean your oil. So I mean that's just one little thing that you can see. But I talked about all the technology in this engine. I mean, all these things require clean oil. When you start getting sludge, which builds up when you don't change your oil enough, it blocks things off. A variable valve timing system stopped working, and this isn't a BMW only thing. This is any car Japanese, North American, European, anything with an internal combustion engine. Clean oil is so critical for performance. Even carbon deposits that occur with gasoline direct injected engines can increase when you don't change your oil frequently enough. So that causes other performance problems with the vehicle.

So there are so many reasons to change your oil regularly that it's just so important. That's all I can say. 

Mark: And how often should this type of BMW get serviced? 

Bernie: Well, I know the manufacturer, when we reset the oil service interval on this vehicle, it said next service due 17,000 kilometres. My opinion, that's way too long. But you know, the owner of this vehicle left it way over that interval like by probably 10,000 k's I believe so. You know, and we see this often, people just, they get busy or they, whatever happens they don't do it. But even 17,000 kilometres is too long. I mean, really, in my opinion, and I think a lot of other people in our industry, 10 to 12 is probably as far as you should go. You know, when you change the oil at that interval, it's not so dirty. It's still got some cleanliness to it and hasn't deteriorated to the point that you get when you leave it way too long. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW in Vancouver, regularly scheduled service to make sure you get the maximum life out of your vehicle, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos and articles on there about repairs of all makes and models of cars. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there. Of course, thanks for listening to the podcast. Leave us a review wherever you're picking your podcasts up from, and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2011 Mercedes GL350 Air Suspension Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and still functioning, still running during the COVID-19 craziness. Talking Mercedes-Benz this morning. How you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So a 2011 Mercedes GL, 350 that had air suspension problems. What was going on with this seven passenger SUV? 

Bernie: So the owner brought the vehicle to us. He'd had some previous suspension issues repaired elsewhere, but he'd run into some other problems. The rear end of the vehicle was sitting very low and he'd found a few little bits and pieces lying on the ground, which he showed to us.

Some plastic pieces underneath the vehicle, but essentially the vehicle was sitting, you know, on a kind of an upward slope with the backend on the ground. 

Mark: Never a good sign when you find plastic underneath your car that looks like it's designed for the car. So what and diagnosis did you do?

Bernie: So, of course first part of our air suspension diagnosis is a visual inspection to just see what the vehicle is doing. Verified, of course that the vehicle back end was sitting quite low, scan the vehicle computer, found a, you know, a number of codes for certain issues, but the really biggest part of the inspection was of course, figuring out what were these plastic pieces and why was the backend sitting low. So we hoisted the vehicle and we found the left rear airbag had basically was blown apart and it had come right off its mounting. 

It kind of just clips into place. It's not really held in by anything other than its own, as a bag expands, it kind of mounts in the control arm and in the frame of the vehicle, but it's not really held in. It's lightly held in place at the top, and it'd come out completely out of its spot. And the plastic pieces were parts of the left rear ride height sensor.

So this is, this is what we found was wrong. And also the right rear airbag was completely deflated. So it wasn't blown, but you know, same age as the left side. So we figured, Hey, let's just start with both the rear airbags and get a new ride height sensor. 

Mark: So what repairs were involved?

Bernie: Well, let's have a look at some pictures. So there's our Mercedes. This is after the repair of course, sitting nice. But when it was brought in this fender was sitting very low, near close to the tire.

So what repairs were involved? So replacing both rear air springs was needed and also the ride height sensor. This is the ride height sensor right here. And there's a, it's kind of hard to see in this picture, but there's an arm that sticks out off of here. And actually you can see everything. There's an arm that comes off of here. This is snapped off, that connects to a piece like about, about three inches long. It clips up here. So as the spring came off, it just knocked this and broke everything apart. Got another interesting shot here. This is a comparison of the old and the new, and you can, it's pretty clear to see what's wrong with this bag. The thing I wonder about this, did this thing make a really loud boom when it blew up or did it just kind of tear apart? But it's kind of interesting, but this is the bottom part of the air. So this just sits in the control arm and this part here actually does clip up into the frame of the vehicle, but it just kind of holds in place. And as the airbag is inflated, it will sort of mount and hold everything in place. 

I mean, another example is the air spring normally sits up here at the top and then at the bottom and I can't exactly, I think it sits somewhere in and around this area. So those are the pieces we replaced.

Mark: Did that solve all the issues? 

Bernie: No. Of course, after doing it, then we, start the vehicle up and with our scan tool, we can inflate the system. So it has an air compressor and the system needs to be inflated and everything worked fine on the left side, but the right side airbag would not inflate. So there was some further diagnosis and testing that we needed to do. And what we found is that the air suspension valve block was defective and causing that part of it not to work. So that's the piece.

So this is the other piece we needed to replace. It wasn't evident until we replaced the left side. And this is why we often explain to our clients when we find an issue, we say, okay, this is what we know so far, and this is what we've got to fix first. And often it'll solve everything, but sometimes it doesn't. And in the case of this vehicle, this is what we found.

So this valve block here there's basically five fittings here. And one of them comes from directly from the compressor. Four of these go to the different air springs and you can see electrical terminals here, so that the air suspension computer will gather all its information, how's the vehicle sitting? What's the height? You can also command the vehicle to sit higher. So as the computer receives its commands, it'll send electrical signals. There's air pressure in one area from the compressor, and this will pump up the springs as needed. So there are a number of solenoids. There's at least four to five solenoids in here that will open and close as needed. And this one was defective because it wouldn't allow any air flow from this area. So there's a network of plastic hoses that run through the vehicle that carry the air to the each air spring. So this is the other item that we replaced. 

Mark: So you replaced that part? How did it all work from there? 

Bernie: Awesome. Yeah. Everything worked fine. Everything levelled out really nicely and inflated properly, adjusted fine. Everything worked really well. And vehicle road fine. 

Mark: So are there any, like further concerns or issues with this type of vehicle suspension?

Bernie: Well, so we replaced basically both the rear air airbags or air springs. He'd had the left front air strut replaced previously. And so there's basically the right front was still original. I mean, it was working fine and you never know how long these things will last. I mean, it may last for a couple of years. It might only go for a month. Hard to know. But the other area of concern is whenever you have a leak in an air suspension system is a compressor really gets strained. And it's, I would say that at some point, this compressor will probably need to be replaced sooner than later. Now of course, the vehicle is 9 years old at this point, almost 10 years old. So that compressor's had some pretty good life. But that is something that will likely need to be replaced fairly soon. We've had these vehicles where it's got a blown air strut or rear air spring. We replace it a couple months later, it's in, cause the compressor's failed. So at the present time is working really well. But you never know that does shorten the life. So if you have an air suspension issue, it's always best to fix it as soon as possible to prevent further damage. 

Mark: And how are  for reliability overall? 

Bernie: Pretty good. I know you could probably find quite a few podcasts about these. So this is the 3 litre diesel engine. There's a number of issues with these engines. We've talked about, I think, you know, really good maintenance is key with these engines. Getting the engine warm, changing the oil frequently. Those are all important things, but there are a number of things that do go wrong with them that are expensive. And of course the air suspension system is another issue. And that's, you know, with this particular vehicle, you know, you can, by the time it's 10 years old, count on having to replace, you know, a number of the air springs and struts and compressors, those kinds of things. So nice vehicle overall, but you know, they are expensive to maintain.

So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Mercedes-Benz 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 they're still busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles on repairs of all makes and models, cars and trucks. Same on the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks for watching. Leave us a review. We'd really appreciate it and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching and listening. We totally appreciate it.

Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair. I love saying that. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about a Toyota  pickup today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well, and I love it when we say 22 time winners too. It's an awesome honour. 

Mark: So your differential replacement, what was happening with this Toyota? 

Bernie: The differential had, something had seized up in the rear differential. Something had broken. The vehicle was towed into the shop on a flat deck and carefully placed on the ground right in the hoisting position. So we could take it apart because it wouldn't roll. Well, we actually did manage to get, make it move, but it made some pretty horrific bangs as we moved it. So yeah, the rear differential had basically blown, something had blown apart in the rear differential.

Mark: So what did you find when you looked inside? 

Bernie: Well that's one of the reasons I wanted to do this podcast because there's a lot of cool stuff to look at here. So just to explain the procedure on, well, you know, we'll just look at some pictures and then talk. So there's the inside of the differential.

So little bit on Toyota. So on these particular Toyota pickup trucks, the differential, the actual differential assembly is a drop in type. You can unbolt the whole differential from the housing, which makes, you know, probably makes the repair actually a lot simpler. The axles come out quite easily. And then you just with I don't know, it's probably 10 bolts. You can pop the differential assembly out. So what we found was basically no oil in the differential. A lot of broken bits and pieces inside the differential and the pinion gear just completely blown itself apart.

So, you know, that's what's kind of fun about working on cars sometimes, is seeing the damage that can happen when things go bad. So, this is a better view of the pinion. It doesn't take much of that, you know, you don't have to know much about cars to know that that doesn't look good. But again, looking at the last picture, this is sort of a good side of the gear. That's kind of what the gear looks like when it's in good shape. I heard a little laugh there. Yeah. It's kind of interesting. This is the ring gear. So this is where the pinion gear moves against this gear.

And you can see that there's just a number of, you know, the teeth have just been pounded and mashed. I mean, this is really hard metal. I mean, if you hit it with a hammer, you probably couldn't even dent it. So you know, it's taken a lot of abuse. Again, there's a sort of a further away view. This is one of the bearings.

And even the bearings, you can see they're just brown. You know, they're just, everything just got cooked and overheated, and these bearings normally require a puller or a press to take them off of the differential. We were actually able to slide them right off by hand. That's how badly worn everything was. So essentially there was no oil in the differential. And that's really what kind of caused this whole thing to go bad. 

Here's the view of the replacement differential. So this is a rebuilt unit that we put into the vehicle. You can see nice clean teeth and everything's nice and shiny. And of course we did put oil in that when we repaired it to make sure it lasts. 

Mark: So let's dig into this just a little bit. So what does the oil do in the differential?

Bernie: So basically the oil just lubricates the gears and it lubricates the bearing. So differential, it's pretty simple. There's four bearings as one under this cap, one under that cap. And then there's two up here and those are for the pinion bearings. So there's four bearings. They obviously need to be lubricated and then the gears need to be lubricated. So there are two obvious gears here, the ring and pinion, but if you look inside this area here, these are the differential gears. I mean, the function of a differential is to transmit the longitudinally movement from the drive shaft out and change the angle of the movement out to the wheels. You also have to have gears to compensate for the different speeds of the wheels.

For instance, you're driving both rear wheels, but as the wheels are turning and you go around a corner, one wheel is going faster than the other. So there has to be a way to compensate for that. And that's what the differential does. There are gears inside here and they basically compensate for that different movement.

Otherwise the backend would just hop and bounce, and you can kind of get the feeling of that if you have a four wheel drive vehicle where it actually locks the two differentials, that when you go around a curve, things lock up because the wheels won't, the actual transfer case doesn't have a differential in it. So it'll cause cause the wheels to hop. At least most of them don't have a differential in them. So that it'll cause the wheels to lock up. This is something you can find in like a classic American style pickup truck where you could lock it in four wheel drive. 

Couple other interesting things to show here actually, you might wonder, Well, what the heck is this, if you've never done a differential, what is this yellow?

This is like a marking paint. A really important thing with a differential is setting up the ring and pinion gear. They have to mesh a certain way and you can see a little bit of, the paints kind of marked off here. This is when when you put a differential together, you put this marking compound, then you rotate it and you look at the way the gear teeth are meshing together. And from there you may need to make adjustments. So you can see there's a kind of a contact pattern of the gear. If you don't do it properly, it'll howl, and make all sorts of weird noises and depending on how it's set, you know, it could howl when you accelerate or it could howl when you decelerate. So this is a kind of an important part.

This paint just washes off and becomes part of the gear oil. It doesn't really create any issue afterwards, but you can see there's a good contact pattern here and yeah, I think that's it for the picture show. 

Mark: So how do you think this differential had ended up with no oil?

Bernie: I really don't know. I mean, I asked the owner, I said didn't this thing make a lot of noise for a long time? Because it would have been howling away and making a lot of noise. And there was a couple of issues. He said, no, I never heard it. I mean, one problem, and it's something we did fix, is the exhaust pipe had come disconnected after the catalytic converter.

So the exhaust was very loud so that that would mask some differential noise. And also this vehicle had like very large tires on the back end, you know, all over the vehicle. So again. Those tires can tend to be a little noisier also. So he never heard it. I mean, I'm sure that I would have, because my ear's kind of trained for that kind of stuff. But how it had no oil, he doesn't know. I mean maybe someone drained it out and forgot to fill it. I mean, everything was plugged in. There was no evidence of any leaks other than, one thing I didn't mention is as this differential blew up. It actually put a hole in the back cover of the differential housing. So that involves some extra repair. We were able to weld the hole shut, which is and excellent repair. But it was a little more involved than it would have needed to be. But you know, again, that hole wasn't the reason it leaked out oil because the oil was already gone before the hole was created.

So really don't know. And you know, sometimes a differential will develop like a leak from pinion seal and over time it'll spray the oil up. But we couldn't see anywhere that there was any evidence of oil leakage. So really hard to know. I mean, sometimes we were run these mysteries and just can't really quite figure it out. But it'd probably been driven for a while without any oil in it, you know to cause it to do what it did.

Mark: Having experienced this a couple of times with two different vehicles. It's really loud when it starts to howl so it took some work to ignore it. 

Bernie: Yeah, I think so. Well, you know, people turn radios up and I'm not saying that the owner of this vehicle did, but, you know, there was a couple of things like loud exhaust that could mask it and, you know, maybe it just sort of developed over time and go, Oh, that's kind of like normal.

Anyways, you know, and this is a good reason that, you know, check your fluids regularly on your vehicle. Like you never know. You think, Oh, yeah, well, there's nothing leaking out. It's gotta be okay. But you know, who knows what happened. But a simple inspection of the fluid, you know, during an oil change would have been enough to, Hey, wait a minute. There's no oil in this unit or the level's low, let's top it up or replace it. You know, I say it's a bit of a mystery, but it always makes for some interesting repairs when stuff like that happens. 

Mark: So how are Toyota pickups for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're awesome trucks. I mean, they really are. I mean, this vehicle is getting pretty old now. It's a 92, you know, it's approaching, approaching 30 years old, but still really reliable. I mean they're a well-built truck. And you can certainly go off road and keep going places and I think they're still worth fixing and keeping going. 

Mark: If you maintain it?

Bernie: If you maintain it. Yeah. Well you know changing the differential is all part of the maintenance program. And after we fixed it, the vehicle, you know, ran really well. 

Mark: So there you go. If you've got a Toyota in Vancouver that you need some looking after, or you just want to maintain your vehicle so it keeps running reliably so you don't have to worry about it. The guys to call Pawlik Automotive, (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call them book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website. pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles on repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars. Over 600 articles on there as well. The YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. Thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. Please leave us a review if you're enjoying what we're talking about and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thank you for watching.

What to Do If Your Car Sits for A While

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and as voted by their customers. We're going to talk about what to do if your car sits for a while since that's happening a lot these days with COVID-19 shutdown in the world, essentially. So what happens when a car sits too long, Bernie?

Bernie: Well, a lot of times it won't start for one. Things tend to deteriorate. There's certain things you should do with your car to keep it going. I mean, keeping it running every once in awhile is a good thing for a car. There's no doubt about it. Running and driving is critical.

And you know, it may not make sense. You may have owned two cars and you don't need to drive one of them. You're paying money for insurance. You need to take that off. So the question is like, yeah what are the best things to do? And we're going to talk about that in this episode. 

Mark: Alright, you mentioned it might not start, so what's the best way to keep your battery charged if you're not driving the car?

Bernie: Well it's very dependent on where you live. So if you live in a house with a garage or somewhere, you can plug a battery charger in, the ideal thing to have would actually be a trickle charger that you keep on the battery all the time. A trickle charger, something that it'll put one or two amps of a current into the battery continuously and that's a good thing. Probably the best option. If you don't have that ability, of course say you live in an apartment with an underground parking lot with no plugs or outlets, probably, the best thing to do would be to actually start the car, run it, and take it for a little drive every once in a while.

And we can talk about that a little further down the podcast, but you kind of need to get creative. Ideally a charger's a good thing. If you don't have a trickle charger, maybe you have something that's got a little more power and maybe once a week you put it on for a day or so, or a few hours. Those are the options, but the key is to try to keep your battery charged.

Mark: So you mentioned driving the car, kind of obviously, cars are meant to move. Why is that so important? 

Bernie: Well, what happens is when a car sits, and especially if it sits outside, disc brakes tend to get rusted, because it's basically bare metal and moisture will get on it. Now, again, if you live in the Arizona desert, you probably won't get so much rust. If you live in Vancouver, where we are, it tends to rain a lot. Brakes tend to rust up. And again, you want to be driving it will wear that rust coat off the brakes. But also if left long enough tires actually will develop flat spots on the tires. Now this has to be left for quite a long time.

It's a good idea for the fluids to be circulated through the engine, through the transmission and moved around. So in an ideal scenario, if you could actually start your car up once a week. Drive it around, you know, warm the engine up, drive it around the block a couple of times. That would be the ideal thing to do. Now, of course, if you don't have insurance on the car, how are you going to deal with that? Maybe just starting it and running it, you know, moving it back and forth a little bit. It was a good thing. But let the engine warm up. Let it run for a little while. So the energy is actually restored back into the battery from starting. And whatever's been depleted from sitting. 

Mark: So what about the gas tank? How long can you let your car sit and not have a problem with your gas?

Bernie: Well, gas does deteriorate over time. And again, if you know that you're going to put your car, say, Hey, I'm going to store this thing for a year, the best thing to do is go fill the gas tank up. And there's an item called a fuel stabilizer. It's a good idea to add that to the gas because that'll prevent the gas from breaking down.

Gasoline only lasts for a certain amount of time and kind of tends to go rotten after a while. It stinks and smells bad. I was in a Volkswagen once, I don't know how long this thing sat, but the actual gasoline in the tank turned to tar and it basically made the vehicle useless. Again, that's an extreme condition. But if you know you're going to let it sit for, even maybe six months, fill the tank up full it. That also prevents moisture from building up inside the tank, and that can create a number of other problems. You don't want moisture in your fuel.

Especially modern vehicles don't have fuel filters like they used to in the past. Like there's a filter in the tank with the fuel pump, but it's not quite as sophisticated as it used to be at one time. So keeping clean fuel is really critical. 

Mark: And that moisture buildup is just from the temperature variation of nighttime to daytime that causes the air to condense liquid into whatever. Even on my brakes in the vehicle in the garage, I still get rust on my brakes.

Bernie: Well, exactly. And the other thing too, of course, is whenever you fill your vehicle up, I mean, I see this, you know, again, Vancouver, it rains a lot, but sometimes you pull into a gas station, it's not covered and you open the gas filler and you're filling it up. And I go, well, how many drops of rain are you actually getting into this gas tank? You think over a period of like five or 10 years is there's a bit of moisture that's going to end up building up inside the tank. So not a lot, but you know, it's enough that can cause a problem. 

Now, you know, gas tanks can rust out, but a lot of cars are plastic gas tanks nowadays. So, you know, rusting out might be an issue for your car and it may not be, but again, keeping the gas tank full, if you do have a metal tank, will prevent that rusting from occurring too.

Mark: You mentioned flat spots on tires, so should we check our tire pressure? Like what's going on with tires, that that's important? 

Bernie: So first thing about tires is that tires do loose pressure over time. The general sort of rule of thumb is you'll lose a pound a month. So if your tire is inflated to say 32 pounds, that's a factory pressure and you actually park it. And you leave it for six months, by the time six months has gone by, you'll probably have about 26 pounds of pressure in your tire.

And of course, when you go to drive it, that's actually getting kind of low. If you leave it for longer, the tire will get even flatter. So if you know you're going to store the car for awhile, it would be a good idea to have the tires inflated. And probably even overinflated would be a good idea because as time goes by, the pressure will drop.

I even read some article that suggested put 10 extra pounds pressure in the tire to keep them overly inflated, which will prevent flat spots. I don't know if that works or not, but it's an interesting idea. But the only tires I've really ever seen that are, you know, like where you can actually drive the car and you can feel thumping from flat spots or cars that have been sitting for five or 10 years where, you know, the rubber just, it's completely worn out. But again, make sure you have air in the tires. If you have a car that has a tire pressure monitoring system, of course, if your tire is low, it'll tell you and you should keep the pressure up. You certainly don't want the tire to go flat while while it's sitting, because that will definitely damage it.

Mark: Well, it happens in minus 30 as well. 

Bernie: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, you want it again, you know, keep the air pressure up in the tires for sure. 

Mark: Is that more important with some of the high efficiency tires that are like on my, Honda, they're 44 pounds of pressure in the tire is the recommendation. So do they lose pressure, maybe more air loss per month? 

Bernie: You know, I really don't know. I'd have to kind of look at it and, you know, they say this rule of thumb of a pound a month, I mean, some tires will probably lose a little more and some will lose less. So, I would say, you know, the only thing I can comment to that is just make sure you have your 44 PSR, maybe even put 50, if you're going to let it sit. And, it will lose some over time. 

Mark: So one of the things I know you've said and we've talked about before, is that, you know, washing your car always seems to make it run better. You crazy person, you know, so, but why is that important when the car is sitting? 

Bernie: Absolutely. So if you parked your car clean and you're in an underground parking lot somewhere or in a garage, you know, where it's just going to get maybe a little light layer of dust, that's probably okay. But if you're parking outside where you know, you might get some tree droppings like SAP or fruit, like say a cherry tree or leaves dropping or bird crap.

Essential to wash that off. So keeping a car washed is really important and keep it clean. So again, it depends on where you're parking, but don't decide, Hey, I'm going to park my car, and Oh yeah, bird crapped on it you know, yesterday, don't leave that on. You're going to come back and find when you go to wash it, your paint is never going to be the same again. So those kinds of things are very hard on car paint. So it's essential again, to park your car clean and keep it clean. 

Mark: What about oil? We talked about gas. Does oil go bad sitting in an engine for a long time? 

Bernie: No not particularly. But you will get moisture buildup inside the engine. So if it's been sitting for a long period of time, it's probably a good idea to, and again, I don't have an exact timeframe, but it's probably a good idea to change the oil if the vehicle has been sitting for a while. Maybe run it for a while, you warm it up and then change it. But it isn't going to deteriorate like gasoline. Like oil doesn't go bad in the same way gasoline does. So the oil itself will be fine. It's just any moisture buildup in the engine that might be caught up in the oil could necessitate changing it a little earlier than usual.

Mark: Yeah. It's just not as volatile. Oil isn't as nowhere near as volatile as gasoline is. 

Bernie: No, not at all. And I guess while we're talking about that diesel fuel, I mean, diesel fuel again, is more of an oil than a, it's not, doesn't vaporize. So, but diesel fuel does deteriorate too, and you can actually get fungal growth in diesel. So you gotta be, again with diesel, you gotta be careful too, that some strange stuff can happen to the fuel in a diesel. But again fill the tank and take the precautions there with the diesel. But you know, with oil, no worries. 

Mark: So we mentioned that, you know, starting might be an issue, like what happens, how long, you know, if I'm just leaving my car for a week, is that an issue that with it starting or what's the timeframe? What are the kind of hidden parameters, phantom drains or things that we might not know about, that we might find out from sitting. 

Bernie: Yeah, well and again, you don't really know some of these things because if you drive your car every day, you may have a, you know, a larger parasitic drain than usual. And if you leave the car for a week, all of a sudden it's dead. Or it might reveal things about your car that you didn't know, like that battery that you thought was good and maybe isn't quite as good as you thought. 

I mean, I think like in any car where everything's in good condition, you should be able to leave it for two weeks to a month and it should just start up just fine. But in the real world, it's hard to know. But if you're leaving your car for a week between running it, that's perfectly fine. It's not an issue, even a couple of weeks. But you know, if you leave it sitting for a couple of weeks, again, like a good warmup and a good run with it would be a really good thing to do.

Mark: Okay. These all sound like really good ideas. Any further thoughts about how to take care of your car if it has to sit for a while. 

Bernie: You know, I think we've covered pretty much everything. If it sits for a very long period of time, best to get an inspection done on it because things like certain brake components can start leaking. So this is more than just, you know, the COVID-19 short shut down. This is like, if you're storing a car for a long period of time, then a really thorough inspection is definitely something that needs to be done. But the key is, you know, if you can get your car out, drive at, warm it up, run it for a bit, that's going to be the best thing you can do.

Mark: So there you go. If you need to look after your vehicle and you want reliable mechanics who are experts, world renowned now, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks for much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2011 VW Golf Rear Brake Caliper Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, and we're talking VW Golf this morning. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a VW, 2011 Golf that had a problem with the brakes, a brake light warning. What was going on with this Volkswagen?

Bernie: Yeah. So the customer brought the vehicle in, there's a brake pad warning light on the dash. So obviously he was concerned about that and that was his primary concern with the vehicle. Stopped okay. But there was a warning light on. 

Mark: So what kind of diagnosis and inspection procedure did you follow to find out what was going on?

Bernie: Well, it's always important when someone comes in with a warning, light to determine what the actual warning light says. And in the case of this vehicle, it says brake pad warning. So on this vehicle, there's only one brake pad that has aware sensor on it. That's the front left. So that's a pretty good indication that there's something either wrong electronically or the actual brake pad is worn out. Brake pad warnings are usually a European car thing. Some cars have, you know, a sensor on every wheel. Some have just one, like this, Volkswagen, some have like one sensor per axle. So it's not an exact warning on each pad, but I'm trying to think, there's actually a couple of cars that actually have a sensor on every brake pad, which is, you know, that gets to be pretty accurate at that rate.

Anyways from there, an inspection. We do a regular brake inspection like we do on any car to determine, you know, the condition of the brakes. You know, how thick are the pads, how are the rotors, did the calipers retract properly? What are the conditions of the brake hoses and fluid and so on. We look at all those items and then determine what the vehicle needs. 

Mark: So how did that lead to a rear caliper being replaced?

Bernie: Yeah. So I'm talking more about the rear caliper on this vehicle. I mean, there were other things that we changed that we've discussed in other podcasts.

The front brake pads and rotors were worn out and needed to be replaced. That was one of the primary issues. We found on the rear brakes, there was about five to six millimetres left on the rear brake pads. We've got a slight uneven wear, but that's still a fair bit of material. But what we noticed when we visually inspected the brakes before we took the caliper off. As we could see, the right rear caliper dust seal had been twisted pretty badly. And we figured that at least we should do a service on the back brakes to clean and lubricate it and, you know, reestablish the position that dust seal before things get worse.

Mark: So how does the rear dust seal get twisted? 

Bernie: So on these brakes, when you do a brake repair, you basically have to retract the caliper piston. And normally that happens by just squishing the piston back into its bore with pliers or special tools. But this is a parking brake on the rear brakes, and that requires the caliper piston to actually be rotated with a special tool. So somebody probably rotated it. They didn't either lube the end of the dust seal or they just allowed it to get twisted while they put it back in. There's a bit of friction that happens and that's what created the damage to the dust seal.

Mark: So that doesn't sound like such a big deal. Maybe. Why did that lead to a caliper replacement?

Bernie: We'll get into some pictures right now. With the twisted seal, what happens is it allowed the seal to crack and let water into the caliper and freeze up the piston.

So let's have a look at a couple of pictures. So here's our 2011 VW Golf. And our caliper piston. So this is a view of the caliper here, this dust seal, and I didn't take an after picture, but this is the before, this is supposed to be a nice seal. It covers over this whole area from here to here, and you can sort of see, it doesn't look like it sits properly.

And inside here there's rust and that is supposed to be covered with this dust seal and no moisture or rust in that area. So as that happens, this piston starts to seize up in the bore and cause the brakes to wear unevenly. So that's why we ended up replacing the caliper.

Mark: How serious an issue would of this been over an extended period of time?

Bernie: Well, what would happen if we hadn't done anything with it, is the brake would start to wear rapidly as the caliper piston seized up. Calipers will sometimes just seize without sort of warning that, you know, all of a sudden you're driving and your brakes start getting hot or smoking in a really extreme condition.

So that's what replacing the calipers, you know, like in this case, is all about. Preventing that kind of thing from happening. So it can be pretty serious. Once we noticed that kind of issue is happening, it needs to be addressed.

Mark: And how often on a Golf are brake calipers replaced?

Bernie: Not often. This vehicle has about 200,000 kilometres, so it's a pretty high miler. And these were definitely the original calipers. So they've got a pretty good long life. Most brake calipers do tend to last a long time, but it depends from car to car. 

Mark: So might we assume or guess, that they had a problem with their parking brake and somebody tried to monkey with it and fix it and didn't exactly, weren't experts in doing it. 

Bernie: I would say not necessarily with the parking brake. With the regular brakes. I'll just get back into this picture here for a second here. As I mentioned, the caliper piston has to be twisted back in. And this isn't a greatest view. But if you look on the front face of this caliper, there's usually a couple of little holes and there's a special tool that will actually press this piston, you rotate it and it presses the piston back in, in this direction that I'm moving the mouse pointer back into the caliper bore. That needs to be done when you do a brake job, because as the pads wear, the caliper piston moves out in this direction. So when you put new rotors and pads in, then the caliper piston of course has to be moved back.

So what I think is more likely, is whoever did the last brake job just wasn't really very careful to make sure this dust seal sat properly and that's what caused it to wear out. I mean, dust seals will crack and break with age, but the way we found this one, of course there was definitely some other underlying causes.

Mark: So this wasn't the first break job? 

Bernie: No, definitely not. But 200,000 kilometres was a long time, but I know you've owned a Volkswagen product. This was a standard transmission you can get a lot, as you well know, you can get a very long life out of brake pads and rotors on these kinds of Volkswagens. They last for, I know that your Jetta had 130,000 kilometres when you moved on. Somewhere around there. And I remember the brakes were still in very, very good, the pads were probably still eight millimetres thick, which, you know, at that rate it probably would have lasted 300,000 kilometres. Although something would have probably seized up or corroded by then. But you know, they were still on a trajectory to a long life.

So it's easy to get a a hundred thousand kilometres on a Volkswagen standard transmission, you know, Golf or Jetta vehicle on a set of brake pads and rotors. A hundred thousand easily. 

Mark: And how are VW Golf's for reliability?

Bernie: They're good, decent cars. They have a few quirks and things here and there, some engine issues with certain models, but otherwise, you know, a pretty good car.

Mark: Stay away from the diesel. 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, I mean, the diesel is reliable, but we know that they weren't exactly forthcoming with their emission specs. So you're polluting more than you know, if you're buying it for a clean diesel, you're not really that clean.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your VW in Vancouver, from experts, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Even now, they're still busy. They have a smaller crew right now. Some people have been laid off because of other requirements that they needed family-wise and, hey, it's still busy enough that you've got to book ahead. So 327-7112 to book your appointment in Vancouver. If you need to check out what's going on, check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. There's hundreds of blog posts and videos on there over the last almost 11 years. As well, the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds of videos on. They're all makes and models of cars and types of repairs. Thank you for watching. We really appreciate it and thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Always a pleasure.

Proper Maintenance For Your BMW

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking BMWs today. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well today. 

Mark: So the German vehicle that you don't struggle with how to pronounce, the BMW. We're going to talk about proper maintenance for a modern BMW.

Bernie: Well, there's a bit of conflicting information. Sometimes if you look out in the world, if you look at the factory maintenance schedule, a lot of oil changes are scheduled for 24,000 kilometres. There's a lot of items. Over the years, BMW have said their transmissions don't require any service. It's often stamped onto the transmission pan. And, what we find out in the real world of doing services is, it's probably not the best way to maintain your BMW. If you care to keep your overall operating costs down and you want your car to last. 

Mark: Okay, wait, now, isn't the factory maintenance schedule the best?They've engineered and built the cars they should know best, right? 

Bernie: Well, yeah, absolutely. I mean the factory maintenance schedule, is well, I don't want to say it's the best. I don't think it is. And that's true with a lot of other manufacturers. We're not just picking on BMW. We're going to talk about BMW here, but this is true for a lot of other manufacturers. There are some competing factors in the maintenance schedule recommendations that aren't necessarily in the best interest of longevity of the car.

Mark: So what are some of these competing factors? 

Bernie: So the competing factors are really, they're about sales. It's about selling the car in the showroom. For instance, you know, if you only need to change your oil in your BMW every 24,000 kilometres and never change your transmission fluid. If you look over the, say a period of a hundred thousand kilometres and there are rating agencies for these kinds of things, they'll look at the actual maintenance cost of a vehicle.

Now, if you have to do these services at a very minimal amount, then your maintenance costs are lower, and that's an attractive feature to buy the car. I mean, if you're in the showroom, you're looking at say a BMW versus an equivalent Audi, and the BMW is say, a thousand dollars a year for maintenance and the Audi's 1500. Well, that's a factor in, you know, that's a plus for the BMW. Is it, and I'm not saying that these are actual, I'm just making this stuff up, but you know, these numbers. But you know, that's a reason that you might want to buy a BMW over an Audi. So there's a pressure to make the maintenance schedule as long as possible. 

I mean, there are also good environmental reasons. I mean, the less oil you have to change, the less oil it needs to produce, the less waste there is. And so that's a good thing. Also of course, most manufacturers don't really care how long their cars last. I mean, they want it to have a good reputation for a certain amount of time, but once the warranty is over, the car's, five or more years older, they don't really care so much about the car.

They want to sell you a new car. So, you know, that's the other factor in there that's competing with proper maintenance. 

Mark: So many consumer advocacy groups recommend that you only follow the factory schedule? Why would they do that? 

Bernie: Well, I think they want to protect the consumer, and there are a lot of unscrupulous people who make recommendations about services that are probably not recommended. There you know, are a lot of non-expert people in the automotive field who are just happy to just keep selling services that may not really need to be done. So they stand on the side of, Hey, the manufacturers built the car. These guys know what they're talking about. You're safer to go with that.

But what, what the consumer advocacy groups don't really do, is look into the real world of what actually happens to the cars. And that's us in the field of auto service, we get to see what happens to cars that are badly maintained and we can make better recommendations.

Mark: So your information is basically from the actual, your experience and the experience of other experts, other repair facilities and experts in the field? 

Bernie: Exactly. And I mean, we're just a small shop. I mean, our volume of BMW cars is very minimal compared to other shops. And there's also a whole community out there that looks at cars. 

I did a training program the other night. So this is the other area where we get information on BMW maintenance from someone whose shop, does a lot of BMWs and someone who's an expert in BMW service. So they're out in the field, they're talking BMWs they're looking at BMWs. They're looking at all the problems that happen and how can we maintain these vehicles better so that they last longer? Because what we ended up seeing is, you know, we don't see the cars generally from brand new. We start seeing them after they're, you know, four or five years old, off warranty, you know, suffered from the bad maintenance that the long oil change intervals, and all of a sudden things are starting to break in the engine. We're going, you know, if you'd only change that oil twice as often, you know, maybe done it every 10 or 12,000 kilometres, you know, this wouldn't have happened. So there's a lot of issues that we see. And that's where, that's where the expertise that we bring into the field. 

Mark: So what do you recommend for proper maintenance on a BMW? 

Bernie: Well, certainly more frequent oil change intervals are really the biggest thing. And using really good quality motor oils. What I learned on a recent training, is a lot of the oils that they recommend, these really thin weight oils are really only recommended for the manufacturers corporate average fuel economy. And so if the large manufacturers have a fuel economy standard that they must meet, it's a legislated thing. So if they can lower that amount then that helps them. So they can make a higher performance engine. If they put a thinner oil in, it increases the fuel efficiency slightly. So overall it improves it, but it doesn't necessarily make for better lubrication for the engine. It just helps the corporate standards. So again, this is another one, those double standard things that happens, but that's one thing. 

I mean, the other thing, you know, with BMWs of course, you know, regular inspections cause there are the things that wear out. Even testing the battery, on a regular basis, like on an annual service, can make a big difference for things like turbocharger life. And another thing I've learned recently is that turbochargers can fail because of a bad battery. And you think, well, how can that be. A turbocharger is a mechanical device. There's an after running system in a BMW, you shut the key off, it pumps coolant through the turbochargers. If the battery's weak, it'll shut that system off. And the turbochargers can get hot, oil will sludge up inside the turbocharger, harden up, and it'll affect the lubrication of the turbo. So just a little thing like that. If that's tested on a regular basis, like annually and dealt with either recharged or replaced, then you might save yourself thousands of dollars on premature turbo failure.

Let's get into some pictures. 

This is an example of a car we just did a service on. A 2008 328i. Hard top convertible, real nice car. So some of the information that we can get out of this car and in our service, I'm just going to look at some pictures I mentioning about battery. There's a whole plethora of information that we scan for, and I'm going to go through these kind of quickly. But this is like an energy diagnosis tests that's available through our scan tool. And it actually, this is an amazing thing with BMW. It looks at like the last 49 days of driving. This is, how far the car was driven, the number of journeys, the distance of the trips. This is an amazing bit of information. I'm sure like Tesla has like, you know, way more stuff that they probably analyze moment to moment, but this is again, a 12 year old BMW. Some of the other things it looks at is starting cycles and I won't get into all the little bits of information on this one.

Test the battery. So it tests the state of charge of the battery. You can see this is actually pretty low. This is like five days worth of battery state of charge. It's only at 61%. So recommend to the customer, Hey, you know, we should charge your battery up because it's probably a bit on the weak side. It also tells you the battery was replaced at this mileage, and that's the current mileage. So we can see that actually 6,000 kilometres ago the battery was replaced. And what kind of battery's in the vehicle and all sorts of other information. So it really is very useful. You can see this vehicle has actually sat a lot. So that's probably why the battery's a little bit on the low side, but that's a really useful bit of information.

Also gathered some other information from a BMW X3. This is actually my own personal vehicle. It's a 2011 X3. I can see the battery state of charge here. This is a slightly different report, but 80% you know, it's sort of average. We haven't been using the car quite as much these days because of the health situation, but generally we drive the car a fair bit.

But it's interesting looking at, this is the start ability, like the battery has to have at least this amount of charge for the vehicle to start. So looking at this number versus the actual state of charge can tell us, you know, what condition the batteries in. So really useful information that you can get from a regular service and a proper service.

And I don't want to, you know, cut anyone down, but you know, if you don't have the proper scan tools and you're taking it to a shop that doesn't have this level of testing and it's a simple test to do, you might be missing out on some valuable service that could save you some money. 

Mark: And the rough cost of a, what's the range of price to replace a turbocharger or two? 

Bernie: Or two? I can't remember off the top of my head. They're in the thousands.

Mark: Multiple thousands of dollars.

Bernie: Multiple thousands of dollars. So you don't want to do them. Now that that 328 and the picture isn't turbocharged. So you get off on that, but the X3 that I have is a twin turbo. And they do go bad. And I have to say, you know, I learned this testing information recently and I felt a little bad because the battery in my BMW did go bad recently. And I replaced it and I'm thinking, Hm, I wonder how long I actually left that in a bad state. And I hope I didn't shorten the life on my turbochargers because of it.

Car seems to work fine, but you never know. So these are the things that it's good to know, and this is what you can count on when you bring your car to our shop to have tested. And these kinds of details looked at on your BMW.

Mark: And how our BMWs for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. They're a good, reliable car, but there's a lot of stuff that goes wrong with them. And they're, you know, you can expect to have a fair number of expensive repairs on them over time, but if you do good maintenance, you know, and change the oil more frequently than recommended and just keep up with that kind of stuff. You will keep your costs down and you will keep the car even more reliable. Things like you don't change the battery a little sooner, you know, will make a big difference to the life of the vehicle. So, know, they're good cars, I have to say, I mean, the BMW I've got has never let me down. You know, that's a nine year old car. That's pretty good. Maintain it. It'll keep your cost down. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need expert repair for your BMW in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're still busy, even during COVID 19 right now. And of course, check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, over 600 articles on there about repairing all makes and models, all types of repairs of vehicles. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there over many years now. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching and listening. We really appreciate it.

2017 Range Rover Front And Rear Brake Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and celebrating 30 years of serving the clients of all makes and models of cars, all kinds of repairs in Vancouver, British Columbia, and we're talking Range Rovers. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So what was happening with this Range Rover SUV?

Bernie: As this vehicle had just been in the dealer for service and they noted the front rear brakes were worn out and needed to be replaced, and he brought it to us to have the brake work done. 

Mark: So it's a 2017, which is three years old. That's seems a little bit early, isn't it? How many kilometres did it have? 

Bernie: The vehicle only had 23,000 kilometres on it. 

Mark: Well, why would it need brakes at such a relatively young age? 

Bernie: You know, most of these large European SUVs need brakes done at a very low mileage. We've had, you know, like I'm thinking that Audi Q7 for one. Their brakes don't last much more than 30,000 kilometres.

Range Rovers typically are about good for about 30 K's max. And I'll be honest with you, I sometimes puzzle over it myself because the brakes in these vehicles are absolutely massive. They're huge. They're made out of good materials and yet they don't last.

And, you know, a lot of it I think is just, it's a performance vehicle. There's a lot of weight and you know, that's likely the cause. 

Mark: So what sort of materials are the brake pads made of that they don't, and the rotors, I guess too, that they don't last?

Bernie: Well a lot of them are actually made on a really good solid materials like semi metallic or carbon, sorry, ceramic or semi metallic, which are good, generally durable materials.

The rotors wear equally with the pad. So when you get these into your, replace the pads, the rotors have big, deep grooves in them where they've worn the material away. So the pad material is clearly a very hard material. The only thing I can conclude is just, it's a high performance vehicle with a lot of weight, you know, with the wheels and of the actual vehicle itself, so that, that would be I think what would cause it.  Let's have a look at some pictures here. 

So there's our beautiful Range Rover Supercharged. I mean, it's just absolutely gorgeous car. Of course, one of the things that I mentioned, you know, the wheels. I mean, if you look at the wheels in this vehicle, and I should really look at the tire says, these have gotta be, you know, at least a 20 inch or larger wheel. So there's a lot of weight to this tire and wheel, and you know, that'll cause you know, brakes to wear at a much quicker rate. Let’s have a look at some pads and things here.

So let's look at the front. So there's our, there's our front brakes before about three millimetres left in these pads. So not a whole lot. You can kind of see an edge here. This is that the edge where the old age of the rotor, and it's difficult to see in this picture, but there's a definite, there's a lot of material worn away in this part of the rotor that requires it to be replaced.

It's not machineable because there's just not a lot left. We look over here, we've got, these are the new brake pads. You can see much greater level of material. These aren't the thickest pads in the world. I mean, compared to like VWs often use very thick pads to start with. These are probably about 12 mils I think. So there's a pretty good amount of material to wear. And you can see the new clean, absolutely flat rotor surface. So that's the, those are the front brakes, kind of a close up view. 

Let's get into the rear here. Those are the old pads. You can see there's very little left on these pads. Less than two millimetres on these particular pads. And then we look at the replacement rears, which you can clearly see. There's a lot more meat on that. So there's kind of a view of the brakes. It's a common job for, you know, as I mentioned, 23,000 kilometres, I mean, this is, I hate to say it, but this is kind of normal for these vehicles.

Although we have had some vehicles in the past where, you know, with the aftermarket parts we use, the pads and rotors will last much longer than the original. So it may be that they also use a slightly softer material from the factory just to prevent any squeaks and squeals. 

Mark: So is there anything that a Range Rover owner can do to improve brake life other than not driving the vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah. That is one thing. And that kind of defeats the whole purpose of having such a nice car. But, you know, I guess it's like and this is the key for any car. I mean, use your brakes as little as possible. You know, don't come flying up to a stop and jam the brakes on. If you're going down hills, pump the brakes, that helps the brakes last longer. Those are some just sort of normal things you do in any car and that's really kind of the key to one of these too. I mean, it's hard not to go fast in this vehicle and really move it. It's a Supercharged V8.

It's got a hell of a lot of power and you know, and that's just kind of part of the ride. But it really, I think it's all in the engineering and design of these vehicles. The brakes just tend to wear heavily. And, you know, say if you just a little gentler on the brakes and avoid slamming them on, that'll probably give you a little more life.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Range Rover, brake system or anything, they repair it all at Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're going to speak to you. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds, literally over 600 videos and articles on there on all makes and models of cars and repairs. The YouTube channel, we're approaching 400 videos on there of repairs of all makes and models of cars, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks so much for listening and watching the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a five star review wherever you watch your and get your podcasts from. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.

2007 Porsche 911 4S Starter And Battery Issues

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 30 years serving customers in Vancouver and 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking Porsches today. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2007 Porsche 911, which has having starter and battery issues, what was happening to this Porsche?

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner's complaint was that the vehicle is hard to start when it was hot, generally fine when it's cold but when you drive the vehicle for a little while, stop for five minutes, go to crank it over, it wouldn't crank over very easily. It was very laboured and hard to start. 

Mark: So that sounds like a difficult diagnosis. What tests did you do to address this concern? 

Bernie: Well of course, having been in the auto business for more than 30 years you know, there's a lot of knowledge that's gained from that. And typically, you know, when you have a vehicle, it's hard to start when it's hot like that, it can often be a bad battery. Sorry not a bad battery, a bad starter. The heat builds up around the starter, it can often, if there's a problem with the starter, it can often cause it to not start easily. This builds up resistance in the starter. So that's just something from years of experience of intuition.

But of course there's always reasons. Other things that cause it. So we do some tests on it. We basically test power draw to the starter. We have some test equipment, that will test starters, and sometimes it's accurate and sometimes it's not. But in this case, we can definitely see that the starter, once it was hot, was drawing way too much power and not in an even manner. So that was what was causing our issue. 

Mark: So what would cause the starter to be sensitive to heat? 

Bernie: Basically you know, they just develop problems internally. Things wear out and they need to be replaced. So you only got so many starts out of a vehicle, although a lot of times they do these days they do tend to last a long time. But in this case, there was an issue. 

The other issue with these cars is they also have a known problem too, is that the positive battery cable that runs in the engine compartment has problems as well. So that was something we addressed when we looked at the vehicle. 

Mark: So how did you repair the concern?

Bernie: Yeah, so we, basically access the starter and also looked at the positive battery cable and we noted that the positive battery cable is also very old. So well worth replacing while we were in there to make sure that that wasn't part of the issue. Cause that can certainly cause problems. Similar kind of problems that we discussed.

Let's just get into a few pictures here.

So there's our 911. You may recognize this if you watch our other podcast because it was featured in another podcast. I figured it was just so interesting having a car with two distinctly different problems. I figured, why not do two good podcasts about it? So this is our second one on this particular car. So our nice 911S convertible, 4S all wheel drive, lots of traction, real fun car to drive.

So starter. There's the starter motor. Just one of the units we replaced. There's there's a solenoid here. The high resistance will develop and there are brushes in a number of motor type pieces. It's not very scientific, but you know, things just tend to go wrong as starters age. So there's the starter. 

And then the battery cable. Which again mentioned, it's a common problem. A lot of times there'll be problems in this connection area here, which causes the problem. So this cable basically runs from the front of the vehicle. There's a junction, and it connects up to the main battery cable from the front of the vehicle. And then this runs through the engine compartment, again, subject to a lot of heat, you know, and heat, it's hard on components. 

This terminal here attaches to the main power terminal on the starter. And this goes to the alternator. So you've got all your main 12 volt power running through this unit here. So having good connections all the way through here is critical, a) to charge the battery through this and b) to you know, have enough power to start the car.

Mark: And so how did it start after replacement?

Bernie: Oh, it was awesome. Like really noticeable difference. And you know, when the car was cold, it seemed to crank over fine, but it was actually noticeably different with the new starter and the battery cable on a cold start to. Just higher RPM, faster turning, more responsive. And of course with the engine hot, it started just the same as normal. So problem solved. 

Mark: So I know with Porsche is especially, this is a small, very tightly compact sports car with a lot of components tucked in everywhere everything's pretty difficult to access. So was this a long time consuming job? 

Bernie: It takes a little while. It's not like an old fashioned V8 Chevy where you can pull a starter in and out really fast. There's a lot of components to remove around the intake system to access a starter, but you know, when you work in these cars, you get kind of used to, it's a different style of working on a car, then you kind of have to push in there to reach into the engine compartment. They don't always have all the best access ports that you'd like to have. So it's a different style. It's a bit of a time consuming job, but not as bad as some vehicles where they actually buried the starter right under the intake manifold and you have to pull a lot of stuff off to get at it. 

Mark: And as you mentioned, everything's running good after all the repairs are done.

Yeah. Good car. Lots of fun. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Porsche or Porsche in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. They speak it both ways. Porsche or Porsche, whichever way you really feel that has to be said. It's totally cool and you can check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Of course hundreds of videos on YouTube. Pawlik Auto Repair. And thanks so much for listening. Give us a five star rating wherever you listen to podcasts. We do appreciate it and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thank you for watching.

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