Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 24 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 today's victim 2005 Lexus GX470. There was a timing belt replacement for this huge SUV. What was going on with this? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this vehicle was basically due for timing belt replacement. The owner brought the vehicle in. So we proceeded to do that. 

Mark: Was there any kind of indication that there was something wrong with the belt? 

Bernie: No, nothing wrong with it actually, just wanted to do it based on the time of the vehicle, the odometer at about 91,000 kilometres on it.

So it was not actually due by mileage yet, but you know, certainly by time this vehicle is now 16 years old, in great shape by the way, it's very low mileage for a vehicle like this. But yeah, it was time to do the belt from point of view of preventing anything from breaking.

Mark: What's the replacement interval for timing belts on this particular vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so on this vehicle, it's about 90,000 miles. For some reason my kilometre calculator isn't working right now, but I think that's somewhere in a 150,000 kilometres, somewhere around there, 150, 160. So you know, it's due around that. These are really robust belts. And so they will generally last quite a lot longer than the service interval, but I wouldn't recommend you do it because if it breaks, I'm not giving any advice here to leave it longer. I think it's always should be replaced, but they're just much more reliable timing belts in the, I mean, I'm working on cars for a long time.

They used to be these skinny little belts that had square teeth. And they evolved into curved tooth belts with that they're much wider. You can actually look at a couple of pictures right now and it kind of gives you an idea of what the belt looks like. 

2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement

 So there's a view of the front of the engine. This is actually the new timing belt installed. I didn't take pictures all the way through the process, but this is one of the cam shaft covers back on. This is the cover removed on this side. So you can see the belt in here, but it's quite a wide belt, well over an inch wide. 

And as I was saying, like in the olden days, they were much thinner and they never lasted as long, but manufacturers got smart. They made them more reliable, with less frequent replacement. 

Mark: Is this a V6 or a V8? 

Bernie: It's a V8. very good reliable engine. I don't normally say too many bad things about Toyota's they eventually they'll well, it's a Lexus, but still a Toyota. Here's another closeup view. This is the variable valve timing actuator.

And there's the belt. You can see the belt kind of in there. As I said, these are with all the covers installed, but power steering pump is kind of loose here. You can see it's kind of sitting on an angle. So things are not fully back together, but at least it gives a view of the engine compartment.

Mark: What else did you replace with the timing belt? 

Bernie: Well, the water pump for one. This is a view of the water pump. We also changed the tensioners and most of the time we change the front engine oil seals as well because they tend to leak and cause problems. But we don't on all vehicles nowadays.

It used to be a one-time. By the time your timing belt was worn out. Your oil seals were usually leaking oil, but again manufacturers make them out of much better materials. So they tend to be very durable. Sometimes lasting I don't want to say the life of the car, whatever that is, but they may last for decades without failing.

Whereas in the olden days of seals, sometimes we'd take them out and they'd be hard as hockey pucks. They'd be leaking oil all over the place. Anyways, the water pump was one item we replaced. This is a weep hole. This prevents coolant from actually running onto the timing belt.

It goes through a passageway and can run out, but you can see this festering of pink here, there's cooling that's been leaking. Not at any large rate, but some coolant has leaked and with this kind of mileage, I mean, not doing the water pump is kind of a crazy thing, because it will fail for sure over the next while.

And then you have to take everything back apart again. And it's driven by the timing belt, so if it seizes up, the bearing fails, it seizes up, then it'll damage the timing belt. And that's definitely a something we don't want to do.

Mark: So this was another issue. Was there any other issues? 

Bernie: Yeah, so I was going to say you know, like the water pump, to us it's a standard job. Timing belt, oil seals to a certain degree. The tensioners as well, there are tensioners that have bearings that rub against the timing belt, idler pulleys, tensioners, those all get changed at the same time.

The only other thing we ran into is the radiator was starting to leak. And we replaced that as well, which is a little bit of extra work on top of the timing belt, but not a lot since we had covers and things, parts removed already. It's a little more accessible, but you can't see it so much here, but there was leakage at both tank scenes. 

And you know, this is the original rad, so really good life out of this radiator. We've got a closer up view of the leak. You can see, again, this sort of pink festering. This vehicle uses, if you can't guess by the colour, uses pink coloured antifreeze, something Toyota's used for quite a long time.

And you know, these are plastic tank radiators with aluminum cores, and they crimp these together. At one time, radiator shops would actually replace these. We could actually get these recored, but that's long gone. You know, radiators are all sold new now. When they were out, we just buy new ones.

That's the beauty of Chinese manufacturing it's made the price very inexpensive for a complete radiator. Whereas at one time it used to be very expensive. So this wasn't a major leak, could have been left, but at some point it's going to get a whole lot worse and why not do it now while you have it apart and then you won't have to deal with it again for a decade.

Mark: So how are these Lexus SUV's for reliability? 

Bernie: Oh super good. You know, there's not a lot that goes wrong with them until they get quite a bit on an age. I would think that this may well be the first major amount of money that the owner spent in this vehicle. And that's pretty good for a 15 year old vehicle.

I mean, they are complicated. There's a lot of fancy features to them. Some of them have electronic suspensions, so when things do go wrong, they are expensive to fix them and they will eventually wear out. But I just find on these that they just have a much longer life span and you generally pay a lot more for, you know, there was a time I was kind of hunting around for compact SUV. Looking at a European versus like a Lexus. And a Lexus, they're are a lot more money because people know that they're more reliable. 

Things like BMWs and Mercedes, they depreciate much faster because there are more problems with them. So you can buy the vehicle for cheaper. You'll just spend more money fixing it. You have to kind of do the math. Maybe it's better to buy the German vehicle over the Japanese, but you know, it all depends, but at anyways, very reliable. 

Mark: And the North American manufacturers aren't even in the running?

Bernie: Well, I guess when I'm thinking about Ford Explorers, what else would we have? Dodges? There's some Chrysler products. You know, there's some GMs that are good, you know, I dunno. I just for some reason, just compare the Japanese to the German. I think they're kind of the extremes and the Americans kind of fit in the middle. But yeah definitely if you want to buy a long-term good reliable vehicle, the Lexus is a great way to go. 

Mark: If you need some service for your Lexus or Toyota product, or any Japanese made vehicle 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 and book ahead, they're busy. Or you can book online They'll get back to you. They'll get the details. They'll make sure they're ready when you show up. Also check out our YouTube channel, hundreds of videos, many hundreds we've done this for 10 years. All makes models, types of vehicles, all types of repairs. And of course, we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thank you. Thank you, Bernie. 

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

2017 Mazda 3, A Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouvers best auto service experience. 24 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2017 Mazda 3 that had a Canadian eh service going on, what was going on with this Mazda? 

Bernie: Oh, it's the Canadian thing, they're an eh service. I like that. Yeah, basically the vehicle came to us for maintenance service. This vehicle had been purchased recently as a new owner. We did a pre-purchase inspection for him a while back and he came in to us for his first maintenance service.

Mark: So what's required with an A service? 

Bernie: Yeah. So then an A service is a basic oil change and basic maintenance inspection. So we adjust tire pressures, we you look at all the lights, inspect the fluid levels and quality of fluids, visual under-hood inspection. And we do a visual under the vehicle inspection as well.

Give the wheels a little wiggle to make sure there's nothing, you know, seriously dangerously loose, which you wouldn't expect on a car of this vintage, but it's always good to check or inspect as we like to say. And you know, if possible we look at air filters and that kind of thing as well.

Mark: Now, you guys have, and this isn't just off the top of your head. You have a checklist that you follow and that you actually give to the owner after the inspection is complete. Is that right? 

Bernie: Exactly. And not only do we have a checklist, we actually have a digital inspection. That's really awesome. And people love it. We get nothing but compliments from people. They're becoming more and more standard in the auto service industry, but I think we're one of the early adopters of the digital inspections, but they're amazing because we can look through things and we can send you the report by text or email or both, and you can review it while you're, you know, at home and you can see anything of concern we'll take pictures of.

So let's say there's an oil leak. We can take a picture of it. And often that has a lot more value than we go. Oh, there's oil leaking. Oh, you go, well, yeah whatever. But, you know, if you see a picture of it, it actually makes more sense. So we do that and it's documented, and of course, it's kept, you know, say a couple of years later, you want to go, Hey, you know, what happened with that inspection? We can look back on it. So it provides a really good record. 

And this program we have is really amazing too, because we can actually now do estimates. So we can look at your car and say, Hey, it needs a brake job, and we can do an estimate and send it out and you can review it, you can approve it without even phoning us.

If you go, Hey, yeah, that looks good. I'll do it. Or if you have questions you can call us and we can even do payments over the phone too. So that's how sophisticated things have become. It's really pretty awesome. 

Mark: So with this Mazda, did you find any concerns? 

Bernie: You know, the only concern we found is that the air filter was really dirty and we also replaced the cabin air filter because we figured if the air filter hadn't been done, the cabin filter probably hadn't been done either. So I'll actually just give them the little picture show. We can have a look at the the filters and things like that. 

So there's our Mazda 3. This is a GT model. Really nice car. I mean it looks to me kind of like a BMW or Mercedes or something with that flat front.

2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service
2017 Mazda 3, A Service

So filters. Yeah, let's have a look. So there's the engine air filter. This is the one we took out of the vehicle. Definitely 40,000 kilometres. Never been changed, exceptionally dirty. This is a brand new one. Just so it gives you kind of a reference point as to what a new air filter looks like. You know, at this point, definitely, the engine is not going to be breathing as well as it should be with a filter that dirty.  

Cabin air filter. So in all fairness, this is a charcoal filter. So it starts off a little bit grey, but you can see a lot of dirt, needles, bits and pieces. This is by no means the worst one we've ever pulled out. I mean, we, we take some cabin air filters that are absolutely horrible out of vehicles. But, you know, nonetheless definitely do, it's a great time to replace this filter. Perfect time. 

A couple of features on this car. So there's the engine compartment. It's a SKYACTIV engine, which is Mazda's kind of modern technology for fuel economy and mileage. And I think the really big thing about it is it's got a gasoline direct fuel injection, so that's, again, a service that we've talked about in the past. There's a maintenance service that's good to do on a GDI equipped car. 

But basically other that, automatic transmission, you get your standard Japanese battery with the little screw on top. It's been there for the last 40 or 50 years you see in Japanese batteries. A couple of other interesting features of the car, it's got a heads up display, this little thing pops up and it's got the speed, your speed, and possibly some other features. I didn't drive the car, but that's kind of a neat feature in this car. And really beautiful interior finish on this vehicle. There's another view of the heads up display. That kind of caught my eye. So that's our picture show. 

So why were the filters so dirty? Was this vehicle maintained by a dealer?

I can't say for sure because I don't know the previous history. This is the first service we've done on it. But we see this quite often where we have a new client who comes to us and yeah, I've had my vehicle serviced at the dealer. And almost every time, the air filter is hideously dirty. And it's just kinda surprising because you know, dealers have a reputation. That's the best place to take your car because they know your car, and true, they do. That's what they work on, but you know, they'll provide you the best service. So it's always a surprise to us that that kind of thing is kind of neglected and overlooked.

Mark: Any reason why? 

Bernie: Well, I think it's all in the flat rate pay system that they use at dealerships. You know, at our shop, all our mechanics are paid by the hour. So if it takes, you know, I mean, we don't want them to spend more time than they need to, but they're free to do that, to do a good job on the car. Whereas at a dealership, you're kind of running your own business as a mechanic. So you know, if you get paid at, say an hour to do an oil change, which is something you'd get in a fancier import kind of car, like a Mercedes. Something like a Mazda, maybe it's only half an hour, you don't have a lot of time to, you get paid that amount of money to do the oil service.

So the faster you get it in and out the door, faster you do the job, the more work you can do, the more money you can make. So if you're making 40 or 50 bucks an hour, you could be making 90 or a hundred bucks an hour. If you're really quick and get cars in and out the door. Good incentive. But what gets neglected is if it isn't on the list of what needs to be changed, they don't look at it. So if the air filter isn't on the list of it's due at this mileage, they don't even look at it. They just drive the car in and they drive it out, change the oil as fast as they can and do the basics. 

Mark: So what else was due for service at this time? 

Bernie: It was basically it, we did find that the brake fluid was starting to get discoloured and the vehicle is four years old. So we'd recommended a brake fluid flush for next time. And also gasoline direct injection services is something we'd recommend doing at next service because it removes carbon deposits from the valves, helps keep the engine running properly.

So those are things that are coming up. A B service of course, next time will be due. And the B service is basically the A service plus a full vehicle inspection. So we take the wheels off, rotate the tires, inspect the brakes steering, suspension, test the battery, more in-depth service.

Mark: So not really that many things to maintain on these kinds of vehicles. 

Bernie: No, there are a lot simpler, you know, I mean, I've been working on cars for since my hair was black and it was a lot of it. Like 40 years, cars have changed so much. I mean, I just think back to a 20 year old Japanese car, like something was made 20 years ago, would of needed a timing belt at 96,000 kilometres. CV boots often used to break. 

This vehicle only has 41,000 Ks so far from that, but still would have been coming up on a 48 K service, probably meeting spark plugs and you know, a number of things and this stuff that you use don't need to do for a long, long time. So, you know, even though internal combustion engines are certainly on their way out, you know, over the next decade or who knows how long, but the cars are much more reliable. Electric vehicles will certainly be even that much simpler, but, you know, for an internal combustion engine and much more reliable. 

Mark: So much less maintenance now, overall, but, and that sounds really good. But what are the problems with that? 

Bernie: Well the thing that I see the most, and we talked about it, you know, it's changing oil frequently, and a lot of cars have very long extended oil change intervals, which again, environmentally is good. You know, you're not using as much oil.

I mean, you're not to get your car service as much, but the thing is, is as the oil gets dirty, it tends to damage the engine. And there are some very expensive parts inside any modern engine. They're very tightly fit. There's a lot of precision components that never used to be there. Variable valve timing, any little gumminess that gets in there will cause damage.

So it really makes a whole lot of sense to change your oil more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. It's more critical now than it's ever been. You don't want to be too crazy cause it does last a long time, but just doing it sooner than the manufacturer recommends is in my opinion, I think a lot of other mechanics opinions, it makes a lot of sense. You'll save money in the longterm. 

Mark: And so how are these Mazda 3s for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, they're great cars. I mean, I think they're really nice as I was mentioning, not only is it, they're reliable, but it's actually a very nice car. I still think of a Mazda3 as kind of a lower end car. And yet this is amazingly nice car. It's very nicely finished interior. You know, the fancy features like the heads up display navigation, a lot of stuff you find in modern cars, but it's just a nice, it's a nicely built car. Drives really well, good fuel economy, and they are reliable.

They tend to go a long time before you start needing to do repairs on them. So we still service Mazda 3s from the early 2000s. And you know, there's a lot more stuff that's going on with them because they're getting older, but you know, they're still a good, reliable car. I highly recommend them. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Mazda in Vancouver, or you just need an A service on any vehicle the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them on their website You can book there. They will check with you. They'll get ready for your service or whatever kind of repair you might need. Or you can give them a call (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, you got to book ahead. They're busy. Check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We got close to a thousand videos on there. We've been doing this for over 10 years. Or of course on the Blog at Same thing, all the information is there, all types of makes and models of vehicles, all types and kinds of repairs. Tons of information there. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 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 this week's victim is a 2014 G63 AMG. That was running a bit rough. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to us. The check engine light was on and the owner complained the engine was running a bit rough from time to time. So that's what it's here for. 

Mark: What kind of testing and diagnosis did you do? 

Bernie: Well, first of all, of course, it's to road test the vehicle. And when we drove it, it seemed to run fairly well. Maybe it just a little rough. And then of course, next step, a scan tool hookup, a full vehicle code scan and that revealed some interesting information to do some further testing.

And I'll just get the screen share right away. So there's our G63.

2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine

This is the scan report. This is the engine fault section. So you can see there's basically seven faults for the engine. There's a number of other things. 

Any European car will always have a whole bunch of faults, if it works perfectly well, if you scan it every six months, you'll find there's something going on with this and that. But, usually engine issues, we take them more seriously than say a lot of the body control issues, which may be a slightly low battery or some little glitch happened.

But a couple of interesting points here now. A lot of these codes it'll say whether it's stored or current. And as I mentioned, it seemed to be running sorta well. All these seven faults on this list here, they all say stored. But this top one is interesting, actuation ignition coil one's an electrical fault or open circuit.

That's of course, something that usually indicates the coil is bad. Not always, it could be a wiring issue, but most of the time we find that's an issue. And then of course, cylinder one has a misfire. Could be the coil. Then seven and eight cylinders also had some misfires. Plus there's a random misfire code down here.

This P0385. And then some emission gas tank cap missing. Maybe the owner at some point had not put the gas tank cap, which isn't gonna cause any performance issues. So these are the codes we have to work with and the place to start. And yeah so that was basically where we started our diagnosis.

We pulled the coil out, did a visual inspection. Swapped coils around, which we often do. Visually inspect the spark plugs, which looked okay. But you know the vehicle is seven years old. So spark plugs don't need to be replaced at seven years, but kind of getting on, you know, with all these codes could have been an issue,

Mark: Was this a high mileage vehicle? 

Bernie: No, it only had 43,000 kilometres, so very low mileage, in fact. So that brought up another issue of another service we did, which we'll talk about in a little bit. So basically from our conclusion, we figured the best thing to do would be to replace the spark plugs and the number one cylinder ignition coil. And that's where we proceeded. Vehicle seemed to run a bit better afterwards, but seem to be not quite perfect, but certainly an improvement. 

Mark: So how has changing the spark plugs and coil on this vehicle? 

Bernie: Well, I'll just get into some different photos. So here's the engine. Beautiful looking as AMG engines tend to be on almost every AMG model. So you have your air cleaners here. These are the air intake ducts, it's a turbocharged V8, so the ducts to the turbo. And underneath here, underneath both these air cleaners, they need to be removed to access the fuel injectors, spark plugs, ignition coils, and so on.

And here's another view of the left cylinder bank. This is the air cleaner off. The valve cover's basically here. You've got the fuel injectors here. This is a gasoline direct injection system, which you'll find on most vehicles made in this decade. The ignition coils sit here on top of the spark plugs, which had been removed when I took this photograph. So that's basically it. 

Now, the interesting thing is the spark plugs is, you know, spark plugs, you think, oh, they're spark plugs. You take them out. So it looks like it's sort of average type of spark plug, screw it in set a torque it. But there's actually a procedure on these, that this electrode, this is the ground electrode and this open gap has to face within 45 degrees on either side of the fuel injector. I'll just kind of go back a photograph here. So this is the fuel injector. So when that spark plug's installed that open gap has to sit sort of between this direction and this direction.

And so we had to mark our sockets and make sure that when it was torqued that was within that spec and we opted to get the actual genuine Mercedes spark plug so that, you know, for sure I mean, they're made to fit the vehicle, even though they're not made by Mercedes, they are either made by NGK or Bosch, for sure. But just to make sure that it was a hundred percent fit. So we verified that was all good in doing it. So that's a little bit of an unusual techie kind of thing on this engine. 

Mark: So, have you ever seen that before, that kind of precise, spark plug alignment on another engine? 

Bernie: You know, the only other engine I know of and this there's probably more of them, than I know, but the Honda Insight, the older Honda Insight, so it's kind of ugly looking hybrids, unless you really liked the look of them but I kind of find them ugly. The spark plugs on those actually are indexed and they actually have a special code number on each spark plug. And there's, I believe one to three different types so they'll actually align properly. So they obviously don't machine everything quite as precisely as Mercedes has done.

So you have to know, when you take the spark plugs out you have to be really careful to know which coded spark plug it is. So you get the right one in. But that's the only other engine I know of, but there might be more. I mean, obviously more of these AMG's, these engines have that same precision too.

Mark: So you did some other service on this engine. What did that entail? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the other service we did, I mentioned it's got gasoline direct injection. And so we did a GDI cleaning service, which is something we'd recommend doing about every two to three years, every 30, 40,000 kilometres on any engine like that. It's important for the performance of the engine too and longevity of the engine. And it can really fix little subtle misfire problems and rough running. So we figure, especially with this vehicle, 43,000 kilometres is not a lot on a seven year old vehicle. It's driven very little. So it's probably had a lot of cold trips, you know, not really warmed up, you know, the oil has not been changed as much as it probably should have, so that that can contribute to deposits on the valves.

Mark: And how do those deposits affect the engine performance? 

Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, it can cause misfires, it can cause you know, hard starting issues, little subtle problems. We find a lot of times, you know, engines that develop little subtle things where, you know, maybe the car just doesn't feel like it did when it was new. Like it doesn't quite start as fast or run as smoothly, or there's little times where the performance is lacking. Maybe a little hesitation. That can be from carbon deposits on valves. And if it gets really bad, it can cause some really severe performance issues. Even to the point of actually damaging valves or valve seats, but you know usually by that time, you'll notice something really wrong.

Mark: So after you did all that, how did the vehicle run? 

Bernie: Good. It ran really well. I mean, it's a bit of a stumbely rough engine. It's a high performance engine, twin turbos, AMG high-performance over 500 horsepower version. So it has a kind of a little rough feel to it, just slightly, on it's sort of at the bottom end, which is, I think, you know normal.

But yeah, it ran great lots of, you know, I mean, insane amount of power in a utility truck. But yeah, it was good. 

Mark: So these G63s are unique, very expensive vehicles. How are they for liability? And what are your thoughts about them overall?

Bernie: Yeah, they're very high price vehicle. I'll just go back to a couple of pictures I want to kind of share on some stuff. So, yeah let's talk about the picture in a second, but yeah, I mean a very high price vehicle to buy a new and they hold their value really well in the used market, which I'm sort of thinking, what vehicle does this compare to? And it's kind of like a Range Rover in some ways. I mean, it's that similar kind of market, it's a luxury utility vehicle, but this is a much rougher type of vehicle. And you know, Range Rovers depreciate at a much more substantial rate than these. So, I mean, that's one thing to say about them, but this is quite a utility vehicle.

I mean, so getting into thoughts on the vehicle. I mean, this is a picture of the front differential. This is a solid beam axle. I mean, I don't know anyone else who sells a vehicle like this anymore, but it's got the ball knuckle for the four wheel drive. It's got a re-circulating ball, like a steering box, basically with a steering linkage. So this is very crude technology. 

I had a 77 Toyota Land Cruiser. This is very similar, but what I will say about the G wagon, it's your rides a whole lot nicer than a Land Cruiser. That thing really bounced. They've got the suspension much more nicely dialed in. But I mean, I think there's a lot of things about these vehicles that are really, they're rough and utility, and they don't really suit being an AMG. Just with the power and performance. It's kind of overkill. 

I mean, things like these differential locks is never use on unpaved roads. Well, all of these vehicles will never go off road. Most people, you see a lot of them around Vancouver, a lot of people they'll never go off road. But it's certainly built, if you want an amazing off-road vehicle, this is definitely one to choose for sure. Tough, durable, but you know, with the chrome side pipes that come out under running boards and beautiful alloy wheels, it could be a, you know, too nice of a vehicle really to take on any kind of rough roads. At least the kind I like to. A good vehicle. Solid. I love the way the doors open and close to when you close the doors and you know, that's a quality vehicle. 

Mark: And reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, good. It's a Mercedes, so you'll spend more money on repairs and maintenance and things are finickier, but you know, overall it's a vehicle that will last a long time and they're tough. I mean, there are tons of G wagons around that have been, before they were kind of regularly imported into North America, they've been around for decades before that and still tough and reliable. So good vehicle. 

Mark: Therefore, if you're needing some service for your AMG product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or you can book online at Check out our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. As well as on the website, there's hundreds of blog posts, including the transcripts. We've been doing this for 10 years, literally close to a thousand videos on all makes models, types of cars, types of repairs. And of course, we really appreciate you listening and watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2009 Ford F350 6.4L – Cab Mount Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So today's victim is a diesel 2009 Ford F350, a biggie 6.4 litre diesel had a cab mount replacement. What was going on with this diesel beastie?

Bernie: Yeah. So there was a couple of things going on with the vehicle. One was a drivability problem that the engine had some performance issues, did some diagnostics and determined that the high pressure fuel pump had an issue. So that was what needed to be replaced. 

Mark: So where is the high pressure fuel pump?

Bernie: So that high pressure fuel pump is located in the valley of the engine, underneath the turbocharger. The 6.4 litre is a little different than the 6 litre in that it doesn't use high pressure oil to boost the injection pressure. And what they did was where the high pressure oil pump was located they actually put a high pressure fuel pump instead. Smarter idea, less complexity I think. Even though it is still a complex engine, but nonetheless high pressure fuel pump's located way buried deep in the engine and requires the cab to be removed. 

Mark: So did Ford design these trucks for easier cab removal, since it seems that so many, these are complex engines, this is a common way and easy, fastest way to get at everything. So did they make it easier? 

Bernie: Well, what I can say is that on the 6.7 litre, which is I think a year after this 2010, it was introduced. They definitely designed the cabs to be easier to remove on those vehicles. And I'm not sure on this particular model, but I mean the six litre, we do lots of them and we have the cab removal procedure down pretty well. But the newer ones, they definitely designed with that idea in mind because they realized, you know, anything needs to be done, the cabs got to come off. So it's not really a huge job for us to take these off even though it's sounds incredibly intimidating. There's a few items to remove and they have made it easier. I just can't say this model year, whether it's easier than say an 07.

Mark: How did the cab removal process go? 

Bernie: Well, removing it was a bit problematic on this vehicle. Several of the bolts, actually, most of the bolts were seized and we had to cut the heads of all the bolts off so we can pop the cab off and then sort of deal with whatever was going on with the seized bolts after. What they do with the bolts is they, we'll look at a picture in a minute, that the bolts are actually Loctited in place, so they don't come loose. And so the lock tightening had basically kind of seized up and they use a, it's like a captive nut on the frame. So it was not really welded in place it kind of floats freely. And so there was a tendency for it to spin, which obviously would have been a disaster. You know, so we cut them off and figured let's deal with it later. So that's kind of how it went. 

Mark: So when we're talking about removing the cab from a truck, basically there's a frame underneath the truck, the cabs and bed on top, and you're taking the whole top of the truck off. 

Bernie: Yeah. You basically remove the top where the where the hood and engine compartment fenders the passenger compartment is a four-door truck, which, I mean, almost all trucks I realize nowadays are. And you basically just lift that all off the truck. A lot of on frame vehicles, they're really not as difficult to remove as you think. It just seems like kind of a freaky concept. Actually let's just look at it, the pictures right now and we can keep talking. 

2009 Ford F350 6.4L - Cab Mount Replacement
2009 Ford F350 6.4L - Cab Mount Replacement
2009 Ford F350 6.4L - Cab Mount Replacement
2009 Ford F350 6.4L - Cab Mount Replacement

So the other issue we did find is the cab mounts were really badly worn. That's why we're doing this podcast. I mean, we lift a lot of these cabs off and we don't normally find cab mounts worn, but you can see this rubber here is completely disintegrated.  

This is the bolt was left over that we cut off. So you can see the Loctite on the top of the bolt and what we ended up doing this sort of heating the bolt in such a way so it kind of freed the Loctite and then we're able to remove the bolts. It took a lot of extra time to do this, but we were able to successfully remove it. Now you can see the frame is welded in solid, so there's no way to change the captive nut short of cutting the frame open. So it was kind of like one of those things where we had to make sure we did it properly.

Mark: It's a threaded bolt that goes into the nut that's on the other side of the frame that we can't see. 

Bernie: Exactly. We're actually looking up into the cab of the vehicle here, cause the frame of the vehicle, this is where this would be sitting. So this is like the frame of the cab basically.

Let's look at a couple of other pictures. So this is another view of a different mount that's all crushed out. I mean, they all kind of look the same, but it's kind of surprising. 

Mark: And the body sits right on top of those. 

Bernie: Body sits right on top of these. Yeah. Yeah. So this is a cushion mount. So because if it wasn't cushion, you'd feel every bump, every bump and rattle, it would be felt throughout the inside of the vehicle. It would be exceptionally rough, even though, you know, it is a one ton truck it's obviously going to be rough to begin with. There's a picture of our new mount, so you can kind of get an idea. What does it, what does it look like when it's new? Well, that's what it looks like when it's new, you can see a nice, perfectly symmetrical piece of rubber. That's not all mushed out and destroyed. One last comparison. Old. New. 

Mark: Was there any other issues that you ran into when you were changing the damaged, after the damaged bolts were replaced? 

Bernie: No, the mounts themselves are pretty easy. They just kind of stick on top of the frame. And then they get squashed in as you drop the cab down and then bolt it up. So once we got the bolts removed from the cab, everything else was pretty straight forward. 

Mark: Were there any other issues once you had the cab off and were working on the fuel pump? 

Bernie: No, the fuel pump went successfully. Well, that replacement was successful. We did that. One other issue we did run into afterwards though was that the vehicle still had some running issues. We change fuel filters. There's two fuel filters, one under the hood and one under the vehicle, which was kind of easy to get with the cab off. It's usually kind of a pain to access.

There's a lot of guck in that filter. Anyways to make a long story short, it turned out that the actual low pressure fuel pump had gone bad also, which is located in that same areas that lower fuel filter. It's called the horizontal fuel conditioning module. I always love saying that. The HFCM. I don't know where these engineers come up with these weird words, but the horizontal fuel conditioning module, it's basically a fuel pump, a water separator, and a fuel filter. It's a fuel conditioner. It's really weird. Anyways. 

Mark: So its job is basically taking fuel from the tank, the fuel tank, transferring it through the vehicle, up to the high pressure fuel pump. 

Bernie: Exactly. That's exactly what its job is. Yeah. And then in addition to that, so we replaced that and everything is running fine. And then out in the road, it kind of bogged down again on us. We figured maybe we have a fuel, because of this guck that's in the fuel system. Maybe there's a an issue in the tank. Maybe there's some contaminants. Because it certainly looked like it. So we pulled the tank out, cleaned it out, found the fuel strainer was partially plugged to. So clean the tank out, replace the strainer, put all back together, ran like a dream. 

So I guess we're drifting a little off of the cab mount situation here, but you know, we think the high pressure fuel pump probably was damaged by the lack of proper fuel pressure from the low pressure pump and the guck.

So it's always important in a diesel. Get good quality fuel. Make sure you change your filters. And this customer is actually a pretty good maintenance client. So it may be that he picked up some bad fuel somewhere along the way. That does happen from time to time. 

Mark: Somebody doesn't grind the bones quite enough in that dinosaur juice. 

Bernie: That's right. Yeah, exactly. That the distillation process didn't quite work so well. So anyways you know, we don't see fuel problems like I've talked about like a lot of gasoline engines don't even have a fuel filter anymore like they used to. And you know, it tells me that at least the process of fuel manufacturing and distribution is very clean compared to what it used to be 30 years ago. But you know, diesel, it's subject to crap forming inside it too. So you gotta be careful. 

Mark: How are the 6.4 litre diesels compared to other Ford diesel engines? 

Bernie: Yeah, I think they're pretty good. I mean, they are definitely less problems in a six litre. I mean, vehicle is about 220,000 kilometres, I think when we did the service. We've serviced this vehicle for many years for this client. This is the first major problem he's had with anything. So that's pretty good. If you consider a six litre up to 220 Ks, you may have spent, you know, 10 or $20,000 on repairs. Maybe. And some people with six litres have spent nothing even up to that deal, but those are the rare exceptions. And I think the 6.7 is a better engine than a 6.4. It's pretty decent. 

Mark: If you need some service for your diesel, any make or model of diesel in Vancouver, the guys to see, the experts are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online We have hundreds of videos on there. Check them out. They're good. We've been doing this for. 10 years. 10 years we've been doing this. Almost a thousand videos, all makes and models and types of repairs. Or you can call (604) 327-7112. Almost always they answer the phone. Sometimes they get too busy, but most of the time you'll actually have somebody to talk to. No voicemail jail. Yay. Call them and get booked. They will ask you some questions. They'll make sure they're ready for when you show up for your appointment. You can check out our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. All the videos are on there as well. We thank you for watching and thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: And thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching and listening. We appreciate it.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, A Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim of 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, a brand new car coming in for an A service. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, this vehicle came in for its first service. Due for an A service and an oil change. And that's what we did. 

Mark: So what's an A service, what's involved in that? 

Bernie: A services are our basic maintenance service. Oil and filter change along with a visual inspection of the vehicle, adjust the tire pressures. Do a visual look around under the car and under the hood. Look at fluids to make sure they're all full and clean and that's kind of, and the lights. And anything else of note, of course.  

Mark: Did you find anything that needed to be repaired? 

Bernie: Nope, of course, a brand new car it's like nothing, nothing, it's always a privilege working on a new car when everything's clean and including all the suspension components are still painted fresh. So yeah, nothing at all. We wouldn't expect it anyways, but you never know. 

Mark: So do you service new vehicles pretty often? 

Bernie: From time to time? You know, it's not a huge part of our business, but we do get some clients who bring their brand new cars to us for service. 

Mark: So any disadvantage or problems with bringing my brand new car to an independent shop compared to the dealer?

Bernie: No, no, nothing at all. I mean, the most important thing was if you do go to an independent shop, I mean, make sure they're using the right fluids, using the right oil is important and the oil filter. I mean in the case of this service, or any parts that are used should be, they don't have to be a Subaru parts, but they have to be at least equivalent quality.

And make sure all receipts are kept because obviously a warranty on the car, if there's ever an issue, you need to make sure they have all the documentation. You know, for us, we have a computerized data system. So we keep all our client's records. If you've been coming here a few years and all of a sudden your engine has a problem or a leak and you need to provide documentation. If you've misplaced it, we can always do it. But you know, just make sure you keep it yourself. That's the best thing. 

Mark: So people generally think that you have to go to the dealer to maintain your warranty. Is that true? 

Bernie: No, it's not. And it clearly states that you just need to have the vehicles serviced and often dealers will sort of insinuate that you need to bring it to them. It's actually not legal. There are laws that say, they cannot tell you they have to service the car. So if they do, that's actually illegal, but you know I mean, dealerships are good. I mean, they work on their, you know, it's their car. They, they know them. Some people just choose to go elsewhere. But they're really, I don't know. Are they the best? Not necessarily. I don't know if I answered that question right or not, or if I drifted off there.

Mark: It depends on how much the people care and sometimes a dealer they care and sometimes at an independent repair shop, you care.

Bernie: Exactly. I think it's really the relationship with the people and some vehicles, you know, when you buy it new, they'll offer free service or they'll offer a discounted maintenance package, so you might be able to buy like, you know, two or three years worth of maintenance for $500 or something like that.

You know, those often sound like a good deal but, they will cut corners on stuff like that. They may not do everything that might be necessary to do on the car. I mean, they'll do the basic stuff. They'll make sure that whatever's, you know, covers the warranty will be done, but a lot of extra things that are probably important for the longevity of the vehicle won't be done.

So that's just something to watch for. But you know, if you get free oil changes, Hey, why not take advantage of it? You know, for the time, if it's included or if it's a very cheap package. 

Mark: So this 2021 Crosstrek I'm was wondering when, how many kilometers till the first oil change?

Bernie: Well, this vehicle has about 9,600 kilometres. So that's about the range about 10 K's for the oil change. It's synthetic oil. So every 10 is good. So we'll just look at some pictures right now.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, A Service
2021 Subaru Crosstrek, A Service
2021 Subaru Crosstrek, A Service
2021 Subaru Crosstrek, A Service
2021 Subaru Crosstrek, A Service

This is a brand new vehicle and came to us kind of dirty. So it doesn't look brand new, but it is. With a nice wash it'll look perfectly fresh. 

Yeah, there's the odometer 9,658 kilometres. So it's good time to do an oil change on a vehicle like this and kind of typical of most modern vehicles, almost everything uses synthetic oil now. So that's about the right kind of interval for most cars.

Just looking at a couple of things on this car, here's the under hood view. Your typical Subaru Boxster engine 2.5 liter. This one uses a timing chain they've been doing that for well, at least 10 years now. For most models they have timing chains. So there's no timing belt to replace, which is one advantage. That was a sort of a major maintenance expense on a Subaru about every 160,000 kilometers.

They've color coded everything under the hood. If you can use the word color-coded you know, things that you might want to look at and service, there's your engine oil dipstick in yellow. The coolant overflow bottle, engine oil goes in the yellow cap. There's a radiator cap. Washer fluid and the brake fluid cap. So these are kind of things to look at and service and fill from time to time. So they've kind of nicely color-coded that. 

Here's another view of the engine compartment. I found this battery interesting. This battery, I mean, as we're 2021, if you looked under the hood of a Japanese car in 1980, the batteries would look the same with these sort of twist on caps. They've used the same style of battery for years and for decades. And thought I just, this little view of the brake fluid is so clean. So if you ever wonder what clean brake fluid looks like, that's it, you know, it's six months old and you know, 10,000 kilometers old. So that's, that's clean brake fluid. That's how it looks when it's new.

Mark: So how are Subaru's for reliability? 

Bernie: Oh they're really good. I know we talk a lot about them. As I mentioned, this one is the timing chain model. I think, you know, that it was a good move, they did. It's reduced the cost of having doing a timing belt and the timing chain seemed to be really reliable. We haven't done one yet. It's been out for pretty much a decade. And along with that, I mean, head gaskets were a problem with the 2.5 liter engine, the timing belt models, haven't seen a head gasket problem on any of these. 

We did have one client with one of these timing chain engines where one of the covers had a leak. So we had to replace that. And it was a bit of a pricey job, but not crazy. And that's actually the only one we've seen, so. I'd say pretty good. I mean, there has been some oil burning issues, again in the last decade with some of these engines, so it's just something to watch if you're buying a used one. We can talk about that more in another podcast, but overall I think they're good vehicles. A lot of them use CVT transmissions and they seem to be pretty reliable, even though CVTs are kind of notorious for problems, but Subaru seem to be reliable. So overall good car. I like them. 

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your Subaru in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. Call and talk to them. They'll find out what's going on with your vehicle, get you booked in for an appointment. Or you can book online at You'll have some questions to fill out. They'll get back to you. They'll inquire. Get ready for you to show up. So they're ready to go when you show up for your service or repair. And they service in all makes and models, all types, even though old vehicles, even the brand new vehicles, all of them. Diesels, everything. Pawlik Automotive 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Thank you for watching. We really appreciate it. The website is The YouTube channel is Pawlik Auto Repair. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. 

2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire

Mark: Hi, it'sMark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 24 time winners best auto repair in Vancouver. I can losing count. There's so many, and it always changes. 24 times their customers have voted them the best auto repair in Vancouver. And we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2006, Mercedes C280, had an engine mishcon, mishfire, misfire. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner had called, she was heading off on a holiday shortly and was concerned the engine was running rough and that her check engine light was on. So brought it in for us to have a look at.

Mark: What did you find? 

Bernie: Well, we've definitely verified the engine was misfiring. First step was to hook up our scan tool, do a scan of the vehicle. See what sort of trouble codes were stored. And we found a code for a engine misfire, a random misfire, along with a cylinder four misfire and a code indicating a, I think it was either a short or open circuit in the ignition coil to cylinder number four. So that's pretty clearly put us in the area and direction where the issue may be occurring. 

Mark: So you've found out which cylinder it is. What is the next step? 

Bernie: So the next step is to verify that it is in fact ignition coil or spark plug, or see what it is. So I'll just share some pictures here because what we did for the next step was to, and there's our C280.

2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire
2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire
2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire
2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire

Next picture, is to hook up a lab scope to actually look at the firing pattern of the ignition coils. So this is what we see on a lab scope. This is a firing pattern of a good ignition coil you can see and I'm horrible at explaining the details of this there's people that are much better, but you can see a lot of, let's call it electrical action here. Voltage. This is when the spark is actually fired at this moment here. I'm going to go into show you the bad coil. So this is number four cylinders coil, as you can see, there's no energy buildup. There's no energy release. It's just basically one little firing, you know, issue occurring. 

So that pretty much indicates the coil's bad. Doesn't a hundred percent prove it because there could be an electrical issue as well. So the next step was to swap the ignition coils from one cylinder to another. Now sometimes you can just do this and verify if the problem follows with the codes, then you know the problem's there, but I figure it's easier to, you can get some good evidence on what's actually happening in terms of, again, here's the good pattern. Here's the bad pattern. See if it follows. So I swap the coil from cylinder four to five, pull the spark plug out to visually inspect it. They were original spark plugs, looked okay. Vehicles only got 87,000 kilometres, so it's still pretty young, but you know, 2006, that makes it about a 15 year old car at this point in time.

So the spark plugs are old. Anyways swapped the coils, retested the pattern, the problem followed the ignition coils. So we knew a hundred percent, it was ignition coil in number four cylinder that was causing the issue.

Mark: So you just then replaced the bad coil and that was it? 

Bernie: Well, that was one option. But when you take the car and you go, okay, it's 15 years old, one coil has failed. There's six in total. It makes more sense to change the coil and the plugs at the same time. Of course we always give our customers options and we ended up changing the spark plugs and the ignition coils at the same time, just based on the age of the car and the probability that another one would likely fail soon.

You know, we've had in the past where we've done one coil. Then a month later, two months later, maybe six months, you know, another one fails, then you're back diagnosing it. There's a charge for that looking everything over. And then you end up spending more money in the end. It's better really to, if you can afford to do it, do it all, get it done. And then you'll never have to worry about it again because this car probably won't be in this owner's hands, 15 years from. 

So here's just another picture just to finalize things. That's this is the ignition coil, and this is a spark plug. This is the old build units, but new ones look basically the same. 

Mark: And so harder to run them once everything was back together and tested? 

Bernie: Well, I'd like to say these are Hollywood podcasts. It's always a happy ending or almost always. Yeah, no it ran great. Yeah, car ran fantastically. Just for a little extra thoroughness, of course we cleared the codes. Road tested it and actually looked at the there's, you can monitor misfires on a scan tool, it'll show any misfiring issues. Drove it for a while, nothing at, all it's perfect. So yeah, it ran great. And I wouldn't expect there to be any problem with this for quite a long time, especially the coils and plugs. 

Mark: And how are these C280s for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, it's a good car. I mean, it's a fairly basic for a Mercedes, although, you know, basic is pretty luxurious. This car is kind of interesting because it actually doesn't have power seats, which is really strange for a Mercedes. But but yeah, it's a nice car and, you know, actually the fact that it doesn't have power seats actually makes it a little more basic and less to go wrong. But overall good car, good reliability.

We've serviced this car for many years and the owner drives it very little. And this is the first time there's I think this and a belt problem has been about the only thing that's really gone wrong with the car. So it's been quite good. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Merc in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. To book your appointment, you can go to the website You can book online there. They will get in touch with you. They'll get prepared for when you show up and make sure that they're ready to service your car as soon and quickly and as efficiently as possible. Of course, you can also check out the website. There's hundreds of videos on there. The YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos, not stretching it at all, over 900. And of course we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography B Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 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 well today. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography. Why do the British have such long names, that a B service required. What was going on with this SUV? 

Bernie: Long names. This is actually a Land Rover Range Rover Sport Autobiography. It's a very long name, anyways. Yeah, so the owner brought this in for a B service. He'd recently purchased the vehicle and it was due for service. So he brought it in. He had a couple of concerns as well. So we did the service, did the inspection that goes along with the B service. And that's why brought in. 

Mark: What did you find? 

Bernie: Well, it was interesting. So on the road test, one thing and I didn't do it myself but our technician noticed that you can feel that there's a lot of clunking noises in the front end. Maybe not on typical of one of these vehicles. And also the front end seemed very bouncy. Like the shocks were bad, which seems surprising because this vehicle only had 57,000 kilometres. And the suspension seemed to be riding normal. Sometimes we have these where the airbags leak, and of course it rides funny, but there was no warning lights or any issues with that, but it had a very bouncy ride. 

Mark: So I assume that then you put it up on the hoist to see what was going on? 

Bernie: We did. And that's where we found some extremely interesting things that we often don't find on these vehicles. And I'll just share some pictures right now from our inspection. So there's our Range Rover Autobiography version.

2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography B Service

This is sort of the main page of our inspection report that if you've never seen one of our inspections, this is sorta how it comes with the red stuff, meaning the most important and the orange items being maybe a little less important, but probably things that need to be done. 

2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography B Service

And then of course it says a hundred and one items are okay, these would be things that obviously aren't on this list like bulbs and so on. But actually one complaint that the owner did have is that the brakes were making some noises and they had been replaced a few months ago. We figured the front pads had an intermittent squeak that they should be probably covered by the warranty of this company that did the brakes.

But anyways, what we found that the front control arm bushings were worn, not untypical on a Range Rover. And the front struts were actually leaking fluid and worn out completely. So there was an extremely bouncy ride. There's a test you can do on shock absorbers. You basically bounce a vehicle up and down. And bounce it up and down a few times, press the bumper up and down and let it go. And the vehicle should bounce up once and return to its normal position. Well, this thing just kept going and going and going on the front. So the shocks were completely blown, which is very unusual on these vehicles that we found. But nonetheless, a very important thing to fix. 

So a couple of other things, I'll just go through the inspection. Also there's a complaint that the battery light would come on sometimes. And so we did test the alternator and it actually turned out to have a fault in the alternator as well. So that was another item needed to be done. I'm not sure why this shows up as orange, cause it should have been red. 

 So here's a little more sort of a drill down into our inspection.

2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography B Service

We can we can take photographs, show details of items. So this red arrow here, I know it's kinda hard to see on the screen, but this is a front control arm bushing. You can actually, if you're able to see it close enough, the rubber is actually cracking and separating and it's sort of visible here as well, too.  

Here are the shock absorber. This arrow is pointing to actual fluid that's leaking out of the shock. So that kind of indicates some of the issues.

2014 Range Rover Sport Autobiography B Service

This is actually a closer view of the the strut. You can see the control arm bushing, you can see a crack there. So this is kind of the details you get when we do an inspection on a vehicle. 

Mark: So the battery light doesn't necessarily mean that there's a bad battery. 

Bernie: No, actually the battery light, well you'd think, oh, that means the battery is bad. But what it actually means is the battery is not receiving a charge and there'll soon be a problem is kind of the way I like to think of it. Especially on a modern vehicle where there's a lot of electrical consumption for fuel pumps and electronic fuel injectors. Yeah, the battery light will come on either if the alternator's not putting out enough power or the other thing that'll cause it is it, if a belt breaks. Now sometimes the battery light will come on because there's a defect in the circuit that turns the light on. So it's always important to test it because sometimes the battery light can be on and the alternator could be fine, but 95% of the time, the alternator's bad. So in the case of this, we did do a couple of tests on it and did find that there was a problem with the alternator. 

Mark: So I don't know if you've mentioned, this was a newly purchased vehicle. And so it's got a lot of problems. Is this common? To find that on something that's only got 57,000 kilometres on it? 

Bernie: Well, I mean the blown shock seem unusual. The control arm bushings, not. You know, that's a pretty common issue. And over the years on Range Rovers and Land Rovers, the control arm bushings, especially the rear lower front control arm bushing has been a very common issue. They redesigned the suspension, so the bushing design is different, but there's still one that seems to wear out pretty easily on these vehicles.

But we actually did this inspection almost a month ago and between myself and my team at the shop, we kind of forgot some of the details. But what I remember from the conversation is that this person had just bought the vehicle from a fairly reputable dealership and was shocked by all the work that needed to be done. And of course we, we never actually did anything on it because he took it back, as he should have. Cause it was, I think, bought under the pretence that it was a certified good vehicle, but I may be wrong with my story here, but it wouldn't be beyond reality.

We do see the odd vehicle where even a reputable dealer will sell a vehicle that somehow slips through the cracks and they miss some details, but of course they'll make sure it's good, because they care about their reputation. But yeah, there was almost you know, including doing the front brakes, we should be covering our warranty, it was about $8,000 worth of work that we recommended on this vehicle with the shocks, the control arms, there was a couple of maintenance items that weren't really faults, just maintenance items that were due. So, yeah, I mean, probably more issues than should be done. But you know, we find, you know, Range Rovers, they tend to have a few things going on. 

Mark: It's an expensive vehicle and there seems to always be something that's expensive to fix. Is that accurate? 

Bernie: Yeah, there is. Yeah, absolutely. Now one thing in defence I will say is that they depreciate very precipitously. So a Range Rover that you buy for 150 or $200,000, five years later, it's probably only be worth $50,000. So it makes for a very good used car buy, I think if you have the money. And you know, if you have to throw $10,000 into a $50,000 used vehicle that was worth $150,000, five years ago, that's probably not really a bad thing to do. I mean, there are probably more things that go wrong with these and there should be, but nonetheless, you know, it is a nice vehicle and at least they're fairly priced on the used market.

If you're looking for service for your Land Rover, Range Rover, the guys to see in Vancouver is Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Or you can book online at They'll get in touch with you. They'll get ready. They'll be equipped to look after your vehicle when you show up, of course, unless they find something that was unexpected, just like this one. Check out the videos as well on, hundreds of them. The YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We really appreciate you watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. We do appreciate it.

2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI, Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik. The owner of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And, obviously Vancouver's best auto service experience. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim 2015 VW Sportwagen Golf TDI. It's got a long name. The engine failed. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop towed in from a, I guess it had been previously at a Volkswagen dealer, they'd done some exploratory investigating on the vehicle. Found the engine had basically blown apart and needed to be replaced.

He wasn't too happy with their price quote. So he brought it to us. Liked what we had to offer better. 

Mark: And so what happened to the engine? 

Bernie: Well, what we'd believe happened is the engine ran out of oil which is kinda surprising. We'll talk more about the engine in a little bit, but the vehicle has said, it came to us with the valve cover off, they'd done some exploratory looking and you can see there was pushrod rocker arms that had popped off, lifters broken. So that the upper, the valve train has suffered some catastrophic failures. Not to mention, you know, the engine wouldn't turn properly either. So something had come apart broken. If it ran out of oil, well, that would kind of explain things.

It certainly wasn't full of sludge, which would indicate the engine you know, hadn't had the oil change in a long time, but this is what we found. Why don't I just show some pictures?

2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI, Engine Replacement
2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI, Engine Replacement
2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI, Engine Replacement
2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI, Engine Replacement
2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI, Engine Replacement

So here we are, this is after we removed the engine from the vehicle. This is a kind of a view into the valve train. You can see the camshafts located here, where I'm kind of moving my mouse pointer. 

There is a rocker arm on a lifter that's in proper position. There's also another one there that I believe looks good. But here you can see that there is no rocker arm and the top of the lifter's snapped off there. There's no rocker arm. There's a top of the lifter, no rocker arm, top of the lifter. So that's some of the things we found. I mean, half of the valve train had kind of popped apart. 

We never dismantled the engine any further than what we needed to, to replace it. So we don't know what happened in the bottom end, but seeing this as enough to know that there was a catastrophic failure.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing the engine? 

Bernie: So for this vehicle, you basically drop the cradle down remove quite a few components and then pull the engine and transmission as an assembly down through the bottom of the vehicle. Here in this view here, you can actually see the engine is still attached to the transmission, which is located over here.

So you know, once this is down, then we actually separate the engine from the transmission and transfer whatever components we need. And we can get into our next picture, which is a good view of all the bits and pieces that were laid out underneath the vehicle that had to be removed from the engine. They're kind of laid out in a nice order of how things were removed.

So here's the steering rack, parts of the exhaust system just sort of looking at various components. I mean, there's wiring, there's coolant pipes, there's air intake pipes. The alternator is located over here, AC compressor, EGR cooler and intake. This is what we have to remove and replace in order to do this engine job. So it's quite a bit and the transmission and the engine are sitting off to our left or the engine block, I should say.

So next of course, how do we replace the engine, because there are several different ways you can replace the engine. There are used options available. We ended up getting a brand new engine from Volkswagen because actually it was really, I would say cheap for the kind of engine. If 7,000, almost $7,000 Canadian is cheap. I think it is for a diesel engine. This is how it came in a nice box on a, on a pallet because it's not exactly light, but nicely packaged up with a few gaskets. But this is a long block, so there's a lot of components that needed to be changed.

So again, the engine ready to be put together. It comes with, you know, the valve cover on, new fuel injectors which is always a good thing. So from here you can see there's no timing belt on the engine and these are other components we had to replace it at the same time. This engine, I said, it's a good price, but it doesn't come with every single piece. So we needed to acquire another timing belt. A water pump, a timing belt tensioners, and these are things we all replaced because we certainly don't want to put anything used and old on it, even though this vehicle didn't have a lot of mileage, we didn't want to put anything old with a new engine, and risk any problems happening.

So basically there's a number of other components that need to be replaced at the same time. And here's a view of the engine installed in the vehicle. Afterwards, you can see all those bits and pieces and parts that were once lying on the floor are all put in. There's the engine block now sits here. There's the covers over the timing belt area, where that open gear in the last picture was. Pipes for the fuel injectors, the injection pump in this area here, EGR cooler and intake. So that's basically how things look when it was all put back together. I think that concludes our picture show.

Mark: So a huge repair on an otherwise, I had two of these cars in my diesel days. So this is an exceptionally durable engine. What can a TDI owner do to kind of prevent this sort of catastrophic failure from happening? 

Bernie: Well, I say this is for TDI owners, but as for any person who owns a vehicle with a internal combustion engine, which is still most cars in the road, check your oil, have your car maintained. Look for fluid leaks. Check your oil level. Some cars have warning lights that will come on if your oil level's low. I've a BMW X3, it doesn't have a dipstick. It has a warning light that comes on if your oil is low, but you need to know whether your car has that or not. Some cars have it, some cars don't. Some cars that have low oil warning lights have dipsticks, and you should check your dipstick every once in a while. It's a good thing to do. So you need to know those kinds of things. You need to check your oil. 

How often should you check your oil? Well, if it's a really old car that you know, goes through oil, you'll need to check it every time you fill the tank. A car that's more reliable, maybe every several tank falls, but it's a good habit to get into because it'll save you a lot of money. This vehicle, by the way, I didn't mention, we only had 42,000 kilometres. It's a practically, I mean, you know Mark you've owned these cars. I mean, these TDIs, they can go for 400,000 kilometres or more. 

Mark: 50,000 kilometres to be truly broken in. 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Well, this one didn't get broken in. It just broke. But every once in a while you have bad luck and things do break on even on a well-maintained engine. And then the other thing of course has changed your oil, change it when it needs to be done. Now, if the oil change interval on an engine like this is every 15,000 kilometres, for example, you know, this vehicle is not being driven very much.

You probably need to up the oil change interval because you're time frame as much longer, your oil gets contaminated, much easier on a car that isn't used a lot. So if a car's run, it's hot, you're doing a lot of highway driving. You can stretch it out longer. If you're doing short city trips and not much driving, you need to change it more frequently.

Mark: So let's just digress for a second. 2015 with 42,000 kilometres and a TDI. This is actually the wrong car for this person to have purchased. 

Bernie: I would say so, yeah. If you need to buy a diesel, if you're going to be driving a lot, that's kind of the key and it's easy to get seduced by the numbers you look, and you go, Hey, I can buy a diesel and it gets this great gas mileage. Hey, I'm set. This is awesome, but you really got to look at your usage. Diesels just don't work well, if you're doing short trips, you've got to make sure there's long trips and big drives involved. I mean, you do the odd short trip. No big deal, but you've got to have some long drives some good usage.

Same with a truck. If you buy a diesel truck, don't buy one just because of mileage or it's cool. Like buy one if you need to haul heavy loads. Otherwise it's too expensive to fix and it's not worth the cost. But I believe that when they sold these cars, I know you've bought a couple from new they're priced pretty well, is that right? 

Mark: They're okay. It's definitely $4,000 more for the diesel over the gas version. So if you're not driving it a lot, it does not make economic sense in any way, shape or form. 

Bernie: It doesn't. And when you think about it, you go, how much gas could $4,000 buy over the price of diesel. I mean, diesel is usually cheaper. It is more efficient. So maybe there's a 30% savings per kilometre. I don't know, maybe even 40, but even if it's 50%, you can still buy an awful lot of extra fuel for 4,000 bucks versus having something go wrong with the engine. So, yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I know you and I've talked about this a lot, because we talk about diesels a lot. It makes sense to know whether a diesel is a suitable thing to own or not. 

Mark: Absolutely. So if your TDI, needs some service 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. Or you can book online They'll get back to you. They'll find out what's going on. They'll walk you through it. They'll get ready for when you actually show up to your appointment so that they can get the job done right the first time. Of course, we have hundreds of videos on the website and on YouTube, you can check out our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We've been doing this for over nine years now, literally close to a thousand videos, all makes and types of models, types of repairs. And we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Make sure you maintain your car.

2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Fuel Injector Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik repairing vehicles in Vancouver for close to 40 years. And he's the owner. The big boss at Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They are 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. They didn't just make it up. They won it. And of course they're the best auto service experience in Vancouver. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing went very well. 

Mark: So today's victim, we're reprising a 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500 that this time needed fuel injector replacements. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this is the same truck we talked about in our last podcast where we replaced the injection pump. And unfortunately the injection pump repair didn't go quite as well as we'd thought. We delivered the vehicle to the customer on Friday after lengthy road tests. And everything seemed to be fine only to find it back on Monday with the crankcase still filling up with oil and kind of disappointing for everyone that that happened because we hate it when a job doesn't go well. But we had kind of speculated on this job that the injection pump needed to be done because a previous shop had changed the injectors and apparently verified all their work. So that's what we were faced with next. 

Mark: So what was your next step? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the next step was to call the owner of the vehicle and just have a good chat with them and say, okay, so tell us about the injectors that were put in, you know, what did the shop do? So is a bit of a learning curve for us. You know, we made some assumptions that the shop had done some good work and as it turned out, we found out that the injectors that actually have been supplied to the shop by the owner who'd ordered them online at a cheaper price. They're supposed to be Bosch rebuilt injectors. But they weren't as it turned out to be.

So at this point we figured, okay, the injection pump we bought from a reputable supplier, we never ever have a problem with their parts. So we figured, okay, at this point, obviously something at the other shop did, they didn't either know what they're doing or they overlooked something.

Or now the fact that they didn't actually supply the injectors and we didn't know what the source was, you know, they could be faulty. So our next step was to basically remove the valve cover. And figured, okay possibly leaks from the return line system. So we connected a smoke machine up, we figured this is the easiest way, we ran some air pressure through it. Didn't find any leaks. We hooked our smoke machine up, found no leaks. A smoke machine will pump smoke through a line or a pipe or wherever we send the smoke. And it'll show as a leak, which is a great way to find leaks, nothing showed up. So we verified the injection lines and the pipes were all in good shape.

I'll just pop up some pictures and we can keep talking.

2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Fuel Injector Replacement
2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Fuel Injector Replacement

But this is basically the view under the valve cover. What you're looking at here, these are the rocker arms. So that's part of the valve train. This is a fuel injector here. There's four of them per side. It's a V8 engine. The red arrow points to the fuel injection return pipe. And the yellow basically points to the bolt where this attaches to the fuel injector. And there's two copper washers on each side. So these are potential leak points. And these pipes actually go to the valve cover housing. There's plumbing that connects them up to the fuel return system. So, and again, you know, we tested with a smoke machine, verify that there's no leakage in this particular area. So that's kind of where what our next step in her testing was. 

Mark: So no leaks in the return system and what was next? 

Bernie: So what was next was basically, okay. There's no leaks there. We know the injection pump. We assume that that's gotta be good. So we authorized the client to remove the fuel injectors and send them off to our, I'll just name the name of our supplier, NW Fuel Injection. They're out in Surrey. If you're in the Vancouver area and if you actually are a do it yourselfer diesel person, we don't do these podcasts for that, but you are, this is the best place to buy your diesel parts from because the quality of their work is absolutely superb and everything they sell is good quality, high-end. You know, it's already OEM Bosch remanufacturer. They do some remanufacturing themselves, but I've seen their equipment. It's state of the art. 

Anyways they have injection testing. So we sent the injectors off to be tested and that revealed some very interesting things. And then actually in fact, found the problem. So I will...

Mark:  What did they find? 

Bernie: What did they find? Well, we found a very badly leaking fuel injector. First thing I'll do, and this is kind of boring writing, but I'll just leave this up on the screen for a minute, but I'll just talk it through. So they, they basically tested all eight injectors and they said, you know, five of them passed.

They all tested perfectly within factory specifications. Number two, injector failed. Significant over fuel at pre injection and pilot ignition injection. 28% above factory specifications. So that isn't going to leak fuel into the engine, but that is going to cause the engine not to run properly and the tests they do, I didn't show all the test reports, I don't have them on this podcast, but there's certain injection sequences is I believe there's five of them on these injectors. So they test every one of them. 

So number five, fail. Under fuel at full throttle, 4% below factory specs. I mean, that's really pretty minimal. You'll probably never notice that unless you're full throttle and even then you'd probably notice it. Then number seven, fail, leaking, at body. And this is the interesting thing which we'll show a video in a second. You can see what was going on. And then we found out why this crank case is filling up so fast with diesel fuel.

The other interesting line is the injectors are not genuine Bosch, which is obvious from the fact that they have no Bosch identifying numbers on the top. So, you know, we could've just put five of the injectors back in sold three more, but you know, once you get into this, the suppliers questionable, how long are these injectors going to last? There's three already failed and they're brand new. Theoretically brand new. 

So I'm going to get into the video which is the fun part. And if you watch this video, if you look around this area here where I'm running my mouse, you'll see everything is dry and you'll notice fuels starts to pool up and then it eventually starts spraying out in rather large quantities. It's a 20 second video, so just kind of watch carefully. I'll play it a couple of times.

You can already start to see some fuel pooling in this area here, which should it be none. Now there's a huge drop up there and now you can see it just spraying out all over the place. I'll just play that last few seconds of the video because this is the interesting part. Right there, you can see field spring out. Well, you can imagine running an engine and It wouldn't take long for a litre to get sprayed out after an hour's driving, maybe, you know, a few litres in an hour or so. There was our problem.

Mark: So, what happened next?

Bernie: So we replaced the injectors, the owner was kind of reluctant because he'd spent an awful lot of money on this vehicle already. And it kind of put us in a bit of a sticky spot because, you know, we'd said to him, look, you know, based on what you've told us, this is where we should proceed. And the injection pump wasn't a cheap job. So we did ended up compensating him and reducing the cost on the job much lower than we would have normally done on doing a set of injectors. But we did them and you know, it was good that he did them. We put them in and buttoned everything up and fired it up. And you can ask me the next question.

Mark: So how did it work after that?

Bernie:  Really, really good.  It was amazing because you know, the week before this vehicle is here for a couple of weeks, but after we'd done the injection pump, I remember taking it out for a good long road test. And I seem to remember it ran fairly well, but by the time we got back on the Monday, maybe because it was the crankcase was so full of fuel, it really ran badly. Felt like it was only running on seven cylinders. And you know, when we changed the injectors with the pump done, this vehicle ran like brand new. And I, I say that because I actually bought a brand new Duramax six months ago. And so I know exactly what a new one feels like and this truck, you know, 20 years old ran exactly like a brand new truck. Tons of power, pep, acceleration, no smoke. It was just a dream to drive. So ran great and we drove a extra long time. Triple checked to make sure the oil wasn't too full. And you know, there was no stored trouble codes related to any injection issues. 

And we did get a call back from the customer a few days later, he said he was super happy with the way it worked. So it's a happy ending. And I guess the good news, the vehicle did have a fair number of ks, two to 300,000 kilometre range, which is a fair amount of mileage. So changing injection pump was not a bad thing to do anyways, but it's too bad we didn't think of the injectors as a first thing, because that probably would have  saved a little bit of money for him.

Mark: There still was a leak in the injection pump, you saw that.

Bernie:  There was a leak in the injection pump, which we could see, but it wasn't really major compared to this injector and who knows. I mean, given time, maybe over a period of a couple of months, maybe it would have started to fill a crankcase up. So there was a leak, but certainly not to the severity of the injectors. 

Mark: So what have we learned? Don't use cheap parts. Use good stuff and use the place that's knows what they're doing, frankly, is going to question you on it, but also this is really important to keep a log of what actually has happened. What have you done? Don't try and hide anything from your service guys. Tell them the truth about everything that's gone on so they can fix your car, right the first time. 

Bernie: Exactly. Exactly. You know, people sometimes, you know, we often have to pry information out of people and I think people don't often think, well, maybe that's not important, but it is important to say, Hey, I bought this from this particular place. And you know, I think what we've learned as a shop is to really ask questions. 

 If you look back one of our other podcasts, we had a client with a Land Rover LR2 had a bunch of engine drivability issues that we solved. And in the end I ended up making a project. I go, look, I just want to fix this vehicle. So it was one of those things where we didn't charge them fully for the amount of time we spent on it. I just educated myself. And finally, at the end of the day, thought, he changed the fuel injectors. Where'd you get them from? We bought some cheap fuel injectors from somewhere.

And so you know, had he not done that he would have saved himself thousands of dollars on, literally thousands of dollars on, at least a couple thousand dollars on repairs and grief. You know, so. If you're buying parts, don't buy the cheap stuff, but if it's OEM and you know it, for sure, and it's cheaper that's okay.

But don't buy parts from someone who hasn't got the backing of a major manufacturer because you're just asking for trouble. 

Mark: And if you don't know, go to a shop that does know.

Bernie: Exactly, exactly. And bring all the information, lay your cards out on the table. Hey, you know, here's where I had it fixed. Here's the work I had done. I supplied the parts and this is actually another reason why we don't like to do work with customer supplied parts, because these are the kinds of issues we run into. You know, we bring it to us to do the whole job. Yes, you'll probably pay some more money. We guarantee the whole thing. Now, for this guy, if he has fuel, leaking into a system, We also changed all those fuel return pipes and seals and everything. If there's any leaks, we own that job now for the next couple of years. 

Mark: They have a warranty basically. 

Bernie: We have a warranty. Yeah, yeah. We back it. 

Mark: Sometimes ladies and gentlemen, let me give you the sad news. Sometimes the internet and Amazon are not your best place to get parts for your vehicle. 

Bernie: Exactly. Sometimes it is. And I will say something about prices and I don't, we should shoot Amazon, but you know, sometimes the price on Amazon, a lot of times, they're really good. And other times they're outrageously overpriced too. So it's like anything buyer beware. You got to know what you're buying. Not Amazon's fault. You gotta be a good consumer and just look into your stuff.

Mark:  If you need service for your Chevy, GMC diesel in Vancouver or Ford or Dodge or VW or Mercedes or whoever else makes diesels, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Get all the details or you can book online Put all your information in there. They'll call you back. They'll investigate. They'll be ready for you when you show up. You have to call and book ahead. They're super busy. Check out the website Check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, all makes and models and types of repairs for nine years. And of course, we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thank you, Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching and listening. 

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking about a Toyota Highlander. There can only be one. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Good. I'm good.

Mark: So this is a 2016 hybrid. What was going on with this Toyota? 

Bernie: The owner had some concerns with the brakes. They were making some noises and it didn't quite feel right. So he brought it in for us to have to look at the brakes. 

Mark: So what kind of inspections do you do to check what's going on with the brakes?

Bernie: We have a standard brake inspection that we do for anyone who needs the brakes looked at. And so that entails of course, a road test as a first thing to see if there's any noises, see how the brakes feel. Of course, if the pedal's straight to the floor, and there are no brakes, we don't go on the road test, but that's not very common, fortunately. Because then the road test happens after we do the hoist inspection. So we go on a road test then do a hoist inspection. We remove all the wheels, look at the brakes in detail, measure the thickness of the brake pads, the rotors, test to make sure that things are moving. Look for leaks, inspect the brake fluid, look at the hoses, lines and all those kinds of things. And it depends from vehicle to vehicle. I mean, on an old car, that's perhaps from, you know, more salt prone areas we'll look at a little more detailed the brake lines than we would on say like a 2016 Highlander that's, you know, lived in British Columbia, like Vancouver area, all its life. It's only five years old. 

Mark: What kind of stuff did you find? 

Bernie: Yeah, so on the road test, we noted that there's some grinding sounds. The brakes felt like they're shaking a bit, possibly warped rotors. We found on the front brakes one side of the brake pads were worn down to two millimetres, which is basically worn out. And the other side, they were seven millimetres, which is an enormous difference. I mean, seven millimetres is, you know,  still has 60% of the brake pad life left. Two millimetres is basically worn out. On the rears, they were down to about the four to five range, so almost worn out, but then the rotors were also pretty rusty.

I mean, the brakes looked like they'd probably been on here for a long time. Let's get into some pictures here and we can have a look at what we found. 

So there's the Highlander hybrid.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement

The vehicle as far as the brakes, let's have a look at some of the old brakes. This is a front brake. Not really looking too much in the pads, but you can see the edges of the rotors are starting to rust, which is kind of normal wear and tear after a while. It indicates that these brakes have been on the car for a long time. Unless of course you're in somewhere climates like rustier than then they get worse.

And again, you can see here that the edges of the rotors are very rusted, which indicates they'd been on long time. Not severely rusted though, if in certain areas of the country and we even see it here, sometimes the actual surface will start getting badly rusted and you know, that's definitely not a good thing, but you know, easily replaced.

So just looking at what we repaired, new calipers, rotors, pads in the front you can see everything's nice and clean and fresh services. We lubricate everything with the special brake lubricant, which keeps squeaks and squeals to a minimum, and just keeps everything moving to keep maximize the life. And the rear brakes, did pads and rotors, caliper was okay. So we left that. So I'm kind of jumping ahead to the repairs we did. But we can talk about that some more in detail. So there's our picture show.

Mark: So you replaced everything basically in the brakes? 

Bernie: We did. Yeah. So what causes the breaks to be seven millimetres on one side and two on the other, it's basically a seized caliper, 99% of the time you can get a brake hose where, sometimes a brake hose will develop a blockage and it'll you know, restrict the flow to one direction. So that can happen. 

But on a 2016, basically a five-year vehicle, you'd never find that. It's only something that would happen on a, maybe 10 or 20 year old vehicle, but never on something that's five years old. It would be very unusual. So basically the caliper was seized on one side, causing the brakes to wear out much quicker and on the rear, as I mentioned, there's like four to five millimetres.

I mean one or two millimetre difference is no big deal. We test the calipers when we do the inspection and make sure that everything's moving freely. So the rear brake calipers were serviceable and all good. 

Mark: So why would that caliper freeze on and cause that one brake basically to do most of the work.

Bernie: Well, a couple of things. You can get corrosion, like moisture that intrudes inside the caliper piston, and that causes it to rust. And then seize up. Also the calipers have a sliding portion and they usually have pins that allow the caliper to slide back and forth. Some brake calipers have pistons on the outside and inside, and they don't have any slider pins. So any sticking in that area would either be a pad stuck where the pad slides, I call them pad sliders, the pad sliding area. But there's a few things.

The pins can seize up as well. On this type of caliper, it has an inner piston and pins that allow it to slide. So those seize up as well. And you know, they can be serviced and cleaned. That's a little easier to fix, but once they get really severe, it's better just to change the whole caliper.

Mark: So hybrid vehicles because of the recharge, I guess depends on kind of hybrid whether it's recharging or not, or do they all recharge? 

Bernie: Most of them, yeah. Regenerative braking. I mean, Toyota, certainly do.  

Mark: So that brake, because of the regeneration, the brakes aren't being used as much, shouldn't these brakes last a lot longer than this?

Bernie: Well, you'd think so. I mean, five years is not that old, but this vehicle does have 145,000 kilometres. So that's actually a fair bit of mileage. So I assume looking at these brakes that they were original and that kind of makes sense for hybrid, 145 Ks is pretty good. But you could still get 200. I mean, that's why taxis, they love Prius's because they're reliable. And the brakes last a long time. Like a typical taxi, they'd only get three months out of a set of brakes on a conventional vehicle. Three months on, you know, most people complain when they have to do their brakes every three or four years but on a taxi it's like every three months, but that takes a car off the road for a few hours. So, I mean, with a Prius, they can get a year out of a set of brakes. So that's a big, it's an enormous change. So, yeah, I mean, I'd say 145 Ks is a pretty good amount of time. And had this caliper no seized, these brakes probably would have lasted substantially longer.

Mark: Right. Is there anything that a Highlander or a vehicle owner can do to maximize their brake life? 

Bernie: Yeah, absolutely. Having the brakes serviced every couple of years on a vehicle like this is really critical, especially on a hybrid, because again, the brake pads lasts a long time. You can do a brake inspection after a year or two and go, oh, well, there's still like, you know, 10 millimetres left on the front brake pads. A couple of years later you look and there's like nine and you know, they're barely wearing, but it's a good idea to take them apart. Clean them lubricated with that type of lube we use, take the pad slider pins out, clean and lubricate everything. That keeps the breaks lasting a lot longer.

And if he did that kind of service, you'd probably easily get 200,000 or at least a hundred and probably another 50,000 out of a vehicle like this. Of course, you know, the edge rust on those rotors, you can't really do a lot about that. I mean, you could machine them, but it doesn't really make a lot of sense to do that. You're kind of taking material off the brakes and, you know, as long as they're not grinding and making weird noises, I would probably just service them every year or two. And you should be fine.

Yeah. So how are Toyota Highlander hybrids for reliability? 

They're legendary. Yeah, no, they're awesome. I think they're, older Highlanders did have some issues with inverters. I mean, this is a 2016 as much newer than, you know, I'm thinking like, oh, eight, seven, you know, like older. This is a newer generation. I mean, that far as I know, there's no problems with them. You know, a 145 Ks out of a set of brakes is pretty good. You know, it's a good vehicle.  I can't find any fault with it. Excellent. 

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your hybrid or your EV or your Toyota, or your Highlander, in Vancouver, the guys to call Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website. You can book online there. They'll get back to you. They'll find out exactly what's going on. Be ready for you when you show up. Of course, there's our YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Got nine years worth of videos on there. Pawlik Auto Repair. You can search for that there. Thank you so much for listening. We appreciate it. Bernie, thank you. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

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