Honda - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

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2008 Honda Civic, Transmission Bearing

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 23 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: 2008 Honda Civic had a transmission problem. What was going on with this car?

Bernie: Yeah, so this is a standard transmission and the owner had mentioned that when he had the clutch, either in or out, there was certain times there were some noises coming from the transmission. Figured either there was something wrong with the clutch or the actual transmission itself. So this is the concern we were dealing with. Transmission noises.

Mark: So how do you test or diagnosed those kinds of issues? 

Bernie: Yeah so first of all, of course, a road test to verify the concern and see where the issue's occurring. And then from there, we test it on the hoist with some listening equipment, stethoscopes and things to just listen and see when the condition occurred.

Because a lot of times you can kind of get an idea, is that a clutch problem or a transmission problem based on whether the clutch is engaged or disengaged or what gear you're in. So between the road test and the driving test, we kind of thought the clutch was more of the issue, but our next step was to actually remove the transmission to inspect. And actually found that the transmission input shaft bearing was actually the item making the noise. It was excessive of play in the barrel. 

Mark: So is this a pretty involved repair? 

Bernie: Yeah, it's a transmission removal and transmission disassembly. So yeah, there's a fair bit of work involved. Definitely more than if it was a clutch problem. Because we have to take the transmission apart and either, you know, overhaul it or repair it, there's a fair bit of work to be done.

Mark: So if the bearing is worn out, wouldn't that cause damage to the rest of the transmission? 

Bernie: Well it can, and it depends on how long you leave that kind of thing. I'll just get into a picture right now. 

So there's a view of the transmission. 

2008 Honda Civic, Transmission Bearing
2008 Honda Civic, Transmission Bearing

These are all the gears, basically the gear sets and the transmission. The bell housing is this part down here. And the bell housing basically attaches the transmission to the engine. And inside this large area here that I'm sort of swirling my mouse pointer around is where the clutch is located. This large gear here, this is the final drive gear. This is a differential section, so it's a transaxle actually not a transmission.

And the transaxle is basically a transmission, which are these parts here. Again, if you're reading this, you're not going to see it, but with the most pointer you can see, these are the transmission gears here. It's a five speed transmission, and this is the final drive section here, which is the differential section.

Anyway, so the bearing the red arrow basically points to the area where the bearings were worn. We actually ended up replacing two bearings in this one. The main shaft bearing, which I believe is over here. We basically replaced both those bearings in that area, but yeah, if a bearing wears bad enough in the gears, develop enough play between them it can start breaking gear teeth or causing damage in that area.

So also metal filings can be flung around inside the transmission, which can cause some  pretty serious damage. Fortunately there's a magnet inside the transmission and all the metal filings and where from the bearing, bits and pieces. And I didn't take a picture of it.

I should have, but all the bits and pieces, all went onto the magnet, which was perfect. So the magnet did its job and saved the rest of the transmission. So all we had to do is replace the bearing.

This is a closeup, that's the main bearing that was worn out. And again, that's a kind of a closer view of that. This is the reverse idler gear here just for reference, but that's basically the inside of the transmission. As I said there's two bearings we replaced in this area and that solved our issue.

 Mark: So you have to do take the transmission apart. Is this a fairly common for you guys? How do you proceed with this kind of repairs is something that you do on a regular basis? 

Bernie: Well as far as commonality, you know, the input shaft bearing failure on Hondas has actually been going on for quite a long time. So you know, as reliable as these cars are, that is one of the areas that does tend to go. We've seen it on Acura vehicles as well. So if you have a Honda with a standard transmission, an input shaft bearing failure is not an uncommon issue. It's not like guaranteed to screw up issue like Subaru head gaskets, for instance, on a 2.5 litre Subaru, but  it is common enough and it does happen. And normally, you know, with the transmission repair, often we would just change all the bearings. But in this case, because it's a fairly common input shaft bearing issue, and the other bearings we can spin them and get a feel for them.

They all seem to be in pretty good shape and all the metal filings and all gone onto the magnet. We felt it was pretty safe. We just cleaned the inside of the transmission, cleaned all the gears and just replaced the bearings that were worn. 

Mark: So you mentioned, this is a common failure item. What kind of year range are we talking about?

 Bernie: You know, I'm thinking that in the 2000, you know, the first decade of 2000s, it's common around then. I think even late 90s, there was issues. I might be a little off on that, but you know, certainly in the 2000s era that's definitely an issue.

Mark: So you always say Honda's are very reliable. Is this still the case with the 2008 Civic, with a manual transmission? 

 Bernie: Yeah, I still think it's a really reliable car. As I was saying a moment ago. I mean, it's not like if you have one with a manual, it's guaranteed the input shaft bearing is going to go bad. It does happen on some models. You know, the only other defect I've seen on these Honda's is around this model year again, is sometimes the engine blocks crack. 

We had one a while ago where, and this is not entirely uncommon issue, although we've only ever seen it with one client, but the engine block cracks and they have to replace the engine. So that's not a good thing, but again, it's an issue that happens, but not really commonly. So something to watch out for. Now the thing is, you know, if you don't have any antifreeze in your engine, you can certainly accelerate that process. But these are for, you know, people maintain their car well and have proper antifreeze. It's just some defect in the engine block. 

So it's probably one of those things where you have an inspection on the vehicle. It'll look fine, you buy it and it might happen. But those are just sort of two things to look out for on these cars. Otherwise I'd say they're pretty much bullet proof reliable.

Mark: Is there any way to lessen the odds of this transmission bearing going bad, like changing your transmission fluid a little bit more than what's recommended.

Bernie: Well, I'd say changing the fluid every 50,000 kilometres is a good recommendation, whether that would save the bearing or not. I don't know. We do a lot of Volvo differentials, rear differentials. They wear out even for people who change the fluid it's, I think sometimes it's a bit of a design defect that maybe the bearing just wasn't quite up to snuff for the job. But you know, certainly if you change the fluid more frequently, you've got a better chance of it surviving.

Mark: If you need service on your Honda in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs.

The YouTube channel is Pawlik Auto Repair, same story, hundreds of videos. Hundreds of stories, all kinds of happy customers. Who've had their vehicles repaired. And of course, thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you Bernie. 

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

2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

Mark: It's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So 2003 Honda Accord had a problem what was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the client brought it in, it was due for a maintenance service and she had also noted that the engine was running rough under certain conditions. 

Mark: So how do you go ahead to proceed and test and diagnose what was going on? What was the actual problem? 

Bernie: Yeah, so we road test the vehicle and we could confirm under, you know, a bit of a load condition, the engine was running roughly, like misfiring. And that's the first step. So we got our diagnostic scan tool, that'll help us get in the direction of which cylinder the issue might be occurring in. If there's a misfire.

So we look at the data on the scan tool. We scan for codes and found, there's actually a code for misfire in every cylinder. So when there's a code, usually it comes up as P something. And so P03O1 , for instance means cylinder number one, misfire.

And it's interesting when they use diagnostic trouble codes or set up certain  codes, mean certain things like a 300 series code is an engine misfire code. A 400 series is an emission systems code. So it's kinda well-organized but anyways, there's a number of codes for a cylinder misfires, all of them in fact, not just one. So that made for some interesting next level testing. 

Mark: What exactly is a misfire and how do you determine what's causing said misfire? 

Bernie: When an internal combustion engine is running and you could have anything from I mean, I think about in cars, what we found is, you know, 3 cylinders kind of the minimum that you'll find and 12 is usually the maximum. And any of those cylinders every time they go through their cycle, they're supposed to fire as a spark and it's supposed to work. You know, it's supposed to fire a good combustion cycle and if it doesn't, the vehicle computer through a, usually a crankshaft position sensor, the speed of rotation, will figure out, Hey, that cylinder didn't fire properly. You can also feel it usually. 

Sometimes you'll get misfire codes where you don't feel any issue, which can sometimes be a sensor problem or something else, but normally you'll feel a roughness in the engine. It just isn't performing properly. It shakes or shutters, something happens. 

So the misfire is basically a combustion event that did not occur. And there are a number of reasons for it. It can be anything from like bad compression of the cylinder, or it may be a valve is burnt. It can be a spark plug that isn't firing and ignition oil, computer problem, fuelling objector intake leak. There's a number of things. And misfires can happen at low speeds or high speeds. So there's a number of causes. So I think he had a two-part question. What's a misfire. And what was the other question, Mark? 

Mark: How do you determine what's causing it? 

Bernie: Yeah, so how do we determine? So we basically go through a tree of items to look at, first of all, and a lot of is based on our own experience.  I've worked on cars for my whole adult life. I can usually tell by driving along, yeah. It feels like an ignition misfire. It feels like the spark plug somehow just didn't fire that spark. There's just a certain feel to it. Which can, it's not a hundred percent accurate, but a lot of times I find it could be 95% accurate, but there are things we can test. And usually the easiest area to start with is ignition system. 

This has an individual ignition coil per spark plug. It's a six cylinder engine, so we can transfer spark ignition coils around this specific cylinder. What we did is clear the codes and we're able to narrow it down to a couple of cylinders that it seemed to be more common causes.

So we swapped ignition coils around between the different cylinders and the issue followed those ignition coils. So then we know that coil is the problem. Also, when we removed a spark plug, you can see they were pretty old. So again, that was something we suggested to do as a repair as well.

Mark: So I don't imagine it's, because they're fairly accessible most of the time. It's not that difficult to job. Replacing spark plugs and ignition coils. 

Bernie: On this Honda Accord is actually a pretty straightforward job. We're lucky here because a lot of V6 engines have an intake plenum that hangs out over the back of the engine. So the rear cylinder bank is very hard to access the spark plugs and coils. And you often have to remove the upper intake manifold to take those apart. So it can be quite a bit more time consuming. 

On a Honda they've nicely put the intake plenum square over the centre of the sort of V of the engine. So it makes for a pretty straightforward replacement. And we have pictures here. We can actually look at some stuff. Let's have a look at some pictures. 

So there's our, there's our 2003 Accord. It's a 18 year old car, but still in pretty nice shape where you can see a little scuff on the bumper here. If you look close enough, but still nice and shiny and  in good condition. 

2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

There's the front cylinder bank of the engine. So again, it's a V6 engine. There's three ignition coils. The rear is kind of like, looks like the same. And fortunately as say you can access it.

2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils
2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

The other thing about this car too, is it has more of a longer hood than you find a newer cars that can often make it difficult to access the coils in the rear as well. But fortunately, on this car, it's not too difficult. 

And there we have the old ignition coil and spark plug, you can see the spark plug, there's a fair bit of corrosion above the, usually you get, you find these after awhile, there's probably a tiny little bit of combustion gas leaks out through the porcelain of the spark plug, not a big issue, but it kind of indicates it's been installed for awhile. These are probably original spark plugs. Hard to be a hundred percent sure. 

And there's one of the old coils again, you can see a bit of corrosion that just kind of common on coils, but you know, inside they're magnetic windings and things that just tend to wear out or they could be cracks that can develop down this tube here, which could cause spark to leak out into the the surrounding the metal of the valve cover. There's our picture show. 

Mark: So why not just narrow it down to those two coils that you found were bad and change all the plugs, but just those two coils? 

Bernie: Well, that's certainly a possibility. And one thing I will say is when the vehicle was brought in and had a misfire in all cylinders. So that doesn't necessarily mean that they're all bad, but they could have all been bad at some point in time, or sometimes, you know, one or two cylinders will cause all of them to misfire.

Sometimes just clear the codes and see what reoccurs, what's happening right now. But anyways, to answer your question, you know, it's a mathematical thing sometimes. How much did the coils cost? How much time does it take to diagnose the issue? How old are they? If two have failed and the vehicles got 165,000 kilometres, how likely is it that the other four are on their way out? If two or three have failed now or getting weak. 

And then the question is if you can narrow it down to those two specific coils and we do have other ways to test besides swapping coils. We can hook it up to a lab scope. We can actually look at the firing patterns of the coils and see how they're firing. But besides that you know what happens in a month or two, and we've had this happen where we've had a vehicle, say it's a four cylinder, easy to change a coil. Hey, just change one. We found one that's bad then. A month later, the customer's back, Hey, the engine's running rough. Then you have to redo the diagnosis. There's a cost there. 

So I think it's better, we do them all. You know, we have a, usually a two-year warranty on these items. So customer has a two year warranty it's done, you know, finished anything happens, say a coil goes bad. They're still covered for two years.

So you know, whereas if we do just one or two and then, Oh, that one, you know, there's another one that's bad, there's more diagnostic fees and more testing. And it just makes sense.

Now the only time it may not, if you have a vehicle with a very expensive coil, I used to own a Subaru with an H six engine, very expensive for the coils in this engine, because it's not a common engine. So. I had one that failed. I just replaced one because it was so expensive to change the coil to do all six would have been a couple of thousand dollars in parts. Kind of ridiculous. So you just gotta do the math and figure it out, but usually it makes sense to change them all once the car gets old. 

Mark: And that's based on, like you said, pretty much your entire adult life working on cars and having gone through every other possible way of doing this to try and save money for people and finding that the best way is sometimes the easiest way. 

Bernie: Yeah. And when you think of it from a maintenance perspective, again, you know, I love aircraft maintenance because they fixed stuff preventatively because they can't really afford an aircraft engine to fail while you're mid flight.

So you're thinking, well, why would you want your car to do the same thing? Yes, it does cost a little more money to do that, but it makes your driving experience overall a whole lot better and more enjoyable. More peace of mind. You know, this is time to change the ignition coils. They've run their lifespan. This is time to do them. 

Mark: Basically save your frustration for all the other parts of your life. 

Bernie: That's right. Exactly. Exactly. But if your car runs well, that part's easy. 

Mark: You mentioned this vehicle has 165,000 kilometres. Was there any other service due at this time?

Bernie: Well, there's a couple of things. One thing we did do, and this isn't in the Honda schedule, we did a motor vac fuel injection cleaning, which is something we recommend every two, three, four years on a vehicle, depending on how much you drive it. So we did that during this service, which made a lot of sense, considering the engine had been misfiring and we'd never done one on this particular vehicle. This person's owned the car for a few years. So we did that. 

But the other you know, schedule maintenance item is the timing belt. This engine does have a timing belt that's due about I think 165 or 168,000 kilometres. So we didn't do it this service. But we will be doing it in the near future. So that's kind of the big service item on a Honda and actually spark plugs were actually due at this particular time. So it's a good time to do it all. So timing belt coming up next and that's kind of the major Honda item. 

Mark: And how are these, this is an 18 year old car? How are these age of Accords for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, that's a really good car. Now it's funny talking about reliability for a car this old, but at least we've had 18 years of experience to see what kind of a car it is. And the automatic transmissions have been a problem on Honda's of this sort of earlier, early 2000 generation. And I'm not sure if this one's ever had the transmission replaced, it works fine at this point, but that's definitely a problem that's happening. And often they happen, you know, fairly early on in the life of the car, in the five to 10 year old range of the car. So I consider that to be kind of a bit of a problem, you know, for reliability. But other than that, they're good cars. I mean, there's the expense of the timing belt, which a lot of engines don't have, but at least that's a predictable expense.

Whereas say a timing chain failure is a non predicted expense and a lot more money. So overall, you know, I think they're excellent cars. You know, do you want to buy an 18 year old car at this point? I mean, if you're looking for an older car, that's probably well priced. They're still reliable if you can get one that's well-maintained. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Honda in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or you can book online on their website, pawlikautomotive.com. Of course, if you want to see us in living colour, there's hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs.

Check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. We've been doing this for nine years now. There's hundreds close to a thousand videos on there, actually of all like I'm serious, all kinds of vehicles. All types of repairs. Thank you so much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. I'll have to crack a bottle of champagne open when we do our thousandths video. 

2014 Honda Acura RDX B-Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So 2014 Acura RDX is today's victim. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop for a maintenance service. It was due for a B service. So that's exactly what we did. 

Mark: So what's involved in a B service?

Bernie: So B service is an oil and filter change, plus a full vehicle front to back inspection. Wheels off. Tire rotation if needed and doable, which it is on this vehicle. It's only not doable if you have vehicle with different sized tires, front and rear. So that's basically it. We do a full inspection, one of our awesome digital comprehensive inspections and and the oil service.

And we can get straight into pictures right now because we can actually go over some of the details of our service, because it's pretty awesome. 

So there's the RDX. Very practical little compact SUV I think. And very reliable also. There's our V6 motor peppy and powerful also, you know, which is a good feature to have. The earlier versions of this at a four cylinder turbo, which actually worked really well too. But I kind of liked this V6 engine a little better.

 So the inspection, so we have a digital inspection that we do and breaks everything down. So this is what you would get as a client of ours. This is the inspection that you would see that we either send you a link by text or by email. Lists that 94 items are okay, 10 items of suggested services, which are, you know, things that kind of need to be done, but could be done at a later time. And then two items that should be done right now. And one is a third brake light, which is a bulb, well probably a bulb. And then the other we found when we tested the alternator, that there was a low output and a blown diode.

So, this view is a little small right here. I should've got a blow up picture of it, but this is actually a view of our test screen and actually indicates right from the tester that the diode is blown. We send really good information out with these inspections.

So we drill down a little further. We can look at a couple of the suggested items. So there's the service due light was on which we've reset. The wiper blades are smudgy. The transmission fluid was due by mileage. Again, we like to look at vehicle history but the technician recommended, check the vehicle history, sure enough it was actually in fact due. Does that make it a red? Well, it's not really mission critical to do it, but it's kind of important to deal with it. A couple of the other orange items, the sway bar links had some slight play in the rear. There's a photograph again, which we include, and these can be clicked on to enlarge. So you can look at them a little closely. And then there was a very slight oil leak from the engine or transmission area. So again, we'd recommended a diagnostic on that. It wasn't severe, but just something to keep in mind. 

 And then some of the good items and these are things that we also do. So we measure the brake pads. There are numbers here. Seven millimetres in the front brakes. We measure the brake rotors, inspect the calipers and other brake components. On the rear there's five millimetres. There's a measurement for the rotors. Tires we measure the tires, adjust the pressure. So these are all noted. And this is everything you get on the inspection. There's are our picture show for the day. 

Mark: So was there any problem with driving a car with a bad alternator? 

Bernie: Well, yeah, so of course, how the procedure goes is we present the inspection to the client and estimate out the major items and maintenance items. And from there they'll make a decision. Now the owner decided, you know what, I don't want to fix the alternator. It is pretty expensive to repair on this vehicle. It wasn't that it wasn't functioning. It just that it wasn't functioning properly. So the answer is yes, it should have been done. I'll say that I think he should have done it, but it's not my money to spend. Their logic was, you know what, if the battery goes dead, we'll just tow it in. So that is one thing that happens if the alternative is severely bad, of course your battery won't charge it and you won't get far. 

But with a blown diode, you're kind of getting two thirds of the amount of output. The risky thing is that it can send strange voltage spikes through your vehicle. And sometimes you'll, you know, the engine will either not run properly. Like it'll kinda run funny or lights might flicker or something. None of that was happening on this vehicle. So it wasn't a big issue in that case, but nonetheless, you know, it's something that should have been done.

However they did choose to do some of the maintenance items. The brake fluid you know, we'd recommended flushing. They fixed the bulb of course, which is good and inexpensive. And we did the transmission service, which was due also. 

Mark: So this vehicle's got 90, 90, 96,000 kilometres. Isn't this a major service interval on many vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, yeah, and especially for Japanese vehicles, 96,000 kilometres used to be the major service interval where you do the timing belt and spark plugs. These were the things that were kind of due. Usually transmission service. Sometimes, you know, again, we're going back a couple of decades where the CV boots, usually the material they were made out of, they were starting to crack and it was like a good idea to replace the outer CV boots.

You know, so it ended up being a pretty major service and you know, pretty costly, but, you know, once you get it done, of course, then you're good for another 96,000 Ks. This vehicle, not the same. The Honda has gone with it. They have the maintenance reminder that comes on on the dash and reminds you when you're due for service.

And I have to say that I really like their system. I find that Honda they're, you know, when their maintenance reminder comes on telling you your oil needs to be changed, it kind of comes on, I think the right time, it's not too late. Well, to me the right time is when it's not too late. When the oil is just hideously dirty, like you find on a lot of European cars that they come on, you can smell the oil, it's a little old, it looks a bit old, but not hideous. And I think that's really the time you want to do it. So you're not causing any damage to the vehicle. 

And then of course, they're pretty sophisticated on the Acura. There'll be like an A1 or an A2, and the letters mean different things. So for instance, like this vehicle has a timing belt and it is due to be replaced at a certain point, but actually a warning light will come on and it'll say when a service four comes on, that'll be the time to do the timing belt. So I mean, normally the timing belt interval on these engines is usually before they had this electronic alert was usually around 168 K. So I would expect it would come on around then, but it might come on sooner if you don't drive a lot. So it'll take those factors into play. Also, you know, when you look at the maintenance schedule, if you do actually tow a lot with this vehicle, which most people don't do, the timing belt replacement interval is actually a hundred thousand kilometres.

 But again, that's a severe use that most people won't do, but it's important to look at those kinds of details because the last thing you want is to break a timing belt. That makes for very expensive engine repair. 

Mark: And how are Acura RDXs for reliability.

Bernie: Yeah, really good vehicle. It's a Honda product, very reliable. Can't say much bad about them. You know, they need a few repairs here and there. I mean the alternators, one thing we have repaired on a number of these cars and also this thing did have a little clunk in the rear that I suspect might be the rear struts that are going because that is an issue also. But overall, a very reliable vehicle. Good value for sure. 

Mark: So if you need service for your Acura in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, nine years worth of videos, hundreds, many hundreds on all makes and models and types of repairs. Or check out the YouTube channel, same story there Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course thank you for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So happy new year, we're going to talk about a 2010 Honda Crosstour that had an alternator problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to our shop the owner's complaint was the battery had gone weak and the car was hard to start. So that was his main complaint, not the alternator, but the battery was weak. 

Mark: And what testing did you do to find what the problem was?

Bernie: Well, the first test we do is called an AVR test, which is basically an alternator voltage regulator test, is what that stands for, but it  includes testing the battery, of course, which is a kind of heart of the vehicle's electrical system. So we test the battery, test the alternator voltage regulator, starter draw, and a number of different things.

And we found that the battery was weak and needed to be replaced, but also the alternator had blown diodes. Our tester will actually single out some components inside the alternator that are bad. So in this case, it said the diodes were bad and that'll cause a very low voltage signal and erratic voltage getting to the battery.

Mark: So I think I remember replacing diodes in an alternative. Couldn't you just replace the diodes?

Bernie: Well, you could, but it's kind of a specialty repair. It's not something we get into at our shop and really most, unless you're an auto electrical specialist that rebuilds alternators and starters, you really, people don't really get into doing them. Like, to be honest, I've never even done them myself. Yeah, I've changed voltage regulators on alternators when they used to be doable on some, but not diodes. It's kind of a specialty type of thing. I mean, not rocket science, but even getting the parts is tricky. They're not the kind of thing you find in a normal auto parts store. You have to source them out. 

So let's just get into some pictures while we're at it.

2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement
2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement
2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement
2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement
2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement


So here's our 2010 Crosstour, which is basically an Accord, little sort of a puffed up Honda Accord, maybe a little SUV. I don't know if you could even call it a compact SUV, but it's a little, kind of a puffed up type Accord.

Here's our alternator. This is the replacement alternator we put in. The diodes sit behind this cover. And there's quite a few items that need to be removed to actually access the diode pack. There's a front view, pulley main power terminal. And there's basically two electrical connectors on an alternator. There is also this one here, which does the field and a few other items.

This normally connects to the computer and some voltage battery and ground signals. That's basically a view of the alternator location. Of course, here's the engine compartment. As I mentioned, it's like basically a V6 Accord type model with a 3.5 litre engine.

There's our new battery installed and the alternator sits down in this area of the vehicle here, buried. A little bit of work to get it in and out. There's another closer view. This is the backside of the alternator. Way down in there. So it kind of gives a view. I've got a couple of other pictures I want to talk about in a minute, but we'll just get back to talking. 

Mark: So that after that, of course it's basically good as new and will last another 10 years.

Bernie: Well, you would hope. We would hope it lasts another 10 years. But one thing about alternators is normally when you buy them, they're never brand new. Although there are some offered as brand new nowadays. There's been more new starters on the market available, but what I, not to slam Chinese, but they're cheaply Chinese manufactured a lot of them. And they're really what I've found over time is it's better to just most of the time, unless it's an actual OEM component, it's better to replace it with a rebuilt. But rebuilds don't tend to last as long as originals. You know, they replaced the diodes if necessary. And in this case, of course, when the old one is sent back, they'll put new diodes in. They've changed bearings and brushes and things, common wear out parts, but certain items, unless there is a common failure part, they won't replace them.

So sometimes over time, you know, after a few years of use, the alternator will fail again. But normally we buy good quality rebuilds and have a good, long warranty on them to keep a good long life. But it may not last for 10 more years, we hope. 

Mark: So, is there anything that an owner can do to maximize the life of their alternator?

Bernie: Well, there's a couple of things. One is to always make sure you have a good battery in your vehicle. If your battery gets weak and we, you know, part of our B service or comprehensive inspections, we test vehicle batteries on most cars, unless it's a European car with a very hard to access battery.

But in most cars, we test the battery and if it shows signs of being weak, it's best to replace it. Even if the car starts fine, because that really taxes your alternator. So those are the kinds of things as a car owner, if you have your battery tested, it's on an annual basis, and it shows any sign of weakness, it's better to replace it beforehand that'll put less strain on the alternator. And last longer.

Of course, if you're jumping someone else's vehicle like boosting someone with a dead battery, make sure you hook the cables up properly. Your cars running you know, in case if you hook things up backwards, you could damage the alternator. It's possible. There, there are some protective fuse links that'll prevent problems like that happening. But if you do, you know, if you hook a battery up backwards or something if you're changing it yourself, you can create some problems. But those are rare exceptions. 

Mark: So alternators has been around for, I dunno, 60. Yeah, 60 years since they were placed generators, how did they change in that extended lifetime?

Bernie: Well, they've got a lot more compact. If you look at a car, say from the sixties, the alternators were quite large, probably six or seven inches in diameter. A lot of them are like four inches now, much smaller. And the other thing is in the olden days, they had a separated voltage regulator. Then sort of the next phase of development was that the voltage regulator is built into the alternator. And now a lot of them, while they may have a voltage regulator built in, there's also a computer control. So it'll switch the alternator on and off on demand, which improves fuel economy, efficiency, power.

If you're, if you happen to be blasting up a hill and you don't really need to be charging your battery, but there needs to be more power to the engine, it'll cut the alternator and then you have more power and then it can just switch it back on again. So there's all sorts of little things that that can be done with computer controls. So that's kind of the biggest thing. 

And then of course, if you start getting into hybrid vehicles, the alternators on a lot of vehicles are built into the motor generator. So it's all changed. But compactness is certainly the key for sure. 

Mark: So how are Honda Crosstours, this is a fairly, not that long of a model year run. How are they for reliability? 

Bernie: They're great. And they're basically the same as an Accord and yeah, very good vehicle. I would highly recommend it. I did want to actually just make one more comment on something too. It's just part of the service on these things, for many years, a lot of cars have when you disconnect the battery, you have to enter a radio code.

It's like an antitheft procedure. And I started thinking about this car, it's kind of annoying because most vehicles, the radios have become integrated into the dash. So it's not like the olden days where if you stole a radio out of a certain vehicle Volkswagen Cabriolets used to be very popular because you can cut the roof, take out this nice Blaupunkt radio and stick it in any, sell it, or stick it in any car you liked.

2010 Honda Crosstour, Alternator Replacement

It was a good thing to do, but nowadays they've gone away from that. But it's interesting with Honda, I'll just do one more picture share before we go. As we, if do we fix the radio, of course, there's a code and you have to find these codes and enter them into the vehicle.

It doesn't take a long time, but it can be frustrating in service to find the radio code. So this one, you have to enter a radio and navigation system code to get everything operational. Now, I don't know why they do that because who's going to steal this radio. I mean, where else are you going to put it, but in another Honda Crosstour and people just don't do that. So that's my little rant for the day.

Mark:  If you're looking for service for your Honda in Vancouver, the guys to see Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy even now, even in the middle of a pandemic, they're still busy. So call ahead and book or check out the website. Pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos, articles on there over the last eight plus years. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. And of course thank you for watching and listening to the podcast. We truly appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2016 Honda Civic A Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: 2016 Honda Civic. That was in for an A Service. What was happening with this Honda?

Bernie: Just a maintenance service. The vehicle is due for service. Nothing, no complaints of any sort and so we performed an A service.

Mark: So what do you do during an a service?

Bernie: So the A service is our most basic service. Consists of an oil and filter change and then a vehicle inspection, a basic inspection. We do all our inspections on a two post hoists, so we have the wheels off the ground, which is a good thing to do every once in a while. We can wiggle the tires, wheels, make sure there's nothing loose in the suspension. So we do a basic suspension inspection that occurs. We adjust the tire pressure, inspect the tires, have a look underneath the vehicle for fluid leaks. We inspect all the fluid levels, make sure they're all full and clean. We look at lights. And an under hood inspection, belts, hoses, those types of things. Anything we can see, we look at, normally inspect the air filter. It depends on the car. Some cars it's complicated to look at the air filter, so there's an additional charge and usually a different way of approaching it, which we wouldn't do on an A service. But a Honda is generally pretty easy. So we inspect the air filter as well at the same time.

Mark: Does the owner receive a written inspection report?

Bernie: Well, we do one better than a written inspection report, and we've talked about this in some of our other podcasts, but we have a digital inspection system so our technicians will look at the vehicle and they can record all the information on a, it's an app. You can either use it on a smartphone or a tablet and take pictures of things that are interesting. Say there's a fluid leak of some sort or a loose ball joint. We actually do a video capture of that and then we send it to the owner by a text message or by email. Yeah, there's a link. You can open it up and look at the inspection and it's pretty awesome. A lot of people give us nothing but positive comments cause you can, it's like being in, you know, being in the shop and having everything point. It's almost better than having everything pointed out to you.

Mark: And so you guys are following a checklist. You're not just kind of willy nilly doing this. There's an actual checklist to follow each time that has to be checked off as to this has been done and looked at. This has been done and looked at.

Bernie: Exactly. We have the checklist. I've customized some of the checklists that we do and, and they're vehicle specific. So you know, if the vehicle is a diesel, you know, it has diesel exhaust fluid for instance. That's one of the things that's looked at as part of the checklist. If it's a four wheel drive, there are check boxes for transfer case fluids, but if it isn't a four wheel drive, it just, the box doesn't need to be checked. But they're very specific items depending on the vehicle.

Mark: How many kilometres were on this vehicle?

Bernie: 42,000. So it was a pretty young, you know, for 2016 it's pretty a low mileage for the vehicle.

Let's just have a look at some pictures and we can keep talking while we're doing that.

2016 Honda Civic A Service
2016 Honda Civic A Service
2016 Honda Civic A Service
2016 Honda Civic A Service
2016 Honda Civic A Service

Our 2016 Honda Civic, this is a turbo model by the way. So pretty cool. You know, it's a nice upscale model and a pretty cool looking car. I was thinking about Honda Civics and how this is the 10th generation of Civic now and just thinking about the first generation I used to, I've been in the trade long enough. I remember working on first-generation Civics a '75. I think they started selling them in Canada. At least that's when I was kind of aware of them. It's a changed car for sure. And so a lot different than what we used to have.

Let's get into a couple of other pictures here. The engine two litre turbocharged. So it's peppy. It's got some power. This Honda Earth Dreams technology. I can never quite figure out what that means, but, it's their branding for whatever reason.

Mark: Maybe they're dreaming of going electric.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Well, it has it on the, under the hood of your Clarity too which is maybe closer, but, yeah, I don't know exactly what that must be. That must be it. So basically, you know, you've got our internal combustion engine here and these are the ignition coils, one of the items that is actually easy and quick to service on this vehicle. Transmission located here. I know we did a posting on a Clarity recently on your car, you know, and it looks a lot different under the hood, a lot more complex with a big bright orange cables running around. There's none of that here. So everything here just services, the transmission, the engine, and the internal combustion engine.

What else do we got here? Air filter. This is one thing we found that was really urgent to replace. And you can see it doesn't take too much experience to look at this air filter and go, that's a, that's a pretty dirty filter. I even photographed on two angles. It was so dirty. So probably an original filter never been changed and we often find that we get vehicles that have been serviced elsewhere, a lot of dealer service vehicles, and the air filters are really dirty. And I don't know why. I'm assuming the technicians just never look at them there. They just wait until there's a certain prescribed time to change the filter. And then that's when they look at them. So we inspected every time, as long as it's accessible and we find they're dirty most of the time for vehicles that are new to our shop. Zero 20 oil is what this vehicle takes with a lot of Honda's and a lot of new new generation vehicles take, it's a very thin oil, reduces friction. You know, it takes less energy to pump a thin oil and the engines are built and designed for that kind of thing. So there we go.

Mark: So Honda has a reputation for reliability. How's the 2016 Civic?

Bernie: It's an excellent car. You know, it's just, it's up there with all other Honda's. It's on my recommended list. Not much else I can say about it. It's you know, you can pretty well count on just doing a basic maintenance services for a long time on this vehicle. A few fluids here and there. And some brakes, tires, you know, but nothing major. No major breakdowns. They're good cars.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your vehicle in Vancouver, the guys to see your Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. Even now, they're still busy in the midst of the pandemic. They're still open. They're still servicing cars. People still got to get around. You still got to get to the grocery store to get your groceries, even if it's just once a week and you want your car reliable, this is the time to get it fixed. They may be a little less busy than usual just because they're downsized a little bit, but give them a call, (604) 327-7112 to book ahead and they'll get you looked after. Again, 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. You can check us out on pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles on there. Pawlik Auto Repair, the YouTube channel. Of course, if you listen to us in a podcast we'd love a review on iTunes. Five stars is always nice if you feel that way, so inclined and thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast and video series, and we're talking cars with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And today's victim is a car I know a little bit about, a 2018 Honda Clarity. What was going on with this vehicle Bernie? 

Bernie: Yes. So what was going on with this vehicle.  This vehicle was in for its first maintenance service. And I know you know a lot about this. So full disclosure everyone, this is your car Mark. We are featuring it and I know you know that, but it's awesome to, you know, thank you for the opportunity to do the first maintenance service on this vehicle. 

You know, a lot of people, we have a lot of clients who, you know, had been coming into this for years. Then they buy a new vehicle and for some reason they'd go to the dealer thinking they have to get service done there. Now I know if the dealer throws in free service, free maintenance of course go there. May be stupid not to, but for those who don't get free service, please come back to us because we do a really good job and it keeps your warranty fully intact because we use all of proper fluids and filters and everything that will keep your vehicle warranty intact. 

So, and we like working on new cars. You know, there's not a lot that needs to be done, but they're all nice and clean. And we'll look at a nice picture show of your car in a few minutes. So basically this vehicle is due for its first service. As you mentioned, I believe about 10,000 kilometres are on the vehicle and a pretty simple service. I mean  basically an oil change is essentially what it is and a visual inspection of the vehicle. 

Mark: So you just covered the second question. So it's a hybrid. Are there any additional service requirements? 

Bernie: There are none. I mean, the hybrid, the nice thing about the hybrid system is it just kind of works, it just works in the, I'll say in the background. I mean, it's certainly more than the foreground, but it just works. It's reliable. If anything does go wrong, warning lights will come on and you'll know that there's a malfunction of some sort that needs to be addressed. But other than that, it just basically takes care of itself. And you know, of course with this car being almost new, it, it does have a warranty on it. So for the first while, there's nothing that you need to worry about.

Mark:  It's actually a plugin hybrid, which means that we, it gets a drink on a fairly regular basis at home. 

Bernie: Yes. So a question, how often, how often do you actually run this on the internal combustion engine? Because that's really when we do the maintenance service, that's pretty much all it gets serviced is the internal combustion engine.

Mark: As little as possible. Because when we're, you know, looking at the difference between the two, it's got a very small fuel tank, a five, well, five and a half gallons, 27 litres, roughly. Which is really small. Kind of takes me back to my poor student days of an Austin Mini five gallon tank and which would take me from Kamloops to Vancouver actually. Anyways, this car with that small tank, in honest truth, we've had it for almost, well, in a couple of months, it'll be a year, and we filled it up six times with fuel. So not a bloody lot. Is the gas engine as little as possible because it's just so much cheaper at 11 cents a kilowatt hour to put electricity into the battery. It's way cheaper. 

Bernie: Yeah, and I imagine the car's nice to drive on plugin mode anyways. It's a lot quieter and you don't have to the vibration and the noise of the engine as well.

Mark: We'll get into that for sure because that's an interesting part of this vehicle. 

Bernie: Yeah. So really even though the vehicle has 10,000 kilometres, the internal combustion engine may have one or 2000 kilometres of actual usage. And I will say that, you know, when one of my technicians did the service, but I did look at the oil and it does look discoloured. I mean, not certainly hideous, but you know, it's a good time to change it because you know, as we've talked about different maintenance schedules in a previous podcast, you know, a hybrid is kind of in the severe use category because the engines, you know, it'll start up cold. It  often doesn't run for a long period of time. It'll switch on, switch off in hybrid mode. So you know, while it's running, it is actually under pretty severe usage. So it's good to change it at the prescribed interval, even though it seems like it may not have been run all that long. 

Mark: So Honda's made a lot of different hybrid vehicles over the past, at least 20 years, maybe longer. What's unique about this Clarity hybrid and what you've seen? 

Bernie: You know, what I see with the Clarity is okay, first of all, it's a plugin that's a bit different, a lot of Honda's were not plugins you know, until recently. So I think that's the biggest differentiating factor of the Clarity hybrid is the plugin feature but I, I just see it as kind of like Honda's evolution of hybrids. It's just the technology keeps improving over the years, and you know, and they keep adding to that technology. And what's interesting about this car is that it's kind of, I don't want, not an insult, but it has that same ugly rear fender cover, as the Honda Insight. This is certainly a much nicer looking car but it has that, actually, why don't we just show some pictures right now? 

Mark: The fender skirts Bernie.

2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service
2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service
2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service
2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service
2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service
2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service
2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service

Bernie: The fender skirt. Yes. Thank you. Yeah, it's got that, this is your beautiful car just freshly washed after the service. Yeah, it's got that, you know, sort of half fender skirt. Well the inside had a full fender skirt on it. But what's actually kind of neat about the Honda Insight, is that actually, that whole car body is actually aluminum, which is pretty cool. Like that's, you know, a 20 year old technology and it was like way ahead of its time. Unfortunately the styling was just so ugly. I don't know why anyone ever bought one, but they were, you know, they're pretty cool car for what they did. You know, so I just kind of see this as an evolution in that technology. 

Look at some other pictures because you know, speaking of aluminum you know, there's a lot underneath the vehicle that's aluminum. This is a look at the rear suspension and this whole a rear sub frame is all aluminum. And it's got this interesting, rear suspension arm. The picture doesn't really portray it quite as well as when you look underneath, you go, what the heck is this arm that sticks way out and it has a big steel frame. And my technician, Edward and I were kind of looking underneath and what that, why did they have this thing? And I think it's actually to prevent, if you back up from whacking this arm and bending it or breaking it. So it's a little interesting additional piece of metal there, but it really nicely formed, a nicely built, obviously weight reduction you know, is in mind there. 

We have another look, again another look of the rear suspension. Here's the muffler, beautiful welded stainless steel muffler. I mean, kind of neat technology. I always love the technology of cars as they come out. 

There's a look at the front suspension you know, just looks like a standard front wheel drive but again, a lot of aluminum pieces here. The control arms, the tie rod ends, really nicely fabricated. 

Underside of the engine. So this is a transmission and the electric drive unit in this area here. And then you've got your internal combustion engine here, oil filter. There's the air conditioning compressor, which is which is electric, you know, it's a high voltage unit, which is common in all modern hybrids and electric vehicles. Again lots of aluminum. And where are we going next. The front exhaust system, catalytic converter, orange cables, all orange cables, those are all high voltage electrical system cables.

And then we'll get back to the under hood. So here we have the internal combustion engine, air intake, intake manifold, radiator. This is the inverter for the electric drive motors, and you know, underneath here would be the transmission in the electric drive motors, ABS brake module, and of course, lots of orange cables. And then Honda's cool little nifty earth dreams logo. I dunno whoever thought of that, but I just laugh every time I look under the hood, especially when it's a straight internal combustion engine. I just go I don't know what that means. It's just weird corporate jargon. 

Mark: What's the size of this combustion engine? I think it's 1.4 litres. 

Bernie: Yes, it is. So not huge, but for you personally, what's the performance of this vehicle like?  

Mark: Let me ask you another question first. So how many electric motors? It's two or three, I think. 

Bernie: Oh, I should've done my research a little more thoroughly, but generally it's two.  

Mark: And I think there's a traction motor and a regenerative braking. 

Bernie: Yeah. Usually it's mg one and mg two and one of those motors drives the vehicle. The other one, we'll start the internal combustion engine. It'll do the regenerative braking, and then a lot of times, two of them will work together. So on this system, I actually haven't done my research as much as I could have, but they all work together and usually serve different functions. But one of the motors is usually substantially larger. That's the one that drives the vehicle. 

Mark: Yeah. So this vehicle is similar in a way to the way other electric vehicles, where they have the skateboard platform, where the batteries are along the bottom. The battery runs from the firewall and the engine compartment to basically where the engine cabin ends and then their batteries are stacked. The batteries are running underneath the floorboards of the car basically. The inside is quite roomy for this size of car. You don't have the driveshaft tunnel and so that's a really positive thing. It's a 17.7 kilowatt hour battery, which is for how much space that battery's taking, it doesn't compute. Somehow in my mind, it's really small for that much space. So they use some kind of weird technology that's not exactly the, you know, the best out there by any means. I mean, in a similar kind of space of Tesla will have 75 kilowatt hours. 

Bernie: Yeah. That's pretty amazing. It's a really amazing difference. It makes you wonder what's exactly in there in terms.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. And I mean, they've done it. They obviously know how to cram a lot of stuff in there. You can see from the engine compartment, it's got, you know, two electric motors and a combustion motor. Operation. You asked about performance. You get different driving modes. So you just click a button and you've got a sport mode and the vehicle if you start from the stop, it catches your attention. It's pretty quick. It's zero to 60 and seven seconds. 

Berne: That is quick.

Mark: Which, you know, in the world of EVs, it's not that fast, but in the, you know, regular world, this is just a passenger car. Your regular Honda Accord, basically. Maybe finished a little nicer inside. Got a nice but pretty common these days, you know, smaller size of  LED unit, which is, you know, my experience with it is it's not that user-friendly to use, but it's okay. I've driven Teslas. I know how they work, and it doesn't compare, in all honesty. The fit and finish of the vehicle, it's Honda. It's like a lower model Acura in terms of how I felt it was inside. It's very nice. It's a comfortable, super comfortable. Actually, I would say it's one of the most comfortable cars I've ever had. 

What don't we like about it? Performance wise it's wonderful when you're driving on the electric, like you were talking about earlier, it's very quiet. It's very powerful. When you want power, it's instantly there. All the wonderful things about electric. Anyone who says electrics don't have power is wrong. Period. 

Bernie: They've just never driven one. 

Mark: It'll snap your head faster than any other vehicle you've ever had. But when you suck too much power, too much, too fast on that small little battery, the other motor will kick in. It's got a constant variable transmission which I'm sure they probably had to use in this vehicle, which means that suddenly you got a whole bunch of noise and clatter happening that you didn't expect. Or if the battery is running low, the motor will automatically kick on and you don't have any choice about it and it starts to charge basically the gas engine is charging the battery so you don't run out of battery before you get home. 

You don't notice it at highway speeds, you can't hear it because of the road noise and wind noise. But in town, it's jarring that suddenly that motor comes on, or if you really stomp on it, it will kick in and both motors will run. That's where you get the full amount of torque. I think it's, 270 foot pounds of torque, which again, for a little one and a half liter equivalent vehicle is a lot. It's like it's got a V6. 

Bernie: Yeah. 

Mark: In performance. We wish that it had way more range. In all honesty, and if we had it to do over, we probably would have jumped and gone to a Tesla to be honest with you. Otherwise, no, the car has been trouble-free. It's easy to use, love the fact that we've got experience now as having a pseudo EV where you could just plug it in each night and you got all the juice and all the range you want in the morning. It's pretty amazing. 

It's sobering to see how much in cold weather that range drops cause it drops a fair amount, 17 and a half, or 0.7 kilowatts. It gives us generally on once, now we're starting to warm up, we'll get about 80-85 kilometres. So for most of the driving that we do even, you know, on longer trips that's going to cover most of what we need.

Bernie: Covers a good distance. 

Mark: And we've got the gas tank there so that if we want to drive to Seattle and back, which is, you know, a fair, good distance, the vehicle, you know, just throw some fuel in it and keep going. It's got 700 kilometres of range, so.

Bernie: That's pretty awesome. And it's interesting, one thing you mentioned earlier that caught my attention, you talk about how the, you know, as, as the battery gets low, it'll start charging the battery. And it's what amazes me about you know, the technology of these cars, you know, and all hybrids, even going way back to the Honda Insight well that's actually such a simple hybrid. It's a little different, but you know, these modern hybrids, the computer management of things, you know, is amazing. You know, things like the engine will just start because the batteries low, maybe not because it has to, but can't be lower than a certain level of charge, you know, for maintenance. So there's a whole bunch of stuff going on in the background in a hybrid that, you know, even when you hit the brakes, sometimes you're, if it's an emergency stop, it won't even do regenerative braking. It'll just go straight into a full ABS braking. So there's so many items that are just managed in the background on these cars, and it's reliable. That's the neat thing about it, you know, with all these computers. I've been in the trade for so long. I always worry, Oh my God. It's so complicated and it's like it, it seems like where it really counts, it's reliable. 

Mark: Yeah. So the regenerative braking is one other thing I'd like to talk about. That is a really, once you get used to it, it becomes very interesting to play with. Now with the Clarity you've got options. So when you're in certain modes, the regenerative braking on, and you have a paddle shifter where you can set how much you want. So if you're in sport mode, you can set it at, say full, you know, so it's got full regenerative where as soon as you take your foot off the gas. Off the accelerator, the car starts, you feel, it's just like somebody put a big drag shoot out the back. You're, it's pulling you back, pulling you down, slowing use your speed. Most of the time you're in EV mode trying to conserve as much battery as possible and it's not set like that, which to be honest with you is one of my pet peeve. I'm always clicking on the thing because then you can set it manually by how much regen you want every time you come to a stop.

And I'm always putting it up to four, up to the max because I want to gain as much battery back as I possibly, it's not much, but it helps. It extends it a few more kilometres. And that's sort of a pet peeve. It's kind of a weird way. I don't understand why they did that. Why they, you can't just set it once and leave it. That's how it is in other EVs. You just, you go into the control wherever the controls are and set how much regen you want and there you go. That's what you get. So that leads to the motor kicking in a little bit more often. 

Another thing that I wanted to mention is that it's a little disconcerting sometimes when I pull into the garage. This has happened once where, you know, I've been driving a little bit harder and the battery's been sucked drier a little bit, and the car is running and it, you turn the car off and the engine keeps running. 

Bernie: Hmm. 

Mark: Because it's charging the battery. It says the battery is too low. We're going to charge the battery. So you shut the car off, but the engine is still running. 

Bernie: Interesting. 

Mark: And then you flip the lid open and you plug in the car and the engine shuts off because now it's getting power from somewhere else. So it's very, very clever how they've set that part of things up to do that. But I think ultimately, Clarity was made in three different forms in California, there was a EV version, a hydrogen version and the hybrid version, all let's remaining for 2020 is the hybrid like mine. A very rare car. This, why didn't we buy an electric car? There weren't any. 

Bernie: Yeah. There was a run on them in BC for a, for a while when gas prices went high, and government put in some incentives, and I know that's when you bought yours and, yeah, it's hard to find. 

Mark: This was the last one in British Columbia, actually. In the whole province.  It's a nice car. 

Bernie: Yeah, it is a nice car for sure. I mean, yeah. If we're, this is kind of gone from a maintenance service to a review of the 2018 Honda Clarity, but I'd say it's an awesome car. And then based on the track record of a Honda hybrid reliability, I'd say it's a good car to buy.

Mark: There you go. So if you're looking for service for your Honda's in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. We love all cars. We will be honest about them as well. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles, videos, discussions on there about all kinds of makes and models of vehicles, all kinds of repairs. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Thanks so much for listening and watching the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts again. We would really appreciate that and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thanks for watching.

2004 Honda Accord – Axle Shaft Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, serving Vancouver and area for 38 years. Maintaining and repairing all makes and models of cars and light trucks. And of course, 21 time winners, almost lost it there, 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and we're talking cars. How're you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So 2004 Honda Accord had an axle shaft replacement. What was going on with this car?

Bernie: So this car got towed to our shop. The owner was driving it and suddenly just stopped moving forward. There was some hideous noises and the car just would not move forward. Figured maybe the transmission had blown up or something like that. So the car was brought in the shop and we had a look at it.

Mark: And what sort of testing and diagnosis did you need to do?

Bernie: Well in this case, of course, we needed to try out, we put it in drive to see if the car moved. Of course, we heard the noises. Put the car on the hoist, did a visual inspection was all the testing and diagnosis we needed to find that the axle shaft on the left side, it actually snapped in half. Now this is a one inch, sold steel bar that had worn out and actually snapped in half. Let's get into some pictures because this is really the fun part.

2004 Honda Accord - Axle Shaft Replacement
2004 Honda Accord - Axle Shaft Replacement
2004 Honda Accord - Axle Shaft Replacement
2004 Honda Accord - Axle Shaft Replacement
2004 Honda Accord - Axle Shaft Replacement

So there's our 2004 Accord, two door, nice car. And you know, 15 year, 16 year, 15-16 years old now, still in really good shape because the owner takes good care of it. There's our axle as we found it on the car. So this is looking under the driver's side. You can see the tire, the front tire here. This is the outer CV joint. The axle shaft moving in this direction and that's the other part of the axle shaft. That is just worn down to a taper which is really unusual and snapped. I have a few more pictures of this because it just intrigued me so much. Again there's another view of it. You can see this rubber piece, we'll talk about that in a minute, but this basically is a solid metal bar. This rubber piece is just fitted over top for, it's a vibration dampener but it's the axle snapped off inside of that area. And finally the axle shaft laying on the ground in two pieces. So this is the inner CV joint. This part goes into the transmission. This is the outer Cv joint which bolts into the wheel, splined and goes into the wheel hub that drives the wheel. There's rubber boots on either side and they're inside the CV joint which I call a constant velocity joint inside there. And then of course, our axle, it's broken in two. As you can see, this is pretty large piece of metal and worn down into quite a taper before it actually snapped.

Mark: Ok how? How did this break?

Bernie: Well that's an excellent question and I have to say that I think, I'd like to say that I've seen it all, well to be honest, I've never seen anything like this. We have a new technician we just recently hired who's moved from Ontario and he said he's never seen anything like this. But what I can say, is the car was from Ontario, spent at least the first 8 years of it's life in Ontario, so subject to salt and the you know kind of ugly road conditions and you can see the sort of rustiness on that shaft which is not something you'd normally see in a car that was say, driven around Vancouver for it's life.

So there's some road salt for sure, maybe some grit got in there and then sat in behind. Again, I'll just get this picture up here. You know, there's some grit probably got in behind this little vibration dampener piece here and probably just slowly wore away the metal of the shaft. That's the only thing I can think of. It's just a very unusual situation. If this piece wasn't here, this probably would not have happened but I think it just created a perfect trap for salt and dirt to just sit in and eventually just ground away the shaft. There's really very little movement of this part because it's basically just a bolted on a piece of rubber. But somehow there must of been enough flex and movement that just over time wore it away.

Mark: It wasn't rotating on the shaft that rubber dampener?

Bernie: No it doesn't rotate. It's actually clamped onto the shaft and these parts are, they install these from the factory. When we get replacement axles, they ever normally have these pieces. I believe it's a vibration dampener, I don't even know 100% for certain, but replacement axles don't normally have them because they tend to be cheaper quality. I hate to say that but they don't ever cause any problems, it's never noticed, oh the car's vibrating like crazy because you don't have a vibration dampener on the axle.

Mark: So what are the usual issues you find with drive axles?

Bernie: Well let me, actually I'll go back into the screen share because this is a good, this picture of this axle is actually a really good thing to look at again. So the usual issues with axles are the CV joints will wear out and that CV joint is hidden inside this area here or inside this one here and the outer front CV joints are subject to a lot of abuse. The wheel, not only is the wheel rotating and pushing the car back and forth and sometimes if you accelerate hard there's a lot of pressure put on this but also as you turn and go around a corner, it's putting pressure on an angle. So this joint is subject to a lot of force and wear and it used to be that these joints would wear out a lot. In the earlier days of front wheel drive cars, replacing CV joints as a frequent service because they'd start clicking and clunking and that's not really happening a lot anymore which is a good thing. They've beefed up the quality of these parts substantially over the years. So that replacing CV joints is not overly as common of a service as we used to do. The other part that wears out probably more frequently is this boot. This is a rubber boot and again, it's subject to wear because it's twisting and moving around. Sometimes, the inner boots. This is common on Subarus. The inner boots will often wear because they sit right over top of the exhaust system where there's a lot of heat. So the boot will tend to crack. But the quality of these rubber boots also has improved over the last couple of decades. Again, you know, in sort of the 80s and 90s, a lot of these boots were made out of a rubber that would crack and by the time you it a 100,000 kilometres, a lot of these boots would crack. We'd end up replacing them. But nowadays, they tend to last much much longer. You can see that this boot has been seeping a bit of grease. This darkness here. There's even a little a bit of grease right here. There's a bit of grease that's starting to seep out of this boot. But again it's not broken or torn, so that's pretty amazing for a 15 year old axle shaft. So those are kind of the common things. I have seen the odd axle break but usually I think the last time I saw something, the actual cage, there's a cage that holds the ball bearings, had snapped and so it wouldn't allow, it sort of allowed the ball bearings to fall out of place. But a shaft broken like this, first time and probably the last time.

Mark: Well you never know. With electric cars they have a lot of torque. They might snap axle shafts.

Bernie: That's a good point. I mean we really don't know again with electric cars, we really don't know. But the good news with electric cars and all that torque is they're using axle shafts that have been used for a long time on gasoline powered cars. That you know, they've beefed them up to be pretty strong. So but you never know. Maybe that'll be the issue. You know, there will always be something on every kind of car that that's a common problem and maybe on electric cars it'll be the axle shaft. Who knows - probably not though.

Mark: Hondas have a reputation for being very reliable. How is this generation of Accord?

Bernie: Yeah, this is a super reliable car. It's really good. You know, the owner of this car takes good care of it and we service a lot of others that you know, around this vintage and there's still good cars. You know worth fixing. Worth keeping. There's not really a lot of engine problems. There are some transmission problems with these around this model year. So you do have to be a little careful with that but other than that, you know generally engines are really good. Do have timing belts so that is an expensive maintenance service that needs to be done. But you know, once it's done it's good for a long time. This is definitely on my recommended list car.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Honda or your axle shafts in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead they're always busy. Lots of cars to fix in Vancouver. And of course, thanks so much for watching the podcast and listening. And of course, you can check us out at pawlikautomotive.com, the website, over 600 articles on there about all makes and models of cars. Over 300 videos on the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, thanks for watching.

2015 Honda CRV, Cabin Air Filter and Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 21 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. It's unbelievable. 21 times. Come on. Aren't there any other good places to get your car fixed? Well, maybe not. These are the guys that their customers vote for as being the best auto repair in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well, and there are lots of other great shops around. We're just fortunate to have customers who vote for us, which is... Thank you.

Mark: So there you go. The guys at Pawlik do a great job. Today, we're talking about a 2015 Honda CRV that had a cabin air filter that needed changing. What was going on with this Honda?

Bernie: So the vehicle came to us for an A maintenance service, which is the most basic service that's required on the vehicle. It's essentially an oil change with a basic vehicle inspection. So what we do during that service is look at the lights, adjust the tire pressures, inspect the fluids. We use a two post hoist, so we get the vehicle up in the air, we can wiggle the wheels, make sure there's nothing obviously wrong with them, anything obviously loose. This vehicle's pretty low kilometre, so wouldn't expect to find anything, but you never know. Yeah and that basically covers it. The B service is more involved, which we take wheels off and look at things in more depth. The A service is pretty thorough for what we do. We also found the cabin air filter was dirty and that needed to be replaced. That was really the only other thing that was due at this point in time.

Mark: So what does that look like?

Bernie: Cabin air filter, well let's have a look, because this one, this one was a nice dirty one so it's worth a couple of pictures.

2015 Honda CRV, Cabin Air Filter and Maintenance Service
2015 Honda CRV, Cabin Air Filter and Maintenance Service

So there's our 2015 CRV, we just washed it. It's a fall... You can tell it's a fall day in Vancouver because there's leaves that have fallen on the ground and it's been moist out. There's the cabin air filter, typical, very dirty cabin air filter. Just so... I don't have a picture of a brand new one, but this white is basically how the whole filter should look. There should be none of this grey, dirty stuff. So this vehicle's four years old, about 50,000 kilometres, a bit less than that. This filter's definitely not been changed. So that's kind of what 50,000 kilometres of driving around the city of Vancouver and maybe Province of British Columbia will do. These filters will get dirtier or less dirty depending on where you drive. So if you happen to be driving in an area with a dusty climate, this filter will plug up certainly a lot quicker.

Mark: Is replacing the cabin air filter complicated?

Bernie: No, it's a really, really pretty straightforward service. And as much as we like to do everything on people's cars, I mean if you're somewhat handy in doing it yourself, it's not a hard thing to do on this vehicle. It's just accessible from the inside and it's not a difficult service to do.

Mark: So the filter that's dirty, what kind of damage does it cause?

Bernie: Well, nothing really. And as bad as this filter is, we've actually seen a few that are even worse than this. But I mean what can happen is it can put some strain on the heater blower system because you're sucking against a blockage. But I can't think of in my whole automotive career where we've ever had one where you can sort of... The motor is straining and you can tell afterwards that it's working better. But clearly there will be some difference in terms of how the air flows to the vehicle. But I've never seen any damage caused by one, but we have seen some tend to come apart and they could get in and tend to block parts of the heater blower of the squirrel cage fan. So again, it's important to change it on a regular basis and regular... This car is four years old. So this has gotten the most life out of it. It's probably gone a little too long, but probably every three years on average is a good time to do a cabin air filter in a car.

Mark: And of course there's whatever it's causing damage as far as your lungs are going.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And I was thinking a little bit, while kind of putting this podcast together, what... For so many years, cars never had cabin air filters. This is something that's sort of been around for maybe the last 15 years. And many cars never had them in the past. So what's changed? I think car cabins have become more sealed than they used to be. If you think of cars back in the 60s, it wasn't entirely abnormal to have wind whistling, air leaks, and only something like a Cadillac would probably be really air tight. Even then it wouldn't be. So, there's a lot... You're kind of breathing a lot of air that's in a more confined space so you want to kind of keep it clean. Plus the world's getting probably more polluted and people spend more time sitting in their cars in traffic jams with diesel trucks and those are cleaner than they used to be, but city diesel trucks, all those kinds of things I think contributed to the idea of "Hey, let's make the long driving experience a little more pleasant."

Mark: So not all cars today even have cabin air filters?

Bernie: Nope, not all of them. Most cars I'd say do. But a lot of times, that's the kind of a regular maintenance item we look for on vehicles. And if it's a new client or someone who we haven't done the cabin air filter for, sometimes it's kind of a surprise when you find, "Oh, this car doesn't have one." So yeah, not every car has one. I'd say that probably 80% do. Might even be... That number might even be higher now. But yeah, not every car has one.

Mark: And how reliable are the 2015 Honda CRVs?

Bernie: Well, I was going to immediately go, "Oh yeah, these are super reliable, like all Honda's," but these are still a little bit new to us at our shop. It seems like cars that are a little older, we tend to service a little more frequently and haven't seen a lot of problems with CRVs. But these... So I did a little research and there's actually a number of complaints in these vehicles. Engine vibration problems. Not certain exactly what the cause of that is. But that seems to be about the biggest complaint in this vehicle, engine vibration problems. Interestingly enough, looking at the newer CRVs of 2017 and '18 that these are different engine, there's a lot of problems and this is pretty serious fuel contamination in the engine oil. So the oil level starts going up because there's gasoline somehow leaking into the engine lubricating system and that can cause some serious damage breaking down the engine oil and causing engine damage. So that's a pretty serious issue.

So I think with the CRV, it's good to be a little cautious and expect you might have a few more problems than you would from the past models. Again this is a car, maybe if you're buying a used one, you might even consider getting an extended warranty. I often say with Japanese cars, I don't worry about it because they're so reliable. But this one, this one may have a few issues.

Mark: So there you go. A bit of word of caution on the newer models of Honda CRV. If you're looking for service in Vancouver for your Honda, your guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. There's hundreds of videos in both places and blog posts on repairs. Huge range of repairs, huge range of makes and models. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. It's appreciated.

2007 Honda Civic, Front Brakes Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, at Top Local, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 20-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. That's a lot of years of being the best, and of course, we're here with Bernie and we're talking cars. How you doing?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So today we're talking about a 2007 Honda Civic, a 12-year-old vehicle that had a front brake problem. What was going on with this Honda?

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came in for service and one of the complaints was that when you apply the brake, there's a shuddering, like a vibration in the steering wheel when braking.

Mark: So I'm fairly familiar with shuddering, and what causes me, generally, to shudder, is generally slipping around on guts. What causes brakes to shudder?

Bernie: Well, most of the time, it's warped brake rotors and it's a fairly common occurrence. The odd time, too, if you have some severely worn-out front end components, like tie rod ends, that will also cause a shudder in the steering wheel, because as the brakes are applied, it causes the shake to be transmitted. But most of the time, the shudder is from a warped brake rotor.

Mark: So when you inspect brakes, just visually, can you see the cause of the shudder?

Bernie: Normally, not, but in the case of this vehicle, there's actually some interesting visuals to look at, so let's just get right into the pictures and I'll show you what we did see.

2007 Honda Civic, Front Brakes Repair
2007 Honda Civic, Front Brakes Repair
2007 Honda Civic, Front Brakes Repair
2007 Honda Civic, Front Brakes Repair

So there's our '07 Civic four-door. Plain car but exceptionally reliable, as Hondas are. Here's a view of the brake rotor. If you can sort of see, there's a blackish mark here. That's a heat check. Basically, the rotor, it's got very hot, and when you see these, that doesn't necessarily indicate there's going to be a shudder, but when you see that, you can tell that the brakes in this vehicle have got very hot. That's what causes those kinds of marks. Sometimes, if it gets even hotter, you'll get an actual bluish colour. You may have seen that on chrome exhaust on a motorcycle, sometimes. But anyways, that heat check is certainly a good indication that the rotors have got too hot.

Mark: What other parts might have been needed replacement? So you're going to replace the rotors and calipers, I guess, and clean the assembly.

Bernie: Well, not necessarily the calipers, but we will, in this case, replace the calipers, because when we get to our next picture ... So generally speaking, depending on the age of the brakes, sometimes you can just change the rotors, if the pads are nice and thick. In the case of this vehicle, we had actually replaced the rotors. I don't have the exact time frame, but we were able to get the rotors replaced under warranty. It's a regular customer. But it had been a while, so there was some labor cost to doing it, and we replaced the pads, as well.

But in this case, we found another interesting issue, and that is a broken bleeder screw in the brake caliper. So that, of course, necessitated the brake fluid was due to be flushed. You can't flush the brake fluid without removing the bleeder screw or do any other service, for that matter. So the calipers needed to be replaced in order to complete the service on this vehicle.

What else have I got here? Little closer view of the broken bleeder screw. You can usually put a socket on the end of this and it's broken off flush, so that was the other item we replaced.

Mark: So on this service, it was a warranty item to change the rotors?

Bernie: It was, yeah, yeah.

Mark: And why was that a warrantied item?

Bernie: A warranty? Oh, we'd actually replaced the rotors. I believe it was about a year and a half ago on this car, and we were able to get the rotors replaced under warranty by our supplier, so good suppliers do take care of us.

Mark: And so what was causing the hot spots?

Bernie: Basically, I would say the brakes had just got hot. You know, it's hard to tell what causes them and how people use their brakes, but all it takes, sometimes, to warp a brake rotor, is just to go down a hill and hold the brakes on for too long. Some cars just tend to be more prone to rotor warpage than others, and others, you can abuse them and they just never warp. I mean, I owned a Subaru Outback and I went through a set of brake rotors every eight months, and I could almost tell. If I have to make a panic stop, within a week, the car would be shuddering and shaking and I tried all sorts of brands and types and from dealer to everything. Unfortunately, not the right rotor for the vehicle. Should have been bigger or something different about it.

But anyways, as far as the hot spots, to me, that indicates the brakes have just been on too long. Now, a sticking brake caliper can also cause that, too. In the case of this vehicle, we don't think the calipers are sticking. Just a broken bleeder screw has necessitated repairs.

Mark: So that's not something we've ever talked about, broken bleeder screws. Is that a common issue?

Bernie: Not very much any more. It used to be more common in the past. A lot of manufacturers used to use little tiny bleeder screws and they've got to using much larger ones which are more durable, but I say it's not very common in this part. In Ontario, eastern US, northeastern US and eastern Canada, you'll replace a lot more bleeder screws, because they tend to corrode. It's rust. Water will get into the bleeder screw and it'll seize up. They actually put caps on the bleeder screws to prevent water from getting in, because that prevents it from corroding, but when you're driving your vehicle in salty conditions all the time, it'll happen more often. But where we live in Vancouver, it's not that common of an item, but from time to time, we need to replace them. They do break.

Mark: So Civics have a reputation for reliability. What issues do you find with them?

Bernie: They are very reliable cars and the only real issue that kind of surprised me ... A couple years ago, we have a client and it had a coolant leak and the actual engine block split. And it wasn't because it had got frozen, but there's actually a defect in some of the engines around this model year of Honda, where the actual engine block will crack, which is really unfortunate. Not super common, but common enough that it happens on a certain number, maybe one out of 50 cars. So that's really the only sort of defect I've seen with this vehicle. Otherwise, a bulletproof car and something on my highly recommended list.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for brake service or service for your Honda Civic, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call ahead to book, they're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Our YouTube channel, hundreds and hundreds of videos talking about all makes and models of cars and repairs over the last five years at Pawlik Auto Repair - search on YouTube. Or of course thank you so much for listening to the Podcast, we appreciate it. Thanks Bernie

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

2006 Honda Ridgeline, Timing Belt Replacement

Mark: 2006 Honda Ridgeline timing belt replacement. So as we mentioned, a 2006 Honda Ridgeline is this week's victim, timing belt replacement was going on with this. What was going on with this Honda?

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop for a routine timing belt replacement and it had about I believe a 180000 kilometres, what's the mileage conversion on that? I don't know, maybe 120,000 miles or 110,000 miles, something like that and the vehicle was due for its timing belt replacement, never been done before. It's a 2006, so actually 12-13 year old vehicle, so it definitely had good use on the timing belt and we replaced it.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing the timing belt on this vehicle?

Bernie: Well it's actually a pretty decent timing belt service as far as those go. It is a transverse mounted V6, like all Honda type engines are, they sit sideways in the engine compartment, which can be annoying but actually this one's nicely built and readily accessible. To get the timing belt covered there's a few accessory items that need to removed like the power steering pump and the accessory belt and then after that it covers off and the timing belt's right in there to be replaced.

Mark: Besides the belt, what other parts do you replace on this 3.5 litre V6?

Bernie: That's a great question, so I mean often when either you look at maintenance schedule, it says replace timing belt, it doesn't tell you about all the other things. Well actually Honda does say inspect water pump, so they're a little further ahead of the game but we like to do a thorough service on these, I mean as I said this car is 13 years old, it's got 180,000 kilometres. There's other items that are going to be worn out or soon to wear out on the vehicle if they're not replaced, so doing a thorough timing belt job is really critical. Back in the olden days when timing belts would last only maybe 70 or 90,000 kilometres, sometimes you get away with things like tensioners leaving them because they're probably wear out by the second belt, but nowadays, they last so long everything tends to wear out. So let's just look at some pictures, so this is not our Ridgeline but this is a 2006 Honda Ridgeline a sort of, I like to call it a sort of pickup truck.

2006 Honda Ridgeline, Timing Belt Replacement

2006 Honda Ridgeline

2006 Honda Ridgeline, Timing Belt Replacement
2006 Honda Ridgeline, Timing Belt Replacement
2006 Honda Ridgeline, Timing Belt Replacement

There's a view of the timing belt area, this is with the original belt on, so this is with the covers removed, the power steering pump normally sits right in this area, it's been removed as well and you can see here's the belt, that's the crank shaft pulley, idler pulley and the belt and I'm just kind of rooting around with the mouse here, goes past the tensioner and down back to the crank shaft. This is the water pump located in here, so this pulley again, these pulley's are all driven by the water pump or sorry, by the timing belt and we replaced all of them because they're all of the same age, they're worn the same amount and while there was nothing actually really wrong any of them at the moment, who knows when any of these parts is going to fail and if they do, it's going to take the belt out with it and kind of defeats the whole purpose of replacing the timing belt.

In addition, behind the timing belt there are oil seals. There's an oil seal behind each camshaft pulley, so we removed the pulley's and we replaced the seals and the crankshaft pulley comes off and we replaced the seal back there. Again, these seals get hard with age, they start to leak, on this car they actually weren't leaking yet but the seals were starting to get pretty hard, so leakage is not far down the road and it's not a lot of extra work while you have everything apart. And let's just look at a couple other pictures, so there is another view of the timing belt looking straight down, again you can see the water pump. These marks our technician put on just to reference, so you can see where the pulley's line up. Lining up a timing belt is very critical, if any of these is one tooth off the engine will not run properly and if it's way off, the pistons and valves can collide and destroy your engine, so of course you got to do it properly, it's critical.

Now, here's a good overview of all the parts we replaced. So these were all the old pieces, so there's the timing belt, this is the tensioner pulley assembly and this is the hydraulic tensioner, this piece actually forces the belt and it keeps tight and it's oil filled so it keeps it at a constant tension. It used to be in the olden days, I don't know how far back the olden days are but before they had this technology is what I consider the olden days, the timing belt, you'd adjust to a certain tension and you'd leave it, but what would happen is by the time maybe 50,000 to 60,000 miles, 100k's, near the end of the belt's life, the belt would have stretched a little bit and there's often a lot of play.

So this tensioner completely eliminates that, so you never get excessive play in the belt throughout the whole life unless this part fails and they do and that can cause some issues in and of itself. There's the water pump and thee are the oil seals, the camshaft, two camshaft seals and the crankshaft seals. So there's a full overview of all the parts we replaced.

Mark: So what's the replacement interval on this Ridgeline?

Bernie: So Honda, they have the indicator maintenance light on the dash and the light will come on saying it needs an A or a B service and they have a bunch of numbers. So they only give a specific mileage interval under very extreme use condition, which I'll talk about in a sec, but if your warning with a number four comes on like an A or a B four, that's when the timing belt needs to be replaced, along with they recommend spark plugs and a valve adjustment. So what that actual mileage interval is I don't really know and to be honest, I'm not sure if that was actually on, on this vehicle or not, the owner of this vehicle does a lot of his own service but he wanted us to do the timing belt for him.

So I will say that at 180,000 kilometres I did look at the belt pretty closely and it actually looks to be in good shape, so I don't like to ever recommend to people and please don't take this as a recommendation, oh you can go a lot longer, the answer is yes, this could have lasted longer but we would have never known had we taken it a part, it could have been on the verge of breaking and it is 13 years old, so it is rubber but generally as I said, visually and physically it seemed to be in pretty good shape. That being said, we did have a Jeep Liberty Diesel a few weeks back, the owner had not changed the timing belt, hit about 200k's, the belt skipped teeth, destroyed the engine. The amount of money that cost to fix, it's not worth it. So had he replaced it a little sooner, it would have been good. So you never know how long your timing belt is going to last, it's best to replace it and if that warning comes on the dash do it.

Now, I'm just looking away at my screen here because there is one other thing that Honda recommends for replacing the belt, and that is there is a time interval if vehicle is regularly driven at temperatures over 110 degrees Fahrenheit or under -20 degrees Fahrenheit or towing a trailer, so those are pretty specific conditions, I don't know if you live in the Mohave desert or something or Northern Canada and you drive it a lot, then they recommend replacing the timing belt every 100,000 kilometres or 60,000 miles, so just so you know that's the other interval. If you're cautious with your maintenance, I'd say 180k, this is a good amount of time to change it, it's best to change things before they look worn and broken. That way you just keep on driving, and it's done and you have peace of mind.

Mark: And you get another ten years out of the vehicle.

Bernie: Well exactly, that's right. Why be cheap? This is already lasted a long time and comparative to what timing belts used to be, this is double the length of what timing belts used to last a decade or two earlier, so the technology has really come along.

Mark: I was just going to ask that. Not as common of a job these days, how come?

Bernie: Well, a lot of the engines don't have timing belts anymore and the ones that do, the intervals tend to be pretty long. Like in this Honda, there are 160 to 200,000 kilometres in length, it's a lot of driving time. It's many years worth of driving time but also a lot of manufacturer's have gone away from using timing belts, they've gotten the timing chains. Chains don't have a set interval replacement, but one thing I will tell you is if you have a vehicle with a timing chain, change your oil regularly. Change it more frequently because good clean oil is critical for timing chains.

You cannot mess around. I mean with a timing belt, you've got a whole mechanism that's not lubricated and it doesn't matter, you've got a bunch of other components that aren't affected by your oil change but timing chains are highly critical for oil changes, so just bear that in mind, we're kind of drifting off the topic of timing belts, but as I say, a lot of manufacturers have gone to using chains, they're really more durable. They're meant if you take care of it, to last the life of the engine but some do fail and when they do they cost a lot more money than a timing belt to fix.

Mark: So how are Honda Ridgelines, I don't even know if they make these anymore, for reliability?

Bernie: I'm not sure if they make them either. So the engine in this is similar to a Honda Pilot, Accord, V6 Model, Odyssey, they use it in a lot of engines but anyways, the overall vehicle excellent reliability. To me Honda, Toyota, they're kind of number one in my books, not perfect vehicles, stuff does go wrong but they tend to be much more durable than most and I highly recommend this vehicle. I know the owner of this vehicle, he bought it brand new, he's done very little on it, which is pretty amazing for a 13 year old vehicle. We talk a lot about Range Rovers and certain Mercedes, and "nicer cars" and the amount of stuff that goes wrong with those in a period of 12 to 13 years can be quadruple what you got on a Honda or Toyota, so something to keep in mind.

Mark: You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. If you're in Vancouver and of course if you're somewhere else we love you watching our videos, you can check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, as we get a lot of visitors from the United States and around the world, as well on YouTube there's hundreds of videos on Pawlik Auto Repair Channel and of course, thank you for listening to the podcast and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark and thank you for watching and listening

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