Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

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. 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, 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, 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,, 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 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 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.

2007 Porsche 911 4S Transmission Fluid

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and celebrating 30 years of operating as a company in Vancouver, BC, and only 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair. Bernie, what happened in the first eight years?

Bernie: We didn't win. I dunno. We're a small business, so it's just grown into winning some awards, which has been fantastic. 

Mark: So today we're going to talk about a 2007 Porsche 911 that had a transmission fluid problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So well, initially didn't come in with a transmission fluid problem but the client's concerns were that he'd bought the vehicle over the last little while, took it into a shop to get some service. And they replaced the transmission fluid among some of the service. And after the replacement, he noticed that the transmission was, they may have mentioned it to him or he noted that, especially when the transmission was cold, it was difficult to get it in first and second gears and making the shifts in those gears was kind of notchy and grindy and you know, had a concern about it. And the other shop had kind of hinted, you probably need to replace the clutch. Even though it had been done about 20,000 kilometres ago, but they kind of figured out a clutch is probably worn out. And he was not exactly keen on the idea. It's an expensive job. And seeing it had been done, you know, figured maybe that wasn't the case. So he contacted us and we had to look at the car. 

Mark: So how did you proceed to diagnose and service the car? 

Bernie: So, you know with an issue like this, of course, a good discussion with the client is a really good place to start. You know what was done for previous service? When did exactly the issue happen? There's a lot of expensive parts at play with these cars, so it's good to kind of know when the issue happened. I mean, and this is the case with any car. So he said to me immediately after the transmission fluid service, the transmission didn't feel like it shifted properly. So to me, that was a clue that something went wrong in that particular service. So he had brought me invoices and they'd used an aftermarket fluid instead of the original Porsche fluid. And, you know, generally that's not necessarily a bad idea, but we personally have had other cars you know, that we've done, we've changed fluids and not use the original manufacturer's fluid and run into issues with certain things like shifting problems. And so my suggestion to him was we should probably change it back to the original fluid. That would be the place to start. 

Mark: So why? Why would an original fluid be that much different than an aftermarket? Aren't these specifically kind of formulated the same or to be to meet the same specifications.

Bernie: Well, you'd think so. And a lot of times when you look on the label of a certain fluid, it'll say, this fluid meets this specification. And you know, it meets the OEM specs, but really a lot of times they just, the manufacturer's fluids they'll slip some kind of subtle ingredient in that makes a difference with the friction material, say in the synchro mechanism. Or we have like hall decks units, which are you know for all wheel drive vehicles. And sometimes you have to get exactly the right fluid or otherwise it'll chatter or vibrate. And so these are some of the things that make a difference with different fluids. Even though a lot of the, you know, aftermarket fluids are really high quality, they just don't always work with certain vehicles.

So it's always safest to go with the OEM fluid. Unfortunately, they often costs substantially more money, but you know, you want the car to work right, and you don't need to change fluids that often. So it's usually worth the extra price, especially if it doesn't work properly.

Mark: So you replace the fluid. With the original spec fluid from the manufacturer. Did you find anything else? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, this is where we found something else that was really interesting and no doubt causing the problem and it might be that it would have worked okay with the aftermarket fluid for this other interesting issue that we found.

So I'm just going to go for a screen share here.

So there's our a nice. 911 4S convertible. What else can you say? It's a beautiful Porsche sports car. What else we found was that when we went to change the fluid, my technician Ed, fortunately actually captured the old oil. And what he found was seven litres of fluid in this transmission. And the actual fill spec is three litres. 

For some reason, you know, on the original bill, there was five litres of fluid and I'd ordered five from Porsche, not really looking at the factory spec. And then when we went to fill the transmission, you know, we found that it had been overfilled by basically, this represents about three litres which is the amount of fluid that should have been in the transmission. But this is how much we took out of it.

Mark: Was that both of those together what you took out? 

Bernie: Yeah. The most of these together is what we took out. So this is seven litres of fluid.

Mark: So more than one bucket full overfilled. Unbelievable. 

Bernie: Yeah, really amazing. And so, you know, not only did this vehicle have, I'm not exactly the right kind of fluid, but it had far too much fluid. So, you know, again, with the standard transmission trying to, you know, move things around. And areas were lubricated that weren't ever meant to be lubricated. And there's a lot of fluid to be pushed around. 

Plus, the owner had said that, you know, the transmission, and I experienced it myself because we had the car a couple of days and I drove it. You know, when the transmission was cold, it was much worse. And of course it takes a while to warm up that much fluid. There's you know, more than twice as much fluid. Whereas if you had the normal capacity, as you're driving down the road, the fluid will warm up faster and operate better. So there was quite a few things going against the operation of this vehicle.

Mark: So how's it possible to overfill the transmission this much? 

Bernie: Well, that's an interesting question. And it's only because of the way this transmission, it has two fill plugs on the side of it. And there's the right fill plug, which is located lower down on the transmission. Then there's the wrong fill plug. I dunno why it even has it. Because if you don't know what you're doing, and obviously whoever actually did the service, done by, you know, a reputable shop. But whoever was actually doing the service did not know that it was the lower fill plug you're supposed to fill it to, not the upper one. So this is why, yeah, I don't why it has an upper fill plug. It doesn't have to have it and it really confuses people. But this is why you need to know what you're doing when you work on a car. And that's the reason. There's an upper fill plug, and so it actually allowed the transmission to be overfilled.

Mark: Those sneaky Porsche engineer's. How did the transmission shift afterwards? 

Bernie: It was really good. I went out for road test and sometimes it takes a while for the fluid to kind of work its way through, but it was a, you know, pretty much after a few miles of driving, it was pretty noticeable. It shifted really nicely. Really smooth you know, clearly a clutch was not needed. And it's a case, you know, for use the right fluid and it makes a big difference. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service in Vancouver for your Porsche or Porsche, 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. Even now, they're still busy, and in Vancouver only, please. We're not dealing with you folks in the lower 48. Check out the website, if you want to read more, there's over 600 articles on there about repairs of all makes and models of cars. Videos on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you very much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Leave us a rating on wherever you're listening to your podcast that, whether that's at Apple or wherever, and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you Mark, and thanks for watching.

2019 Mazda 3 First Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's favourite auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And today we're going to talk about a Mazda 3. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So this is a first maintenance service. What was happening with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah. So it's a 2019, near new car and the owner brought it in to have her snow tires removed, summer tires installed, and to have the first maintenance service, it had about 7,500 kilometres on the odometer. So it was due for its first service. 

Mark: Okay. Wait a minute. Don't you have to take your car to the dealer? What about the warranty? 

Bernie: No, you don't. And that's a bit of a myth. I mean, some people don't hear that myth, but a lot of people do. Yeah, no, you don't have to take your car to the dealer. Your warranty will not be voided if you have it serviced elsewhere, provided of course, the service is done properly. You know, with the right fluids and the right filters and fluids, which we use. And, you know, the maintenance schedule is followed. 

Mark: And recorded, I suppose?

Bernie: And recorded. Yep. So you need to, you know, have it in invoiced, recorded. They used to have books, you know, where you'd stamp stuff in books. I mean, you didn't have to even do that, but that was something we've done for customers over the years. So if the vehicle is under warranty, you know, we would stamp their book that the service was done at a certain time, which makes it easier to prove if your engine blows up or something. But, yeah, no, you don't have to take it to the dealer. And many people think so. 

Now sometimes the dealers offer incentives, like free service for the first, you know, first one or two oil changes or something. They throw some stuff in, which, Hey, you as we'll take it up. But you know, if they don't, you're free to go where you want to go. 

Mark: And of course you guys provide that list of all the warranty or not the warranty work, but the service work that's been done over the years. So if somebody were to sell their car and one of that record you provide that as well, is that right? 

Bernie: Yeah. All of our invoicing is done in a computer. It's all saved. It's backed up to the cloud, the program system that we use so I mean, unless the cloud disappears, that data will always be there. And we frequently get clients who say, Hey, you know, can you send me all your service records? And it, you know, it's a little bit of work, but we're happy to do it and we can take care of it and we can just pull up all your invoices and send them all in. So we have records.

Mark: So was this just basically an A Service or what you call just like an inspection of the vehicle and oil change? 

Bernie: Exactly. It's basically an A Service, an oil change and a basic inspection of the vehicle. And of course while we had the wheels off, we can, you know, have a peek in at the brakes. It's not a formal brake inspection, but you don't really need a formal brake inspection for 7,500 kilometres anyways. It's all good. 

Mark: Were there any issues with the car?

Bernie: No, none at all. Everything was in a perfect working order. Nice and clean. It's always a, you know, a treat for us to work on a new car, cause everything's so clean and the metal's shiny and just things that, you know, things you just don't see as a car gets older. So it's always nice. 

Mark: So you've worked on Mazda 3s for decades, probably. How is this model? 

Bernie: It's really good. I was actually impressed with a few features of this car. So I tend to think of a Mazda 3 as a, it's kind of, it's a lower end car. But the features in this car are amazing. Like they're really high end, you know, like nice leather seats. And this thing even had a heads up display for the, if you don't know what that is, that's basically, it displays the speed up on a, it's projected up onto the windshield. So when you're driving down the road and you can see how fast you're going. And this was like a feature that was only found in really high end cars. I'm thinking like a 20 year old Corvette. It had that, you know, in a performance car. It just, there's just so many neat features in this car. It just really impressed me. And I often think, you know, if this is a lower end car you know, what can you do to make a higher end car better cause this is like driving a high end car. It's pretty awesome. 

Mark: And what about pictures? 

Bernie: Yeah. Let's look at some pictures.

Okay. So there's our car, the 2019. I mean, it's even a good looking car too, nice wheels as well. We'll have a look under the hood. I tried to take a picture of the heads up display cause I thought that was really cool, but for some reason it just wasn't effective. Maybe it would look better at night. I don't know. But here's the under hood view.

So that's a gasoline internal combustion engine vehicle. We wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but now with all the hybrids and electric cars, things tend to look different under the hood from time to time. But you've got, you know, things like your battery, air filter box, the plastic cover over the engine, intake manifolds here you can see a bit of the alternator there, part of the engine mount here. This is a common problem and a lot of Mazda 3s. These engine mounts wear out, you never know when cars get newer, and I do get people who call me for advice about should I buy this new car or not? And honestly, I'm not really the best person to say because you know, every new car works fine. It's just who knows whether this engine mount will be the same as it was in models that are 10 years old or whether they fixed it. But, washer fluid, if you know something you're adding to your vehicle is washer fluid. And of course, the engine oil, this vehicle does have a dip stick a lot of higher end European cars don't have that. But as technicians, we appreciate dipsticks no matter what kind of car it is. It makes life a lot easier to just be able to mechanically check your oil is, it's a good thing. Brake fluid located back here. 

So this is the SKYACTIV G technology that Mazda has been using since 2011. And they keep refining it a little ways, but basically SKYACTIV is Mazda's  answer to you know, high fuel economy, high efficiency engine. It's probably about, I don't know, exact percentages, but compared to the previous generation before SKYACTIV, the fuel economy is far better on these vehicles than it is, and more power probably by 20-30%, somewhere in that range.

So they did that by increasing the compression of the engine and then using direct fuel injection to deliver the fuel to the vehicle. And, and through that, a number of other technologies have improved the fuel economy enormously. So it works pretty well.

Mark: There you go. Customers happy with the brand new Mazda 3 and it's gonna run well for a long time. 

Bernie: Absolutely. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Mazda in Vancouver, the guys just call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead even during crazy time right now. Pandemic silliness. They're still busy. And, if you're in Vancouver, give them a call, 604-327-7112. Check out the website Hundreds of articles on there. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you're listening to this, picking up this podcast, we'd really appreciate it and thanks, Bernie. 

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

2016 Honda Civic A Service

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

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: 2016 Honda Civic. That was in for an A Service. What was happening with this Honda?

Bernie: Just a maintenance service. The vehicle is due for service. Nothing, no complaints of any sort and so we performed an A service.

Mark: So what do you do during an a service?

Bernie: So the A service is our most basic service. Consists of an oil and filter change and then a vehicle inspection, a basic inspection. We do all our inspections on a two post hoists, so we have the wheels off the ground, which is a good thing to do every once in a while. We can wiggle the tires, wheels, make sure there's nothing loose in the suspension. So we do a basic suspension inspection that occurs. We adjust the tire pressure, inspect the tires, have a look underneath the vehicle for fluid leaks. We inspect all the fluid levels, make sure they're all full and clean. We look at lights. And an under hood inspection, belts, hoses, those types of things. Anything we can see, we look at, normally inspect the air filter. It depends on the car. Some cars it's complicated to look at the air filter, so there's an additional charge and usually a different way of approaching it, which we wouldn't do on an A service. But a Honda is generally pretty easy. So we inspect the air filter as well at the same time.

Mark: Does the owner receive a written inspection report?

Bernie: Well, we do one better than a written inspection report, and we've talked about this in some of our other podcasts, but we have a digital inspection system so our technicians will look at the vehicle and they can record all the information on a, it's an app. You can either use it on a smartphone or a tablet and take pictures of things that are interesting. Say there's a fluid leak of some sort or a loose ball joint. We actually do a video capture of that and then we send it to the owner by a text message or by email. Yeah, there's a link. You can open it up and look at the inspection and it's pretty awesome. A lot of people give us nothing but positive comments cause you can, it's like being in, you know, being in the shop and having everything point. It's almost better than having everything pointed out to you.

Mark: And so you guys are following a checklist. You're not just kind of willy nilly doing this. There's an actual checklist to follow each time that has to be checked off as to this has been done and looked at. This has been done and looked at.

Bernie: Exactly. We have the checklist. I've customized some of the checklists that we do and, and they're vehicle specific. So you know, if the vehicle is a diesel, you know, it has diesel exhaust fluid for instance. That's one of the things that's looked at as part of the checklist. If it's a four wheel drive, there are check boxes for transfer case fluids, but if it isn't a four wheel drive, it just, the box doesn't need to be checked. But they're very specific items depending on the vehicle.

Mark: How many kilometres were on this vehicle?

Bernie: 42,000. So it was a pretty young, you know, for 2016 it's pretty a low mileage for the vehicle.

Let's just have a look at some pictures and we can keep talking while we're doing that.

Our 2016 Honda Civic, this is a turbo model by the way. So pretty cool. You know, it's a nice upscale model and a pretty cool looking car. I was thinking about Honda Civics and how this is the 10th generation of Civic now and just thinking about the first generation I used to, I've been in the trade long enough. I remember working on first-generation Civics a '75. I think they started selling them in Canada. At least that's when I was kind of aware of them. It's a changed car for sure. And so a lot different than what we used to have.

Let's get into a couple of other pictures here. The engine two litre turbocharged. So it's peppy. It's got some power. This Honda Earth Dreams technology. I can never quite figure out what that means, but, it's their branding for whatever reason.

Mark: Maybe they're dreaming of going electric.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Well, it has it on the, under the hood of your Clarity too which is maybe closer, but, yeah, I don't know exactly what that must be. That must be it. So basically, you know, you've got our internal combustion engine here and these are the ignition coils, one of the items that is actually easy and quick to service on this vehicle. Transmission located here. I know we did a posting on a Clarity recently on your car, you know, and it looks a lot different under the hood, a lot more complex with a big bright orange cables running around. There's none of that here. So everything here just services, the transmission, the engine, and the internal combustion engine.

What else do we got here? Air filter. This is one thing we found that was really urgent to replace. And you can see it doesn't take too much experience to look at this air filter and go, that's a, that's a pretty dirty filter. I even photographed on two angles. It was so dirty. So probably an original filter never been changed and we often find that we get vehicles that have been serviced elsewhere, a lot of dealer service vehicles, and the air filters are really dirty. And I don't know why. I'm assuming the technicians just never look at them there. They just wait until there's a certain prescribed time to change the filter. And then that's when they look at them. So we inspected every time, as long as it's accessible and we find they're dirty most of the time for vehicles that are new to our shop. Zero 20 oil is what this vehicle takes with a lot of Honda's and a lot of new new generation vehicles take, it's a very thin oil, reduces friction. You know, it takes less energy to pump a thin oil and the engines are built and designed for that kind of thing. So there we go.

Mark: So Honda has a reputation for reliability. How's the 2016 Civic?

Bernie: It's an excellent car. You know, it's just, it's up there with all other Honda's. It's on my recommended list. Not much else I can say about it. It's you know, you can pretty well count on just doing a basic maintenance services for a long time on this vehicle. A few fluids here and there. And some brakes, tires, you know, but nothing major. No major breakdowns. They're good cars.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your vehicle in Vancouver, the guys to see your Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. Even now, they're still busy in the midst of the pandemic. They're still open. They're still servicing cars. People still got to get around. You still got to get to the grocery store to get your groceries, even if it's just once a week and you want your car reliable, this is the time to get it fixed. They may be a little less busy than usual just because they're downsized a little bit, but give them a call, (604) 327-7112 to book ahead and they'll get you looked after. Again, 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. You can check us out on Hundreds of articles on there. Pawlik Auto Repair, the YouTube channel. Of course, if you listen to us in a podcast we'd love a review on iTunes. Five stars is always nice if you feel that way, so inclined and thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

Reasons to Service Your Car During Covid-19

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. And today we're talking servicing your car during the Covid-19 escapade. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well. Doing well, which is great.

Mark: So what would be compelling reasons to actually service your car during these difficult times?

Bernie: Well, obviously if your car needs service, you're gonna, you know, that's a compelling reason. If your check engine lights on or you're actually due for maintenance service, it's not wise to put that off because it will harm your vehicle. Also if there's noises, squeaks, squeals, grinding, sounds, anything, anything unusual of course, it's important to get that service. You know, many, while the world has really gone into lockdown, there's still many cars out there driving, and many of you still need your cars to keep going and go where you need to go. So those would be one of the compelling reasons for sure.

I mean, the other is, of course, if you're off and you have some time, and some money, this would be a good time to have your car serviced when you don't need it. If you've been putting off some noises or squeaks or you know there's some maintenance service, this as a great time to do it. We are open with a reduced staff but we are open and we're happy to help you out.

Mark: So what are the indications that your car might need service? What are the things that you would look for?

Bernie: Well as I mentioned, you know, things like your check engine light or there's a warning light on your dash, for instance, like maybe your ABS light is on, check engine light, certainly any strange noises are important to deal with and maintenance service. If a maintenance reminder comes on your car or your oil change sticker's up. And we are still calling for pre-booked appointments that we made. So you know, those are important things to deal with.
But certainly noises, you don't want to leave things too long and make them worse and cost you more money or you know, put you out of having to actually use your vehicle.

Mark: So, okay, what are you guys doing to actually protect people?

Bernie: Excellent question. So we put a number of procedures in place. Sanitizing your vehicle when it comes in and when it leaves. So we sanitize all the spots that anyone would touch. Steering wheels, gear shifters, keys, power window buttons, window knobs, door handles, you know, on anything we touch. So we sanitize that. We'd been sanitizing areas of our office that people touch. Wearing gloves, washing our hands more thoroughly than usual. It's a dirty business. So we wash our hands a lot, but we're washing them more and longer than usual. What else have we got? We've got a key drop-off slot. So if you really don't want to see us, I mean, we're happy to see people, but we, you know, do things at a distance. You can drop your key in a drop slot.

We can always put your key out in a spot where we don't actually have to contact each other when you go to pick your car up. As far as payments, we can do a credit card payments over the phone. We do keep our credit card machine clean so you can, you know, safely touch it. We can do, e-transfers.

A lot of our systems too, we do our inspections electronically, so we can email those inspections out to you. We can email estimates, you can approve everything. We don't actually have to talk face to face. Those are a few things that we're doing.

Mark: So what about if I don't want to see you guys at all? What if you do, are you doing any pickup and drop off of vehicles?

Bernie: We are doing that. We are definitely upping our pickup and drop-off service. So if you want to do that, we can certainly do that. You know, there are some restrictions and the best thing to do is just call us, you know, let us know you want to service your car and we can talk about how we can do that for you. You know, don't let, being stuck in home restrict you from, you know, having your car serviced because we can take care of that for you. The other thing is, you know, there's also an Enterprise rent a car behind us. So if you do need a car, they do have a preferred rates if you're having your car serviced. So you just need to let them know you're having your car serviced. They are open for business. I'm sure they've got sanitizing procedures going on as well, but you could always talk with them and see what they have to offer. So if you do need it, a rental car, that's available too.

Mark: So if you need to book a service for your vehicle in Vancouver and area, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. They're still running with a reduced staff but they are still servicing cars. Don't neglect your car just because you have to stay home. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. We look forward to taking care of you.

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