Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid – B Service

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 they're 21 time winners. I think they're pretty good. You think if you win 21 times in a row, you're pretty good. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing today Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. I always love that introduction because it does make me feel pretty good. 

Mark: 26 and you know, you're welcome. It's earned, you earned it. You guys do a hell of a good job. 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you everyone for voting for us because it really does, it's a real honour.

Mark: So 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid you have, we're doing some service work on this vehicle. What was going on with this Toyota? 

Bernie: The vehicle was brought in as a new customer, brought in for a maintenance service and due for a B service, which is, we often say a B services in oil and filter change along with a full vehicle inspection.

Mark: So hybrid vehicle, what's unique about it? 

Bernie: Well, of course, the hybrid drivetrain is unique. But there's not really a lot different in the servicing. I mean, it's still, it still has an internal combustion engine that needs an oil and filter change. You know, we do a, we do a thorough vehicle scan of this vehicle with an electronic scan of the vehicle, which is, which we include in a lot of other vehicles, but it's especially important in a hybrid because there are a lot of electronic systems that.

If there's a fault of some sort, it could be picked out. Of course, if it's a major fault, there'll be a warning light on your dash, of some sort. But it's just good to just see if there's anything there that might be any cause of concern for the client, but other than that, you know we inspect the brakes. Wheel off inspection, rotate tires if necessary and needed. I mean, some cars you can't rotate the tires because they're different sizes. A Highlander you can, so we rotate the tires, lube the door locks, hinges and latches. And just to do a general inspection of the brakes, steering, suspension, cooling system, charging system, that type of thing.

Mark: So were there any other additional issues that found with the vehicle? 

Bernie: A couple of dirty filters, like the engine air filter and the cabin air filter. But other than that everything else was good at this time. Not due for any other service items at this particular time. 

Mark: And what was the kilometerage on this vehicle?

Bernie: Kilometerage! Glad you changed that, because I always write mileage. I go, why do we do that when we use kilometres in Canada, but a 90,000 kilometres, so just under 60,000 miles for those folks across the border or in England who still use miles. 

Mark: And what maintenance services were due at the specific amount of usage?

Bernie: Yeah. So for this vehicle, basically the oil change interval is a 16,000 kilometres, 10,000 miles. I personally would do it a little more frequently, like maybe 10 to 12 on the oil service. I think it's important to change the oil just a little more often than manufacturer recommends, but that's nonetheless the manufacturer recommendation.

Spark plugs 192,000 kilometres, I think that's 120,000 miles somewhere in there, transmission fluid and 160,000 kilometres, a hundred thousand miles and engine coolant is 160, transmission actually doesn't have an interval on this vehicle unless you do it using it for heavy duty use.

But I think it's important to do it probably around a hundred thousand kilometres. You know, there's a lot inside the electric, you know, the electric motors are bathed in the fluids, so it's important to change it. So next service we'll recommend to the owner to change the transmission fluid.

And it's not a difficult service on these vehicles. It's not a flush, like a traditional automatic transmission fluid.  In this vehicle it's more of a drain and fill like a standard transmission. So simpler, you know not that costly compared to an automatic service. 

Mark: So, do you know off the top of your head, is this a nickel metal hydride battery or lithium-ion?

Bernie: I, you know, I don't know. For some reason I'm going to, I'm going to take a guess that it's a lithium. But I could be wrong. I know Toyota, they, they're kind of around the cusp of changing a few things around, so it might still be a nickel metal hydride because it's a straight hybrid and not a plugin, but I'm pretty sure the plugins all have nickel metal, lithium ion, sorry. 

Mark: Yeah. 

Bernie: Let’s get into a couple of pictures here.

So there's our redesign, actually redesign in 2016 a Highlander. Good looking vehicle. What else do we got here? For pictures, there's, there's the outside, of course, several look under the hood. Here's the under hood view. So this is the internal combustion engine located under this hybrid synergy drive plastic cover. Over on this side is where the transmission is located. We actually have the air filter out of this vehicle. So that's why that strange gap is there, which you may or may not notice, but anything marked orange, those are all high voltage cables. So this is where, you know, any servicing has to be done with caution around these high voltage cables. And there's not a whole lot to see on, you know, there's a lot of covers and things that can be removed, but it does have a radiator in the front. Interesting, what I find interesting about this, and actually I'll go into the next picture. So I've kind of split the next pictures to look at two different sides of the compartment.

So let's, this is a sort of internal combustion engine side, but, so on the right hand side, you notice the brake reservoirs over here and the ABS brake and a number of brake components are located over on the side of the vehicle. And yet the brake pedal is actually over on the other side. So this is a fully electronic braking system. it's all drive, I mean, most brake systems on hybrids, they're all essentially brake by wire. But this is interesting because they moved the reservoir and everything over to the passenger side of the vehicle, completely away from the pedal like you would find in a traditional vehicle. And the actual pedal it's interesting. It feels like you're pushing on a brake pedal, but that's all controlled electronically and with dampers and things to give you a feel like you're actually pushing on a brake as you would in a traditional car, but it's actually just, it's completely electrically activated, so when you push the brake, you may actually not even be activating the brakes in the car. It may just be the hybrid drive unit that's slowing the vehicle down in regenerative braking, but of course, when you put a hard activation, then it uses the regular brake system fully. That's a view of that side of the engine compartment. 

This is kind of a closer view of the sort of call a transmission side. The hybrid drive unit is actually down here. The transmission, which has a two electric motors and there's, this is the cooling system for the hybrid. There are two separate cooling systems. So one for the hybrid side, one for the internal combustion engine and being an all wheel drive vehicle, the Highlander, along with a Lexis counterpart, has an electric drive motor in the rear. So the all wheel drive is actually accomplished electrically and not with any coupling between the drivetrain. So there's no transmission tunnel and going down the middle with the driveshaft. It's all done, the rear drive is all electric and that's our picture show for the day. 

Mark: Is the battery basically underneath the floor pan?

Bernie: I believe so. Older Highlanders it is. And so I would say that this would be in the same spot. I didn't really tear it apart to look in detail. It's funny that there's not a lot of information about these. I mean, I sort of go, you know, just to educate myself for the podcast. I'm okay wonder where, you know, let's have a look at this and how is it different from the previous model years. And there's really nothing, nothing out there, you know, in order to find a lot of these things, you really have to, you know, go rip through repair information or actually start tearing the car apart. But I would say that they wouldn't have redesigned the vehicle much any appreciable way. I mean, that's a good spot to put the battery under the seat. 

Mark: And how our high a Highlander hybrids for reliability?

Bernie: Well, they're really good. Now this generation, there's no issues that I could find with it, but you know, I know that on the older generations we're talking like the, I guess would be the second generation Highlander or first, anyways it was a, you know, in the a 2000 model years. First decade of the two thousands a lot of them had inverter problems. Most of those were covered by a recall or factory extended warranty, at least in the US they were. In Canada we weren't so lucky and often owners were had to foot the bill, which is substantial, huge, like, you know, a bit shy of $10,000 parts, labor to do an inverter so they're a very expensive item. And I don't know why they didn't extend that warranty to Canada, but probably not enough people yell and scream up here or something or we don't have enough lawyers to to make that happen. But anyways, inverters have been a problem. Pretty frequent problem. But interestingly enough, I looked at some sites just to get some more information on, it's called carcomplaints.com. It’s pretty good. It's got a lot of good information on issues. In 2009, they just show the Highlander Hybrid is having an enormous spike in problems compared to others. But they all seem to be brake related issues or ABS brake system and nothing with the inverters. It's funny as none of that's mentioned. So my caution is you got to watch websites that have information. Because a lot of times it's just a vent for people to complain about stuff and it doesn't quite paint the full picture of the vehicle. So there's a lot of stuff that happens on these that isn't showing there. And a lot of things I wasn't aware of that people are complaining about. So, but you know, to me it's a good vehicle overall. It's just got to watch the inverter on the older ones, the newer ones I'm sure they've solved that issue. 

Mark: And how about, is this a vehicle that you would recommend?

Bernie: Absolutely.  

Mark: Depending on year, I guess? 

Bernie: Yeah, it depending on year, but you know, I think anything older that you buy, you've just gotta be a bit cautious and just know that, you know, when it's out of warranty, you know, there's the potential for some extremely expensive parts to fail. You know, there's the hybrid battery.

Generally they, you know, these have all lasted a lot longer than people have thought, but, you know, there are potentially more expensive items to fix. But you know, I mean, this vehicle is newer. I mean, I definitely recommend them. I think they're really well built overall. There's very few problems with them. It's a Toyota. They're very good, you know, if you get something with lower mileage, you're probably better off, but you will pay more money of course. And I think with hybrids, it's always a balancing act of, you know, are you actually going to get the value out of the improved fuel mileage if you're, you know, if you're driving strictly highway driving, you're probably not going to see any benefit. If, you know, if your most of your driving is around the city, then you, then you'll get the benefit of the approved mileage and the efficiency that a hybrid offers. 

Mark: Versus the extra cost of having a hybrid versus just as plain ice engine model. 

Bernie: Yeah. Versus the extra cost. And you know, we see that, I mean, we, we do a lot of diesel repairs. I'm not going to single out any other manufacturer, but you know, we do, we see a lot of diesels and some of them aren't so well-built and all that money you save on diesel fuel is often spent in our shop or other shops fixing mechanical problems. And you go, well, where's, where's the actual savings? You would've been better just to, I don't know if it's better for the environment. I don't want to say that, but you know, you may have been better off to just burn that up and fuel then have them, you know, spend the money. There's no savings there. So it's always a balancing act. You never know. And then of course there's the environmental issues to take into account when you try to formulate it all it gets kind of complicated. But the other thing about a hybrid is there's less CO2 going out into the air from your vehicle. For sure. That's an absolute fact when you're driving it.

Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your hybrid in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call them, book ahead. They're busy or you can check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds over 600 articles and videos of all makes and types of repairs. For many years now we've been doing this. And of course on YouTube, over 350 videos, do a search for Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Leave us a rating on iTunes or Spotify. We would much appreciate that and thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe. We love doing the material.

2008 Ford Edge Transfer Case Leak

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So Ford Edge 2008 vintage, had a transfer case problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So a relatively new owner to this vehicle, and one of his complaints was that there was a smell of something burning when he'd get out of the vehicle, shut the engine off, get out of the vehicle, you could smell something burning. So we did a comprehensive inspection and a maintenance service. And one thing we noticed was a fluid leak coming from the right transfer case seal directly onto the exhaust pipe which sits right underneath where the axle seal is located. 

Mark: So that was what was causing the smell? 

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah. The oil was basically dripping out of the transfer case and burning up on the exhaust manifold. Not the exhaust manifold, sorry on the exhaust pipe. 

Mark: And they get hot, very hot. 

Bernie: They get hot. Yeah. You know, so this is a modern engine with two catalytic converters. It's a V engine and there's a lot of heat generated in this area. So yeah, things do get very hot. So yeah, the smell was pretty prominent.


Mark: So is this just a, was it a seal problem?  How simple of a repair was it on an Edge? 

Bernie: Yeah, it actually did turn out to be a pretty complicated issue. I mean, a lot of times, certain vehicles you can just pop the axle out, pop the seal out. But no it's a Ford. They made it extra complicated. These vehicles are basically, you know, they come in two and four wheel drive versions and so when they make the four wheel drive they add a transfer case, sort of bolted onto the side of the transaxle, and then the axle, the right axle shaft is kind of customized compared to what would normally be there. It's got a very long shaft on it. We'll look at pictures in a couple of minutes, but there are several seals in the transfer case. It seals the transmission fluid from getting out. It seals the transfer case fluid from getting out. There's a number of seals. So it involves actually removing the transfer case to do the repair. Pretty complex. 

Mark: So this is a transverse mounted front engine on a two wheel drive? 

Bernie: That's exactly what it is. Yeah. And so for the four wheel drive at just a transfer case, it's a essentially just a geared unit that transfers power back to the rear differential and a not actually a transfer case in the sense of an old four wheel drive where it would, you know, change speeds. It just diverts power, shall we say, not diverts, but moves power down the rear shaft to the rear axles. 

Mark: So is there something unique about the design of the seals? 

Bernie: Yes. So yeah, I did mention it was complicated. The actual seals themselves, well let's have a look at some pictures.

What we're looking at here, this is the right axle shaft. This basically slides through the transfer case. So the transfer case, we don't really have a ruler here, but this is probably eight inches, length from here to there. And this shaft slides right through the transfer case and right into the transmission. And you can see two very polished surfaces here. These are where the seals on both of these services. So interestingly enough, on the transfer case, there's an inner seal and an outer seal that seals transmission fluid from getting into this area. And then there's an outer seal here that that again prevents dirt from getting in and provides a final seal. And what was happening is these seals in here break down. And so the, it's actually transmission fluid is leaking all the way down the shaft and out onto the exhaust pipe. So it's extra complicated. Plus there's a number of larger seals that we're not seeing here that I don't have pictures of, but they're on the transfer case itself. So there's, I believe a total of about six seals. I don't know if they could have done it with less, but that's, that's how they built it. It's a little overly complicated. 

Here's a view actually of the transfer case re-installed with a brand new seal. And again, this plastic piece is part of the special seal kit. It involves getting some special tools to put it in. And the actual shaft slides in here. So we're looking again at this little stub, this little part here is, this area right here. So you see there's a nice, you know, there's a little seal here and a little seal in there. What else can we see here? This is the rear catalytic converter outlet. 

Mark: So that's an exhaust pipe? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the exhaust pipe bolts off right underneath here, which kind of goes right across where my mouse line is going. The exhaust pipe from the front goes right under here, conveniently right underneath the seal. So Ford has a TSB about this particular issue that TSB is a technical service bulletin.

Whenever a manufacturer finds a a consistent fault and they make a change in repair procedure. They issue a bulletin. And so there's a bulletin about this. It applies to a lot of different vehicles. There's a number of other vehicles that use this drivetrain and have this issue. So there are specific repairs, updated seal kits, and so on to deal with this.

So that's basically our picture show. 

Mark: So is this a, since there's a TSB about it, is this a common leak on this vehicle? 

Bernie: It is. It is a common leak, and it's, that's applicable to other models that share the same drivetrain. I don't have the TSB in front of me. I remember seeing the word Taurus on there. So Taurus, Edge, whatever other vehicles use this particular drivetrain are similarly affected and similar repairs. 

Mark: So there's a couple of other questions that we didn't actually talk about prior to this. So hopefully that doesn't take you too far off track. So the transmission fluid was actually leaking into the transfer case, were the fluids, different fluids mixing. And is that a problem? 

Bernie: Well, it is a problem for fluids to mix because they put specific types of fluids, like the transfer case has gear oil and the transmission uses a synthetic transmission fluid. So there are different types of fluids. Sometimes it, you know, usually it does make a difference because there's a reason why they use different kinds of fluids. And sometimes it could be, it could be catastrophic. In this case, I'm not certain, but the answer is there wasn't really any mixing of the fluids because the way it's designed, it could mix because there are several sealed areas. But the way this fluid was leaking, it was just leaking straight out that axle shaft and out into the exterior environment. So in this case, it wasn't mixing, but it can happen. And it does happen. Many vehicles, sorry?

Mark: So there's like a tube that that axle shaft is running through. 

Bernie: That's exactly right because it runs right through a tube, in the transfer case. 

Mark: Okay and with the Edge it's, like a large SUV, slash station wagon, I don't know what, it's Edgy. 

Bernie: Yeah. That's called a compact SUV actually. It's not, it's not huge. It's more of a car, kinda like a BMW X3 is to a BMW 3 Series. It's kind of a compact SUV. 

Mark: And so is having a transverse mounted V engine in one of those is fairly rare, is that right?Or is that a more common thing?

Bernie: No, it's really common. Very common for a lot of vehicles. Yeah. Quite common for a lot of vehicles. Japanese, European, American. 

Mark: And the reason why they went that way instead of the normal way or what I'm used to being an old guy. 

Bernie: Yeah. Not well, because it's, they start off with a front wheel drive configuration first.

So the vehicle is first of all, a front wheel drive vehicle with an option to make it a four wheel drive. Whereas, you know, there are other, it used to be in the past, you know, it used to be like when cars were rear wheel drive, the option was let's drive the front wheels, but these ones, you know, these ones are driven by the front wheels with the option to drive the back.

So that's kind of how it, so it's a two wheel drive vehicle first, and then they just added on. But I'm thinking like vehicles like Dodge Caravans, I mean they've gone that route for a long time as well. It's a front wheel drive, transverse mounted engine. Let's throw on a, Volvo calls at an angle gear unit, and that's kind of like a good term for it because it just basically changes the angle of the drive from this direction to this direction. 

Mark: Right? So how are Ford Edges for reliability? 

Bernie: Kind of Edgy. No, I'm just joking here. But they're fair. We don't work on a ton of them in our shop. There wasn't a lot else wrong with this particular Edge and it had about 187, a hundred, 180,000 K range. So this was really the only major problem we found with it. Actually come to think of it, the shocks were leaking in the back brakes, but you know, that's a lot of kilometres in the vehicles, you know, 10, 12 years old at this point. So not, not unacceptable kind of wear, but they're overall pretty fair vehicles. But you know, again, you know, this transfer case issue, that's something you're going to be facing. And fortunately this owner just bought the vehicle and he had an extended warranty on it. So it covered most of the cost of his repair on this particular job. So that was a good thing for him.

Mark: So there we go. If you're looking for service for your Ford product, Edgy are not 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. For those folks who reach out from all across North America and even sometimes the world, we don't really provide free consultations. So this is a local service in the Vancouver, British Columbia area in Canada, and we appreciate you respecting that. As far as, anything else, we love that you take a look at the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Check out the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Feel free to subscribe and leave us a review. Thanks, Bernie. 

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

2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 3L Diesel, Fuel Tank Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 21 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver, and of course, generally acknowledged by us at least, Vancouver's best auto service experience. And we're talking Jeeps. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. Love talking about Jeeps.

Mark: 2007 Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, a three litre diesel. Our favourite, there was a fuel tank problem. What was going on with the Jeep? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop. It had some fuel leak issues. The first thing we noted coming out from under the hood, there was some pretty bad fuel injector leaks, to the point, where we basically need to replace all six fuel injectors. So they're physically leaking. They're also leaking combustion gas out of the engine. So it was our first repair. And that's a pretty major repair on one of these vehicles. So we replaced all the fuel injectors, cleaned off the engine, cleaned underneath the vehicle, road, tested it, and then we've also found that the gas tank was leaking, which was a bit of a surprise, first time we'd seen something like that on one of these vehicles.

Mark: Are leaking fuel tanks a common issue on Grand Cherokees? 

Bernie: No, they're not. So the interesting thing is on the diesel version of the Grand Cherokee, the gas, the fuel tank is metal and the other versions, the gasoline powered, they're a plastic tank. This is a difficult tank to find too, by the way, because it's a kind of a rare model, a sort of a half Mercedes, half Jeep kind of combination.

So the tank was a little interesting to source. But yeah, not a common issue, but I can see why, how, you know, based on this issue with what we found with this vehicle. And as you'll see with some further pictures and as we discuss it, how this, you know, could unfold on a lot more vehicles going forward.

Mark: So you talked about it's hard to find, were there not just not a lot of repair replacement options available? 

Bernie: No, like the dealer, so from Chrysler, the tank had been discontinued and that, that's an only, it's not a Mercedes tank that fits in a Chrysler, it's actually available for Chrysler, you know, a Jeep tank. So that was no longer available. And also if it was, it was insanely expensive. There's a good aftermarket company in Canada and the US, that makes fuel tanks for pretty much anything, but they didn't make one for this vehicle either. Nothing used is available.

So we did actually have a supplier who managed to source of brand new one for us. It wasn't really cheap, but you know, much cheaper than the dealer's price so. We did get one, brand new, took a week to get it, but he had it, it's in and it works great. 

Mark: So what was the problem? Why was the fuel tank leaking? 

Bernie: Rusted out, and this is where we can have a look at some pictures. Yeah. So being metal, you know, any metal tank is prone to rusting over time. So some fuel tanks will actually rust from the inside out if you get moisture inside.

Anyways here's our Jeep, 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Equipped with snow tires and it's a rainy Vancouver day. You can see all the rain all over it. The weather has been very gloomy lately. Snow for a while, and then rain and a lot of precipitation.

Anyways, here's a view of our tanks. Here's our brand new tank. Here's our old tank you know, you can see a lot of fuel it's leaked around it, but we'll look into things a little further. Of course, we transfer the fuel sending unit and fuel lines over to the one tank to the other and whatever hoses and pipes we need to. Leak. There's the bottom of the fuel tank. You can see it's just very rusty and there's some, basically some foam straps here that keep the tank separated from the crossmember, or the a tank mount unit. I call it a tank mount unit. It's basically the fuel tank sits in this, this very sturdy steel structure here. This is actually excellent protection from rocks and underneath hazards. So if you're going off road one, these vehicles, you can be pretty sure your tanks pretty well protected. This piece weighs a lot.  I actually photographed it up against the wall or the door in our shop, but I just moving it was incredibly heavy, but you can see a lot of rust here. So what's happened over time is that, you know obviously the vehicle has been driven on roads with a lot of road salt, you know, and maybe dirt and things accumulate. Dirt accumulates in here and moisture stays trapped. And that, between that and the bottom of the fuel tank, it basically just rusts out the fuel tank. So that's the whole story there. Good shield but unfortunately, kind of keeps a dirt trapped in as well. And that can cause rust. 

Mark: So is there anything that a Grand Cherokee owner, diesel owner especially, can do to prevent this from happening?

Bernie: Well, you could certainly get in underneath the vehicle and you could flush out the gas like that, I called a splash pan, that whole fuel tank area, and really try to get a hose in and wash out that area after every winter season would be a good idea. Or even if you're going off road and you go on some muddy roads, it would be a good idea every once in a while to flush that out.

However, you know this vehicle is now 2007 that's 12 years old. Will it matter at this point in time doing that kind of thing because a lot of the damage may already be be done. Now that being said, you know, we work on a lot of these vehicles. This is the first fuel tank we've seen. But certainly if you're into preventative maintenance this is a good idea. And I mean on any vehicle, and if you own a newer Jeep, you know, don't wait for this to happen. 5-10 years down the road, if you keep the vehicle a long time. Just get underneath there every once in a while or take it somewhere and get it hosed out properly. It's good to get into all the cracks of the wheel wells, under any plastic coverings. These things trap dirt. And when dirt trapped and moisture is trapped, that starts to rust the body of the vehicle as well. So those are kind of good preventative maintenance, so you can do in your vehicle, not just by just changing oils and fluids, but actual cleaning things. It'll keep it going a lot longer.

Mark: And is this a problem with the gas engines or is the plastic tank just more durable? 

Bernie: Yeah, good question.  I mean, plastic tanks just don't rust. So that's a great thing about them. They're not really as tough a is a metal tank in some respects, but they are I mean, I actually prefer plastic tanks because they don't rust. You just never get an issue of rust. The other thing, you know, of course with metal tanks, you know, they often get rust from the inside as well. If moisture gets you know, often moisture will get into a tank somehow and over, especially over a number of years, and sometimes fuel tanks will rust from the inside out as well.

So the thing of the plastic tank, that never happens. 

Mark: And how was the Jeep after everything was repaired? 

Bernie: No drips, no leaks, ran great. So yeah, it's good. 

Mark: Another happy customer. So if you're looking for a service on your Jeep Grand Cherokee or Jeep in Vancouver, you can call Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. The YouTube channel of course, has hundreds of videos on there on all makes and models of cars and repairs, types of repairs, reviews of different vehicles and how reliable they are. That's under Pawlik Auto Repair. You can find that. And of course, we really appreciate you listening and enjoying and rating our podcast. Thank you so much for doing that and thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2011 BMW X3, Battery 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 and 21 time winners. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing today, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So we're going to talk about a BMW X3 that was having a battery problem. What was going on with this Beamer?

Bernie: So this vehicle came in for a regular maintenance service and battery. The battery was tested during the service and found that it was weak and needed to be replaced.

Mark: So were there any other indications beyond the readings on the testing that you guys did?

Bernie: Yeah. So how we found that the battery was weak. We have a tester, that we put on and it indicated the battery was near the end of its lifespan. The other thing that was noticeable is when you crank the engine over, it just felt a bit sluggish. It cranked over okay but it just had this laboured feel to it which you'd kind of get when a battery's weak and old, you know, the car still starts, but it had that feel. So that's the other indication we had that, Hmm, maybe this battery is not good. And the tester verified that.

Mark: So why are we talking about a battery replacement? This is pretty straight forward. Is there something different about replacing a battery on a BMW?

Bernie: Well, there is actually, there's a reprogramming process that's required that you have to do through a scan tool in the vehicle computer, believe it or not. It's never simple these days, but there's a number of different options of batteries you can put in the vehicle. And so yeah, that's kind of why we're talking about this because there's an added complication. And BMW is not unique to an X3. A lot of BMWs for, this is a 2011, you know, for at least five years previous to this, maybe longer, you know, this has been our required procedure.Failing to do so, the battery may not charge. So you put a battery in and a week later it's all of a sudden dead.

Mark: So you have to go in for service where you, they know what they're doing. You just can't do it yourself.

Bernie: Exactly. Now you might get lucky and put it in yourself and it might work, but you have to put exactly the same battery in and hope it was all programmed properly beforehand.

Mark: So is that part of why they made it this complicated?

Bernie: What, so you go back to the dealer for service? Well, that would be the conspiracy theory of it, but honestly, I mean the reason why is that they can control the, you know the electrical system can control the, make proper use of the alternators power.
It's more efficient if they know what kind of batteries in the vehicle. So, yeah, it's more complicated, but it's not really there, just so you have to go back to the dealer. Although that's probably like a nice little bonus. And of course you don't have to go to the dealer. I mean, we do it in any other good independent repair shop as has the tools and capabilities to do it.
But it makes for a more efficient charging system. I mean, these vehicles have very high electrical demands. You know, heated seats, heated steering wheels, electric power steering, you know, there's a number of things. If you get into a slightly newer model year, the start stop technology is part of it. So when you come up to a red light, the engine shuts off. And then as soon as you like your foot off the brake, the engine starts again for, you know, obviously reduced emissions and better fuel economy. So that again, requires a very good battery and a precise charging system.

Mark: So you mentioned there was different kinds of batteries. What, what. This is new to me. What, what, what batteries are different?

Bernie: Yeah, there are, yeah. So I mean, the traditional battery you know, in a vehicle is a lead acid battery. It's known as a flooded battery. And there've been you know, other technologies available, but this, this vehicle uses an AGM battery. It's called absorbed glass mat.
It has acid and lead plates like a traditional battery. But the way it's designed is different and it's much more efficient, lasts longer. Charges. quicker, has more power. So let's just get into a couple of pictures. I'll show you some stuff here. And then we can talk more about the AGM batteries.

Ok, so this is our scan tool screen that gives you the options for the battery capacity. When you replace the battery in the vehicle, you need to go into this particular, this is an auto logic, but you know, there are a variety of different scan tools that will do this particular job. So you can see different options here, 70AH, that means amp hours. So you can see these different options. Then you have the AGM options from 70 up to 105, the stock batteries a 90 amp hour AGM. And, so depending on which battery you put in the vehicle, you can put a non glass mat battery in but it, it's definitely, the vehicle comes with an AGM battery, so it's always better to use that. The other advantage of an AGM battery is, is it doesn't gas like a regular battery, like a regular lead acid battery, has gas that comes out of the battery as it charges. And because this battery is actually mounted in the trunk of the vehicle, you really don't want gas coming out.

So it does have a vent too, but the gassing is extremely minimal on an AGM battery. So it's pretty critical to use one of those on any vehicle. It has a battery inside the vehicle, but not all vehicles require that, but it's best to have it. So this is, this is the again, the screen again, we use the 90AH amp hour AGM battery in the vehicle. So that's what we programmed in.

Now other pictures here. This is our testers. So hook it up to the vehicle, says near end of life charged 62%. Now you think, well, maybe we could charge it up and make it better. But these, these testers are very intuitive. They actually test the resistance of the battery. They put a little mini load tests on the battery and they do a variety of things so it can, it can tell information about a battery that's you know that you can't often detect yourself, but as I said, we suspected the battery was weak just by the way it cranked over and the tester verified it.
So we get other messages here. Sometimes it says bad battery. Other times it'll say good battery and it isn't actually good. But, 95% of the time, these testers are really accurate. The other picture I want to show is this, this is the battery mounted in the back of the vehicle. The reason I took this picture, I mean this is just, it used to be that a battery would have a, here's the positive terminal here. You can barely see it and the negative terminal here, it would just have a one big thick fat wire coming off each of these terminals and that was it. We can see this thing has that as a, just a host of other items here, extra wires. It's like a junction box there. There are voltage and current sensors detecting how much voltage current is flowing in and out of the battery and they have it on the positive and negative side of this battery. So there's a lot of complexity here. This is mounted in the trunk. It takes a while even to just to change the battery cause you know, the hold down brackets, it's got a couple of hold down brackets and it's, you know, it's not like it used to be. We're just be under the hood. You pop two terminals off and away you go. So there's our picture show.

Mark: So what exactly is an AGM battery?

Berne: So it stands for absorbed glass mat and instead of having a, you know, just lead plates with a liquid, this sulphuric acid and water liquid floating around, it actually absorbs the lead acid mixture or sorry, the acid mixture in a glass mat plate, and it's all sandwiched together very tightly. So these batteries can handle a lot more vibration. They can be charged quicker. They have more power. There's just a lot of advantages to them. Plus they don't gas like a regular battery. There's no off-gassing, at least, or it's, I should say, it's very minimal. Now you're wondering what's the downside?

Well, the downside is the price there. There are a lot more money you know, 50% to sometimes twice the price, 50 to a 100% more money. But the good thing of it, the lifespan of this battery. This one and that's, it's hard to tell because when a battery is kept in a trunk, it all stays clean. Unlike when it's under a hood, where it is, where it often gets grungy. This battery, I'm pretty sure is original, which makes it a, we're in 2020. The battery is about nine years old. So that's pretty good life for a battery. I mean you will get the odd flooded, regular lead acid battery that will last that long, but it's extremely rare.

If you have a car that has one, you should probably go buy a lottery ticket because it's, you've beaten the odds pretty good. But you know, eight, nine years is pretty good. You know, kind of a, probably a lifespan you get out of these as opposed to the typical five years you get out of a regular battery.

Mark: And how did the X3 start and run after the battery replacement?

Bernie: Well, it was a noticeably different, you know, it wasn't like it was cranking really badly, but there was just a noticeable difference in terms of, it just felt peppier and more lively when it started. So that made a big difference, I would say, you know, about the life of these batteries is, you know, if you do have a vehicle with the start stop technology, you probably get a little less life out of it. And this issue with this battery would have probably been a little more noticeable because, you know, every time you stop the car, you know, at a light and it restarts that starters being used. So there's a lot more, a lot more activity involved. And you, you would probably notice a difference sooner on a vehicle like that. And the battery would probably live a little less long of a life because it's being used, you know, being cycled a lot more. But anyways, this is not the case with this. And the car was great.

Mark: So what's your opinion on BMW X3s, I know you actually own one of these vehicles as well. What do you think of them?

Bernie: It's a nice vehicle to drive, really nice. More issues than I'd like to see. I mean, I've you know, I'm kind of like, like anyone else. I love fixing cars, but I don't like fixing my own. And I think things tend to wear out in these cars a little sooner than they should. Things like, you know, they tend to develop oil leaks and coolant leaks. There's a lot of complexity and expense to them. So that's kind of, you know, to me, that's kind of the downside. If you own one, you're definitely getting a nice vehicle. It's a good feel, good looking, drives well, but you will spend more money, you know, for sure taking care of this and you went on, you know, say an equivalent, a Japanese or Korean type of SUV.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW or X3, if you have it in Vancouver or battery replacements, 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 always busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com there's over 600 articles on there about all makes and models of cars and repairs. Over 350 videos on YouTube Pawlik Auto Repair, search on there. You can find our channel. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it, click the subscribe button.We'd really appreciate that even more and leave a review. Thanks Bernie.

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

Truck Thieves Target Parked and Locked Ford F250 & F350’s

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And of course we're talking cars. How are you doing today, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So Ford trucks. Last week, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which they do every year, announced the most stolen car list. So kind of stuck out. Out of the top ten, eight of them were Ford trucks. Why are Ford trucks being stolen so much?

Bernie: Yeah, this is awesome for Ford. I mean, they've got like 80% of the top 10. That's really not a very good thing. But the reason they were stolen, and there's very specific model years in that top 10 and they range from 2002 to 2007, their F250 and F350s. All of those vehicles do not have an immobilizer system. So you can basically go in there with some pliers or a screwdriver bang it in to ignition lock, give it a twist and truck is yours.

Mark: So there must be a lot of other older vehicles that don't have immobilizers, because that was something that was legislated later on in the 2000s. So why F250s and 350s?

Bernie: Excellent question. And I think the reason is probably mostly used for smash and grab theft, you know, the trucks are awesome. You steal the truck, of course you're not using your own vehicle for the theft. You're using something else. That makes two crimes. But you can go around with a truck and it's a big heavy duty beast. You can go bash, you know drive into say, a warehouse, just drive right through the front door, drive in, grab some stuff, take off, leave your merchandise, abandon the truck somewhere later. And of course, the truck is kind of used for the theft.

The other thing that I didn't mention, there's a top 50 list, and out of that top 50 list, 30% are Fords ranging from 1999 up to 2007. Interestingly enough, after 2007 there are none, which we'll talk about later. But you know, so if you have an F150 and you think, oh, no one's going to steal that, well they're there in the list too, they're just a little further down. But the heavier duty ones are, there's more appeal to those. And there might, yeah, there might be some parts stolen too as well.

Mark: So have you personally seen or repaired any stolen Ford trucks?

Bernie: Yeah, we actually, you know, we fix a wide variety of vehicles at our shop and Ford trucks are among one of our more popular vehicles, and we actually have had a couple of customers' vehicles stolen. We have a road behind our shop. It doesn't happen very often, but over a period of a few years, we've actually had a few Ford trucks stolen. And you know, they're easy to steal. Had a Ford van as well, where someone had, fortunately not stolen the vehicle, but they snuck into the vehicle and broke the ignition lock. I guess they got spooked or something because they never got away with the vehicle. But you know, this is, you know, it's obviously well known for thieves that these are easy vehicles to target. I'll say in one case, one of the trucks that was stolen was actually in for a head gasket job. It was a six litre truck and the owner wasn't too sad that it got stolen because it saved him, you know, he was committed to doing the job and it would be very expensive, but it's like, Oh, well, let's do bad, I'll just get another truck. So sometimes you know, thievery works out, but you know it still ends up costing us all money in the end cause the insurance company ended up paying for that vehicle.

Mark: So is there anything that a Ford truck owner can do to prevent this kind of easy theft?

Bernie: Well, there's definitely a couple of things you can do. So the first and the simplest thing you could do right now, you know, if you hear this and you don't have any theft prevention, you can get yourself a club. You could go to an auto parts store, you can buy a club. It's one of those pieces you stick on the steering wheel. Locks the steering wheel from moving. Or you can get ones that also lock the brake pedal to the steering wheel. You know, those are a bit of a pain in the butt because every time you get out, you've got to do it. But, you know, it shows that, hey, this vehicle is protected and it's going to make yours, it makes yours a harder vehicle to steal than the next one. Can those things be cut off? Sure they can, but it's, it's a lot of extra work. Thieves will have to take extra tools. So if there's two trucks sitting side by side, guess what? The one without the club is the one that's going to get stolen. So that's the easiest thing that you can do. You can order it online, you can go to an auto parts store. The second thing that's probably better, but more work and more cost is to get an alarm or an immobilizer installed. There's a wide range of these. Again, you could buy it online and do it yourself if you know what you're doing or take it you know, probably the best thing to do is find a reputable car audio place. Those are usually the places that do an installations of alarms, find a good one, get something put in, a good immobilizer, good alarm. You know it's a classic thing. You know, where alarms go off and people ignore them. But the thing is for a thief, once the alarm goes off, if it has no immobilizer, the vehicle won't start. It makes a lot of noise. And again, it makes it hard to steal. So those are kind of the two things you can do. And this doesn't apply just to a Ford truck. This applies to, to any vehicle, but you know, now that these are known to be, you know, high theft items, I mean, if you value your vehicle, you'll want to do something about it to protect it.

Mark: Is there any good news here for Ford truck owners?

Bernie: Well, the good news is if you have a Ford truck after 2008, they all have an immobilizer systems in them, so they don't even make the top 50 list after 2008. So you have an 08 and newer, you can rest easy because your vehicle has an immobilizer system in it. It doesn't mean it couldn't be stolen, but it's just not very likely.

Mark: So what other vehicles are in the top 10 and top 50?

Bernie: Well, there's only two other vehicles in the top 10 list. One is, I believe it's around the 2017 model year Lexus, the SUVs, the RX350-450 hybrids. Those are, I believe, number 7. I know these were stolen for different reasons. We're going to talk about this in a separate podcast. And then the other a in the top 10 is a 1998 Honda Civic SI model and again, different reasons for stealing those. That's kind of an old vehicle, it's a car, but they're specific reasons. So we'll do another couple of podcasts about this because they're again, they're things to talk about. Now, of course, those Lexus vehicles, they already have immobilizers and high tech security systems. So why they get stolen, we're going to talk about that. It's a different subject.

Mark: And what about other vehicles in the top 50?

Bernie: You know, a lot of them, a lot of them are, Honda's a huge, a huge number are Honda's. I'll just give it away right now. There are a lot of them are older ones. They have a certain engine that people like. So these are stolen basically for the engine, that people can put into for hot rodding other Honda's. I'd say that's the main reason and the others on the list are a luxury SUVs, there's a lot of Lexus, there's some Toyota Highlanders and Range Rovers. Range Rover Sport are in there too so.

Mark: And what about protecting your key fob because key fob cloning is a thing. What about, is that something that's worth doing?

Bernie: Absolutely you know, this is actually only something that's sort of come to my attention recently over the last couple of weeks, I think since these articles have come out and people been talking to me about it. And the one thing I can say, and we're going to do a little more research on this, but they say, never keep it close to your door because, there's a way that thieves can actually, with electronic systems, can actually clone your key fob and then they can actually start your vehicle and take it, which is probably how these Lexus vehicles are being stolen. But also, you know, any vehicle that has a key fob when you're, when you're walking away say, in a supermarket parking lot, you walk away, you lock the car with the key fob. There are ways that that key fob can be cloned and then people can break into the vehicle and steal things and then of course, eventually steal the vehicle. So it, what's recommended is to actually use the manual lock button in the vehicle when you're walking away. That way he doesn't send a radio signal out. That's not, I don't know if that's possible to do with every single vehicle, but if you're able to do it, I mean, I have an older Suburban and you know, that has a, I’ll walk away with the fob, but I usually just lock it with the lock button. And that sets a security system off and everything too. So if you're able to do that, that's a, that's something, and that's been talked about for many, many years that, you know, so that's one thing I just leave you with, but we'll do more research on this.

Mark: What we can do to protect ourselves from being cloned.

Bernie: Yes, exactly. That's right. Well, it's you know, they make cars more difficult to steal, which is awesome. But, you know that just ups the game for a smart thieves.

Mark: So there you go. If you have a Ford truck and you want to get some advice about making sure it's hardened up a little bit, to not be such an attractive target, give Pawlik Automotive a call 604-327-7112.Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles on there. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Thanks for much for so much for watching. Give us a like, rate us on YouTube or on iTunes. Thanks so much for watching us on YouTube and thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.

Hyundai-Kia Engine Recall

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, and we're talking cars. How are you doing today, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

Mark: So Hyundai and Kia, we spoken about this before, they have a pretty massive engine recall in, I probably bet it's worldwide, but I know for sure it's North America and CBC Go Public show just did a big program about this, talking about Hyundai and Kias engine problems. Do you have any new thoughts about this situation based on the program?

Bernie: Well, it's obvious that Hyundai and Kia are not doing a very good job of satisfying their customers because now of course, there's a huge, Go Public show and their class action lawsuits are in full force. So there's a definite problem, huge. And a lot of unsatisfied customers.

Mark: So the gentleman that was in the program, featured early in the program was, basically had his engine fail, was not aware that there was a recall, the repair shop that he went to offered him a used engine to be put in and after paying for it out of pocket and getting the new engine in, which was not cheap, then that engine failed. And Hyundai, now that there's a recall, says they're not paying for anything. So what do you think about that?

Bernie: Well, I think for the owner of that vehicle, it's a horrible situation overall and it's too bad he didn't know about the recall and I think Hyundai must've done him a big disservice not informing him that there was a recall. I mean, I just find that just incredibly slimy and why people hate dealerships and why it's probably actually good for my world, being in the independent auto repair shop business. But I do have to say that, you know, for this owner, he made a choice based on finances, you know, that a used engine would be a better option financially, but I would never put a used engine in a vehicle that has a recall or a problematic engine. Like I'm always very cautious when we put used engines in vehicles to find out what, what's the track record of the engine.

Recently we had a Toyota Echo, we did an engine job on. Toyota Echo nothing ever goes wrong with those engines. This vehicle had about, you know, 350,000 kilometres. The owner loves the vehicle. The engine wore out. We've got a nice low mileage engine. To me, that's a good deal, but when you get something like a Kia, which has a reputation, Kia or Hyundai with a reputation recall, you know, on an engine that that blows up, well that shop should never even given that customer the option, said, look, you know, we don't want to do this because it's too risky. You know, short of dismantling the engine may be looking at it, but then by the time you do that, the economics of changing the used engine are a kind of out the window. So, I mean, unfortunately that's the choice he made and unfortunately Hyundai is not stepping up to the plate because they really should, maybe not compensate him for the used engine because they never sold that to him. But at least, you know, get him a proper engine in his car that should have been done in the first place.

Mark: So what about Hyundais claim? They've come back and why they, they're denying his recall, paying for the first engine essentially because he didn't do proper oil changes. Or could not prove he'd done his, possibly he did his own oil changes. What do you think about that?

Bernie: Well I would say under a warranty situation, you know, covered by the vehicles warranty. You know, they have every right to demand the oil changes are done properly with the proper oils at the proper intervals. I mean, that's proper maintenance on the vehicle. It's not just about dealerships or the auto repair industry, you know, trying to get money out of people. I mean, it's a machine. It needs proper maintenance. So, you know, to me that's a pretty, that's a very legitimate thing to claim.

But this is a recall. This is a different situation. It's a known manufacturing defect. And I would think that they don't actually have the right to demand that. I don't know, I'm not a lawyer. I tried looking up some details on it. I wasn't able to find anything, but, so don't quote me on it, but I think, you know, this is why there's a class action lawsuit because they're obviously not satisfying their customers in ways that they could be.

And doing things like this is just, I mean, will this guy ever buy another Kia our Hyundai product? No. Will he ever tell anyone to buy one? No. So, I mean, they're just wrecking their own reputation along the way.

But I can't say enough of how important it is, we've talked a lot on our program about how important it is to change your oil at regular intervals. Hyundai claims, you know, every 12,000 kilometres, which to me is probably at the very edge of the limit of how often you want to change oil in a car like that because leaving it too long, just starts causing engine damage. But again, in this case, it's a recall for a known manufacturing defect. So I think it's a different situation.

Mark: So what about the slow delivery of the recall notice?

Bernie: I don't know what to say. I mean, that's just, you know, again, it's just foot dragging and really bad customer service. I haven't actually listened to the article. I've only read the transcript of it and they have quotes. I mean, you know, from someone who says they just don't care, you know, it's really, the truth is they just don't care is what I, is what I get out of it.

Mark: So they also speak about a couple with a 2013 Kia that had a similar engine explosion essentially, destroying the engine, but it's not covered by a recall because the engine is different and Kia claims that it doesn't have the same issue. And yet it actually responded the same way as the later engines are destroying themselves? What's that all about?

Bernie: Well, I think there's millions and millions of dollars at stake here, and I think they just want to you know, cover themselves, not pay any more money than they have to. So, you know, they've identified some as being problematic and I guess they found others that supposedly aren't. But again, when something like this happens and if it happens to enough vehicles with that same engine, perhaps they haven't cast the net wide enough, to actually bring in the problematic engine. So I can't say for sure. I mean, it could be for those people, it could be a one off issue. I mean, engines do have bearing wear and throw rods, and you know, it's possible. It doesn't say anything about their maintenance. I don't want to, I don't want to say anything. They've been very excellent maintenance customers and occasionally, something bad will happen.

But if this is starting to happen on these other engines, of course there should be a recall on that too, because the problem is wider than they think. But you know, auto manufacturers, I mean, we've just seen it with Volkswagen with diesel gate and the things that they did to cover up what they were doing, or even the Ford Pinto. I mean, apparently that fix for the Ford Pinto was a $3 metal ring around the gas tank filler. And yet, you know, when they were manufacturing, they actually knew it. They didn't do it. I mean, think like human lives. People died and they just, and people said, nah, it's three bucks, too much money over a million cars. So these are the kinds of people we're dealing with sometimes.

Mark: And the actuarial decisions of a few lawsuits is cheaper than us actually fixing everything. So one of the things they mentioned in the article and that we talked about before was that there might be a metal filings leftover from the manufacturing process in the engines, and that's what's causing these failures. What do you think happens with these engines that they fail so frequently?

Bernie: I actually haven't seen one or taken on a part you know, so I haven't seen it first hand, but there seems to be basically three recalls with Hyundai, three issues, major issues that are going on. And one of them is, you know, these engines just starting to knock suddenly and then basically blowing apart. They throw a rod, the connecting rod in the engine of the bearing wears out and it basically throws the rod through the side of the engine. That's what the hole is all about.

So anyways, the claim is some metal filings or some material were left behind in the manufacturing process and that gets into the bearings. I mean, these are very precision fit parts and it gets into the bearings, wears them out. It actually surprises me that they last as long as they do, if that's the case. That seems to be the main issue. But there seems to be a couple of other recall issues. There's an issue of a sudden fires occurring in some of them. And I believe there's two issues at hand here with those. One of them is oil leaks that occur and they happen right sort of over top of the hot exhaust system and that can cause a fire. So that's one issue.

And then the other, so that's not the same as this recall's being talked about here. But the other issue there's sudden engine fires that are caused by a fuel leak. And these are claimed to have happened after the engine recalls been done. And what is likely happening is that there's a high pressure fuel on these use a direct fuel injection system. The fuel pressure is extremely high. It's in the, you know I'm going to say 10 to 20,000 PSI range. So this is a huge high pressure fuel system, and the slightest amount of leakage, especially under high pressure, can cause a fuel to combust. So that's a, that's an issue. I think that there's a fuel line a lot of times when you do a service on vehicles with a direct fuel injection there's certain lines that are supposed to be replaced because they're just a one time use. They can't be torqued down properly again or be reliable. So I believe what's happening is they don't replace the line and then that causes a leak. So that's sort of the third recall. And again, they're not applicable to all the vehicles, but those kind of the three things that Hyundai and Kia are playing with right now.

Mark: I bet they can't wait for electric vehicles to come along soon enough. What are your final thoughts about this whole engine recalls situation, which applies to all manufacturers, in fact?

Bernie: Yeah, I mean, it's just a sign of, it's just poorly handled situation and like you're saying, the actuary, you know, there someone looks at and goes, well, it's cheaper for us to do this. And you know well, I've just seen it over the years. So many things. I mean, I'm surprised sometimes at Ford's still in business with, you know, some of the engines they built them and they built some good cars and they built some real garbage. And they seem to have somehow just survived, you know, some way. But, you know, my final thought is, you know, this is really bad, you know, bad PR for Hyundai and Kia. Bad customer care and you know, you pay for it in the end. If you take care of your customers, they'll come back. If you don't, they'll go elsewhere. There's lots of competition in the car world, so people will be going elsewhere.

Mark: So there you go. If you've got issues with your Hyundai or Kia in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. They'll look after you. They'll give you the honest truth, and they'll fix your vehicle and do it properly. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com there's hundreds, over 600 articles on there, about all makes and models and types of repairs. Over 300 videos on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Check it out, and of course, we really appreciate you watching the podcasts, listening to the videos, watching the videos. Leave us a thumbs up or leave us a good review on iTunes. We really appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

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

2001 Toyota 4Runner – Rack and Pinion Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience and 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing today, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: So today's victim is a 2001 Toyota 4Runner that had a steering problem. What was going on with this SUV?

Bernie: Yeah. So the vehicle came to our shop. The owner did move to Vancouver and needed an out of province inspection on the vehicle. So we proceeded to do that. And one of the items that we found is that the steering rack and pinion, not only had a torn boot but also had a leak as well. So that was a required replacement item to pass the inspection.

Mark: So what does the rack and pinion do?

Bernie: Well, basically, the rack and pinion connects your steering wheel to your wheels. More accurately connects your steering wheel to the steering column, and the rack and pinion connects to the steering column. And from there, it transmits the movement of your steering column and wheel out to the road wheels through a couple of tie rod ends. And so the rack and pinion, this is where the power assist occurs in this vehicle. Some racks are not power assist, of course, most are but that's just where the power assist occurs. And also the movement from creates a movement from side to side.

Mark: And rack and pinion is a replacement for steering box?

Bernie: It is, you know, used to be that you would have a steering box in place where the rack and pinion would be in the rack. And pinion provides a couple of advantages. It's simpler, there's less moving parts, and it's, it's a tighter because there's less moving parts as well. It's also tighter. There's a, it gives a better control over your steering. So it was quickly adopted. It's been around for a long time, but really kind of commonly came into use around the 1980s. And ever since it's been used in most vehicles. I mean, there, there's some that still have steering boxes and you'll find those, you know, like in large trucks, they still use steering boxes cause they do provide it. They're very good and heavy duty applications. But for most vehicles and light trucks, the steering rack does a great job.

Mark: Yeah. So if you've ever driven a vehicle from the sixties or fifties that didn't have power steering, you know that it took, they had big steering wheels and it was a, it was a long ways before you turn the wheel, before the wheels would turn. And that play was basically what made the steering box operate. Rack and pinion took that away.

Bernie: Exactly. Now, in all fairness, you know, some vehicles do have steering boxes that have pretty tight steering, but as things wear, they tend to get a lot more movement and looseness. Why don't we just get into some pictures here?

Mark: How durable are rack and pinions in the 4Runner?

Bernie: Oh, yeah they're really good. You know, they do wear out. I mean, this one I would say is certainly original, and this is a 2001 vehicle, so we've got about 18, 19 years of usage, so that's pretty good. I know on these vehicles, they have and I'm not sure if this model year, whether it's slightly nerve, but there's a bushing that used to wear on the rack and pinion, or would cause the rack to get a little sloppy. So if your steering had a bit, there's a little more movement in your wheels, a little less controlling your steering, sometimes the rubber bushings would wear and you could actually replace them.

Anyways here's a picture of the rack and pinion as removed from this 2001, 4Runner. The arrow here points to the actual ripped boot which and this part can be replaced separately. It doesn't require a whole rack, but in this case, there was fluid leaking out in this area. And you know, that's a sure sign the rack and pinion is worn out. So there's no sense in changing a boot when you, when you have a leaking rack. there is fluid here. This is just because the rack and pinion has been removed from the vehicle and it's leaked fluid out of where the power steering hoses connect. So that's not a problem, so to speak. Getting into some other pictures here.

What have we got here? Here's a close up. This is the, a torn boot. The boot basically keeps water and dirt from getting inside the, you know, you can see, this is a very shiny piece. This is the actual rack. It's a toothed piece. so inside the rack and pinion inside here, there's a very long shaft. You can see a little bit of it here. Big long shaft. And in this section of the shaft from about here to here, there's gears on it. And so, and this part here, which is the pinion has another little tiny gear, and that'll move the rack back and forth as you turn the steering wheel. This part here connects up to your steering column and your steering wheel. And we'll do it a little more close up of that particular piece, which is here. So in here you can see this is where the steering column attaches. There's the power steering pipes that go out to the rack and pinion. And then if this was a non power steering unit, it wouldn't have any of these pipes or hoses. And it's very rare to find a car with non-power rack and pinion steering. But there are some around, and probably just in generally more older models. This here we have ran into one other issue with this vehicle. You know, sort of based on age and maybe climate conditions with the hose required replacement. When we went on and do the fitting, it was basically seized and snapped off. So it's also required a power steering pressure hose. Usually not a very common thing to replace at the same time unless it's leaking. But you know, sometimes we're in the middle of a job and expect to unbolt something that normally unbolts and it doesn't. So that's a, this arrow points to the fitting that was leftover from the power steering pressure hose. And this fitting here is where the return goes. So fluid flows in one direction and returns out the other way. And what else have we got here? Just a quick view of the engine compartment in this 4Runner, a 3.4 litre, V6 engine, very common in these vehicles, used for a long time. Fairly reliable, but there are some issues and we can talk about that in a little bit.

Mark: So any other leaks or issues common to rack and pinions?

Bernie: The only other issue, I mean leaks, 95% of the racks we replace as a matter of fact, almost a hundred, I think 100% of the racks we replace these days are for leaking , you know, which happens on every vehicle sooner or later. But the, the other issue we used to see a lot, and especially in the 1980s, was a, it was something we called morning sickness. And what happened in the, in the 1980s, GM Ford, Chrysler, all the American manufacturers went fully in on rack and pinion steering. Everything had rack and pinion steering. It was like the big new thing. And you know, for good reason. But in their haste to manufacture them or figure things out, the rack and pinion's used a soft aluminum housing with hard metal seals or graphite. They were hard type of seal. And over time, these seals would wear the aluminum housing. So it would create a gap in inside the housing and the allow fluid to flow past. And so when the vehicle was cold, you got to turn the steering wheel and you have no power steering. It was known as morning sickness. Super common problem. We replaced racks on pretty well every GM vehicle back then and many Fords, I can't remember about Chrysler's, but certainly GM and Ford was a big issue. And it just turned out to be again, the solution was just to put some, a hardened metal in where the aluminum housing was and that would prevent the problem from happening. And of course, it got figured out. It never happens anymore. But it was a big issue way back when. So I haven't seen a morning sickness vehicle in a long time.

Mark: So aren't many steering racks these days, electric, how does that work and what issues do you see with them?

Bernie: Yeah, so a lot of steering racks are electric. One of the bigger, couple of reasons, it's more efficient. I mean to have power steering in the traditional sense, you need to run a hydraulic pump and it tends to run all the time. And really you only need it when the engines idling or maybe at very slow speed maneuvers. Other than that. Once you get in the highway, you don't need it. So there's a pump that's being driven. It's a waste of energy. So electric is awesome because it's just completely on demand. They generally use an electric motor in the rack and pinion, but some actually put it on the steering column. But that motor provides the power assist and it'll do so only on demand situation. The other advantages as we've got to into vehicles, not only hybrids and electric cars, but vehicles with start, stop technology. It's essential to have electric rack and pinion because you've got to have power steering even when the engines off. So that's a critical component. But as far as problems, we've never replaced an electric rack and pinion in our shop ever. They are very reliable, not 100%. I know that there are some that do have issues, but I think a lot of them have been covered by manufacturers warranty. The problems had been kind of figured out quite quickly. And besides getting maybe in an accident where you actually bend the rack or create some other problem there, they're usually really reliable. That's good news for vehicle owners. And of course, they are very much more complex and much more expensive. So it's a kind of part you don't really want to be replacing.

Mark: So with the 4Runner, how difficult of a job was this?

Bernie: It's not really too difficult. I mean, it's a few hours work to take the rack and pinion in and out. You do need some special tools and big tools. And doing it on a hoist is critical, but it's not the, racket and pinions vary from being, you know, really simple to remove to some, some are really buried in under the frame of the vehicle and require a lot of finagling to get in and out. This one is pretty straightforward.

Mark: So this 4Runner is 18 years old now. Is it still a worthwhile vehicle to keep?

Bernie: Yeah, it is. I would say, well, you know, it depends on how well it's been maintained, but 4Runners were really well built vehicles and they still retain their value really well. I remember there was a time when, you know, a 4Runner, had the lowest depreciation rate of any vehicle on the road. I might still be the case, I'm not sure. But I mean, they are a really well-built vehicle. I would, I like to say not a lot goes wrong with them. I mean, there were some issues with this. You know, I showed a picture earlier, and maybe I'll just get back into a screen share we'll look at the engine here. So this 3.4 litre, 4 cam, 24 valve engine, they did have a lot of head gasket problems with these particular engines. And a lot of them were covered by warranty, but yeah, head gaskets were definitely a big issue. This is also a timing belt engine, so it does require a timing belt replacement and that's, you know, obviously a critical thing to do. You'd never want your timing belt to break on one of these. But many Toyotas and I'm not saying this as one of them, do not have interference fit engines so that if the timing belt breaks, you're just going to be stranded on the road but not damaging your engine. And I believe this is one of those such engines, but I never liked to think of that. It's never good to take that chance because if you do bend any valves or cause any damage, it costs a lot more money to fix. But a timing belt is a maintenance item on these engines. So that's, you know, something that'll probably cost you in a one to $2,000 range. You know, changing the water pump and all the other tensioners and pulleys and pieces of seals that should be done at the same time. Yeah but other than that it's a generally good solid vehicle. You know, 18 years old. Of course, things will go wrong, but it's a well-built truck. And you know, if you can get a good used one for a good price, you can afford to spend a bit of money on maintenance because it's a good vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Toyota 4Runner, the guys to see 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 always busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, over 600 articles on there, videos all makes and models of vehicles, repairs, maintenance items. Of course, the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, over 350 videos there now and growing every week. And of course, thanks so much for watching listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching listening.

Services For Toyota Prius

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver and Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we're going to talk about Toyota Prius. What kind of services do Toyota Prius need?

Bernie: Yeah, well, there's a variety of services they do need. I mean, let's talk just generally about the reliability of the vehicle overall first. My first. thought when the Prius came out, a couple of decades ago now is, "Oh my God, this is way too complicated".

You know, you're not only have an internal combustion engine to deal with, but all the electric drive, train batteries, inverters, all the bits and pieces that make it work but, you know, two decades later, it's turned out to be one of the most reliable vehicles on the road.

You look at taxi cab fleets, 20 years ago, they were all largely American cars and now they're all mostly Toyota Prius's or you know, Camrys, that kind of thing. So they're, it's proven to be very reliable and a huge cost reduction vehicle you know, when operated, especially for a long range type of heavy use vehicle.

Mark: So no car is perfect. What goes wrong with them?

Bernie: So, yeah. So, I mean, Toyota's are legendary for reliability, but there are things that do go wrong with these vehicles. I mean, overall, you know, the internal combustion engines are pretty reliable. I mean, some of them do develop some oil consumption issues over time.
And I'm, I'm just kind of painting the Prius with a broad brush, because there's four generations of Prius. So there's a, you know, we go back the first generation goes up to about 03 and from 03 to 09 there's a second generation, which is where the Prius really sold a lot of cars. Generation three, 09 up to about 2015 and then 2015 and newer is the latest generation. Most of the vehicles we see are in generation two and three. So that's where we have most of our experience with these cars. Anyways yeah, so what goes wrong? I mean, the you know, water pumps fail, that seems to be a pretty common issue in a lot of Toyota engines and there are electric water pumps on certain models, different generations, there's failures with those, the water control valves. I mean, there are a few failures with the drive motors, the electric drive, motors, inverters, batteries do eventually wear out, but they've all proven to be pretty reliable. And then we don't repair a lot of those more major components, which is a good thing because they are very expensive to repair and do after time sort of require a, you know, some thinking to whether it's worth the cost, but for the most part they are. I mean, if you've taken good care of it, it's a good reliable car.

Mark: So what about routine maintenance items?

Bernie: So, yeah, so of course, it's an internal combustion engine vehicle and it needs oil changes on a routine basis. Again, don't stretch your oil change intervals out, because these are very high tech engines. They need their oil changed. They need clean oil in there. There's a transmission, the transmission does need a fluid change every once in a while, there's coolant, of course, brake fluid. Things like power steering fluid are eliminated because it's an electric power steering system. So there's one less fluid, but routine inspections are important on any vehicle. As time goes by, of course, suspension components wear, the brakes need to be looked at again, they do last a long time, but things do need to be looked at just to be inspected. Actually one repair item that I will mention that is frequent is the 12 volt batteries do go bad quite a lot and they cause all sorts of interesting issues in terms of starting the vehicle. So that's, that's another area that again, testing that battery on a routine basis is an important thing to keep your car reliable.

Mark: So, a Prius has two different battery systems.

Bernie: It does, it has a high voltage battery system, and then it has the traditional 12 volt, battery system. And that 12 volt battery system keeps all the lights, the radio, and it actually allows the vehicle to start as well. So, you know, the starting functions can't happen without a proper 12 volt, 12 volt battery. That allows the contactors to close and allows the battery and energy to flow into the motor. So, so it's a very critical part of the vehicle. And you know, you may not notice it's bad like you would in a traditional car, because on a traditional vehicle when your battery is bad, the starter might be, it won't start, but on a Prius, if the battery is weak, it'll still keep starting. But then on a number of quirky issues may show up. So testing it is a good thing to do on a routine basis.

Mark: We also mentioned brakes there, hybrids use or some of them definitely use regenerative braking, so that recharges the battery. How does, how do the brakes last on a Prius?

Bernie: Well, for the brake, as you mentioned, it has regenerative braking. That's one of the best things about a hybrid is the energy of braking, which is wasted on every vehicle other than a hybrid or an electric car, is the energy is recaptured. The drive motors turn into generators and they send the energy back into the battery, which is why a hybrid really gets way better mileage than a conventional, non hybrid type of vehicle. Interestingly enough, if you're just driving straight down the highway and you don't use the brakes at all, the hybrid really doesn't have a lot of advantage. But you know, when you're going down a hill or normal sort of city type of driving, which is what most people do there, that's where the advantage comes in. Anyways the regenerative braking system is really very reliable because it uses the drive motors and the batteries. One of the advantages of a hybrid is the normal service brakes, the brakes at the wheel are used very little. In a panic stop, of course, they're, they're used primarily, but in any other sort of regular breaking stop, they barely get used. So they can last a long time.

Taxis, you know, the traditional taxi cab, non hybrid, they may have changed their brake pads every month or two, whereas on a hybrid, a lot of times they'll last a year. So that's a huge savings for a taxi, not only in dollars, but in terms of downtime and, you know, because the car can keep going. It doesn't need the service. But anyway, for your average driver, the brakes should be serviced every once in a while. Probably around our climate in Vancouver, every couple of years. A good idea to do a break service, take the breaks apart, clean, lubricate everything, remove corrosion from the brake pad, sliders. In more hostile climates, like you know, Eastern Canada and the US where road salt is poured on the road six months of the year. You know, things like brake rotors will probably wear out, just from rusting out, cause it's a solid, it's a bare metal surface. But also the, you know, again, the pad sliders are subject to more corrosion. So an annual break service and that kind of climate is probably more valuable.

Also, of course, brake fluid, needs to be flushed. Brake systems in these are actually very, like, the hydraulic system is very complicated compared to a regular car because as you push the brake pedal, you're actually actuating, it's not just, pushing on the brakes as it would normally do in most vehicles you know, pushing fluid out to the wheels. It's actually actuating electronic valves to first of all, do the regenerative braking. Then if it needs fluid sent to the wheels, then it'll, it'll actuate it, you know, basically the ABS unit. So there's a lot more complexity. So flushing the brake fluid, you know, again, like in most climates, every two years is really critical to keep things functioning and flowing and keep your repair costs down.

Mark: So pretty much a basic set of a normal internal combustion engine car maintenance items.

Bernie: Exactly. I mean, things are a little different. I mean, transmission fluid, you know, the automatic, it has a transmission, but it's much, it's different than a traditional automatic transmission. It has some gears, but very little, mostly motors. So it doesn't, and it's cooled it sort of internally with a, with a cooling, you know, with its own separate liquid cooling system. So you know, fluid does need to be changed, but, you know, for maybe different reasons than you would in an automatic, traditional automatic transmission. But nonetheless, you know, it's got most of the things that need to be done on a routine basis, but overall, less, less expensive maintenance than you need to do on a, on a traditional internal combustion car.

Mark: Any further thoughts on the Toyota Prius?

Bernie:You know, overall it's a great car. I mean, my impression just driving in them is that they are kind of a cheap feeling car and they're kind of noisy inside. And I think, you know, where the Prius is, kind of Toyota's entry level model, and they do a fantastic job. I think they, you know, they've poured all their money into the drive train and made it reliable. And that's really the most important part of any vehicle is to keep that reliable. You know, if you're looking for a little more upscale drive, you know, there's a Camry, a Lexus has hybrids. They'll use the basic same, that same type of system and same level of reliability. So if you're looking for something a little more upscale, and you can always go with those and you'll, you'll have the same level of reliability and they need the same kind of services.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Prius in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, got a call and book ahead because they're busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, over 600 articles on there on all makes and models and types of repairs. Over 350 videos on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thanks so much for listening and watching the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching and listening.

2014 BMW 328d xDrive – Transfer Case Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We're talking cars. How're you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So BMW 328d xDrive. What was going on with this car?

Bernie: So this vehicle was brought to our shop. The owner had been servicing it at the BMW dealer his local dealership and there was an issue with it. It was running kind of funny, like lacking power, shaking, misfiring was what it felt like. And it's a diesel. And they basically said they didn't know what else to do with it and recommended they take it to a diesel specialist.

Mark: Ok wait a minute. Like the dealer didn't know haw to fix the brands car where they have the experts factory trained et cetera, et cetera blah blah blah, we're the best at fixing this car. They couldn't fix the car?

Bernie: Exactly and you know, this isn't the only time we've seen this. I mean, this is the first BMW we've seen like this but we had, actually same week, we did this repair last week. We had a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel. We have the same thing with a lot of these Jeep diesels, where the dealers can't, they don't really have the expertise to fix it. I think the thing abut dealerships, people don't realize they tend to cherry pick their work. They're into making profit. It's a good thing for a business but you know, what when you buy a vehicle it's a little bit outside of the normal edge. You can expect that kind of service from a dealer where they may not be actually able to figure out what's going with the vehicle, unless it's something simple. And in all fairness, it was a little complex in terms of, there's no plug the scan tool in and figure out what was going on with it. There was no information around that. But still you know any decent technician, I mean they should stand behind their products and their work, you know and charge accordingly to fix it.

Mark: So what tests and diagnosis did you do on the vehicle?

Bernie: So of course, our first thing with pretty well any diagnostic like this is, road test the vehicle, get a feel for the concern. We did that. Then next plugged our scan tool and did a full vehicle code scan and found nothing. There was no codes in the engine module. Nothing in the drivetrain. So at that point it was a little bit interesting. Ok, what could it be? So we drove it around a little while longer and kind of intuitively, myself and my other lead technician, we drove around quite a lot. I had a sense it felt like possibly an engine misfire but it also had a feeling like there could be something with the drivetrain. Like something that either the transmission or transfer case or something that was causing it to buck and shift and do some weird things. So that's kind of where we're at. We're kind of left with a feeling of what it might be.

Mark: Ok so that's where the 38 years of experience comes into play. No conclusive data to make a decision on but basically intuition. What were you next steps?

Bernie: Yeah so our next steps of course are research. Of course the dealer had already faced this problem and they had no suggestion other than take it somewhere else. There's a lot of information online. We have a lot of resources. We pay subscriptions for repair information programs that have a lot of good repair information and network. I way network or like other technicians, who may have found issues who post repairs. We did a little research there. Then our diagnostic scan tool also comes with a team of, it's a European scan tool. They have a whole team of technical resources people, where we can send in the data files. We get information from them. So when you come to our shop, this is the kind of thing that you get with a lot of the cars that we service. We have those resources that are really , the kind of thing you'd expect only from a dealership. Well actually in a way ours is better because we actually have resources. We we set the file in, talked with a technician who suggested possibly a transfer case issue. So our next step was basically to unhook the transfer case. It's electronically controlled. Road tested the vehicle, sure enough, drove perfectly well. The issue was gone. So the clear conclusion, the transfer case was defective.

Mark: So what's involved in repairing the transfer case?

Bernie: Well basically this is a replace the unit only type of job. So we bought a transfer case from BMW. Not certain if it was remanufactured or brand new. It certainly looked brand new when we took it our of the box but the do charge a kind of hefty core charge but nonetheless, it's an OEM spec BMW transfer case.There's a lot of electronic controls on these things and so that was basically the replacement. It's not an entirely difficult job. Fortunately it's a few hours work but fairly straightforward to unbolt and bolt back in and then there's some electronic programming that needs to be done to encode the transfer case to the vehicle which again not overly complicated. You have to have the right tools and data files but again not overly complicated and it worked fantastic.

So there's the nice 328d xDrive again. This is a diesel and..

Mark: A four wheel drive

Bernie: A four wheel drive, yeah and that as you know, adds some complications. So I mean all wheel drive is great but it certainly adds complexity. There are some vehicles where I find that the all wheel drive really doesn't create any extra costs and that Subaru is certainly one of them but a lot of European cars there are issues. So this is the transfer case. This is a view of the transfer case, it actually bolts up to the transmission end. So this would be the drive output to the front axle shaft, there the front drive shaft. And then this is a view of the rear end of it. So this goes to the rear drive shaft. This is, there's an electronic module, a control unit on the bottom of this thing. So there's the plugs underneath there. Fortunately for diagnostic purposes it wasn't too difficult to access them and unplug them and plug them back in. You know that is a piece of the transfer case. It obviously comes with the unit. So what's inside is probably fairly straightforward but you never know what these kind of things. You know they're not your sort of American style four wheel drive transfer case where it just locks gears together. These allow for smooth, they allow for slippage under certain conditions. So you don't feel like you're, the vehicle doesn't bind when you're going around corners. But of course, sometimes things go wrong like they did in this case.

Mark: So when you unhooked it, was it just running a straight pass through or just running the rear wheels, driving driving the rear wheels?

Bernie: I imagine that's what was happening. I can't really say for certain but all I can say is that the bucking and that strange power loss and all those issues that we were experiencing was gone. So is was something, I would imagine that there were some clutch packs inside the transfer case that were engaging and disengaging at times that they weren't supposed to. Causing the vehicle to shudder and do strange things and that could have been as a result of that electronic module or just sending the wrong signals or something with a worn out clutch pack or something like that.

Mark: Is this a common issue on xDrive BMW cars?

Bernie: So the owner of this vehicle fortunately had an extended warranty and in this particular warranty, we deal with a lot of extended warranty companies. This company insisted on sending an inspector over to have a look at it to verify that we diagnosed the right thing that they they were spending their money, the customers money wisely. So we took him out, drove it around, unplugged the module. He verified that he was happy with our diagnosis and actually he said, "Oh yeah, we see this problem all the time." According to the dealer I bought the transfer case from I returned the core he said, "We hardly see any of these things. It's kind of surprising". So different opinions but it seems like a common enough problem. So if you own one of these vehicles, you can expect you know, probably a transfer case repaired possibly at some point in the history of the vehicle.

Mark: So I imagine that the owner was pretty happy to have an extended warranty. What was the mileage on this vehicle?

Bernie: Only 62,000 kilometres So it's still a youngster. I mean very low mileage. You kind of think well, you know, when you're up to 150 or 200 K's maybe that would happen. But 62 is pretty young and the vehicle's of 2014 so its only 5 years old. So not really very old. Yes, I would imagine he was very happy to have that. Certainly more than paid for the price of the warranty with just this one repair job. I'm often sort of sit on the fence with extended warranty. Sometimes I think, well they're not worth it. You know certain cars like, a lot of Honda products for instance, they've you know, and Toyota's, they proved to be exceptionally reliable and having something like this go wrong with a car like that would be very unusual. But with a lot of European cars, there's so many fancy, expensive things that you know, they are, it is worth having most of the time, an extended warranty.

Mark: And this is a diesel without a lot of miles, not necessarily what we would recommend people to buy, but how are these BMW diesels for reliability?

Bernie: I'll be honest. We have very few clients with them because they're just not very common cars which explains whey the dealer is even saying take it somewhere else because even they don't have a lot of experience. When you look at the lineup of BMWs, there's very few diesels around. We have serviced a few. They've tended to be fairly reliable so far but all of them have been pretty low mileage and I hate to say it but they are a European diesel. There's a lot of stuff that goes wrong with Volkswagen diesels. A lot of stuff with Mercedes. So given time, things will go wrong with this vehicle. I mean certainly, the gas mileage is fantastic and there's a lot of of good features about it but I think it's a kind of vehicle you probably don't want to hang on to for too long lest there be some very expensive repairs down the road. But so far, you know, we haven't run into too many issues with them.

Mark: It might be a car that if you were driving for instance, a hundred thousand kilometres a year and doing a lot of highway driving, it might be a fantastic vehicle for that. But driving around town, maybe not the best choice?

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah I will say that with diesels, they've got to be hot. They've got to be really hot and driving a lot is good for it. Anything else you know, short trips definitely not the best for a diesel. Not good at all.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service and the dealer doesn't know what to do, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. It happens more often than you think. And of course pawlikautomotive.com is a place to check out over 650 articles on there about all makes and models of vehicles and repairs. Pawlik Auto Repair is the channel on YouTube and there's many hundreds of vides on there talking about the same thing. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast and watching. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark. And thank you for watching.

2008 Subaru Forester Maintenance B Service

2008 Subaru Forester - Maintenance B Service

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

Bernie: Doing very well today.

Mark: So a 2008 Subaru Forester that was in for a maintenance service. What was happening with this all wheel drive vehicle?

Bernie: Well not a lot. It was actually just in for a routine maintenance service. Due for an oil change. It was due for a B service and so that's what we did.

Mark: So how often do you recommend doing a B service on a vehicle?

Bernie: Usually every second service. So the first, the sort of, so I say first service would be an A service and second would be a B and you alternate between the two of them. Usually it's good to do a B service probably once a year but it depends on how much you drive. There's some people that drive a lot. That would probably need it more frequently and the people who don't drive a lot a little less frequently.

Mark: So what's done during a B Service?

Bernie: So a B service is, essentially an oil and filter change and then a full maintenance inspection. So a full vehicle inspection. Wheels off. Inspect the brakes, measure the brakes. Inspect the steering suspension system. Test the battery and charging system. Pressure test the cooling system. Full visual, it's a full visual inspection for oil leaks, fluid leaks. Look at all the fluids, Actually inspect the fluid levels and qualities. We also lube the door locks, hinges and latches which is a good thing to do on a sort of annual basis. So your doors don't start creaking too soon. Just a little preventative maintenance items like that. So that's basically, kind of sums up the B service.

Mark: So I know you do digital inspections and I actually have one. I'm going to share my screen with this and we can just go through that. We can talk about that.

Bernie: Yeah, awesome.

Mark: All right so here's we're at the bottom, so I'll zip up to the top.

Bernie: So this is from, this is not the Subaru, just to be clear. This is from your Toyota Venza that you used to own?

Mark: Yes

Bernie: So let's just scroll down. So this is, you know as a client, this is the inspection you'll get and by the way, it doesn't say from Pawlik Automotive. It comes from...

Mark: It's an 800 number. It's from the provider whoever, whatever auto serve I guess is the provider powering this service that you provide and then they just sent it from their phone number. So it's a text that you get.

Bernie: Yeah, so we also send it by text or email or both. But it won't say from Pawlik Automotive. So just so you know if it seems unusual. Open it up because it will be from us. So we have a reason for today's visit. Sometimes a client will come in with, there's some clunking noises or certain issues, that we can put on the inspection and address. And then other than that, things that are broken down into good, well green, amber and red essentially. And green are all the items that are good and don't need any servicing at the present time. And so you can see a variety of some of the things that we look at. Lights. Battery. The battery is tested. Belts, visual inspection on the belts. Brakes are measured. You can see on Mark's vehicle here, there's 10 millimetres in the front brake pad which is very thick. We also have photographs of things as well that you can look at. Usually we take pictures of things that are problematic. Sometimes we'll take pictures of things that are ok but usually you know, problematic items. As you can see here's a list of suspension components. Some brake components. Suspension components. We inspect, tire treads are measured. And then here we get into the amber items. These are suggested items. So you know, the engine air filter was, it was dirty, not severe. So it could be left until next time. Cabin air filter recommended only as a check records because cabin air filters are usually involved. Removing the actual filter to inspect and so by the time you do that, you may as well just change it. So again it's important to know the service records of the vehicle. We had recommended a fuel injection cleaning on this vehicle basically again, check records. So there were no red items on this vehicle. Nothing that needed to be done right away. So that's basically kind of how your inspection looks, If there are problems, like say, we find a loose part or an extremely dirty fluid, you know, something we think should be serviced, may not in instant, immediately, but really soon. That gets a red mark. So I know this was a good vehicle for you. There wasn't a whole lot that tended to happen.

But the good news with our owner of the Subaru, it was all greens and oranges too. So this car was in good shape for this time around too. You know, I'd share the inspection but it's kind of hard to do that with keeping client confidentiality. So thanks for sharing that Mark.

Mark: So you have some pictures?

Bernie: I do. So let's have a look at a few pictures here of this service. So there's our 08 Subaru Forester. Excellent condition. It's a well maintained vehicle. Here's a few pictures of things that we do include, I would include in the inspection. So again, these are shots that we put right into the inspection report and send to the client.

So you can see the antifreeze, nice blue clean Subaru antifreeze, good to about -45 or 50. There's a picture of something good on the vehicle. Battery test again as our battery tester, you know verifies that the battery is at 100% charge. Good condition. This tester will actually say if the battery is bad or sometimes there are readings that would indicate to us that we may want to replace the battery. Brakes. We measure brakes.

This thing here, you can't really see it, there are 4 millimetres on the brake pad. You can just sort of see inside the wheel. This is the brake rotor. This is the brake calliper here. So it's kind of a close up shot if you don't really know what you're looking at. All just looks like a bunch of metal. But the brake rotors there. This is the brake pad assembly here and is this is the actual pad material, that friction material that wears out. And the metal backing plate, you definitely don't want to get to thing on this. But 4 millimetres is still good for a while. I figure the way this person drives, these brakes will be good for 6 months to a year on the front of this vehicle.

So again, there's a picture of that and as a final photo, we have the actual engine compartment on the vehicle. So this is a 2.5 litre Subaru intake manifold. This is still metal. They have gone to plastic intake manifolds but this is metal. Air filter box over here. So we inspect the air filter, air conditioning hoses. I'll just point out a few things. The brake fluid reservoir over here. Engine oil fill dipstick. Drive belts are located under here. So we visually inspect those to make sure they're, inspect the condition. The power steering fluids located over here. Battery. Those are a few of the things, just a few little highlights under the hood. This is a Subaru, they call a boxer engine. It's basically a flat engine. So the pistons, instead of being vertical are sideways mounted. The only other vehicle to do that are Porsches and in the 911s style and of course, old Volkswagens. This is kind of like an old Volkswagen Beetle. So its a, Subaru seems to be kind of the most common user of this kind of engine but it actually works really well. Very reliable. One thing that's good about a very low centre of gravity, the engine sits very low. So that's a positive thing for vehicle handling and stability.

Mark: So the inspection sounds very thorough. Would that find any issue that might be going on with my car, anything that would be coming up?

Bernie: No it won't. You're right, it is very thorough. We look at a lot of things but you know, there are, if your vehicle has specific concerns, especially say, the engine's not running properly, we don't address those type of things in this inspection. It's more of a visual maintenance inspection to kind of give you an idea of where, as you can see, things like brakes and tires and suspension issues we look at. So if your vehicle has some clunks when you go over bumps, there's a pretty good chance this inspection will find them. If you have a major coolant leak, we'll generally find that as well. But there are a lot of things that aren't covered in this inspection that require further diagnostics and this is a good starting place. If further tests are needed then we can advise you from there.

Mark: So how many kilometres were on this Subaru?

Bernie: This vehicle is just shy of 90,000 kilometres. So really good shape, you know underneath there wasn't even a drip or weep of oil coming from anywhere. We don't have any record of doing the head gaskets. I'm not sure if the owner has had them done or you know, 90,000 kilometres are still not too high. But we've done many Subaru head gaskets before 90,000 Ks but these are in excellent shape. So yeah, really nice and real clean car.

Mark: And were there any issues? Did you find anything wrong with the vehicle?

Bernie: No. Just a few fluids that we'd recommended. A few fluids based on mileage and age that were discoloured from a maintenance point of view. The transmission fluid is looking discoloured and the power steering differential fluid as well. They look clean but it's good to replace those fluids on a time basis because often you can open the inspection plugs on a differential fluid, you look and that fluid looks clean. It looks perfect. Then you drain it out and there's a few little metal flakes and filings and things that you don't really get to see until you actually drain the fluid. So it's good to be aware of the time and the age of these fluids and often just change them based on time. But other than that, the only thing we found, the vehicle as I mentioned, the brakes are at 4 millimetres on the front. Probably recommend 6 months to a year to replace those based on how much the owner drives the car.

Mark: So Pawlik Automotive services a lot of Subarus. How's the Forester for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, it's a really good reliable car. You know, I was thinking about this when I put that question down. Subarus are basically, the cars are the same on a lot of models. So it's not like a Forester is a lot different than an Impreza or an Outback. That a lot of them share the same drivetrain, the same engine. So that the reliability is pretty much the same cross models. Of course, the WRX is a different bird or the H6 Outback with the six cylinder is a different vehicle in some ways. But overall, super reliable, really good vehicles. I mean head gaskets are certainly the big issue on these vehicles but other than that they're pretty good.

Mark: So if you're looking for a good maintenance shop to look after your vehicle or you need service on your Subaru, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're always busy. 604-327-7112. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds and hundreds of articles and videos for your viewing pleasure. And thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

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