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2004 Audi S4 V8 Drive Belt

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 18 time winners, 18 times, come on, Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning

Mark: So, Audi S4, these are a fun little vehicle, this is a 2004 with the V8 and there was a drive belt change. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well the vehicle came to us with a couple of issues, actually the belt wasn’t the major one, it was, but we’ll talk about the belt anyways, but actually the major issue, it came in with some smoke coming out under the hood and the steering felt really stiff and it turned out that the power steering racket had a severe leak and also one of the hoses as well. So we replaced that, that was a very major amount of work in and of itself but we’re here to talk about the drive belt today. Basically, we’ll talk about the drive belt, there’s a bit of complexity involved in changing it.

Mark: I bet, this is a V8 crammed into basically into a vehicle designed for a 4 cylinder engine on the platform, how does that, how did that work?

Bernie: Well in order to get the, yeah, it’s very tightly fitted actually when you look down into the hood, you can barely see the drive belt, I mean, there’s no room to even put a tool on it. It’s wedged in extremely tightly, the clearance is probably like between the front place of the engine and the radiator, maybe an inch but no room to put any tools in.

Mark: So what needs to be done to get the belt replaced?

Bernie: Oh so that’s a really good question. So Audi has engineered in a solution and basically what you do is you remove the front bumper of the vehicle and then you, there’s several bolts that move the rad support forward and actually, the hoses, coolant hoses are all designed and anything attached, it’s designed to be flexed out a few inches so you can actually get in and access the belt area. So we’ll just share some photos at this point. Here’s our S4, it’s still a nice looking wagon, practical and certainly very peppy with that V8 engine in it. So there is a view looking down on, looking straight down into the engine compartment, there’s the pulley’s with the belt off, it’s not a large belt on this vehicle, it actually, this just drives the alternator and the AC compressor on the front, power steering is driven off the back of the engine which is another nightmare in and of itself. We won’t get into that one today but basically this is the actual, this is with the rad support moved forward so you can actually access the belt. I’ve got another photo to share here, this is a sort of view of the front, so the bumper’s off here and a kind of view looking at the engine but you can see even this doesn’t have a lot of clearance but there’s just enough to get in there.

Mark: so I there’s a lot of other services on this vehicle that need that same procedure, right?

Bernie: Well anything that requires work on the front of the engine will need that and a lot of Audi’s with timing belts, you actually have to do this too. So some of the V6 models with timing belts or even the 4 cylinders, you have to put it in the service position to pull the bumper off and slide it forward. I mean on this vehicle too, if you need to get the alternator out, you’ve got to get that. There’s a lot of things that need to be done to do it, so I mean, it adds a fair bit of work to every job but that’s what you get when you have an Audi.

Mark: So I’ve driven an S4 and ridden in the V8 model, I’ve even driven the V6 supercharged one, which is a later version of this, these things are little rockets, how are they for reliability?

Bernie: I’d call it a fair car, I mean you know, Audi’s are, there’s a few things that go wrong with these cars that are a little more than average and once they older of course, things will go wrong. The steering rack on this vehicle is a pretty expensive job based on the price of the part and there’s a lot of labour involved to remove it as well. So they’re complex vehicles when things do go wrong they cost a lot more to fix. They’re generally pretty reliable but some things that come to my mind on the various models and I’m not saying just specifically for the V8 but there are various models that there are things like crankcase breather issues which are common on a lot of European cars, ignition coils on Audi seem to die frequently and they’re actually one of the things that are pretty cheap to fix, the coils themselves are inexpensive and the labour is really easy. Yeah so, the ignition coils are mounted right on top of the engine on actually all Audi’s, the V8’s, the V6 is 4 cylinders and they remove extremely easily. So there’s one thing, even though they do fail, they’re extremely simple to replace, that’s a positive thing. But overall, I mean they’re nice cars you know, again and I say this with a lot of European, if you want to get a fancy European car you’ve just got to be prepared to spend more money to fix it.

Mark: And service becomes really important, regular

Bernie: Absolutely, I mean more important than any other car, it drives me crazy when I see someone who owns an expensive car like this, and they don’t change their oil regularly enough knowing what the cost of an engine replacement is on the car like this, you just don’t ever want to go there. So change your oil, do all the maintenance service, you just want to do anything extra, because extras will come along but just do whatever you can do to keep it maintained and lasting a long time. A lot of European car engines will last for 20, 30 years, you know there’s Mercedes out there even with 40 or 50 year old engines that are still running. So if you take really good care of your vehicle, it can last a long time.

Mark: So there you go, if you need service for your Audi, A series, S series, whatever it is, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you must book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel - just search for Pawlik Automotive. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How Reliable Are Audi Q7’S?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’re talking cars and we’re going to talk about how reliable the Audi Q7 is. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing really well.

Mark: So Audi Q7, are they reliable?

Bernie: Yeah, they’re fairly reliable, I mean, you know to me I sometimes define reliability as can you get into your vehicle in the morning, will it start every time and the answer is of course, as long as you maintain your vehicle, yes they are quite reliable. There’s not too many surprise issues with these vehicles. They’re pretty good overall.

Mark: What items do you typically repair?

Bernie: Well, a lot of brakes, brakes don’t last very long in these vehicles, they’re also expensive to fix. Tires also wear out pretty quickly, I mean those are sort of the bulk of what we do on these vehicles. Also oil services, but because they use synthetic oil, they have a pretty large capacity oil pan, you don’t have to change the oil as frequently as you do on a sort of typical vehicle. But those are the main items that we do.

Mark: So why do brakes wear out so quickly?

Bernie: Well, that’s something that has puzzled me in a lot of these larger European sport utility vehicles, Porsche Cayenne’s, Audi Q7’s, Range Rover’s as well, they use a very large brake pad, a large brake rotor, you’d think that that should last a long time, but they’re heavy vehicles and the braking is very aggressive on them you know for safety reasons. So I think that’s part of what causes them to wear out so quickly but if you own one of these, expect you’re going to be doing a brake job every 30 to 50,000 kilometres and it’s always pad and rotors that wear every time.

Mark: Wow, and what about tires, why do they wear out so quickly?

Bernie: Again, it’s a sporty vehicle, they use a large tire, but they’re not, they’re more of a sports tire as opposed to being a long life truck tire. So again, it’s there for the ride, it’s there for the handling and so these tires just don’t last quite as long and rotating them regularly is critical because they start wearing funny and then they’re worn out. So again with tires you get 50,000 kilometres out of set you’d be lucky.

Mark: Ok, wow again. So what about engine concerns any of those?

Bernie: Overall the engines are pretty reliable, although we did speak at our last hangout about a rather expensive oil leak on a 4.2 litre V8. So things do happen but generally they’re pretty reliable. Some of the the concerns we do find are ignition coils wear out, this is pretty common on Audi’s. Fortunately, the coils are really cheap so I think Audi uses the same coils from a four cylinder to a V8, all over the place so they’re surprisingly inexpensive, but there is on a V8 for instance, there is 8 of them of once they start going you should change them all. Intake manifolds on the 4.2 litre, there’s a flapper inside the intake manifold that can wear out and break and that can cause the check engine light to come on. In extreme circumstances little bits and pieces can fall into the engine and jam up valves and can cause some pretty serious problems. So that’s another issue, but overall the engines are pretty reliable but they can be very expensive to fix. As again, if you look at our other previous hangout on the Audi oil leak situation. There’s a variety of engines in these vehicles too, there’s a 3.6 litre VR6 engine, 4.2 litre V8, gain runs really well, really good engine and then there’s a few different diesel options as well. The 3 litre diesel seems to be the most common, the turbo diesel, but there is a V8 as well and I’ve actually never seen this but I did a little research, there’s actually a V12 diesel that is available for three different model years. It’s got 493 horsepower and 738 foot pounds of torque. Now that would be an awesome ride. I’ve never actually seen one, I don’t know how many of them they made, but I don’t know that’s I’d even want to be around to repair it, I wouldn’t want to own that vehicle when it comes time to repair it but I thought that was pretty specification wise, pretty cool.

Mark: So are there any maintenance services that you would recommend as essential if you own one of these vehicles?

Bernie: Here’s a photo of a Q7 just to add a little flavour to our talk. Maintenance services, you know, regular oil changes are critical, the intervals on these vehicles are long, like a lot of European cars, I would shorten them up by, go 75% of the length, so if it’s 20,000 kilometres do the oil change at 15, if it’s 15 do it 10 to 12 thousand, better to do it sooner than later. Again if you look at our hangout with the oil leak and you look at the timing chains, the things in the back of the engine, you just don’t want these things to wear out. You don’t want, if you don’t want to be faced with a repair bill for something like that, so that’s critical. If you own a diesel you really need to drive that vehicle a lot, it needs to get warm, good highway drives are important. If you’re just doing a short little 5 kilometre commutes you’re really doing a disservice to that diesel. It’s going to cost you a lot of money to fix in the long run. So yeah, regular oil changes and regular services, rotate the tires, inspections every year or so depending on how much you drive. Those are the critical things.

Mark: This vehicle was, the platform was built with VW and Porsche and they have their own versions the Touareg and the Cayenne. How does the Q7 stack up against those?

Bernie: Well the Q7 and the Touareg are really quite similar. They use the same lines of engines although I believe the Touareg actually is available with a W12 V8 which is you know, again a ridiculously complicated engine but the Porsche I mean, it’s a similar vehicle but they’ve got their own drivetrains, they’ve got their own suspension systems, and their own engines and quite honestly, the earlier versions of the Cayenne were a disaster. The first V8 that Porsche had done since the 928 and they really botched it up for a few model years. I think the newer ones are better but those older ’05 to ’08 kind of era would be a vehicle to definitely avoid. So if I was going to choose any of that particular line, I’d go with the Audi because it’s got the nice luxury features and it’s a step up from the Volkswagen so if you’re going to have the problems with it, at least you’ve got the more luxurious vehicle. Although the Touareg is very nice.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Audi Q7 or any Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or on their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2007 Audi Q7 – Engine Oil Leak Repair

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, we’re going to talk cars. So we’re talking about a 2007 Audi Q7 that had an engine oil leak repair. How’re you going Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well this morning.

Mark: So what was going on with this Audi SUV?

Bernie: Well this vehicle came to us with an engine oil leak and it was quite an oil leak when the engine, with the engine running there’d be, every minute there’d be a, maybe every couple minutes there’d be a drip on the ground, so it was a pretty substantial leak. Did a diagnostic and we found that the leak was coming from the upper engine oil pan.

Mark: Ok, that sounds like a pretty serious leaking problem, what was involved in fixing it?

Bernie: There’s a lot involved and actually you’re right, it is a pretty serious leak. Serious in terms of the complexity of the leak and also the complexity of the repair. The upper oil pan basically requires removing the engine from the vehicle and dismantling an awful lot of the engine just to make the oil pan off to make the repair.

Mark: Ok, that sounds a little extreme. Is the oil pan gasket a typical gasket that seals the entire bottom end of the vehicle?

Bernie: No, it’s a little different and this is kind of common on modern engine technology. The parts are aluminum so they fit the pan together with, usually a high quality, I wouldn’t call it silicone, but it’s like a silicone type sealer, it’s form of gasket material and then any areas of crucial oil flow, they’ll put O rings. So there’s 4 O rings and then the rest of it is this silicone type sealer, a special type sealer which they use in a number of gaskets, the timing chain covers, the lower oil pan is the same thing but that’s how most modern engines are sealed now a days. The typical big, huge gasket or well in the olden days or a cork gasket, those are long gone now.

Mark: So does it really need to be so complicated?

Bernie: Well I don’t know if it needs to be but it is. When you’re driving an Audi, people buy them because you want the performance, you want the fuel economy and of course, emissions on engines, it’s just created a storm of complication but the good news is you can hop in your vehicle still in cold, runs great, works perfectly, the performance cold and hot is the same, where if you go back 20 or 30 years ago with carbureted engines, you’d be stalling and stumbling until the engine warmed up. So not to mention the amount of pollutants you put out. So there’s a lot of complexity. I’m going to share some photos here, we’ve got lots of them to look at so, let’s start with, here’s our oil leak, you see that ok Mark? Perfect. Ok so this is a view of the bottom of the engine looking up, this area over here, this is the crankshaft pulley and the serpentine drive belt and right where the red arrow is pointing, that’s where our oil leak was coming from. So this assembly right here, this is the upper engine oil pan and down here’s the lower oil pan. The lower oil pan by the way can be replaced inside the vehicle but the upper is a much more deeply buried component let’s say. So that’s where our leak was. This is what we viewed in the engine once we pull the engine out, this is another view of, kind of head on, this is a seam of the upper oil pain right here and so that where, again you can see the leak. The oil pouring down out of here, down here, as the engine was running. So let’s look at the complexity. There’s the back view of the engine. These are the timing chains of the engine. I mean, this is like a really really complicated set up, a lot of bits and pieces. Fortunately for our client, everything seems to be in pretty good order but there are a lot of parts and pieces that can wear here, a lot of money. So basically here is the crankshaft, so this is where it all starts turning from. You’ve got chains here driving the oil pump drive, then you’ve got chains here, this is the main chain that drives the camshaft gears and then you’ve got chains that drive the camshafts and these are the variable valve timing phasers, there are solenoids up here. So there’s a lot that goes into this to make this engine rune like the beautiful engine it does, but as you can see, there’s a lot of complexity here. What else have we got here, there’s a view of the vehicle, to pull this engine out, you basically pull the whole front cradle out, the transmission, the transfer case and the engine so that’s the assembly sitting on jack stands after it’s removed and the body of the vehicle is sitting up above. Almost looks like a Ford 6 Litre type of jobs that we do. Now one common, oh so here’s our lower engine oil pan, so this is what the unit looks like cleaned up and mostly cleaned up and ready to be reinstalled. Very precise piece of machine, you know precision machine piece of equipment. And yeah, so now one area of problem on these Audi’s, these engines are fairly reliable but there’s one engine, one problem area and that is the intake manifold. They’re inside the intake manifold there are runners to change the airflow inside the intake manifold, again this is what gives the engine the performance that it has. There’s a set of runners here, right by the intake ports, there’s a set of runners here and then inside the manifold is a set of runners that change as well. There’s actuators over here which are electronically controlled and when we took this manifold out, there’s actually some broken pieces that fell out, fortunately they never fell into the engine, we were able to retrieve them, but these are, this is part of the flapper inside the manifold that’s broken. This is actually a fairly common breakage problem on these engines. Sometimes it can result in pieces actually falling into the engine and causing problems. So this is something we’ll have to address with this repair. It’s expensive, unfortunately you have to buy a complete manifold and the part can only be purchased from Audi. So there’s a view of the complexity, some of the things, one of the things that goes wrong, a couple of things and there we have it.

Mark: So looking at the back end of that engine, kind of reminded me of a throwback to looking at an old V12 Ferrari engine with dual overhead cams.

Bernie: Yeah, same complexity, you don’t need, you can have that same level of complexity even in a Kia nowadays.

Mark: So how are these vehicles overall?

Bernie: They’re pretty good, I mean they, it’s an Audi, it more expensive to maintain of course, things that that wear out faster than you’ll find in a lot of other cars, it’s big, uses a fair bit of fuel, very nice vehicle, overall pretty reliable but there are some areas of issues and we’re going to discuss that in a future hangout.

Mark: Alright, so we’ve been talking with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. If you need service on your Audi from experts who know what they’re doing, so Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thank you

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2014 Audi S6 Maintenance Service

Audi S6

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repairs in Vancouver.

Mark: So, Audio S6, this is a pretty hot little number;  you had to do some maintenance?

Bernie: Yes, it had about 25,000 kilometers and was due for a maintenance service. Basically the service that was required at this point in time was an oil change, oil and filter, the air filter was dirty and we replaced that, wiper blades were smudgy, those were replaced and a full vehicle inspection and we didn’t really find a lot of issues with the car, low mileage, 25,000 kilometers is still pretty low so the brakes were good, everything else was in good shape.

Mark: So what does the Factory Maintenance Schedule say to do for this Audi?

Bernie: So, it’s oil changes is every 15,000 kilometers or once a year, every 12 months which I think is great. There are a lot of European cars, BMW specifically, they have 24,000 kilometers oil change intervals which and actually Porsches are like that too. I think it’s ridiculous, I mean that’s a really long time to go with engine oil.It could probably be OK if you did nothing but straight highway driving and you put that kind of mileage on in a year, but anything else you really have got to change it more often and Audi at 15,000 kilometers with 8 ½ litres of oil: that’s a really good oil change interval. The oil’s going to get dirty but not excessively at that point; so that’s a good time. It is an expensive oil change in these cars just like it is on a BMW or a Porsche but, you know, it’s worth the money to spend a little extra to keep the intervals done at a more timely fashion.

So that’s the annual service, it’s an oil change and the basic inspection, then the every 2 years’ service is, includes the inspection we just did so it’s a full comprehensive inspection, also replace cabin air filters and brake fluid flush are recommended every 2 years on this car, other than that there’s not much else, I did look at the maintenance schedule further ahead, spark plugs are up at about 90,000 kilometers so you have a long ways to go before you replace those.

Mark: So this is a fairly high performance car, what kind of features does it have?

Bernie: Well, it’s pretty amazing, it’s a twin turbo V8 engine and it goes like stink, it’s just awesome. The interior features: I could go on for a long time, amazing upholstered seats and climate control and navigation system and all that stuff but I thought I would just share a couple pictures because every once in a while I come across a car and it’s just got an absolutely gorgeous looking engine. Almost all cars now a days have plastic covers over top of their engine but even this plastic cover is a beautiful work of art. So many of them are just plain covers but this looks beautiful just without taking it off; but underneath is where it’s really cool and this is what’s underneath that cover which is almost scary. There’s a lot of stuff under this cover and we’re not even really looking at the engine at this point, those nice shiny gold pieces are the two turbochargers so you’ve got your air inlets and exhaust system. Underneath is the engine; it’s a kind of car where you really don’t want to be getting into doing any service at all on this thing, you want to make sure it stays in good shape for a long, long time because it will be expensive, there’s a lot in there to take care of.

Audi S6

Engine compartment of Audi S6 with engine cover installed.

Audi S6

Audi S6 engine exposed. There is a lot of complexity to this engine.

It’s also got the direct fuel injection which makes this car so powerful and responsive, it’s an awesome feature, Volkswagen uses this on a lot of their engines and in a lot of cars nowadays: it’s like the diesel fuel injection where the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and not into the intake manifold like traditional fuel injection. This actually brings me to another maintenance item which is not on the manufacturer's list but is something that should be done probably every two to three years and that is doing a fuel system cleaning to remove carbon deposits from the engine. That’s something we can do and we can talk further about that in another hangout but that’s a service that like the Motorvac Fuel Injection Cleaning we used to do but that service is really not relevant on an engine like this because of the way the fuel injection system is differently designed. We’ll do a hangout on that in the future and talk about that.

Mark: Any further thoughts on the S6?

Bernie: No, it’s just a nice car, if you’ve some money to buy a nice car to bomb around in, all-wheel drive, go fast and very comfortable too, it’s a great car.

Mark: Great, so if you need some service on your Audi, these are the guys to go see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. They have a lot of bays now they’ve expanded and a lot of great techs doing a lot of great work or you can check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. There are many years of amazing information. Bernie gets calls from all over the world, sometimes that’s not good but it is an example of a worldwide authority on auto repair and so if you want somebody like that working on your car these are the guys to go see. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

For more about the Audi S6 click on this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_S6

Audi S4 Clutch Replacement

Audi S4

Our featured post is clutch replacement on a 2010 Audi S4

Audi S4

2010 Audi S4

While this article is about clutch replacement what inspired its writing was not the dual mass flywheel or modern clutch technology but the use of innovative weight saving materials related to this job.

Auto manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to save weight for improved fuel economy and engine performance. It only makes sense that shaving a few hundred pounds from the car will require less fuel, and that a 300 horsepower engine will move a lighter car much faster.

On many high end cars, aluminum frames and body metal are utilized; this is moving down to vehicles like the Ford F150 pickup which now utilizes an aluminum frame.

Our featured Audi certainly has aluminum in the body but it was while doing this clutch replacement that we saw some additional weight reduction features. First was the transmission to engine bolts which are made of aluminum. It’s quite bizarre to hold these large bolts in your hand: they are feather weight. From years of working on cars we definitely get a feel for the weight of a bolt and these are so light. Its like holding nothing.

Audi S4

Photo of transmission bell housing show 3 new aluminum bolts

The only disadvantage of these bolts is that they are one time use only. We notice this happening with more European cars, and for many jobs, bolts must be costed into the service.

The other weight reduction part that we noted from this job was the clutch slave cylinder which was made entirely of plastic. It too was feather weight.

These are just a couple examples of what manufacturers are doing to reduce weight. While the bolts and slave cylinder probable reduce the weight by a kilogram at most when these materials are used throughout the car the reduction can be impressive.

Clutch replacement on this Audi S4 is time consuming and expensive. As with most high end European cars many hours are required to remove the transmission and clutch, replace the parts and perform the reinstallation. It seems that German car makers just have a way of making things more complex than they need to be. This clutch utilizes a dual mass flywheel and there is no single mass conversion kit available. With all the labour involved in removing and reinstalling the transmission it makes no sense to risk not changing the flywheel at the same time as the clutch.

Audi S4

Clutch assembly all bolted together and ready for installation.

This Audi S4 is a beautiful car to drive: it’s handling is tight, the engine is agile and powerful and the manual transmission shifts beautifully. All of this expensive and complex clutch technology along with lightweight materials is just a small part of what make this happen.

For more about the Audi S4 click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_S4

For an interesting study on vehicle weights and reduction options click here https://mitei.mit.edu/system/files/OTRin2035_Chapter-3.pdf

Pre-purchase Inspection Performed On A 2012 Audi A7

Audi A7

Today’s featured service is a pre-purchase inspection performed on a 2012 Audi A7, brought to us by a client from Granview-Woodlands, Vancouver.

Audi A7

2012 Audi A7

Prepurchase inspections are a frequent service at our shop and are very valuable to both the buyer and the seller of a vehicle. It is essential to know the status of the vehicle and nothing does this better than an unbiased inspection report.

For a seller it is vital to know the condition of the vehicle you are selling to be sure it is a safe and reliable vehicle, and if work needs to be done you can either disclose it or have it done. Knowing the condition of the vehicle also helps if the buyer gets an inspection and comes with a laundry list of problems used to negotiate a lower price. If you truly know it’s a good car you can command a higher price.

A prepurchase inspection is even more important for the buyer. Once you buy a used car you are generally stuck with it. Just driving a car can tell you a lot however it doesn’t tell all. Brakes can feel fine but you could be a month away from needing a thousand (or more) dollar brake job. An engine could be running fine but have serious fluid leaks that may not be apparent until the vehicle is inspected on a hoist. If the inspection finds any issues then you can make a powerful choice about the car or truck. Do you buy it or negotiate a better price? I’ve had more than a few people walk away from a deal and tell me the inspection was the best money they’d spent.

Audi A7

View of Audi A7 engine and its 3 Liter Supercharged engine.

Onto our featured vehicle: the 2012 Audi A7. We did this inspection for the selling dealer: a dealer who takes pride in selling fine quality, trouble free used cars. Having about 25,000 kilometers on the odometer and being only 3 years old there was little wrong with this car. But there was still a couple of things: while brakes were good tire treads were getting down. There was also a minor oil seep under the engine and the vehicle was due for a service. Fortunately for the owner the oil leak was covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and the maintenance service was still covered by the dealer’s maintenance plan.

The Audi A7 is an awesome car with amazing technology inside the car and under the hood. It is quick, smooth and luxurious. In an era of engines shrouded with plastic covers this engine is a beauty to look at. The car also features, among many amazing features massive disc brakes to slow this beast down quickly and safely.

Audi A7

Front wheel and tire on 2012 Audi A7. Note the large brake caliper and rotor.

Here are a few final points: 1) whether you are buying or selling, and you value an honest vehicle transaction, having a good prepurchase inspection is essential. 2) How the inspection is done and interpreted is critical. Every inspection is case specific and depends on the vehicle, the age, the price and the usage. What may be a problem on one car may not be much on another.

Audi A7

Center 2 pages of our 4 page 150 point inspection sheet.

For more about the Audi A7 click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_A7

Audi Vehicles – How are they for Reliability?

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Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here this morning with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. He’s a Master Mechanic in Vancouver BC and he’s the owner of Pawlik Automotive which is a very heavily award winning kind of auto service place voted by their customers 12 times in a row so far, as the best auto service place in Vancouver. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Really good, very good.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Audi’s and I know that Audi is part of Volkswagen, for quite a while now but how much different than Volkswagens are they?

Bernie: Well, there are a lot of similarities between Volkswagen and Audi and you’ll kind of see them more in the high end Volkswagens and the low end Audi’s, the similarities between the cars are quite noticeable. The engine platforms are shared between the two brands and this can work to your advantage if you own a lower end Audi, you’ve got basically a Volkswagen car which maybe doesn’t sound so good but it’s fixed up inside, it makes it a lot nicer car. The great thing about that is you know the more cars a manufacturers sells that are similar, the cheaper the parts are so it keeps your repair cost down and the labour operation may still be expensive but the parts are cheaper so that ends up helping you out in the long run. Some of the models that are similar are the VW Passat and the Audi A4, they share similar platforms and in the SUV area which we’ll talk more about later, VW Touareg and the Audi Q7 are similar vehicles as actually is the Porsche Cayenne, they all share the same platform although there’s clearly some differences between all those models. You know while we notice the similarity’s too between Volkswagen and Audi it’s just the feel of the vehicles, the way their built, there’s a certain German Volkswagen Audi feel to them which you see even in a mid-grade Volkswagen right up to a high end Audi, you know the fit and finish is certainly a lot better in the Audi, there’s a lot more buttons and accessories and things so you certainly know you’re in a luxury car with an Audi.

Mark: So you recently wrote a couple of blog articles about Audi being cheap to repair and then expensive to repair so can you elaborate on that?

Bernie: Yeah, the point I was trying to make in the first article about being cheaper to repair is most people have this idea that European cars are expensive to fix and for a lot of part that’s true but sometimes they are actually extremely inexpensive to fix and the point with the Audi, you know, this particular vehicle had an engine misfire, quite a severe misfire, it had a bad ignition coil and the price of the coils they were so cheap and these were not some made in China cheap, you know, copies they were name brand German made parts, they were so cheap, I could buy four of them for less than the price of one ignition coil for my Subaru H6 so just because it’s an Audi or Volkswagen or Mercedes or BMW for that matter doesn’t necessarily mean that the car’s going to be more expensive to fix, sometimes it can be actually substantially cheaper than a Japanese or American car but then you know the same week with an Audi A4 the transmission control module went bad and it was a $3,000 repair so it’s things like that, sometimes they’re cheap, sometimes they are really expensive but just because it’s a European car or Audi for that matter doesn’t mean it’s going to be expensive to fix.

Mark: So, what sort of repairs do you find with Audi’s and today we’re going to concentrate here on the SUV’s.

Bernie: Yeah, generally they’re pretty good cars but there are a few things that happen with them. Volkswagen, Audi vehicles, they tend to have a lot of electrical and electronic problems so you’ll find that if you’ve owned them for a long period of time you have a few issues with those. The brakes on the like the Q7 they seem to wear out really fast, they’re expensive to fix, tires wear out very fast too. I’ve had a number of people who bought them have been sort of disappointed with how much money they spend on maintenance and repairs. They’re a big vehicle and I’m not certain with the brakes, why they wear out so fast. I see that with a lot of other European SUV’s as well like Range Rovers, the brakes don’t last very long and yet they’re absolutely enormous, based on the size of the brake, it is a big vehicle but based on the size of the brake they should last for 150,000 kilometres and I’m not certain what causes them to wear out so quickly but the fact is, they do and whichever brand of parts we use seems to all wear at the same rate.
Some of the engines in these vehicles are very well built, they’re good quality but the oil changes or maintenance service is expensive, it’s all synthetic oil which leads to longer oil service interval but it does add expense. I’m thinking, brakes, tire wear; if you own an Audi SUV you’re definitely going to be spending more money than you will if you buy a Lexus, say, you know, if you’re looking in the luxury SUV market; beautiful cars tho, for sure. The VW Touareg is very similar and the high end Touareg’s their fit and finish on those is quite nice, almost close to an Audi but the Audi’s are a jump ahead. I know we’re not talking about Porsche today but the Cayenne is the same; it’s built on the same platform but they got to take it to a whole new level with performance and speed and try to get the sports car feel to it.

But that’s basically a lot of what goes on with those vehicles.

Mark: So high end luxury vehicle, great performance. How’s the diesel in the SUV?

Bernie: They’re good; these are a different model than we talked about TDI’s last week, they use a V6 diesel in the Q7’s and the Touareg’s as well. Really reliable so far, you know, that we haven’t seen a lot of problems with them so, I don’t have a lot more to say about them. They’re good and gives a nice option; you have a luxury diesel vehicle, that’s not much more I can say so far, we’ve seen very few problems with them.

Mark: Any last thought about Audi?

Bernie: You know Audi’s have come a long way, they used to be a kind of quirky, a bit of a quirky car going way back, you know as I’ve said before, written before, back around the late 90’s with the introduction of the A40 Audi brand really became a more mainstream, well-built vehicle and also way more popular so it was popular, that’s a good thing because they sell more of them and the cars tend to be built better. So any last thoughts? They are a great vehicle but you will, especially SUV’s, you will spend more money on those vehicle than you would if you owned a Lexus or even a large American luxury sedan, something like Cadillac Escalade; but good vehicle, very nice but definitely more expensive to repair.

Mark: Great. Thanks Bernie. So we’ve been talking with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They’re an award winning shop voted by their customers 12 times in a row as the best auto repair in Vancouver. Give them a call at 604-327-7112? What’s the number Bernie?

Bernie: 604-327-7112. You can tell it’s early, we’re both not thinking. Anyway, thanks Mark, appreciate it, we’ll talk again soon.

Mark: Thanks, bye.

How are Audi Cars to Service and Repair

So you work on Audis. Aren’t they a difficult vehicle to service?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with award winning Vancouver auto repair, the owner, Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing really well, how’re you Mark?
Mark: I’m good. So we’re going to talk about Audis today and how are Audis to work on?
Bernie: Well they’re good. A little bit about Audis; Audis the high end division of Volkswagen but interestingly enough low end Audis are very similar to the higher end Volkswagen. They share a lot of the same parts, they look similar, the engines and transmissions are the same, the body styles are similar. A couple examples are the Audi A4 and the Volkswagen Passat are quite similar vehicles, another example would be the Audi Q7 and the Volkswagen Touareg Sport Utility vehicles those are very similar, built on the same platform, actually the Porsche Cayenne is actually a same vehicle as well only dressed up a little higher and more performance. So it could be a good thing having sort of a fancy sports car that’s similar to another lower end car because there’s a lot of parts available for a lower price.
Mark: So, you mentioned that aren’t Audis expensive to fix?
Bernie: Well, they can be, you know that’s a good question. The answer is yes and no. Generally they are a fairly expensive car to fix but sometimes they can be quite cheap. Last week we were working on a 2006 Audi A4 and it needed an ignition coil, the coil was only $35 which is just outrageously cheap, 4 coils in the vehicle, that’s just doing the quick math, $140. A lot of Japanese cars you can’t buy one coil for that price, you might even pay twice the price for a coil, so you know sometimes you get surprised with European cars like Audis, they can be incredibly inexpensive. Now on the other hand of the scale, last week we also had another Audi A4 that had a transmission control module that was blown, it was 22 hundred dollars for that part, plus labour and diagnosis, it ended up being a really hefty bill so that’s the kind of thing you expect with an Audi but not all repairs are like that. A lot of German cars can be like that, the electronics can be a bit of a problem and they are expensive.
Mark: So what are some of the other issues you see with Audi?
Bernie: Well, ignition coil failures are one of the issues I just alluded to, many Audis they have a complex crank case breather system and the parts, things go defective with that, so that requires some repairs, many models of timing belts and they need to be replaced every once in a while, the engines also have oil leaks from time to time, wheel bearings wear out also.
Mark: So Audi had that tarnished, bad reputation in the 80’s for running on. What was all that about?
Bernie: In the early 1980’s the Audi brought in a new series of cars, the 5000. They were marketed as marvels of technology and advanced engineering but they had one issue, occasionally some models would suddenly accelerate without warning. Interestingly enough these cars were generally sold to people who were fairly well to do so they’re pretty educated, smart people, they had nice houses and things, some of them ended up in people’s swimming pools, they would just take off and go flying along the driveway and through their garage and into the swimming pool. It happened on a few occasions and the media picked up a lot of stories about it. Audi basically told people there’s nothing wrong with the car, it’s your fault, so it took a long time to get things figured out. I did a little research on it and they figure it was partially due to an idle stabilization motor that would sometimes kick the idle speed up a bit too high and that may be coupled with people, they figured that maybe the pedals weren’t properly positioned in the car. It was bad PR situation from Audis point of view and their sales plummeted through the 80’s and 90’s and apparently they didn’t actually pick up back until the year 2000. But in the meantime they got their act together and built some better cars and one thing that we owe to that whole incident is the shift lock mechanism that you find in any car with an automatic transmission, it’s been around for a good twenty years anyways, where you have to put your foot firmly on the brake before you can shift out of park so that’s all because of the great engineering coffule about Audi.
Mark: So do you have any last thoughts or comments about Audi?
Bernie: Well, Audi cars are generally they’re nice cars but to me they always seemed a bit quirky for a long time, kind of unusual until they brought the A4 out which happened around 1996, 97. It was a pretty nice car, normal, not too many problems and from there I think Audi became more mainstream; their sales have gone up and there are a lot of different models on the road. They’re good cars generally pretty reliable, they got a few problems like any car, maybe a little more than a Japanese car, but generally very nice car and you can get some really nice high end models, really nice cars to drive, so those are my thoughts.
Mark: Great. So I’ve been talking with award winning, multiple, 12 times voted best in Vancouver, award winning auto repair shop and the owner of that shop, Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, you can reach him at pawlikautomotive.com or you can give him a call 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, have a good night.

2003 Audi A4 – Transmission Control Unit

Audi A4

Today’s featured repair is replacement of the Transmission Control Unit on a 2003 Audi A4 Convertible, brought to us by a client from Killarney, Vancouver.

Audi A4

2003 Audi A4 Convertible

 

Hot on the heels of our last post where we featured an Audi that was inexpensive to repair we encountered the exact opposite: an Audi with an expensive repair.

Our featured vehicle was towed to our shop as it was pretty much undriveable. During our diagnostic we retrieved several trouble codes that were associated with a communication error to the transmission control unit. We proceeded to thoroughly test all related circuits and components where we found the control unit to be faulty.

Control units for any vehicle are generally expensive but this one was very pricey at over $2200.00! Adding to the repair cost was diagnostic labour, remove and install labour along with expensive transmission fluid, several gaskets, seals and bolts (and taxes as well). Its the sort of repair where you wish that you weren’t driving an Audi.

After the work was completed the car ran great and functioned as it was meant to. In defense of the repair this vehicle is 11 years old and the replaced part should last equally as long, or hopefully longer if  some updates were made to the part.

In criticism of Audi, and other European cars, failures of these very expensive electronic components are more frequent than in Japanese and American cars.

This vehicle is equipped with a CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission. This type of transmission has become increasingly popular in the past decade. Unfortunately many manufacturers have had problems with them. Nissan certainly comes to mind; and they have extended their warranty to 10 years for most CVT failures. Audi has had a great number of failures with their CVT units as well and has dealt with a class action law suit in the US.

So while we previously busted the myth that Audi’s are expensive to fix in our last post we now find that many times Audi’s (and German cars) live up to their reputation as being very expensive to fix.

For more about CVT transmissions click this link http://auto.howstuffworks.com/cvt.htm

For move about the class action lawsuit against Audi regarding their CVT transmissions click here http://goo.gl/JNWNxW

Audi A4

Transmission Control Unit ready to install in 2003 Audi A4 with CVT transmission. It’s hard to believe that this part costs over $2200. just by looking at it.

 

2006 Audi A4 – Ignition Coil Replacement

Audi A4

Our latest featured service is Ignition Coil Replacement performed on a 2006 Audi A4, brought to us by a client from Little Mountain, Vancouver.

Audi A4

2006 Audi A4 with 2 Liter Turbocharged Engine

The ignition coil is an integral part of a gasoline powered engine’s ignition system. Its function is to generate the high voltage required to fire the spark plug(s), which in turn ignites the compressed air and fuel in the engine’s cylinder. The Audi A4 2 liter turbocharged engine in this vehicle uses 4 ignition coils, 1 per cylinder. There are tremendous advantages to this system as the vehicle’s powertrain computer can precisely fire each spark at the optimal time. The computer can also monitor the energy consumption used in each ignition and determine how successful that combustion event was.

Ignition system have evolved tremendously over the years. A couple of decades ago most engines had one ignition coil to fire all the cylinders. Spark was distributed, by a distributor which was for the most part a purely mechanical device. Going back a decade or two further, the spark event was created by breaker points, a mechanical contact that would ‘break’ a circuit at the time the spark was needed. These were crude devices by modern standards but they worked surprisingly well. Way further back, the model A Ford used 1 ignition coil per cylinder much like our featured Audi, however unlike the Audi’s precise computer controlled spark, the Ford’s coils fired continuously.

Our client brought his 2006 Audi A4 to us with the check engine light on and his engine running very roughly. Our diagnostic tests found that #3 cylinder ignition coil was dead. When we priced out the repair we were shocked at how inexpensive the ignition coil was: only $35.00. This is amazingly cheap, and for a name brand Bosch part, not some cheap white box part made in a low quality Chinese factory. Why so inexpensive? My guess is that they make a lot of them. This is a common engine and the ignition coils fit in many Audi and VW engines. This drives down the price, and it’s an advantage of buying a vehicle that is mainstream. Once you get into rare car makes or unusual models with limited sales, the price of parts usually goes up substantially.

This repair explodes the Myth that Audi’s and German cars in general are expensive to repair: sometimes they are very cheap to fix.

For more about the fabulous Audi A4 click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_A4

For more about ignition coils click here http://auto.howstuffworks.com/ignition-system5.htm

Audi A4

Ignition coil from Audi A4. The coil sits directly on top of the spark plug and is fired precisely when it receives a signal from the powertrain computer.

 

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