Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2004 Mercedes SLK32 AMG Pre-Inspection and Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. And of course we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19 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: Doing very well.

Mark: So, today's victim is a 2004 Mercedes SLK32 AMG. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So this really rare vehicle came to our shop for a pre-purchase inspection, which we did. The purchaser ended up buying the car, so we did some service work on the car as well.

Mark: So, this is an AMG model. What differentiates it from the regular model?

Bernie: Well, so for this particular, for the SLK, the major differences is the supercharged 3.2 litre V6 engine, which is a pretty awesome feature. I mean, that's definitely the biggest feature of the AMG. Also, it has nicer trim pieces, like fancier tail pipes. It looks like half of an SL tailpipe assembly, just with on one side. It's got the nicer AMG wheels, wider tires and wheels. And I'm not certain on this car exactly what the other features are. It's a little more basic than say an SL55 is compared to an SL500, but definitely has some beefed up suspension and performance enhances. But the engine is really the big thing.

Mark: What is unique about SLK series compared to SL's or other Mercedes?

Bernie: So, the SLK is basically a smaller version of the SL series. And I don't have the actual German translation front of me, but the S's roughly translate to sport, the L is light, and then the K is short. And it's interesting, because if you look at the other Mercedes line, you have your GLK, which is basically like a shorter, smaller version of a GL series. So, there's a German term for it. I'm not going to try to butcher it or anything. Porsche is about the best we'll go on the show, until I learn some more German. So what I find unique about this SLK car is that right up until ... They made the car from 1996 to 2004, and even up to 2004 it's got some features that you wouldn't really see in that era of Mercedes. Most Mercedes, they have electronic keys, the infrared keys, rack and pinion steering, things like that. This car is still has a mechanical key.

It's a much simpler version of a car. It's got a lot of the earlier 90s technology that's kind of just kept on going. So, some people may say that's a bad thing. I think it's kind of neat. It makes the car a little simpler. And this reminds me more of like a kind of a fancy Mazda Miata, just in terms of how the car is. So, let's just look at some pictures. So there's our SLK. Nice looking little car. As you can see, it's got the AMG wheels. It's a hard top convertible as well, which is awesome. So it gives you the ride, and when you're driving on a rainy cold day, it's just like having a hard top car, but you can take the roof off and then you have the benefits of the convertible. There's our 3.2 litre supercharge. If you're looking down at it really quickly, it really looks a lot like an SL55 engine, except it's of course two cylinders shorter. And it's about 350 horsepower, which is an awful lot to pack in this little car. It's, I think, about 32 or 3,400 pounds.

It's about 1,000 pounds lighter than an SL55, less power, but certainly enough to move this car really, really fast. The key I mentioned. So this is like a ... This is a 2004 car, but this key is really a very 1990s Mercedes type of key. It's a regular switch blade style key, and a regular toothed basic ignition. Steering is interesting. This is a ... I mean, it's hard to see a lot with the details of this picture, but this basically the view of the bottom of the steering box. This vehicle actually has a steering box, not rack and pinion, which of course is not quite as good in a way as rack and pinion steering. But it's interesting that it has this type of technology. And of course the car steers fine. And it's a lot simpler in construction than an SL series in terms of the way the geometry.

The lower control arms, which were actually one of the items we replaced due to worn bushings, it's just a simple wishbone style control arm as opposed to a lot of the newer ones where they have two control arms in the bottom and two at the top. I mean, there's advantages to that, but this has less parts and pieces. As I say, it's a simpler ... It's a nice car and it's simpler. And then here's our interior layout of the car. I know there's something else I want to point out about the interior layout of the car, that again is kind of a simpler throwback, but for some reason I can't think of it at the moment. So anyways, there's the basic interior layout of the car, and there we have it.

Mark: What services did you do on this car?

Bernie: Yeah, so some of the ... We did a number of catch up maintenance items, like a fuel injection cleaning and some fluid changes, drive train fluids. The control arm bushings and some of the steering linkages had wear, and also the tires were worn out.

So, their pre-purchase inspection helped them negotiate the best price, and then from there we repaired the vehicle and got it back in really nice shape. I mean it was ... I actually drove the car myself before he bought it, and the car drove really nice, but you could certainly feel the front end was wobbly, and didn't quite handle well. And then afterwards of course it's just the control was amazing. And of course, tires just make such a difference.

Mark: And how reliable are SLK cars?

Bernie: I find them fairly reliable. I mean, they do need the odd thing here and there. I'm saying it's a little simpler than a lot of Mercedes, with the technology a little older. But of course it's still got a lot of electronics. Some of the repairs we've done besides basic maintenance in the more basic SLK, we've done supercharger replacements on those. We've had convertible top issues, some simple wiring repairs. I think we've done podcasts or videos on these. But overall it's a pretty reliable car. And I think it's a nice ... I think this makes a nice ... If you're looking for a nice little semi luxurious little sports car, this is an excellent car. Especially the AMG model because it's got some really good performance.

Mark: So there you go. If you've got an SLK or Mercedes 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 busy. Or check out the website, YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening on the podcast. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching and listening. We really appreciate it.

2008 Range Rover Sport Engine Smoking

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the number one automotive podcast in Canada, the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: So 2008 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, a little hard to get the engine started, because it was trying to start that to smoke it was tough, was that what was going on?

Bernie: Well actually, it started fine, but what was happening was there was an awful lot of smoke coming out of the tailpipe. And how much smoke, you might ask? There was like a ton. You start the engine, it was just clouds of a white-ish colour smoke just billowing everywhere. It was pretty serious. And my first thought was, "Okay, this engine is done." You know, like it's got a severe ... just my first look at it, the head gasket must be blown somehow, it's just pumping coolant through this thing. Because of the colour of the smoke, so that was kind of the initial, that was my initial thought on it.

Mark: And how did you diagnose the problem?

Bernie: Well we started, of course, you know, looking at things, removing the spark plugs, looking at the condition of the spark plugs. Pressure testing the cooling system. We actually did a compression test on the engine with the spark plugs out as well. Compression was good, all even all across, which was a good sign for the engine. And the spark plugs didn't have any sort of coolant fouling, so but they definitely looked like things had been running rich, and there was a lot of oiliness on the spark plug. So put the spark plugs back in, fired everything back up and really looked at the smoke again and realized it actually had more of a bluish hue to it than white, even though you know, it was still pretty light colour, but not that typical kind of blue you'd normally see.

But definitely after a while, going, "Okay, it's definitely an oil burning issue, and not a coolant issue." So digging a little further, I mean I'll just cut to the chase. What we found was a crank case breather valve was blown, causing oil to be just sucked into the engine and burnt up, really not a huge problem in the end to fix, but what probably would have led us to diagnose that a lot sooner would have been some code, maybe a check engine light on, and some lean condition codes, which happens in a lot of other European vehicles. But that wasn't the case with this Range Rover.

There was one stored code in the vehicle computer, and it was only a ... it was an Evap system code for a purge valve problem. And the purge valve, like a purge valve probably never cause a smoking issue, and it was kind of, I say a minor code because the check engine light wasn't even on, so it was a code that was kind of stored in the background. So you know, it took a little bit to get to it, but we basically found again, I say we found the purge valve is the issue, so let's ...

Mark: Crank case breather valve.

Bernie: Crank case breather valve. Thank you. I keep confusing that. I always rehearse these podcasts, and think about it, and I keep saying purge valve. Crank case breather valve, thanks Mark.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing that valve?

Bernie: Well it's basically the valve is bolted onto the right valve cover, really not a lot of work to do, it's pretty straight forward. And I'll just get some pictures, we'll have a look. So there's our 20, sorry, 2008 Range Rover Sport. Also behind is another, a 2013 Range Rover Sport, we're doing some other service on, so it looked kind of similar, just a little subtly different. So as far as the vehicle, so there's the purge valve, this is the piece that was defective.

Mark: Crank case breather valve.

Bernie: Crank case breather valve, thank you Mark. I'm glad I got you here today. There's the Crank Case Breather Valve located in the right valve, of course. This is the new unit put in. This is the hose that actually goes to the back of the intake system, where the fumes that come out of the crank case are sucked in. And that's the new valve, which is basically bolted into the right valve cover. And after of course, I'm most curious to see what happened with the part, why it failed. So we broke the top of the valve off, and this is basically, there's a large rubber diaphragm. Underneath it, there's a little valve and a spring.

And there you can see a tear in the diaphragm, and this is where the oil is being sucked through the valve and into the engine. So that tear should not be there, it just basically happens from old age, there's a lot of ... crank case fumes are very toxic, it's obviously a very special rubber, but they don't last forever, so 11 years was about all this one got.

Mark: So is this the same piece as a PCV? Or PC valve?

Bernie: PCV valve? Yeah. PCV stands for Positive Crank Case Ventilation Valve. And it's basically essentially the same thing, although I tend to think of the more old traditional type you'd find on American V8 engine, or a lot of four cylinder Japanese type vehicles, where it would be just a little cylindrical valve, about the diameter of a large vacuum, it would clip into the valve cover. And some engines still use a valve of similar type, but it's basically the same thing. For some reason, a lot of European vehicles use these large diaphragm breather valves. And these actually tend to fail more frequently, like the old PCV valves would tend to carbon up and sludge up over time. And you'd actually have restricted breathing, whereas these ones here, they just tend to rip after time, and cause other issues like lean condition codes and blue smoke burning.

Mark: So why does the crank case need to breathe?

Bernie: Okay, so when, in an internal combustion engine, when it's running, of course there's an explosion in every cylinder, every piston. And with that, every time that explosion happens, 99% of the exhaust goes out the exhaust valve, the waste products of the explosion. But some of it escapes past the piston rings, it can't be sealed 100%. And that gas that escapes past the piston rings is called breathe blow by gases. Now if you were to have an engine completely sealed, that engine would probably run for 30 seconds, and then you know, explode due to the pressure. So in the olden days, going back, many decades, there would be a road draft tube. And this road draft tube would basically be a breather tube, and those blow by gases would just breathe out onto the road and into the atmosphere.

Think about those gases, they're about the worst pollutants generated in a combustion engine. They're just horrific, you know, the polluting gases are just the worst. So when they started developing emissions equipment on vehicles, the first thing they developed was a breathing system called a PCV system. Positive Crank Case Ventilation, where it would actually suck those vapours back into the engine and re burn them again, and essentially clean things up. So that was a huge step forward in vehicle emission reduction and really, really good for the environment for smog removal. Started in California, you know, way back in the 60s and then just eventually every car has it. And they've just gotten more and more sophisticated on a lot of European vehicles. But that's basically what the system does.

Mark: And was there anything else that you replaced on this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so on this Range Rover, like I mentioned earlier when we were diagnosing it, we looked at the spark plugs, they were quite fouled from all the oil that had been sucked through the engine, so we replaced the spark plugs, and it was also due for basically an A service, maintenance service so we did an oil change and filter, and yeah, everything ran really well. The owner was really happy with it. No more smoke coming out the tailpipe, and really not a huge cost repair, considering when you looked at the smoke earlier.

Mark: Absolutely. So if you're looking for service for your Range Rover 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 busy. Or check out the website,, YouTube channel: Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Again, number one automotive podcast in Canada, number one in Korea, varying between one and two in the United Kingdom, and we thank you so much for listening. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Yeah, thanks for listening and watching. And thanks, Mark.

2007 Jeep Wrangler Brake Line Replacement

Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert here with Bernie Pawlik and the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're broadcasting from Vancouver, BC and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, today's victim is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler that had a metal brake line replacement. What was going on with this Jeep?

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner ... We'd actually just had this vehicle in for service recently and the owner called back and said, after I picked my vehicle up, I noticed this chemical smell coming out of under the hood, and the brake warning light came on. And I thought, okay, it's kind of odd because we'd just done an A service on the vehicle which is an oil and filter change, basic inspection. And we do look around the vehicle. So, any leaks and that sort of thing we noted. Looked at the fluids. All fluids were full. But I suspected, maybe when our technician did the service, maybe when he took the rad cap off, sometimes it's under pressure, a little bit of antifreeze leaks out, causes a bit of an odour. I thought maybe that's what was going on. So, that's basically why the vehicle came in. Chemical smell and the brake warning light on.

Mark: So what did you find was causing the owner's concerns?

Bernie: Yeah, so the first thing I did, I looked under the hood, didn't see any leaks. But I did notice the brake fluid level was exceptionally low. It took a lot of brake fluid to fill the master cylinder up. Which was very odd because when we did the inspection, the fluid level was full. So when we did the inspection and left our shop, there was no issue with that. I looked under the vehicle, I could see, oh, there's brake fluid leaking from one of the metal lines down below the master cylinder. And on further inspection, I could see that it had actually been spraying out of this small pinhole leaks in the metal line right onto the exhaust system. So there's the chemical smell right there. So, that's what we found. So this line had just ruptured. It's kind of one of these weird things. We get this, oh, ever since you worked on the car, this happened. Well, sometimes we do make mistakes. But a lot of times there's just weird coincidences on cars. And this happened to be one of them. It just happened that the moment she picked the car up, this brake line decided to burst. And that's what happened.

Mark: Any idea why, what caused the break line to rupture?

Bernie: Well, I'm going to say it's a manufacturing defect. And let's just look at some pictures here and then talk about that a little more.

So you can see the Jeep, our nice 07 Jeep Wrangler here in great shape. Well taken care of. Our owner of this vehicle takes good care of this vehicle. Outside and in, and mechanically. So there's the leak that we found. So this is looking ... Actually, I'll just go back to the picture of the Jeep again. So, the actual line in question is right here. The brake master cylinder sits up here. There's an ABS brake unit here. A lot of metal brake lines, and they all kind of run down the vehicle off to their respective wheels. And there's the two that run to the rear wheels, go right down in this fender area. So that's where this next picture is of, so this is just looking in the left front wheel. You can see a fluid leakage, quite a lot of brake fluid here and you can see a bit of rustiness on this brake line.

Now again, as I said, I mean when we do an A service, we have the vehicle up on a hoist. We look around. Stuff like this would be very evident. We'd be pointing it out immediately to the owner. So kind of unfortunate, but it kind of just burst right after it was brought ... After delivering to them. Here's a couple other closeups. So this is the line removed. You can see it's basically a plastic coated brake line. So they did their work from the factory to try to prevent rust corrosion. But for some reason, you can see little cracks in the line. And the line is bulged under the plastic. I actually took it on a wire wheel and just ground ... Basically removed the plastic. You can see the metal underneath is completely pitted and rotted. And this is the area of the leak right here. So why it happened? I would say probably a manufacturing defect.

Somehow, something must have caused the line to corrode. Sometimes break lens will be near a ... Say they'll be underneath the battery and you'll have battery acid leaking out. Or the vehicle is driven and very salty road conditions. But none of that's the case. This vehicle is from Vancouver, there's very little road salt used around here. And metal brake lines generally lasts a long time. Back East in the US and Canada where there's a lot of road salt, brake lines will corrode much faster. So, don't really know for sure what happened. I say it's really strange because it's a very thick plastic coating on here. But there must have been something underneath here at the factory that just caused it to sort of eat away at the line.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing? And is it just this line, or did you replace all the lines?

Bernie: No, the other ones look fine. I mean, I did a visual inspection. If you noted in that picture there was two lines running beside each other. I did a visual inspection of the other line. It looks perfectly normal. None of the bulging that was evident on this particular line. So, I mean it's possible there could be something festering underneath. But at this point there's no reason to change it. But basically what was involved is replacing this particular brake line. And this line runs from the ABS brake unit, just in front of the master cylinder along the frame rail to the left rear wheel. So we replaced the line, completely removed the old line, replaced the whole complete line with a brand new line. We custom make it, bend it, flare the ends, that's the best way to have a solid line. I mean, it could be replaced in just a piece. You could replace just a portion of it. But why bother when, who knows what's further down the line that's hidden that we see further down the line. That's funny how that kind of came out. But literally further down the line. So yeah, it's better just to replace the line complete. And we're 100% sure it works.

Mark: So, this Jeep is now 10 years old, how are they for reliability and repair ability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're pretty good. There's things like the front end parts on Jeeps tend to wear out perhaps a little faster than they could. Some oil leaks and things that occur, but overall it's a pretty good vehicle. The owner hasn't spent a ton of money on this thing. It's been pretty good. There's been a few repairs, but just generally it's been pretty good.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for any kind of repairs for any kind of problems with your brakes. Or you just need a really reliable mechanic 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 busy. Or check out the website, The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2005 Dodge 3500 Diesel Comprehensive Inspection

Mark: Hi, good morning. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and video series, here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, of course, of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, and of course, we're talking cars! How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning. And actually, we're talking trucks today.

Mark: Ah, trucks, yes! It is truck day. It's official, February 28th's truck day.

Bernie: Yeah, that's right. International truck day.

Mark: We're just making it up. A 2005 Dodge Ram was, had a 3500 diesel, for a comprehensive inspection. What was going on with this heavy-duty, big beastie?

Bernie: Yeah. This vehicle came to our shop for a B service, and part of the B service includes a comprehensive inspection.

Mark: What do you do during a B service?

Bernie: A “B” service basically starts with an oil and filter change, oil filter service, chassis lube, and then the thing that differentiates the A and the B service is the level of inspection. For a B service, we do a thorough, comprehensive inspection where we look at basically all the components of the vehicle, test the batteries, charging system, remove the wheels, inspect the brakes, steering, suspension. It's a full-vehicle mostly visual inspection, but there are some actual test items that we do, as well. But it's a very thorough inspection. The B service is something you want to do probably about once a year on a vehicle, and depending on the car and, of course, how much you drive. That's basically the component. But the big differentiating feature on the B service is the comprehensive inspection.

Mark: Okay. What's so special about your comprehensive inspection?

Bernie: Well, it's awesome that you ask that, because I think what's special about our comprehensive inspections is we're very thorough. We've always done a very thorough inspection, and about almost two years ago, we went to a digital inspection platform, which integrates with our shop management software. It's a fantastic tool that you won't find at a lot of shops.

A lot of good independent auto repair shops use these electronic inspections, but they haven't really gone through the whole industry yet. But what's amazing, and we'll look at some pictures in a minute, of what you get, but where a technician ... actually, in this case, I worked on this vehicle. I can use a tablet or smartphone, go around, capture all the data, take pictures of things, and put it all into the inspection. Then we email or text it to you and you can look at the inspection yourself and go, "Okay, here's what's good, here's what's bad, here's what we recommend." And you can actually see it with your own eyes. A really good way to prove that we're honest in what we say, and you can see what's really going on with your vehicle. 

On that note, let's just get right into looking at the inspection. 

There's our 2005 Dodge Ram truck. A few dents and dings and stuff, this is a well-used vehicle. It used to be a landscaping company vehicle, so they used it well for what they needed to. And onto inspection.

This is what you will get as a client. This is what you'll see. Not with all these exact details, but this, I've actually done some screen captures of some of these, of this inspection. Again, you can see in the green, there's 79 items that we looked at that are okay. And in these 79 items, there's a lot of detail, too. If you look at it, you might add it up, going, "Oh, it's only at 89 point inspection." But there's many more items we look at that are sort of hidden in between.

We'll look at some of those. There's three items with suggested work, and then we have the seven items that have required service. When you get this inspection yourself, you'll be able to press these plus buttons, and expand on what's good and what's not. And for the purpose of this, I just did it screen captures because I wanted to hide the client's name and phone number and so on, and vehicle information.

But you can see, there's obviously a dash warning light, and there's a bulb out warning light. There's a running light that wasn't working, a tail lamp that wasn't working. Those are some of the red items. We can go back, look at a few of the orange items here. There's the parking break, was out of adjustment. And this was actually a concern of the client's, which we took care of.

The front tire wear was a little irregular, but the tread was still at nine millimetres. And balancing the tire, just watching it, would have been a good thing to do. And then, the spare tire had some cracked side walls, very old. It's a spare tire, you know. Again, how important it is, that's up to you as the owner.

What else do we have here? A few other items. Fuel filter ... again, we can recommend, check the maintenance records. Should be replaced. There's a transfer case leak. And here's a photograph. Now, you can click on it to enlarge. In the case of this video here, we can't do that, but there's basically, you can see the fluid leak.

These are the kind of things we can show you on the inspection when we do them. Going over a few other items here. We've got some of the good stuff. You can see, the oil's good, which we changed during the service. All these other fluids were inspected, they're all good. Some other good items, too. We don't just take pictures of stuff that's bad. This is our ... this truck has two batteries, so we actually take, test each battery individually on a comprehensive inspection on a diesel truck. This is actually a photograph of our battery tester, which tells that the findings in the battery, they were both good.

Again, we've got belts, air conditioning, these are some of the other items we look at. What else do we have here? We've got this. Brakes. Again, the brakes, we take measurements of the brakes and the brake rotors. Here's a photograph of the brake measuring gauge with the brake pads, so you can see it's actually in good shape. A larger photo makes it a little easier to read, but that's kind of the gist of it.

I think that's the inspection pretty much ... got to see pretty much the whole thing. That's what makes our inspections so special. You get to see it, you get to see what's good, what's not, and that's it.

Mark: And also, I guess, if you send that to the customer, they have the option of making a choice: do they want to repair something that's not dangerous that could be left for the next service interval, or do it now? Is that right?

Bernie: Exactly. And you get to see it, and we can actually do video with this, as well. We don't do it very often, but you can actually ... say we have a loose or worn ball joint, we can actually take a little video so you can actually see the play in the ball joint.

But, yeah, exactly. It gives options. And I've had a number of people, sometimes we tell people, "Oh, you have an oil leak coming from some spot." Well, I didn't really notice it on the ground, but when you see a picture of it, and you go, "Hey! That is actually serious." It gives you an opportunity to kind of ... if you're so inclined to be more proactive or if your budget's such that you don't have the money to do things, we can still prioritize things. But it just gives you a better picture as a car owner of what's going on with your vehicle.

Mark: And of course, it didn't look like this truck, even at 19 years old, needed a lot of work.

Bernie: No, it was actually pretty good. Is it 19 years old already? Wow. It's getting up there. Yeah, no, it actually was in good shape. And we've serviced-

Mark: 15. I'm sorry. I can't add.

Bernie: Yeah, it's about 15 or 14. But that's still getting up there! The owner of this vehicle, we've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years. We've taken really good care of it. Unfortunately, the engine actually needed to be overhauled a couple of years back, and the fuel injector's replaced. Some serious money's been spent on this truck to keep it in good shape, but there was no worn or loose front end parts, the brakes were in good shape, everything was actually really good other than the parking brake adjustment and a fuel filter replacement, and some worn-out rear tires.

And the transfer case seat, which, again, we note, "Okay, it's leaking. How serious is it?"  Well, just keep an eye on it. If you start getting a drip on the ground, then it's time to, you've got to fix it right away before you run out of fluid.

But, yeah, this truck's in good shape, and it's a testament to good ongoing maintenance. If you do that kind of thing, you end up getting these kind of inspection reports, and we do get a lot of new customers who haven't taken care of their vehicles and this thing will have, you know, 25 red things, and not as many green. You kind of want to keep it in the green.

Mark: There you go! If you want to keep your vehicle in the green, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. For repairs for your diesels or any make and model of used car or truck, or even new vehicles. They offer full-warranty support for your new vehicle, as well. The guys to see, Pawlik Automotive, 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy! Or check out the website,, the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. There's actually 300 plus videos on there. I actually counted them.

Bernie: Awesome.

Mark: I was overestimating last week. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie!

Bernie: Thank you, Mark! And thanks for watching! We really appreciate it.

2004 Toyota Sienna Rear Wiper Motor Repair

Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive video and podcast series. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Auto Repair in Vancouver, BC. 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers, and of course, we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So 2004 Toyota Sienna is today's victim. What was going on with this? Wiper motor problem? What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, the rear wiper on this vehicle had quit working. We'd done some diagnosis and found the motor was dead. Actually, this client brought this vehicle to us quite a while ago and so he'd been living with a dead motor for a while. This was the day to repair it.

Mark: So what might have caused the motor to die like this?

Bernie: Well, if you looked at our podcast we produced last week about some tips on preserving your windshield wiper and motors, which I mean a possible cause of this could have been that there was a lot of snow on the back window when he went to use it, burned the motor out. Could also be that he left the motor on the windshield wiper was iced and frozen onto the back window at some point in the past and caused the motor to burn out. That's a common cause of these kind of issues.

Mark: Any other causes?

Bernie: Other items that happen is of course, it's just things just get old and wear out, and that does happen. The other thing, too, is rear wipers are one of those things where sometimes people will very rarely ever use them and it's kind of like a parking brake, where if you don't use something for a long time it may actually just stick and gum up and not work. We see that with parking brakes, for example. People with automatics, they never use the parking brake and all of a sudden one day, they're on a steep hill and they say, "Hey, I better use the parking brake." It hasn't been used in five years, they put it on and the cable sticks. I mean, the wiper motor's a little different, but it can have the same kind of issue if you don't use it for a long time.

One other item we do find with wiper motors, too, is moisture intrusion. A seal can get weak and then water can seep down the shaft and into the motor and jam it up. In the case of this one, and I'll show pictures in a few minutes, it didn't look like there was any evidence of that. Hard to know, but those are some of the causes.

Mark: Is this a complicated replacement?

Bernie: Not particularly on this vehicle. There's a panel that needs to be removed on the back and then the motor sits right there. Wiper linkage and the wiper arm has to come off, but that's pretty much it. We can actually get into some pictures right now.

There's an 04 Sienna. This is not the vehicle we worked on, but I like this picture because it actually shows the back of the vehicle and there's your rear wiper with the motor. The motor will be located right back in here. When you pop the tailgate open, there's a panel and that can be removed and that's where the motor's located.

There is the motor. This is the old one, out of the vehicle. I mean, it really doesn't look ... it looks to be in really good shape, but somewhere inside the motor's burned out or something's happened that's causing it not to work. You know, sometimes if it'd been rust and moisture damage, you'll often see some rusty, sort of evidence of rust around the shafts or seeping out of the motor. This is just one side of the motor, but the other side looked fine, too. That's basically it. Pretty simple device.

This is a motor. It's got the linkage, well it doesn't really have linkage because it's one piece, but it has all the gear mechanisms and whatever causes it to move back and forth, the gears, they're all in one assembly so pretty straightforward.

Mark: And how did you replace it?

Bernie: So we used a used part in this case. You know, it's an older vehicle. A new motor was really only available from Toyota and really quite expensive. We were able to obtain a used motor for about half the price of a new one and the owner was good with that. That's what we did and it worked great.

Mark: Are used parts always a good option?

Bernie: No, they're not. You know, we do it on a case by case basis. Based on experience, certain items ... say a wiper motor like this. We can test it, we can listen to it, make sure it's not growling and making weird noises before we install it. Then it's a pretty good guarantee at least that the motor itself is in good shape when we install it. There are certain items that are not worth risking used. Over the years, I've seen cars where they have, certain engines will have very common failures and it doesn't make sense to spend the money and the amount of work involved putting a used engine in whereas a remanufacture engine would just make so much more sense, although a lot more money. The possibility of failure is quite high.

So that's kind of what we look at. There are other used parts where, I mean, it's just basically a solid piece of metal and you can be pretty assured it's going to work. Used parts, again, it's on a sort of as ... you got to kind of do a cost benefit analysis of doing a used part.

Mark: And of course, after replacement, works everything works fine and this fifteen year old Toyota Sienna has a lot of life left in it, is that right?

Bernie: Oh yeah. Yeah. It's a good vehicle. Definitely very reliable vehicle. I will say, in terms of cost for repairs, a lot of these vehicles, they can be a little costly. As I was saying, the new wiper motor was a pretty expensive piece. We'd done some repairs on one of the sliding doors in the vehicle, this has power sliding doors, and there was some pretty expensive latch ... I can't remember exactly what we did on it it, but the final bill was quite expensive and so I'm going okay, it's ... sometimes we think Japanese vehicles are so much cheaper than a German vehicle, but often they're not. They just tend to last longer before things tend to go wrong. You can be faced with some expensive repairs on Japanese vehicles. Just often, things are built as assemblies and you can't buy just a little piece for it.

Mark: And wiper motors can be pretty expensive as well. I think we mentioned that last week.

Bernie: They can, absolutely. And it really depends from car to car. In some more common cars, I think of American cars as being more common, which is not necessarily true, but in more common, there's a lot remanufacture options available. Things like rear wipers, for instance, they're not a very common replacement item, so they, a lot of times there's not a lot of aftermarket replacement pieces for them. Front ones, there's a lot more options.

Mark: So there you go. If you're needing some service on your Toyota Sienna, or any Toyota product 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 are busy always. Or you can check out their website YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Literally almost a thousand videos on there now of different makes and models of cars from the last 8 years of our doing these kind of broadcasts, as well we don't give over the phone estimates and we don't really like giving advice because we don't know your particular situation. So please enjoy our podcast and videos. Thank you for watching, and thank you, Bernie.

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

2011 BMW X3 Electric Water Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Videos and Podcast. I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We're here talking about cars. How you doin' this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: We're, of course, speaking about a 2011 BMW X3 this morning that had a water pump problem. What was going on with this BMW?

Bernie: This BMW, the owner's complaint was that an overheat warning light would come on, on the dash and along with that, the vehicle went into reduced power mode, so you couldn't accelerate the vehicle properly. That was what was basically going on with the vehicle.

Mark: What sort of test procedure did you use to find the cause of the concern?

Bernie: First thing we always do when there's any cooling concern, of course I ask the client, what happened to the vehicle? In this case, was there steam, did you see leakage of fluid out under car? No, no steam, no fluid. We verified that. When we looked at the vehicle, of course, checked the coolant level, it was full in the coolant bottle, there was no leaks anywhere, so we knew the problem wasn't from a leakage issue, it was more ... perhaps the water pump wasn't operating or thermostat sticking kind of condition. Maybe a radiator fan issue. The next step with this type of car is to hook a scan tool up, see what kind of information is in the scan tool and when we scanned the engine there was a number of trouble codes for a electric water pump related issues, which I'll show you in a picture in a few minutes. We basically determined that the electric water pump was intermittently failing.

Mark: Electric water pump. Now that's kind of different. Why does this vehicle use an electric water pump?

Bernie: Well, the simple answer of why is because BMW chose to use an electric water pump, but they're actually, reasonably common in a lot of vehicles and as vehicles get newer, they're getting more and more common. A water pump traditionally as been driven by, it's a belt driven mechanical pump and as the engine is idling, it's turning it a certain speed and as the engine speeds up, of course, it turns faster and flows more water. All very good, but in the world of trying to get the most efficiency out of an engine, any accessory run off the engine takes power.

With the electric water pump, the idea is you run the water pump at the speed that's needed to do the job, to keep the engine at the right temperature. When the engine is stone cold for instance, you don't really need to flow any coolant through the engine at all for maybe a few seconds to a minute or two, depending on the condition. The electric water pump as the capability to do that kind of thing, so that's why they use it. It's basically for efficiency, fuel economy, mileage, power, all those things combined.

BMW isn't the only manufacturer that uses them. Actually a lot of manufacturers, especially Europeans and their luxury cars have used electric water pumps, more as an auxiliary pump, so it'll provide quick heat to the vehicle or perhaps it'll provide some heat to the vehicle when you shut the engine off, you can sit in the car for a little while and get a bit of heat flowing through the vehicle.

Electric water pumps have been used as an auxiliary pump for a lot longer than they've been used as a main pump, but this vehicle, this is the main coolant pump, it's electric.

Mark: You have some images?

Bernie: I do. Let's have a look here. There's our 2011 BMW X3. Pretty much, they've made this model look the same for I think 2011 up to about 2017 or '18. They all pretty much look alike. This is a 3.0 version, which is a twin turbo, a higher horsepower model.

Okay. Scan tool. Here's what we found when we plugged the scan tool into the vehicle. We can disregard the first bit of information, but there's a code here, it says message: electric coolant pump missing. It's not running when it's supposed to. Engine cooling system, reduced power, coolant pump voltage low. Again, another message for coolant pump not operating. An interesting thing is, with this particular scan tool we have, you can actually drill down into these messages and it'll show freeze frame data, when the item occurred and certain conditions that were occurring. It's interesting with this code here, I don't have a picture of it. You can actually see that this issue happened four times, previous to the time where it had set a lot of warning lights off, where the pump had been failing. It's a pretty good indication that, that was the issue.

I often say, we can't just plug a scan tool in and find out what the problem is. In the case of this vehicle, this is a very common failure item, so you can be pretty sure, once you see these codes that that's the issue.

Here's the electric water pump. Bolts up to the side of the engine. You can see inlet and outlet, big electrical connector here and yeah, that's basically it. Big motor inside here and commanded by the computer to run when it needs to and at various speeds, so it does not just run on full out, it can run at any infinite number of speeds.

Here's a thermostat. This is another item we replaced while we did the job. It's not necessarily required but there's no extra labor to do it and this is also an electric part here. There's an electrical connector here. Thermostat's ... again, these used to be a purely mechanical item, but on many newer vehicles, they're now electrically controlled so that the computer can send it a signal to open the thermostat, as well as it being mechanical, there's also some computer overrides. I'm just going to stop ... actually, you know what, there's one more picture I want to look at, to show too and that is the instrument panel.

This is the instrument panel in the BMW and what's very curious about this is there is a temperature gauge in this vehicle, however it's not an actual coolant temperature gauge, you can see it actually shows a little oil can. This is actually an engine oil temperature gauge. It's not really a very reliable indicator of engine overheating. The other thing interesting is, you see how high this temperature goes, a 170 degrees of coolant temperature, your motor would have been cooked long before it ever reaches that temperature. Engine oil temperature, it works differently than coolant, it warms up slower, it gets hotter over time and on a turbo charged engine, a lot of the time, if you're going down the highway, this temperature will go over a 120, which is fine, it's normal.

I don't know why BMW chose to put an engine oil temperature gauge, it's kind of a useless item. They really should have put a coolant temperature gauge. If you have a BMW, have a close look at this gauge and you can't really count on it, quite the way you can with a coolant temperature gauge because it'll give different readings. Just a little tip and bit of advice there.

Mark: You alluded to this is a common failure item on this model of BMW or is it on all BMW vehicles?

Bernie: There's a lot of BMW's that use this engine type and a lot that use electric coolant pumps and electric main water pumps and they'll all fail, it's an enormous failure item. They do on all of them. The more I work on cars, the more you can count on certain things. If you have a 2.5 litre Subaru timing belt engine, you can be guaranteed you're going to be doing head gaskets. I mean, it'll happen. It's kinda neat when you have those kind of guaranteed failures. Then you know when you're buying a vehicle, you know what to expect and what's going to happen. I mean, this is one of the things with a BMW, the electric water pump, it will fail at some point in time.

Mark: Is this an expensive repair?

Bernie: Well, expensive is always a relative term, but I would say yes, it is. There's a fair bit of labor involved, the part is very expensive. Canada-wise, it's in the $700-$800 range for the pump, so it's a lot of money for the pump. They're not really any cheap substitutes out there and you do want to use something that's good quality, even that thermostat is over $200 bucks for that electric thermostat. Again, they're expensive parts, bit of labor, it's not your 1970 Chevy non-air conditioned four door sedan, water pump, where you can buy a rebuilt pump for 40 bucks and thinking way back when labor was a lot cheaper too. In today's dollars, maybe a three, four hundred dollar job, whereas this BMW is 15, 16 hundred bucks taxes in. It’s up there for sure.

Mark: You mentioned the temperature control, any other items that you serviced at the same time?

Bernie: I mentioned the thermostat. We also replaced the engine coolant at the same time. It used to be that flushing antifreeze and cooling systems was a really common procedure on cars, the technology of antifreeze is really changed over the years, so much on the automobile. It used to be that you would flush your cooling system twice a year and thank God we don't anymore, because I hate to think of where all of that antifreeze used to go, down the drain probably. Nowadays, modern engine antifreeze and coolants are good for one or two hundred thousand kilometres, even more on some cars, you know five or 10 years flushing intervals, they really do last a long time.

Whenever you have a problem like this, this is a good opportunity to actually replace the engine coolant because it's probably near the end of its lifespan, it's a good opportunity to do it. Coolant flush and also the thermostat. Again, the thermostat wasn't the problem, but there's no extra charge for labor to do the thermostat because it all comes out with the water pump, so why not do it at the same time because it's probably gonna fail, who knows, next week, two years, whatever it is, but you have to take a lot of the stuff back off to do it.

Mark: You alluded to other European manufacturers, does anyone else use electric water pumps?

Bernie: Well, a lot of manufacturers do and the ones that come to my mind, I'm thinking Toyota Hybrids, I mean they have electric water pumps. A lot of accessories on hybrids are all electric. A lot of Prius's, I can't remember after 2011, they don't even have a drive belt, everything is electrically driven, the air conditioning, the whole thing. That's the one vehicle I can think of for example, but many vehicles use 'em and they're going to get more and more common because again, it's about having control over these items, where it's not just a pure mechanical device drawing power, you can go, hey, it's going to draw less power, that's going to give you better fuel economy and power and have better engine performance overall. Even oil pumps in some engines, they have an electrical component to them or they're electrically driven. Again, it's about having that computerized control.

Mark: How reliable are BMW X3's?

Bernie: They're pretty reliable, but BMW tend to have more issues perhaps than a lot of cars, so you'll spend more money on this car then you will on an equivalent SUV, of a lot of others, but I mean, generally, it's a nicely built car, good quality. This one has a lot of fancy stuff on it, so you can expect that you'll pay more money to fix it over time. Generally, pretty reliable car.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW X3 or any model of BMW, or you have an electric water pump that needs replacing 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 because they're busy or check out our website, YouTube channel: Pawlik Auto Repair, close to a 1000 videos on there on all makes and models and types of repairs. As well, thank you for listening to the podcast and thank you Bernie.

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

2009 Toyota Highlander, Brake Backing Plates

Mark: Good morning! It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers, and we're talking cars.

Mark: How are you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: Today's victim is a 2009 Toyota Highlander with a brake backing plate issue. What was happening with this Toyota?

Bernie: This vehicle, our clients were concerned. There was a squeaking noise, kind of intermittent but coming from the rear of the vehicle somewhere. That was their primary concern. It's kind of a rotational squeaking noise. When we looked at it, we found it looked like the noise was coming from the back brake area.

Mark: And what else did you find?

Bernie: Well, we did a brake inspection. What we found when we took everything apart, was a lot of rust on the brake backing plate, in fact, the right rear backing plate was so badly rusted, it was starting to disintegrate. And when that happens, the rotors, parking brake shoes, things start to rub in ways that they're not meant to rub, so that was causing the squeaking sounds.

Mark: Okay. Why would that happen?

Bernie: Basically, the backing plates, it's rust. There's vehicles from back East, eastern US, where they use a lot of road salt. I'll just get in some pictures right here, so we can have a better idea of what's going on, but it's road salt.

Here's our Highlander. I mean, as far as road salt, you'd never guess, the outside of the vehicle looks in good shape, and I have to say, auto manufacturers have really done a great job over the last couple of decades making their cars out of good quality metal, because back in the ... especially the seventies, and eighties, a lot of cars, especially some Japanese cars, were really bad. They just rust out, and cheaper quality cars, rust was a big problem.

But nowadays, we do find problems underneath the vehicle, where vehicles have been driven in those kind of corroded conditions. Here's the left rear back plate. This is actually the one that was in better shape, a little more solid than the one on the right, but you can see, a lot of rust here, a lot of rust; the paint's basically gone. And down here is sort of the worst area on this side, but on the other side, it was literally ... It rusted so bad, it was breaking apart.

You can see here, the parking brake shoes have never been changed. There's still some material on this shoe, but the angle I took the photograph on, the rear shoe had very little friction material left. This is kind of the ugly part of it, and getting back to ... That's a replacement. This is on the right-hand side, the side that was worse worn. You can see the plate is solid, the shoes are thick, and there's a final picture. That's the brakes back together, new rotor, new ... Sorry, not new ... New pads, new rotor. The calipers were actually still in good shape, so we're able to clean and lubricate them, and make all that work.

Mark: Were there other brake components that were worn out as a result of the rust?

Bernie: Well, not necessarily as a result of the rust, but at this point, other things needed to be replaced. The pads and rotors were worn. You know, rotors tend to take the brunt, especially in salty climates, rotors tend to get damaged really quickly. The surfaces rust, because it's bare metal, and they heat and cool, heat and cool, and with salt, they just start to rust pretty badly. Driving around this kind of climate where we use very little road salt, they can tend to last a long time. But in saltier climates, they go pretty fast.

Mark: Well, let's be specific. In snow, in climates where they get a lot more snow, where they use more road salt.

Bernie: Exactly, yeah, that's a good distinction. Yeah. No, I'd say road salt climates are the worst. But actually, interestingly enough, if you live near a coast, where there's a lot of wind and sea spray, that can actually have a pretty bad effect on your vehicle, too. We do see some vehicles that have damage from that. You have to be a little cautious if you live somewhere by a windy coastline. Almost have to treat your vehicle almost like you would driving it in road salt kind of conditions.

Mark: What can you do to alleviate or kind of take some preventative actions in an area where there's a lot of road salt or it's just basically a salty climate?

Bernie: Well, best thing to do is flush the undercarriage of your vehicle as frequently as possible, and that's always easier said than done, especially if you live somewhere where the temperatures remain sub-zero for maybe a month or two on end, and you're basically just left with having the salty grime under the vehicle. It may not be possible, but where it is possible, flush underneath the vehicle as much as you can, because that will prevent this kind of thing happening.

And that's really getting a hose into a back brakes, it's getting it underneath the vehicle, spraying all over the place, because this is where the salt sits and starts corroding things like brake lines and fuel lines and brake backing plates, thin sheet metal kind of pieces.

That's the best preventative thing you can do, if possible. I also had a client once from Montreal, where they use a lot of road salt, and she told me ... had an older Volvo. I said, "It's surprising how little rust there was in this car." It was a 10-year old Volvo. And she said, "The secret, what I've done is, I never let ... when it's road salt season and cold out, I never put the vehicle in a heated garage. It always stays outside so it stays cold all the time."  I thought, that's a pretty smart idea. Something you might wanna take on if you live in such a climate. You don't get the privilege of getting into a warm car in the morning, but at least your car will last longer, which is probably a good thing.

Mark: And the joys of scraping your windshields.

Bernie: Yes, yeah. There's all sorts of other things there, but preventing ... Once you bring a car, it's got salt on it and moisture in a nice, warm climate, the salt just starts eating at the metal and ...

Mark: The chemical reaction takes place.

Bernie: Chemical reaction's having a good time.

Mark: How are Toyota Highlanders for reliability?

Bernie: Well, they're awesome. Yeah. Really good, nice little SUV. Smaller size. You know, very reliable. Not much bad I can say about them. They really ... Do the maintenance, they'll last a long, long time.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for any kind of brake backing plate issues or squeaking or service on your Toyota Highlander 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 busy. Or check out the website, We've got hundreds of articles and videos on there over the last eight years, as well. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds, literally. Getting close to a thousand, actually, on there, and all makes and models and types of problems and repairs, and of course, thank you for watching the podcast. And thank you, Bernie!

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. And thank you for watching!

Winter Driving Tips, Don’t Burn Out Your Wiper Motor!

Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast, and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 19 times winner of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we actually have a little bit of snow here in Vancouver, which has freaked everybody right out and that's a hit and miss affair. We don't always get snow. You have a bit of a tip for us around windshield wipers.

Bernie: I do. Yeah, so here's a little preventative tip. To prevent more serious damage like windshield wiper motor, wrecking your wiper motor, your wiper arms and linkage, or your ... I mean, on the cheap side, the wiper blades. It just occurred to me, as Mark said, we don't get winter here very often, so we tend to be a little lackadaisical with our operating of our cars, at least some of us. I know there's, I have a few people in my family, my wife, my kids, even myself sometimes, we tend to drive home and just leave the windshield wipers on because it'll probably be raining the next day or we just kind of forget and don't really think of the fact that perhaps it's going to freeze overnight or there's going to be three inches of snow on the window. When you go to turn on your, when you go to start your car, the wiper motor's already, the wiper's already switched on and your windshield wipers could be frozen to your windshield or trying to move three or four inches of wet snow, which is really hard on them.

My tip is, make sure you shut your wipers off, and that includes front and rear, when you shut your car off at night. Whenever you actually park your car, you should make sure your wipers are off. It's easy to forget about it in this climate because we don't have to deal with it very often. I'm sure there's some people watching this podcast going, "Duh, I do that already," because a lot of people are smarter in winter than we are around Vancouver and areas like this. Just a tip if you're not in the habit of doing it, save yourself some money.

I'll just share a couple of photos. There's basically a ... what that ... what we're looking at is a windshield and these are some wiper blades buried underneath. Again, like I'm saying, you don't know whether these are frozen to the window or whether you're about to be moving a bunch of snow. So if the wipers are switched on, of course that's a, that is, that can cause some problems.

Again, here's a rear wiper blade. Now this one you can see is actually frozen onto the ... this is a Suburban. It actually has a little pedestal that holds the wiper blade in place down at the bottom of the window. This piece is actually frozen to the pedestal. Again, that's going to cause an issue. Here, the vehicle, this is kind of bit of a worn out switch, but an example of how I found the vehicle. The wipers are actually turned on, even before the car, you know, the car was left overnight. That, again, is something that's going to cause a problem.

Mark: So what sort of damage do you see from this?

Bernie: On the simple side, the easiest damage would be a ripped wiper blade, which is cheap and easy to fix. More often, it'll wreck wiper motors, or cause linkage to either bend or break, or sometimes just the nut that holds the linkage to the wiper arm will be forced loose and just needs to be tightened and realigned. That's kind of the simplest scenario. Quite frequently, we replace wiper motors and it seems like a lot of rear ones tend to, we tend to replace them quite frequently, I think because people forget about the rear wiper. It's in the back, they don't think about and leave it on, it's frozen to the window, and burns it up.

Mark: So what sort of cost are we talking about?

Bernie: Well, wiper blades can be ten dollars a piece on the easy side of it. Readjusting linkage could be $30 to $50. Once you start getting into the realm of motors, though, you're getting into several hundred dollars. It could be even into a thousand dollars on some cars. So that's the kind of damage you definitely want to prevent.

Mark: A thousand dollars. So, besides making sure your switches are off, do you have any other recommendations for wiper longevity in winter?

Bernie: Yeah, so absolutely. So not only make sure the switches are off, but the other key thing is when it's cold out, and this doesn't necessarily mean there's snow on the window, but if there's frost and it's frozen, make sure your wiper blades are not stuck to your window. This is another thing that happens and it's simple. Just go around, grab each wiper blade, front and rear if you have rear wiper blades. Just grab it and make sure it physically moves off the window and that'll prevent a lot of damage because something we see a lot of too. It doesn't have to be snow. It can be ice.

One thing with snow, it's not such a big deal to use your wipers as a snow brush where you have dry powdery snow, but a lot of the snow we get around Vancouver can be heavy and wet and that can be really difficult for wipers to move. You really want to brush off any thick accumulations. You know, half an inch is no big deal, but when you start getting into three or four inches, that's tough.

Mark: And of course, clearing the top of your car Vancouver, which is almost like a rite of passage for people not to do. Have a foot of snow on top of their car.

Bernie: Yeah.

Mark: Which is extremely dangerous.

Bernie: Yeah. It is, and you know, the other thing too and brushing off your hood as well, because a lot of times you get snow blowing up on your hood and that creates blind spots and often wipers get all kind of gummed up. You know, having your window washers free as well is another tip I can give. You know, a lot of times washer nozzles are located on the hood. Well, they're not going to do any good if they're buried under three inches of snow. So again, you know, keep that area clear and clean because that'll help you. It keeps things safe and helps you get from one end of the journey to the other in one piece.

Mark: Well, there you go. If you need some service on your wipers, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead because they're busy. Or check out their website, Of course, the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there about all makes and models of cars and repairs. And of course, thank you so much for watching the podcast. We appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Severe Timing Chain Noise

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19-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 well.

Mark:       2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged has a severe timing chain noise. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie:      This vehicle arrived at our shop on Monday. Well, I arrived Monday morning and found the vehicle parked outside with a message that was on our voicemail from about 12:30 at night when the vehicle had been dropped off. There was a severe ... The owner said the engine had lost power, severe ... Some noises in the engine and a number of warning lights on on the dash.

Mark:       Was this an issue that occurred suddenly?

Bernie:      Well, according to the owner, a few months back, we replaced the supercharger nose cone. It was very noisy and he said even since then there was a noise in the engine. I think it was something that had been progressing for a little while, then just got suddenly worse. The issue came along suddenly that they needed to drop it off to fix it. It was good they did and didn't drive it much further, as we'll see soon. Yeah, other than that, I think the noise had been there for a little while.

Mark:       How did you start your diagnosis?

Bernie:      Well, of course, listening to the engine we could hear there was something pretty severe rattling and didn't want to run it for very long. Ed, who was working on it, popped the oil filler cap and he could see the top of the left timing chain. He said you could actually see a piece of metal in there, which we'll again see in the photograph. He said as soon as he kind of poked down and touched it it dropped down inside the engine, so at that point we knew, "Hey, we can't run this thing. This is like too risky. We gotta pull the timing chain cover off and see what's going on. Something is broken in there."

Mark:       How could it have broken apart like that?

Bernie:      Well, let's ... Why don't we just look at some pictures and we'll talk about that, because we're still kind of speculating as to what may have happened. Let's get in some pictures here. This is the lower timing chain cover removed. There's a ... It's a pretty large area in the front of the engine, but the lower timing chain, this is a ... You can see the crankshaft here. Here's the two timing chains. This is the right chain, the left chain, and there are of course, tensioner ... There's the tensioner. This is the guide ... This is the tensioner lever and this is the guide rail. You'll notice something here. There are actually bolts missing. There's no bolt here, no bolt there. We didn't remove them. You can see this guide rail here has a bolt.

This is what happened. These bolts came apart and there was also ... In behind here, and you'll see a better picture of this later, there's an oil jet that sprays oil right on ... Directly on the timing chain and the gears. There's a piece that actually sticks around and points here, and that piece is completely gone in this picture.

Mark:       Not to get too pedantic here, but the timing chain basically ties the camshaft together with the crankshaft so that the valves open at the right time when the pistons are up towards the top of their stroke.

Bernie:      It does, exactly, and of course, it's critical that these move in exactly the right time because pistons and valves, the clearance is very tight. If the timing goes out, pistons and valves will hit and cause basically ... It basically destroys the engine. For all intents and purposes at this point you'd either have to rebuild it ... Excuse me ... Replace it with a new one or get a good used engine. Those would be the options had that occurred, and it could very well easily have happened in this case.

Let's just get into a few other pictures here. This is just some of the damage. This piece had been floating around inside the engine. Actually, I'll show you the piece in a minute, but this is just where stuff ... Metal had been banging around on the cylinder head. These are some of the other pieces we took out. This is part of that oil jet. You can see it's been scraped, bent, twisted. This piece is folded over completely. Broken bolts. These were the bolts that were in place where the timing chain guide was.

This picture here, this was the cover. You can see where the bolts have been. The arrows point ... These bolts have been rubbing for quite a while on the cover, so as the chain runs of course there's a lot of rattle and force and movement, so it's been banging around and almost wore holes through this cover, but it's still in good shape. It's just a ... It's a chunk of metal so really wouldn't be damaged. A little more wear and there'd be a hole in it, but at this point it's okay.

What else have we got here that's good to look at? There's our ... This is after the chain was removed. This is how the ... This is the damage on the front of the engine. This one here, the bolt's pretty much sheared off and the actual surface here is good. This, as you can see, the bolt has broken off quite a far ways in and what's left of it, and a lot of damage around this area. What was a flat surface like this where the bolt shoulder would rest has now been completely damaged. We have ways of repairing that, which we did, all these pieces. It's been a work. Stuff you really don't want to have to do, but it does need to be done. One more shot, just some of the damage from the guide ... Or sorry, the oil jet that was flailing around and banging against the chain and scraping.

There's a lot of bad noises going on. I guess we could probably get to the picture just showing the completed job where everything's back together. Again, here's the chains, guides bolted back in. Here's that jet that we ... That I mentioned earlier. You can see there's a whole arm here that comes around and twists around and that piece was of course mangled and bent and twisted. There was this piece left, but this one was nowhere to be found. Part of this jet here bolts up underneath this particular piece here, so somehow these bolts came loose. We don't know why or how, but they did and that's sort of what caused everything to go bad.

Mark:       We'll go back to, how would those bolts ... Would they just work themselves loose? Was it a bad repair job in the past? Any clues?

Bernie:      We're not really sure. It's possible that this timing chain could have been replaced in the past. I haven't had a chance to quiz the owner on it. He hadn't mentioned it and it is ... The vehicle's about 100,000 kilometres, which is sort of where we normally find the chains start to rattle. The 2010 to 2012 for certain have a lot of issues with the timing chains because the ... I've shown this in a previous ... We have a previous podcast on this ... The tensioner, the plunger of the tensioner and the guide rail are kind of substandard in size. They should have been made bigger, and so they tend to wear out and cause the chain to start rattling.

This had the updated type in it, so it may be either one of two things. Either someone had done the repair and not tightened the bolts properly, or B, it just wasn't ... It just somehow from the factory it wasn't tightened properly and it came loose. That's not usually something you see. Engines are manufactured really well, but it's something that can happen.

Mark:       With all those chunks of metal floating around in there, I imagine it could have been pretty catastrophic.

Bernie:      Oh yeah. I'd say by the Grace of God or a miracle or good luck, whatever you want to call it, that chunk of metal did not go actually between the chain and the gears, because had it done that, that would have been very easy for that to happen. It would have definitely jammed up the chain in the engine and it would have ... It would have been in one big boom destroying the engine. Pistons and valves would have collided and the repair bill would have been substantially higher.

Mark:       I'm assuming the repair was just getting all these parts back in proper order and retiming everything and making sure it's back into good condition?

Bernie:      Yeah. I mean, essentially the job was the same as any normal timing chain job we would do on one of these engines other than we had to repair those bolt phalanges that were broken and of course replace that jet, which we don't normally do when the timing chain's rattling. Other than that, it was basically the same level of work.

Mark:       Anything that the owner could have done to possibly prepare for this? Or not had this happen? Maybe be as catastrophic or dangerous as it was?

Bernie:      Well, yeah, I mean, I think the lesson to be learned out of this is when you hear a noise in your engine, especially a rattle noise, it's critical to have it looked at and fixed right away. Now, I say ... I mean, the repair bill for this job is not really gonna be much more ... A little more than it would have been if we'd addressed it earlier, but had it driven even a little further or just ... It could have already had that piece fall off and break and jump ... Go into the chain. It really ... The preventative maintenance here ... We often have this ... J.D. Power and Associates today ... Study saying it's 46% cheaper to maintain your car and fix things before they're broken, but I'm starting to see in a lot of cases it's actually hundreds of percent cheaper some of the time to fix things. When you hear a little noise, fix it, because this job would have been triple the cost had the engine failed, or more.

Mark:       Again, we'll talk about Range Rover Sport Supercharged. This is a pretty high-performance vehicle. How are they for reliability?

Bernie:      Pretty good. We talk about some of the timing chain noises. It seems these Supercharger nose cones are an issue on pretty well all of them, including Jaguars with the same engine. Other than that, the cars, they're pretty good. There's lots on them to go wrong and over the years the suspension compressors go bad. Those are things we see on Range Rovers. I haven't really done too many on these models yet, but they're at the age where we'll probably start seeing them and be doing them.

Overall, pretty good. I think they seem to get better and better as time goes by, but these timing chain issues with these are a little bit of a ... I'd say disappointment. I mean, it's work for us. That's a good thing, because we never complain about that, but from an owner's perspective, it's a little annoying having to do that, a timing chain at such a young age.

Mark:       Well, it's a high-performance, ultra-luxury vehicle that has a lot of things that are very convenient and very comfortable, but also very expensive to fix.

Bernie:      Exactly, exactly. That's right, and I just think about brakes, too, on these things. I mean, they tend to wear pretty fast. They have massive, enormous brakes, but there's a lot of vehicle to stop and performance ... Things just tend to wear out and ... Great vehicle and good used buy. They tend to depreciate quite well, so that's a good thing if you're looking for a good luxury used vehicle, but you will spend a fair bit of money fixing it.

Mark:       There you go. If you're needing any kind of service on your Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see, the experts in Vancouver 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. Or check out the website, Hundreds of articles, videos on there. Literally hundreds. As well, our YouTube Channel. Eight years almost of videos on there of all makes and models of cars and repairs. Of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie:      Thanks, Mark. I was just thinking maybe one ... Pretty soon we'll be saying there's thousands of videos on there at the rate we're going, so it's kind of exciting. Anyway, thanks for watching. Thanks, Mark.

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

In order to provide an estimate, a diagnosis is the next step!