Car Maintenance - Page 3 of 10 - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC


Category Archives for "Car Maintenance"

Tire Pressure Monitoring System – TPMS

Tire Pressure Monitoring System | Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver BC

A tire pressure monitoring system offers convenience, are a smart safety addition and they are proven to increase the life of your tires!


Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems TPMS

TPMS show inflation pressure which governs the performance of a pneumatic tire. Safety performance like braking distance and lateral stability require the inflation pressures to be maintained as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

Extreme under-inflation can lead to thermal and mechanical overload caused by overheating and subsequent, sudden destruction of the tire. Plus, under-inflation adversely affects fuel efficiency and tire wear. Tires leak air naturally and over a year, even a typical new, properly mounted tire can lose from 20 to 60 kPa (3 to 9 psi), roughly 10% or even more of its serviced proper pressure.
tire pressure monitoring system tpms
The significant advantages of TPMS are illustrated by the costs of tire under inflation:

• Consequences of low tire pressure: Punctures (approx. 80% of punctures are caused by inadequate tire pressure), Increased tire wear due to added flexing work, Increased fuel consumption due to higher rolling resistance

• Fuel usage: for every 10% of under-inflation on each tire on a vehicle, a 1% reduction in fuel economy will occur (According to the GITI). In just the US, the DOT estimates that under inflated tires waste 2 billion US gal. (7,600,000,000 litres) of fuel each year.

• Poor tire life: Tire disintegration, heat buildup, separation and sidewall/casing breakdowns are mostly caused by under inflated tires. Running a tire even briefly with low pressure breaks down the casing and stops the option to retread the tire.

• Increased downtime, higher maintenance and repair: Under-inflated tires cause expensive downtime, maintenance and premature tire replacement.

• Poor safety: Under-inflated tires lead to tread separation and tire failure, resulting in 40,000 accidents, 33,000 injuries and over 650 deaths per year. On the other hand, tires properly inflated provide greater stability, handling and braking efficiencies and more safety for the driver, the vehicle, the loads and others on the road.

• Environmentally Bad: Under-inflated tires, as estimated by the Department of Transportation, release over 57.5 billion pounds of unnecessary carbon-monoxide pollutants into the atmosphere each year in the United States alone.

Tire pressure monitoring systems are mandated in many countries now and offer real advantages; call us to find out about equipping your vehicle.

We Service New Cars

We love servicing new vehicles and always appreciate working with the clean, shiny and newly painted undercarriage and suspension components.

Many of our clients bring their new vehicles to us for service but some take their new cars to the dealer. Is it because they feel their warranty will be voided if the dealer doesn’t service it? Is it because the glitzy feel of the dealership somehow pulls on them and makes them feel like these are the folks who will best service this car? Were they told that their car must be serviced by the dealer? Or perhaps, after years of fixing their old car we are thought of as the “old car repair shop.”

Whatever the reason it is time to bust a few myths:

Myth 1:

My warranty will be void if anyone other than the dealer services my car.

Fact: Any qualified auto service facility can perform the manufacturers recommended maintenance and your warranty remains valid. By the way it is illegal for anyone selling you a new car to state that you must have your car serviced at their dealership.

Myth 2:

If there is a warranty related problem the dealer won’t take care of me because I have done my service elsewhere.


    The dealer is obliged to repair any warranty concerns that the manufacturer authorizes and most are happy to do so as it is business for them.

Myth 3:

The dealer knows my car better. It’s new technology and they have the tools to fix it.


    While dealer technicians are specifically trained on their type of vehicle all cars function the same way with only subtle differences. We have state of the art equipment and repair information that is equal to or better than the dealer.

Myth 4:

If there is a recall only the dealer will know that.


    We have a state of the art database which lists all manufacturers maintenance schedules as well as recalls. We look these over every time your car is brought in for service.

I hope that this sheds some light for you and helps you make a choice as to who services your car.

As a further advantage to dealing with us we are your 3rd party advocate to be certain that your vehicle is being properly serviced and any warranty related concerns are brought to your attention. So much of your car is hidden and unless someone mentions a concern you are unlikely to know that it is needed.

If you like the service and value that you get from the dealership by all means stick with them; however do know that you have a choice, and I believe that we offer a fabulous choice, superior to the dealership.

We Service New Cars

Underside of 2011 Dodge Avenger in for its first service

What We Do – A BNI Presentation

BNI Big Tsunami, Vancouver, BC

Good Morning, I’m Bernie from Pawlik Automotive.

BNI Big Tsunami, Vancouver, BC

Pawlik Automotive is an auto service shop located in the Marpole area of Vancouver, BC. We’ve been in business since 1991 which makes us 20 years old this year. We service most makes of cars and light trucks and we do pretty much all the maintenance and repairs that your car will need. What we don’t do is bodywork, windshields and detailing.

I want to speak today on a few aspects of our business that are unique.

Let’s face it there are a lot of auto repair shops out there but there are several things that make Pawlik Automotive an excellent choice for servicing your vehicle.

Wholistic Approach

We take what I call a wholistic approach to vehicle service. Auto Inspection reportWe look at the whole car, evaluate it and let you know what service is required now and what is required in the future. The basis of that service comes via this very colorful and detailed inspection form. Having us as your partner in vehicle service undoubtedly saves you money in the long run.

An Honest Mechanic

We don’t use a heavy handed or fear based tactics as a way of selling service.

    I can give an example from this week: we had a client who complained that her brakes were making a noise. I drove the car and noted a grinding noise at some times: it was intermittent and coming from her front brakes. Upon inspection we found 4 mm remaining on the brake pads and the rotors were in good condition. 4 mm on this car could last another 20 to 30,000 kilometers and there was no safety issue involved. We let her know that we could replace her pads & rotors now and eliminate her noise or she could safely leave them and live with the noise. She opted to leave them, a $500 sale walked out the door while our integrity remained intact!

Fleet Maintenance

Another area of specialty for us is fleet maintenance: essentially these are vehicles used for business and most often these would be trades companies: plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, rubbish removal companies and garden maintenance companies just to name a few.

What makes our service so valuable to fleets is our thorough inspections along with accurately recording the work needed and booking future appointments along with reminding them of when service is needed.

    I can give an example of how we’ve helped one of our fleet clients: Action Integrated SecurityWe service a company called Action Integrated Security who have about 15 vehicles, mostly heavily loaded vans. When they started bring their vehicles to us they were in pretty bad shape but we got them maintained to our high standards.
    One area of concern remained and that was that some of their vans were eating brakes at an alarming rate and this was in spite of our use of the best quality brake parts available. After a few of their trucks ran into horrifically expensive brake jobs which could have been prevented by inspections, the company’s owner, upon my suggestion now brings all of their vehicles to us for every service.
    They had been going to quick lubes for oil services as this was convenient for them as their technician did not have to be without a vehicle. Unfortunately quick lubes don’t look at the whole vehicle and much was being missed. We now inspect their brakes at every service and note any quick wearing brakes so they can be dealt with before they wear out. This is saving them a lot of money.

Diesel Vehicles

Diesel cars and diesel trucks are another area of specialty for us. Many auto repair shops don’t do diesels but we love them and have invested in the equipment and education to diagnose and repair them properly.

    An example of some of our diesel service is on 6 liter Ford diesels:Ford Diesel Head Gasket Repairs these are very common in pick up trucks from 2003 to 2006 model years. Unfortunately this engine is not reliable stock but with proper repairs it can be made bulletproof and we have done this to a number of these engines.

Proper Diagnosis

Doing proper diagnosis is very important to fixing a modern vehicle and it is a big part of our business and it’s something that we do very well. There are many expensive parts to go wrong so it is essential to take the time to find out what the exact cause is so that our client’s money is not wasted.

    Here’s an example of the value of diagnosis: A couple of days ago we had a Dodge truck with a check engine lamp on and it’s engine running with a slight misfire. His previous shop had not done diagnosis but had installed many parts in hopes of fixing the concern: new spark plugs, ignition wires, distributor cap & rotor and a fuel injector in 1 cylinder.
    They had charged him a fair amount of money and while some of these parts may have been needed they had not solved his concern. We diagnosed his concern and found a bad intake valve in #8 cylinder which required some engine work. Chances are most of the other parts were unnecessary and were a waste of his money: had this vehicle owner done diagnosis first he would have undoubtedly saved hundreds of dollars.

Pawlik Website

Over the past few years I’ve invested heavily into our website and created educational materials. I write blog articles frequently about all sorts of auto repair topics and have created several videos on how we do our work and what makes us unique.

I encourage you to take the time to look around as it explains a lot about how we do things here at Pawlik Automotive.

If you have someone that you’d like to refer to us please ask them to look at our videos as it will give them an idea about how we do things and what makes us unique. Pawlik Auto Repairs YouTube ChannelWhile I have fun making these I do it so that people will learn about what makes their vehicle tick and what goes into the work that we do so they can get a better understanding of the value that we offer.

Please take a couple of minutes to view one of my videos this week. Just go on You Tube – Pawlik Automotive. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Prepare For Winter Driving

Winter driving help

With winter just around the corner now is the time to be certain that your vehicle is ready to tackle the cold, wet and possibly snowy weather ahead. Though modern cars (those built within the last couple of decades) are often in fine shape to tackle all seasons it is best to be 100% sure that everything is in good order.

Winter driving help

Here Are Some Items To Pay Extra Attention To For Winter Driving:

    Good battery Condition: a weak battery will not start your car when the temperature drops.
    Antifreeze Protection: your engine coolant protection should be good for at least 5 degrees below the coldest temperature that you are expecting to experience.
    Washer Fluid Antifreeze: you washer fluid should be of the antifreeze type this time of year.
    Tires: whether you have snow tires or all season tires the treads must be in good condition and the tires properly inflated (more on snow tires below).
    Wiper Blades: should be in good condition and all lights should be functioning.
    Block Heater: if you plan to visit very cold areas a functioning block heater may be needed.
    • Any deferred maintenance that might be affected by cold or wet weather should be repaired (if you have questions about any items, please call us)

Snow Tires
The question of snow tires often comes up. Living around the lower mainland we are blessed with a mild winter climate where snow tires are optional. When deciding on whether to get snow tires or not here are a few things to consider: will you drive only in Vancouver? Will you drive your car in the snow? If you answered yes to these, then snow tires are likely not needed.

If however you plan to head to the mountains skiing or on trips to Whistler or the interior then snow tires are a very good idea and may be legally required. Do remember that while snow tires do require an additional investment they save the life of your other tires so over the long run don’t add a huge cost.

Air Conditioning
While few people think of air conditioning at this time of year in Canada, a properly functioning A/C system is actually a safety feature! When you need to defog your front window, which occurs frequently in our wet climate switching on your A/C will defrost the windshield in a fraction of the time that it takes without the A/C.

Brighter Lights
If you find your night vision less than optimal (and it is not your eyes) we have many options for brighter headlamps and would be happy to discuss what is available.

Safety Kit
Another item that is often overlooked is a safety kit: this could save your life if you happen to slide off the road or become stranded. A few items that come to mind for this kit would be candles & matches, a sleeping bag and/or warm blankets and some extra food and water.

As always we are happy to answer any questions that you have about your vehicle and its readiness for winter. If you have snow tires to put on please call us to book now to avoid the rush.

Wishing you a safe and happy winter driving season.

So Much is Riding on Your Tires

If you feel a wobble, vibration or hear clunking sounds while driving your vehicle it would behoove you to have your vehicle inspected for the concern as soon as possible. We recently serviced a Mercedes with, what the client described as a vibration in the vehicle at around 60 kilometers an hour. During my road test the vibration was very apparent and to the point that driving in the vehicle was uncomfortable. I suspected a bad tire in the rear and slowed my speed because it felt dangerous. Up on the hoist it was apparent that both rear tires were badly worn especially the right rear. After inspecting the old tires off rim I noted this very dangerous crack between the tread and the tire casing: it was only a matter of time before this tire completely blew apart. The lesson here is you never know when a shake or vibration is going to cause a catastrophe so it is best to have the concern inspected immediately. The same goes for clunks and other odd noises. Sometimes noises and vibrations are really no safety concern at all but it is best to have it professionally looked at to be certain.

So Much is Riding on Your Tires

Dangerous tire: note the crack running along the edge of the tread

Why Catalytic Converters Fail

Catalytic converters fail for many reasons and the consequence of failure can cause several things to occur including a failed AirCare emission test, a check engine lamp warning, rattles under your car and poor engine performance.

Why Catalytic Converters Fail

A replacement catalytic converter

Let’s look at what your catalytic converter is, what it does and what causes it to fail.

Catalytic converters use a catalyst to transform harmful carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions in your engine’s exhaust into carbon dioxide and water. The catalyst consists of a combination of precious metals: platinum, palladium and rhodium. When the hot exhaust passes these elements a chemical transformation occurs.

The precious metal catalyst is bonded onto a very fine ‘honeycomb’ grid which sits inside the converter housing. It is a simple structure with no moving parts and only requires the heat of the exhaust and the right exhaust gas mixture to operate.

Why Catalytic Converters Fail

Inside the catalytic converter: the "honeycomb" substrate

Catalytic converter failures occur in several ways: First, impact failures which can occur if the unit is hit, often involving running over something. Second, thermal shocks which can occur if the unit is suddenly cooled. A likely cause would be going over a puddle in cold winter weather and the hot converter receiving an intense dousing of cold water. Third cause of failure is poisoning of the catalyst which can come from several sources: use of leaded gasoline (very rare these days); antifreeze entering the unit likely through a blown head gasket or other internal engine coolant leak; use of improper silicone gasket sealers; and use of oil additives which contain zinc. Fourth, is coating of the substrate: this is the honeycomb structure with the catalyst. This can occur from excessive carbon deposits and/or excessive engine oil consumption. Fifth and final cause of failure is overheating of the catalyst and this usually occurs from too rich a fuel mixture and/or engine misfire.

Do Catalytic Converters Simply Wear Out?

While all manufacturers seem to claim that they don’t and that they last the life of the car, it simply isn’t true. Many cars experience early failure due to a substandard size or quality of converter. Aftermarket replacements, always much cheaper than the original manufacturer’s part, are usually inferior in quality.

There are various grades of aftermarket converters. Here, you truly get what you pay for as the cheap ones often fail quickly whereas the good quality aftermarket units usually give years of great service. This is why we always recommend high quality units.

Catalytic Converter Maintenance

As a conscientious car owner looking to maximize catalytic converter life the best thing that you can do is to maintain your car meticulously and always address any check engine lamp concerns, correct rough running and misfiring engines or any performance issues. Failure to do so will result in you buying new catalytic converter(s) sooner than necessary and these are, by the way, normally very expensive to replace!

For more on repairing Catalytic Converters here’s an article at AirCare

A Leaking Water Pump Prevents a Major Disaster

Cracked Timing Belt

While repairing a water pump on a 1990 Toyota pickup equipped with a 3 litre V6 engine we came upon this very badly worn and about to break timing belt. It was perhaps by good fortune that this water pump was leaking as the vehicle was new to our client and he had no idea of the timing belt’s condition.

A Leaking Water Pump Prevents a Major Disaster

Severely cracked timing belt

Here are a few facts about timing belts:

➢ The timing belt’s primary purpose is to drive the engine’s camshaft(s) in perfect synchronization with the crankshaft. This precisely times the movement of the engine pistons with the intake and exhaust valves.
➢ Some engines have 2 timing belts and often one of these operates balance shafts. Balance shafts are installed to smooth out the subtle but inherent shaking that occurs in 4 cylinder engines.
➢ On some engines the timing belt also drives the water pump and/or the oil pump.
On many engines if the timing belt breaks the pistons and valves will collide and cause very expensive damage. This type of engine is known as an interference engine.
➢ On all engines, when the timing belt breaks, the engine stops immediately and cannot be restarted until repaired.
Timing belts almost always give no warning before they fail.
➢ On most engines inspecting the timing belt can be quite time consuming as it is located under plastic covers and these are often covered with pipes, hoses and accessories.
➢ A proper timing belt replacement involves not just replacing the timing belt but also the front camshaft and crankshaft oil seals, timing belt tensioner pulley, idler pulley(s), tensioner assembly and water pump (depending on design of engine).
➢ Replacement intervals for most vehicles since the 2000 model year is 168,000 kilometers or higher, however consult your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to be certain. Cars previous to this usually have shorter intervals and many cars made in the 1980’s or 1990’s require replacement at 96,000 kilometers or sooner.

Don't Disregard Your Check Engine Lamp

Check Engine Lamp

Do not underestimate the value of your check engine lamp even if your car runs perfectly well. Disregarding your check engine lamp can add great inconvenience to your life.

Let’s face it, sometimes spending money on car repairs is not your first choice (or even your second or third choice). It’s often one of those “have to” purchases.

Frequently it’s tempting to make choices about what to repair based on how the car runs. And so it goes with your car’s check engine light: that’s the amber lamp that illuminates on your dash that either says “check engine” or shows an outline of an engine. Its main function is to alert you to a concern with your engine management system and/or an engine concern that causes excessive exhaust emissions. Many times your vehicle will run perfectly well and herein lies the temptation to ignore the lamp.

Don't Disregard Your Check Engine Lamp

A check engine lamp

Let’s look at the consequences of ignoring your check engine lamp:

1) If your engine is running poorly and the lamp is on, ignoring this will very likely cost you more money in repairs down the road. A rough running or misfiring engine will usually destroy your catalytic converter(s) which can cost thousands to replace.

2) Even if your engine is running well it may not be running as intended and could be using more fuel, costing you more to drive. Your vehicle’s powertrain computer is designed to compensate for malfunctions and keep it running as close to normal as possible. Often you can’t feel the problem but something is happening that will cost you more either in fuel or premature wear down the road.

3) If you live in the Vancouver Area and your vehicle is seven years or older then it must be tested at AirCare every 2 years. If your vehicle is 1998 and newer the entire test involves interrogating your vehicle’s powertrain computer for defects. If your check engine lamp is on YOU WILL FAIL the test and waste money for the inspection.

The best plan of attack when your check engine lamp comes on it to have it looked at. A basic inspection will retrieve the stored trouble code and from there a technician can discuss a proper diagnostic and repair plan.

On the simple end of the scale he/she may find your gas cap was loose and tightening it solves the concern. On the more complex end of the spectrum several levels of diagnosis may be required to find the cause and repair the concern. Either way it is important to know why the light is on and what effects it may be having on your vehicle.

Yes, We Service Land Rover (And Range Rover Too)

Range Rover Land Rover

Land Rover has established a reputation as a fabulously reliable go anywhere vehicle. For decades they have been found at all corners of the globe driving on hard pavement or just as easily, where no road exists! We service Land Rover and the very luxurious Range Rover at Pawlik Automotive with care, expertise and the latest diagnostic equipment.

For many years British vehicles had a horrible reputation as being unreliable and older Land Rovers were not without fault. That however has changed: these vehicles are very well built, are extremely reliable and best of all, parts are readily available. We look forward to taking care of your Land Rover or Range Rover with our expert care and service.

Yes, We Service Land Rover (And Range Rover Too)

The Luxurious 2006 Range Rover HSE and the Rugged 1995 Land Rover Discovery

Extending The Life Of Your Transmission

Automatic transmission maintenance

Many European cars clearly state that their automatic transmissions are filled for life and that replacing the fluid is never required. This is a very bold claim and I believe one that is incorrect!

Transmissions have hundreds of moving parts some of which are friction materials such as clutch discs. All of these parts wear and contaminate the transmission’s fluid. While the fluid may well be designed to handle the heat of the transmission forever, the contamination remains inside.

Recently we had a client with a 2000 BMW X5 whose transmission suddenly started malfunctioning in a serious way. The vehicle had 180,000 kilometers which is not a very high mileage for many vehicles.

To be fair, these particular transmissions do have concerns that will cause premature failures. However routinely renewing the fluid with an automatic transmission flush throughout this vehicle’s life, about every 50,000 kilometers would have added some life to this transmission… if not prevented this early death.

In this case the manufacturer got what it wanted: the sale of another vehicle as our client chose not to repair the vehicle and bought a new one.

Extending The Life Of Your Transmission

Inside a ZF Automatic transmission as used in BMW vehicles

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

In order to provide an estimate, a diagnosis is the next step!