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Why Get A Pre Purchase Inspection?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local where he was Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about pre-purchase inspections today. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well?

Mark: So you've seen a couple of vehicles come through your shop lately that have had post-purchase inspections. What have you found? 

Bernie: Well, they're not exactly happy stories. We do get a number of people who come to us and, Oh, I just bought this car and it's got some issues. And, so yeah, it's a post-purchase inspection. This is why we're talking about pre-purchase inspections.

Now, sometimes they're happy stories and we find, Hey, there's not much wrong with the car, needs a couple of little things. But in the case of these two cars, there was a lot going on. 

First one was a Nissan Quest, mid two thousands. Person kind of needed to buy a vehicle in a hurry. Right off the bat she wasn't really, I spoke with her for awhile about the whole purchase process and right off the bat, she wasn't really very happy with the, didn't get a good feeling about the people she bought the vehicle from. They told her some work had been done. It was kind of like someone was selling it for their aunt or uncle. I can't remember all the details, but I hear these stories so often and I've seen them myself. Anyways did buy the vehicle. It wasn't a lot of money, but the vehicle ended up needing a huge amount of work, like thousands of dollars worth of work just to make it safe. There's one sad story. Had this vehicle had a pre-purchase inspection, they probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place, but if they did, you know, if they would have got the vehicle for next to free, that would have probably been, would have maybe made it an okay purchase. 

Our second story, older Dodge van, some younger people wanting to go on a trip. Bought the vehicle for cheap price. Again, they were told, you know, certain things have been done and this and that, but there was a problem with something they tinkered around with a few things. Finally brought it to us. So we did a good, thorough, comprehensive inspection on the vehicle. Found again serious problems worn out rear differential, loose ball joints, worn front brakes, you know, and like really serious expensive items. Again, you know, many thousands of dollars worth of repairs far exceeding the value of the vehicle. 

So there's a couple of sad stories right there. And the reason why you really do want to get a pre-purchase inspection, because you want to know what it is before you buy it. You don't want to find it after you buy it, oh, crap, now I'm faced with all this money to spend. And the vehicle and then, you know, if you decide, Hey, I'm going to sell the vehicle, then you've got to BS your way into selling the vehicle. Whereas perhaps the other people before were just ignorant and they say ignorance is bliss. 

Because you know, for me, I can't sell, you know, I could never sell a car if I knew, Hey, this ball joints about the break. And most people who know those kinds of things are not, don't feel ethical about doing that. 

Mark: So what's a positive story about pre-purchase inspections that you've encountered lately?

Bernie: I've got lots of positive stories, but I'm going to go into one. We had a client and I believe we did a podcast about this, he was looking for a, you know, a fairly new three quarter ton pickup truck. So he went to a GM dealer, local dealer. Very good reputation. Brought the vehicle to us. It was, it was only like two or three years old, not very old, pretty low mileage, like 30,000 kilometres or something like that. So there was a fair amount of money, this purchase, because it was a fairly new vehicle. We put up on our hoist and were shocked to find that this vehicle, it obviously, you know, spent most of its life somewhere in Northern BC or Alberta, where there's a lot of mud on the road.

There was two or three inches of caked on mud all underneath the vehicle. And it had been sprayed with undercoating. So, you know, we kind of curtailed the inspection halfway through said, you know what, this isn't a worthwhile vehicle to buy. He agreed, took it back, eventually found another vehicle from the same dealership, came back same thing. We did another, you know, almost of an inspection and say, you know what? Same thing. So he got a little discouraged with it. I think he found a Ford truck from somewhere else. We did an inspection, great vehicle and you know, he was happy with his purchase.

But if you're spending a lot of money, you want him to get the right truck. And smartly went through the process. You know, we've had people where they do one inspection and I don't know, for some reason they just don't want to spend the next amount of money to do the next inspection. This customer was smart. He did it, you know, we found the right truck and we haven't seen him since, because the truck didn't need any maintenance or repair and he's really happy with it.

The thing I'll say, you know, this was bought from a reputable dealership and I had actually ended up talking with the sales manager about it. Cause I said, Hey, I don't know if you guys actually looked at these trucks, but they probably, I'm assuming they bought them from auction somewhere. You know, they, they kind of bought them on the premise of the mileage was low and, and it's true, but you know, there were some maintenance issues, you know, care, taking issues with the vehicle that should have been dealt with, you know, had someone got under the pressure washer, really cleaned it and done a good job. It would have made the vehicle probably decent. 

Mark: So what could that customer have done to not have to go through three vehicles to find the right one? What quick tips would you have for that? 

Bernie: Well that's a really good question. I mean, I think, you know, before you buy, you really need to do your research. You know, what car do you want? How's the car work? You know, you go for a test drive and make sure the car feels fine. Now this guy did all that. And I think, you know, and then the question is, who do you buy it from? 

If it's a private sale? All you've got to go on, is your intuition and feeling for the person. But if you buy a private sale vehicle, you know, if you got someone to go, Hey, I've got all these maintenance records. I've serviced my car at this place for, you know, at the dealership or this shop for like the last 10 years, they've got those maintenance records. Those are really positive things, you know, in the favour of the car.

But again, for this person, they're buying from a reputable dealership. And I think just something happened, something fell through the cracks. I mean, I wouldn't hesitate to, I was surprised because most car dealerships, especially name brand GM, Toyota, Mercedes, wherever you buy it, you know, their reputation is at stake. They don't want to sell crap. So it kind of surprised me. And there are a lot of independent dealers that are good and some that are crappy. 

So I think you just gotta kind of do your research first. And you know what, at some time, every once in a while you get a, you know, a story like this, where something kind of falls through the cracks.

Mark: Any final thoughts on pre-purchase inspections? 

Bernie: Well, you know, I'd say if you're buying a used car, it's a process. It really is a jungle out there in terms of trying to find the right car. So do your research figure out which car you want and just go with your gut feeling on, you know, who you're buying it from, but get a pre-purchase inspection because you never know whether you're buying a good car from a bad person or a bad car from a good person or a, you know, the, maybe a reputable dealerships got some crappy cars for some reason, their, their systems and procedures slipped. So you get the pre-purchase inspection, again you're going to know a hundred percent that you're buying a car that's good.

Mark: So there you go. If you need a pre-purchase inspection, because you're looking for a good used vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead because they're busy even now, as we start to open up. As well, there's over 600 videos on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, check us out there, all makes and models and all types of repairs. And of course the website pawlikautomotive.com and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts we'd really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and get your car inspected.

What to Do If Your Car Sits for A While

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and as voted by their customers. We're going to talk about what to do if your car sits for a while since that's happening a lot these days with COVID-19 shutdown in the world, essentially. So what happens when a car sits too long, Bernie?

Bernie: Well, a lot of times it won't start for one. Things tend to deteriorate. There's certain things you should do with your car to keep it going. I mean, keeping it running every once in awhile is a good thing for a car. There's no doubt about it. Running and driving is critical.

And you know, it may not make sense. You may have owned two cars and you don't need to drive one of them. You're paying money for insurance. You need to take that off. So the question is like, yeah what are the best things to do? And we're going to talk about that in this episode. 

Mark: Alright, you mentioned it might not start, so what's the best way to keep your battery charged if you're not driving the car?

Bernie: Well it's very dependent on where you live. So if you live in a house with a garage or somewhere, you can plug a battery charger in, the ideal thing to have would actually be a trickle charger that you keep on the battery all the time. A trickle charger, something that it'll put one or two amps of a current into the battery continuously and that's a good thing. Probably the best option. If you don't have that ability, of course say you live in an apartment with an underground parking lot with no plugs or outlets, probably, the best thing to do would be to actually start the car, run it, and take it for a little drive every once in a while.

And we can talk about that a little further down the podcast, but you kind of need to get creative. Ideally a charger's a good thing. If you don't have a trickle charger, maybe you have something that's got a little more power and maybe once a week you put it on for a day or so, or a few hours. Those are the options, but the key is to try to keep your battery charged.

Mark: So you mentioned driving the car, kind of obviously, cars are meant to move. Why is that so important? 

Bernie: Well, what happens is when a car sits, and especially if it sits outside, disc brakes tend to get rusted, because it's basically bare metal and moisture will get on it. Now, again, if you live in the Arizona desert, you probably won't get so much rust. If you live in Vancouver, where we are, it tends to rain a lot. Brakes tend to rust up. And again, you want to be driving it will wear that rust coat off the brakes. But also if left long enough tires actually will develop flat spots on the tires. Now this has to be left for quite a long time.

It's a good idea for the fluids to be circulated through the engine, through the transmission and moved around. So in an ideal scenario, if you could actually start your car up once a week. Drive it around, you know, warm the engine up, drive it around the block a couple of times. That would be the ideal thing to do. Now, of course, if you don't have insurance on the car, how are you going to deal with that? Maybe just starting it and running it, you know, moving it back and forth a little bit. It was a good thing. But let the engine warm up. Let it run for a little while. So the energy is actually restored back into the battery from starting. And whatever's been depleted from sitting. 

Mark: So what about the gas tank? How long can you let your car sit and not have a problem with your gas?

Bernie: Well, gas does deteriorate over time. And again, if you know that you're going to put your car, say, Hey, I'm going to store this thing for a year, the best thing to do is go fill the gas tank up. And there's an item called a fuel stabilizer. It's a good idea to add that to the gas because that'll prevent the gas from breaking down.

Gasoline only lasts for a certain amount of time and kind of tends to go rotten after a while. It stinks and smells bad. I was in a Volkswagen once, I don't know how long this thing sat, but the actual gasoline in the tank turned to tar and it basically made the vehicle useless. Again, that's an extreme condition. But if you know you're going to let it sit for, even maybe six months, fill the tank up full it. That also prevents moisture from building up inside the tank, and that can create a number of other problems. You don't want moisture in your fuel.

Especially modern vehicles don't have fuel filters like they used to in the past. Like there's a filter in the tank with the fuel pump, but it's not quite as sophisticated as it used to be at one time. So keeping clean fuel is really critical. 

Mark: And that moisture buildup is just from the temperature variation of nighttime to daytime that causes the air to condense liquid into whatever. Even on my brakes in the vehicle in the garage, I still get rust on my brakes.

Bernie: Well, exactly. And the other thing too, of course, is whenever you fill your vehicle up, I mean, I see this, you know, again, Vancouver, it rains a lot, but sometimes you pull into a gas station, it's not covered and you open the gas filler and you're filling it up. And I go, well, how many drops of rain are you actually getting into this gas tank? You think over a period of like five or 10 years is there's a bit of moisture that's going to end up building up inside the tank. So not a lot, but you know, it's enough that can cause a problem. 

Now, you know, gas tanks can rust out, but a lot of cars are plastic gas tanks nowadays. So, you know, rusting out might be an issue for your car and it may not be, but again, keeping the gas tank full, if you do have a metal tank, will prevent that rusting from occurring too.

Mark: You mentioned flat spots on tires, so should we check our tire pressure? Like what's going on with tires, that that's important? 

Bernie: So first thing about tires is that tires do loose pressure over time. The general sort of rule of thumb is you'll lose a pound a month. So if your tire is inflated to say 32 pounds, that's a factory pressure and you actually park it. And you leave it for six months, by the time six months has gone by, you'll probably have about 26 pounds of pressure in your tire.

And of course, when you go to drive it, that's actually getting kind of low. If you leave it for longer, the tire will get even flatter. So if you know you're going to store the car for awhile, it would be a good idea to have the tires inflated. And probably even overinflated would be a good idea because as time goes by, the pressure will drop.

I even read some article that suggested put 10 extra pounds pressure in the tire to keep them overly inflated, which will prevent flat spots. I don't know if that works or not, but it's an interesting idea. But the only tires I've really ever seen that are, you know, like where you can actually drive the car and you can feel thumping from flat spots or cars that have been sitting for five or 10 years where, you know, the rubber just, it's completely worn out. But again, make sure you have air in the tires. If you have a car that has a tire pressure monitoring system, of course, if your tire is low, it'll tell you and you should keep the pressure up. You certainly don't want the tire to go flat while while it's sitting, because that will definitely damage it.

Mark: Well, it happens in minus 30 as well. 

Bernie: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, you want it again, you know, keep the air pressure up in the tires for sure. 

Mark: Is that more important with some of the high efficiency tires that are like on my, Honda, they're 44 pounds of pressure in the tire is the recommendation. So do they lose pressure, maybe more air loss per month? 

Bernie: You know, I really don't know. I'd have to kind of look at it and, you know, they say this rule of thumb of a pound a month, I mean, some tires will probably lose a little more and some will lose less. So, I would say, you know, the only thing I can comment to that is just make sure you have your 44 PSR, maybe even put 50, if you're going to let it sit. And, it will lose some over time. 

Mark: So one of the things I know you've said and we've talked about before, is that, you know, washing your car always seems to make it run better. You crazy person, you know, so, but why is that important when the car is sitting? 

Bernie: Absolutely. So if you parked your car clean and you're in an underground parking lot somewhere or in a garage, you know, where it's just going to get maybe a little light layer of dust, that's probably okay. But if you're parking outside where you know, you might get some tree droppings like SAP or fruit, like say a cherry tree or leaves dropping or bird crap.

Essential to wash that off. So keeping a car washed is really important and keep it clean. So again, it depends on where you're parking, but don't decide, Hey, I'm going to park my car, and Oh yeah, bird crapped on it you know, yesterday, don't leave that on. You're going to come back and find when you go to wash it, your paint is never going to be the same again. So those kinds of things are very hard on car paint. So it's essential again, to park your car clean and keep it clean. 

Mark: What about oil? We talked about gas. Does oil go bad sitting in an engine for a long time? 

Bernie: No not particularly. But you will get moisture buildup inside the engine. So if it's been sitting for a long period of time, it's probably a good idea to, and again, I don't have an exact timeframe, but it's probably a good idea to change the oil if the vehicle has been sitting for a while. Maybe run it for a while, you warm it up and then change it. But it isn't going to deteriorate like gasoline. Like oil doesn't go bad in the same way gasoline does. So the oil itself will be fine. It's just any moisture buildup in the engine that might be caught up in the oil could necessitate changing it a little earlier than usual.

Mark: Yeah. It's just not as volatile. Oil isn't as nowhere near as volatile as gasoline is. 

Bernie: No, not at all. And I guess while we're talking about that diesel fuel, I mean, diesel fuel again, is more of an oil than a, it's not, doesn't vaporize. So, but diesel fuel does deteriorate too, and you can actually get fungal growth in diesel. So you gotta be, again with diesel, you gotta be careful too, that some strange stuff can happen to the fuel in a diesel. But again fill the tank and take the precautions there with the diesel. But you know, with oil, no worries. 

Mark: So we mentioned that, you know, starting might be an issue, like what happens, how long, you know, if I'm just leaving my car for a week, is that an issue that with it starting or what's the timeframe? What are the kind of hidden parameters, phantom drains or things that we might not know about, that we might find out from sitting. 

Bernie: Yeah, well and again, you don't really know some of these things because if you drive your car every day, you may have a, you know, a larger parasitic drain than usual. And if you leave the car for a week, all of a sudden it's dead. Or it might reveal things about your car that you didn't know, like that battery that you thought was good and maybe isn't quite as good as you thought. 

I mean, I think like in any car where everything's in good condition, you should be able to leave it for two weeks to a month and it should just start up just fine. But in the real world, it's hard to know. But if you're leaving your car for a week between running it, that's perfectly fine. It's not an issue, even a couple of weeks. But you know, if you leave it sitting for a couple of weeks, again, like a good warmup and a good run with it would be a really good thing to do.

Mark: Okay. These all sound like really good ideas. Any further thoughts about how to take care of your car if it has to sit for a while. 

Bernie: You know, I think we've covered pretty much everything. If it sits for a very long period of time, best to get an inspection done on it because things like certain brake components can start leaking. So this is more than just, you know, the COVID-19 short shut down. This is like, if you're storing a car for a long period of time, then a really thorough inspection is definitely something that needs to be done. But the key is, you know, if you can get your car out, drive at, warm it up, run it for a bit, that's going to be the best thing you can do.

Mark: So there you go. If you need to look after your vehicle and you want reliable mechanics who are experts, world renowned now, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks for much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

How Reliable Is The Kia Optima?

 

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Kia Optima today and how reliable, this is a fairly popular car recently, priced very affordably, how reliable is it?

Bernie: Well I’d say it’s fair. They have some significant problems in certain model years, They’ve been around since 2000 which is quite a while, and I would say that for the first decade it wasn’t a super popular car. In Canada it was sold as a Kia Magentis. Not a bad looking car throughout it’s time but not quite as reliable as you’d expect as with a Toyota Camry or the other competitive sized cars.

Mark: So Kia has had some major engine issues, so what can you tell us about that?

Bernie: So this is probably the biggest sort of stain on this car. So from 2011 to 2014 a lot of  major engine failures, Hyundai uses the same engine in their Sonata and some other models. Major recalls, so the good news is if you have one of these cars, the engines generally fail and it’s covered by a recall. There’s a law suit from 2015 to 2016 on the Kia Sonata engines as well, I don’t know so much of the details of that but I think it’s a similar problem to the 2011 and 2014. So what happened in the manufacturing process, somehow they left metal behind inside the engine which is obviously not a good thing, somewhere in the crankshaft from what I’ve read, I’ve never actually taken apart and looked at it, but somewhere in the crankshaft journals, in the bottom of the engine in the machining process, metal bits got left behind and so eventually grinds the engine bearings and causes the engine to seize. A pretty catastrophic failure and apparently it can happen very quickly so there’s a bit of a safety concern as well which is probably why there’s a recall, because usually recalls are not for problems, they’re for safety type of issues. So anyways the good news is it’s a recall covered item so if you happen to have one of these cars and you haven’t had a recall notice, look out for it. If you happen to be buying a used car, make sure the recall has been done, or you do your research before hand because the last thing you wan is to have the car break down on you. But that’s kind of the major engine issue. Otherwise there’s really very few problems with the engines, they’re all good. Over the years there’s been a variety of different engine offerings, up to 2010 you could get a V6 engine as well which is a fairly reliable engine, no problems with that. The 4 cylinders are good, all newer like the 2011 and up models are 4 cylinder, you can get them with hybrids in some years, some are turbo charged, others are just regularly naturally aspirated engines.

Mark: Do you have any pictures?

Bernie: Yeah, I’ve got a couple. this is a fairly new model, sorry I’ll just enlarge this. I’m not actually sure what model year this is, probably a 2016, 2017, fairly new. Very nice looking car and also a view of a cockpit to a 2017 Optima Hybrid which is really, I mean look at this, it’s a really nice car. I’d say Kia is bottom end cars and so this is what you get at the bottom end which is pretty awesome. I was in Colorado recently and I rented an Optima, just a regular - I’m back - just a regular Optima and it was an awesome car, good gas mileage about 30 miles per gallon which I think is really good for a sort of mid sized car, fantastic gas mileage, everything about the car drove fine. I have zero complaints. You can go barreling down the highway at 80 miles an hour, it’s really comfortable, smooth, no problems at all so it’s a really nice car. Yeah so that’s a bit about the car, so what else are we going to talk about here?

Mark: Well, how’s the rest of the car? How are the brakes?

Bernie: Brakes are good, we don’t see any issues with brakes. It’s your typical sedan you’ll probably get 30 to 50 thousand miles, 50 to 80 thousand kilometres out of a set of brakes, front or back, that’s kind of you know an average kind of expectation on these cars. So nothing abnormal, they don’t wear out prematurely and don’t seem to have a lot of problems.

Mark: Drivetrain?

Bernie: Good, the only complaint I’d have, we had a client with a Magentis, it was sort of mid 2000’s, the engine mounts wore out so there was a lot of vibration and shaking in the car but that seemed a little, in my opinion, premature, it was a few years ago. Other than that the transmissions, we don’t see a lot of problems with them, they’re really good but I think being, when you make a car that’s cheaper, there’s got to be something that makes it cheaper and I think some of the engine mounts, suspension, bushings and things are probably made a little bit on the cheaper side.

Mark: How about steering and suspension?

Bernie: No real problems with those either. I do read a fair bit about cars and there are some complaints about the steering poles in these cars and nothing we’ve experienced ourselves and I don’t think it’s anything really major, it’s maybe a tire issue but other than that I mean, there’s no real, there’s nothing really glaringly bad about the steering or suspension that wears out. The shocks and struts seem to last a sort of normal amount of time as well. So normal meaning, you know 10 year old Kia’s seem to be in pretty good shape still.

Mark: Sure, and electronics are a big part of all cars, any issues in that line?

Bernie: Nothing that we’ve seen in particular, everything seems to be, you know again on average, there’s nothing, every Kia that comes in, Optima comes in has this particular problem, they’re pretty decent. There’s not really a lot of glaring electronic problems or computer problems with the cars.

Mark: So overall, how would you rate the Kia Optima?

Bernie: Well, saying from a new car, it’s quite a nice vehicle, you could, you know you can drive it, it’s a beautiful car as time goes by, not sure how it’s going to age based on the older ones we work on. I’d say they’re just a fair car, they tend to get old quickly and I kind of fear that a lot of the newer ones will probably go the same way. When the car is ten years old, it’ll seem a lot older than perhaps some European cars or higher end, like Japanese, Camry’s or Lexus. But would I buy one, you know, I’d consider it.

Mark: So there you go. If you have a Kia in Vancouver and you need service for it bring it to Pawlik Automotive, they’ll look after you, they’re mild fans of the car and they work on lots of them. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book an appointment, you have to book ahead, they’re busy or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How Reliable are Toyota Sequoias?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik we’re talking cars. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So Bernie, you’ve been doing car repairs for over 30 years, we have this little series running where we’re talking about the reliability of all sorts of different vehicles. Today we’re talking about the Toyota Sequoia. How reliable are Toyota Sequoias?

Bernie: I’d say to put it very simply, very reliable.

Mark: All right, that’s pretty definitive. What kind of competitors are there in this category, what does this vehicle even look like?

Bernie: Well it’s a full size SUV, let’s while you say what does it look like, let’s just share a photo real quick, so there is a 2005 Toyota Sequoia, as you can see it’s the full size, pretty much full size SUV, equivalent I would say to a Suburban, actually probably not as big as a Suburban, but maybe a Tahoe, a Chevy Tahoe, Ford Ex, a little smaller than a Ford Excursion, not an Excursion that’s a massive vehicle, the Expedition, the Ford Expedition. You know a little bigger than an Explorer so kind of in that category of mid to full size SUVs. So for competitors, I mentioned them really it’s the Chevy Tahoe Suburban type vehicle of the Ford Expedition/Explorer category and how does it fair?

Mark: How does it fair against those?

Bernie: I’d say very reliable. I’m not such a big fan of the Ford products, there are a few issues that they have that are I would say, put them on a much lower scale of reliability. I put the Toyota way up there. I find the Tahoe’s and Suburbans are really highly reliable as well. They’re all kind of equivalent quality vehicles.

Mark: What about some of the other Japanese and Korean makes?

Bernie: You know for some reason I can’t think of another imported vehicle that’s of this size and of these sort of model years that’s equivalent to it.

Mark: So this is bigger than like a Kia Sedona, this is larger.

Bernie: Yeah, this is larger. This is a body on frame truck, this is a full, actual real truck. Now I know that Nissan has the Nissan Titan, the pickup but I don’t believe they have a SUV version of that but the equivalent pickup trucks in the Nissan and full size Toyota are comparable.

Mark: So what kind of problems do you see with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well not a lot and I will say to be fair, we don’t see a ton of them because there’s not a lot of them on the road. They’re not a huge selling vehicle like a, there’s a lot more Tahoe’s and Suburbans and we work in a lot of Ford products. We don’t see as many of these vehicles and really I mean, very few issues with them. They are very reliable. I always look at research and what other people are seeing on them, there’s a few complaints of transmission issues in the earlier years, so earlier meaning around 2001 up to about 04, that vehicle I showed you in the photo is 05, by that time the transmission concerns seem to be non existent. But there’s very little it seems to go wrong with them and all we do on them with the clients we have is basic maintenance services, brakes, oil services and whatever other maintenance items are required.

Mark: Does this vehicle use a timing belt?

Bernie: Yeah, it does. Up to around 2010 on the 4.7 litre V8, they’re all timing belt engines so that’s something you need to address; 08 and newer there’s a 5.7 V8, those are all chain driven and once you get into the 2010 years and up, they’re all chain driving engines. So but yeah, the belt is something that definitely needs to be done and usually I think the service interval is about 168,000 kilometres which is a 105,000 miles I believe. So that’s when you need to replace it.

Mark: what about timing chains, do they ever need service?

Bernie: Not unless, not normally, I mean a timing chain, there’s no replacement interval on it. It’s meant to las the life of the engine, however long that is and sometimes that’s really up to how well you take care of your engine. Timing chain engines you really got to be rigorous with your oil changes, follow the maintenance schedule of sooner. Don’t leave it too long. It’s, that’s when the timing chains wear. There’s a lot of plastic guide rails and pieces and that’s when they deteriorate. So you really don’t want to do anything to cause your timing chain, timing chains to need replacement because they are so expensive to do

Mark: What about the resale value on these vehicles?

Bernie: Really high and that’s actually, I’d say that’s where the Toyota’s have an edge over the Suburbans and Tahoe’s and especially the Fords. Toyota’s always, they’re higher price to buy generally speaking for equivalent model, so you’re going to pay more to buy them but over time, the depreciation on Toyota’s is generally a lot less. So the good news is if you buy a brand new one you actually retain more of your value in the vehicle but when it comes to buying a used one, they often cost more money to buy but they’re, they are durable, they’re reliable. So you’re paying money for that. But yeah, the resale value is good for Toyota. I remember for years, the Toyota Forerunner actually had the highest resale value of any vehicle. You buy a new one for say $50,000 you can sell it three or four years later for $45,000 so that’s outrageously good resale value and I’ve heard that the FJ Cruiser which is a kind of unique little sport utility vehicle, again they have extremely high resale value. So that’s one thing that’s very positive about Toyota’s.

Mark: This would be a vehicle you’d recommend?

Bernie: Absolutely yeah, it’s a great vehicle. If you’re looking for a good quality, large SUV, you can even get these with three rows of seats, so you can haul a big family around, they’ll use a lot of gas, it’s a big vehicle but again super reliable, very nice ride, they’re available in a range of models right up to fully luxurious so, just short of a Lexus in terms of luxury features, so pretty amazing, very good vehicle.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for a Toyota Sequoia they get the mark of, the stamp of approval from Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. If you’re needing service on your Toyota products these are the guys to call 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2008 Ford F350 6.4 Liter Diesel Exhaust Leak Repairs

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Ford F350, your favourite repair vehicle, a 2008, these ones, this is a newer motor, the 6.4 liter diesel but there was an exhaust leak that you need to work on, what was going on this car?

Bernie: Yeah, so our client brought the vehicle to us, with the complaint of an exhaust smell inside the vehicle, very, very noticeable and very, very pungent smell.

Mark: So how did you find the source of the leak?

Bernie: Well we have a few methods; sometimes you can listen for a leak. In this case it wasn’t, there wasn’t really a lot of noise associated with it so we use one of our good methods which is a smoke machine. A smoke machine basically is a device that generates smoke and we use it for a variety of items in the auto repair industry for finding vacuum leaks, exhaust leaks, all sorts of useful things you can do with it. You can even find interior water leaks although we rarely do those sort of services but what we do is we can attach the, with adapters we can attach the smoke machine to the exhaust system and what it does is generates a very thick white smoke and wherever, whenever there’s a leak it’ll actually force the, force the smoke out; so with that we were able to find the leak.

Mark: So where was the leak coming from?

Bernie: The leak was coming from the back of the engine. There are three small exhaust pipes that connect the exhaust manifolds to the turbochargers in the EGR valve and one of pipes was badly broken. It’s common on these engines after a while for this to happen. I’ll just share some photos here.

Mark: So was it really loud?

Bernie: No it wasn’t actually and I’ll just share these photos and I’ll talk about the noises in a sec. Now can you see this?

Mark: Yep

Bernie: O.k. so there’s our F350 truck, it’s a little dirty, hard to get the vehicles washed and clean this time of year around Vancouver especially after our long, icy, snowy weather. This is the back of the engine, so this is a cab off repair job. You don’t have to do it but we opted to do it for the amount of time involved, makes for a much easier neater job. If you look at the left side of the back of the engine, actually I can use the mouse pointer here, you can see this is the pipe that was blown, you can see it’s just covered in black soot, there’s also some leakage present in this area here, it’s the second pipe so with the cab off it makes it a lot easier to replace the pipe and we opted to replace all three pipes, it really wouldn’t make a lot of sense not to do it while you through the effort of taking the cab off. So this the, after the repair all nice and clean, these are the three pipes, this one, so this pipe here comes from the right manifold to the turbo, this one from the left manifold to the turbo and this connects the EGR system.

Mark: Did you just replace it with Ford parts or did you, or is there an aftermarket fix for this?

Bernie: It’s all, sorry Mark, it’s all Ford parts. That’s really where they all seem to be available. I read that they, I mean I didn’t notice any difference but apparently they may have redesigned them to be a little, a little more durable but this truck is, what 2008, it’s you know nine years old, hundred fifty, hundred and eighty thousand kilometers so you know, it’s, if it lasts the same amount of time again, that’s a long time.

Mark: Sure, so I’m guessing this is definitely based as it’s a cab off repair, this is definitely not a simple fix.

Bernie: No, there’s nothing on a Ford diesel that’s simple on any vintage and you know there’re, it’s a lot of work no matter which way you slice it. This is a really, these engines are really complicated and the way they build things, there’s just not a lot of room around anything to get at things. You were asking too whether this was loud or not and the answer is no, it wasn’t but we’ve seen this on another vehicle’s where you’ll get under certain load conditions hissing sounds and noises similarly when these pipes start to go so that’s, that’s often an indication, you know especially at the back of the engine that the pipes are starting to crack even before you get the smell of diesel fumes.

Mark: So other than this, how are these 6.4 engines for reliability?

Bernie: Well there are issues, you know Ford only used these for three model years and I tried to do a little research to figure out why that was because they’re certainly not really not as bad as a 6 Liter engine but and I still don’t have the definitive answer on that other than I think their relationship with Navistar just went south, but. Reliability not, not fantastic I mean there’s a lot of issues with fuel getting into the oil, we can discuss these in further hangouts but fuel getting into the oil, there’s water and fuel issues, turbocharger problems, these exhaust pipes are another one, radiators leaking, so they’re not fantastically reliable compared to the Chevy or the Dodge and a lot of the issues are around the emission system. They get very poor fuel economy and that just bugs a lot of owners of these vehicles but they are a nice running engine, the first generation, that nice quiet diesel engine we don’t hear a lot of, lot of noise when the engine’s running and so I mean they are good in many respects but just not as reliable.

Mark: So, and they were replaced with the 6.7?

Bernie: They did, yeah. Yeah I haven’t seen any issues with that so far, so I think that’s been so far good, I mean like any engine, I know there are some issues out there but they’re not at all like their predecessors so I think Ford made a good move there.

Mark: So there you go, if you need some service for your Ford diesel vehicle and you want to keep it running, want to keep it running right it’s a big investment, these are the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, they’re experts, they’ve dealt with dozens and dozens of these vehicle and fixed them every time. These are the guys to call 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com; tons of information on there about all kinds of diesels and other vehicles. Thanks a lot Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2007 Ford F350 Superduty, Ball Joint Replacement

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best, favourite auto service experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a 2007 Ford F350 Superduty, you had to do a ball joint replacement on this vehicle. What was going on on?

Bernie: We replaced ball joints, we also did some brake work. The vehicle originally came in for front brakes, it was making some grinding noises and the front brakes were worn out. The owner is a regular, a somewhat regular client and he called us about the ball joints, actually quite some time ago and mentioned that they did need to be replaced, he had some new tires put on. So we had a look at the ball joints and found that yes, they were in fact, couldn’t wait any longer, he was on beyond borrowed time, very dangerous. So we replaced the ball joints and the brakes. I’ll share a video, this is really very interesting to look at, it gives you an idea what a worn out ball joint looks like. Here we go. So if you look at that wobbling thing up there, with a reddish colour, the red is rust. I’ll just repeat the video again, that should not be moving like that at all, there should be no movement there. This is really severe and we’ll play one more time, with that rust there, that indicates that the part’s been badly worn for quite a long time. This is the upper ball joint, this was the worst worn part but the lower ball joint, and we’re back, there was also a lower ball joint which I didn’t include in that video, it also had play but not as extreme as the upper. So that’s what a very worn ball joint looks like. I can’t get my words out this morning… what a very worn ball joint looks like and if, it should be replaced long before it ever gets to that point of wear.

Mark: So is there anything unusually complicated about this repair?

Bernie: Well a Ford, this particular Ford Superduty, they make it a little more complicated than an average vehicle. Just to talk a little bit about ball joints in general, the simplest ball joints are on a car with a McPherson strut suspension, it has one lower ball joint which is often not that difficult to replace. On this particular vehicle, it’s a four wheel drive, so it’s got an upper and lower ball joint, plus it also has a drive axle which goes right through the middle of the hub and in order to take the ball joint apart, you have to remove the drive axle first. You also have to take the brakes off which is typical of many ball joint jobs. You take the brake rotor and the caliper off, take the wheel hub off and then take the axel out, so that’s what’s involved in doing this job. So there are extra steps, mostly because it’s a four wheel drive.

Mark: So what does a ball joint do? Does that allow the suspension to go up and down and the wheel to turn basically?

Bernie: It does actually. It allows the wheels, it allows the steering knuckle which is the piece that the wheel is attached to, it allows that to turn and move and as you said, it allows it to move up and down. Now, actually on a truck like this, it doesn’t because this is a solid front axle or at least semi solid front axle, so there is actually no up and down movement in these ball joints, they only do a side to side movement or sorry, a rotational movement, but nothing up and down. But most cars and any independent suspension vehicle will have up and down movement to the ball joint as well it’s pretty complicated motion involved with it.

Mark: So is there anything that an owner of these vehicles can do to extend the life of their ball joints?

Bernie: Well, just before we get to that I do want to talk about just one other complication to the service on one of these Ford’s because what Ford has designed is they have an automatic locking hub which is more fuel efficient in two wheel drive to not have the hubs locked and there is less moving drivetrain parts, but on these vehicles, Ford’s mechanism for locking-unlocking hubs as well as making it convenient for the owner where he can just push a button in the car is to have a vacuum operated system, where it will actually, if you push the button, it’ll actually use engine vacuum to suck the locking hubs into place and lock them and when you disengage it unlocks it. So what they’ve done with this, they’ve added a bunch of extra seals around, not a bunch, but a couple extra seals around the universal joint where it slides into the wheel hub, so this adds more labour and more cost to doing the job. So I just wanted to throw that in there before we talk about what an owner can do. But basically as a vehicle owner there’s not a lot you can do unless you have a lubricatible ball joint and most, 99% of cars and trucks don’t have them anymore, they are all lubed from the factory, they’re sealed, they actually last a long time. However, when you replace ball joints, like these replacement units are lubable, so you need to lubricate them probably once every year just to make sure that they last. But there’s not much else you can do, they’ll just wear out in their own time. And some vehicles are better than others, these Ford trucks they do last a fair amount of time, Dodge trucks not so long as we’ve talked about, most cars they’re pretty durable they’ll last one to two hundred thousand kilometres.

Mark: So any other thoughts on this repair?

Bernie: You know generally, it’s a Ford, just to talk generally about these Ford trucks, I mean they’re awesome vehicles, tough, they can handle a lot of load, this is a diesel so you know it can haul very heavy loads, it can handle heavy loads but if you don’t need it, don’t buy the truck. This repair with the brakes and the ball joints, very expensive job so if you don’t really need that kind of weight, that kind of, it’s a tool and if you don’t really need that sort of sledgehammer toughness, well then you know, maybe you better get a lighter duty truck because it’ll cost you less money to maintain.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service on your F350, these are the guys to go see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, they are on Marine Drive near Oak Street. You can call them at 604-327-7112 to book, they are busy you must book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

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