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Category Archives for "Mazda"

2007 Mazda CX9 – Rear Brake Pads And Rotors

Mazda CX9

This weeks featured service is a Rear Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement on a 2007 Mazda CX9, brought to us by a client from Dunbar, Vancouver.

Mazda CX9

2007 Mazda CX9

While a rear brake replacement is hardly an unusual service at our shop, or many other shops for that matter, this particular repair shows a great example of the care and detail that we put into this service.

The very first step before brakes are repaired is a detailed inspection. At our shop we start with visually inspect all components. We measure the thickness of the brake pads and rotors, or drums and shoes. We test the callipers and wheel cylinders for leaks and proper movement. We test the brake fluid. From there we can determine what needs to be replaced.

There is much more to a brake job than simply replacing brake pads. Let’s look at the individual items that require attention. These are all components that we addressed during this rear brake job.

1. The brake rotor. Otherwise known as the brake disc. This component is attached to the wheel hub and usually held in place by the wheel. Rotors are made of iron and vary in quality from car to car and from parts brand to brand. There are cheap rotors, mid priced ones, premium quality and high performance options available for most vehicles. Generally speaking cheap rotors warp easily and wear quicker.

Usually by the time brake pads wear out rotors are also worn out. Rotors are prone to rusting as they are composed of bare metal and exposed to the elements. While they can be machined on a brake lathe this practice has largely disappeared as many shops no longer have a lathe. Fortunately rotors are reasonably priced and a better brake job is done by using new rotors as they are of optimum thickness which helps disperse heat quickly.

Mazda CX9

Old brake rotor, note the excessive rust inside the drum area (center). This is where the park brake shoes apply.

Mazda CX9

New brake rotor

2. Wheel hub. This is where the brake rotor sits and is found sandwiched between hub and wheel. By the time the brakes wear out the hub usual gets rusty. Cleaning the rust corrosion from the hub is critical for a proper rotor fit and to prevent premature warpage and brake shudder.

Mazda CX9

Wheel hub before cleaning. Note the rusty surface.

Mazda CX9

Wheel hub after rust was removed. The parking brake shoes sit behind the hub.

3. Brake caliper. The caliper is the part that squeezes the brake pads against the rotor. It has one or more fluid filled pistons that operate when you press your brake pedal. There are often other sliding components with the caliper and keeping these parts free of corrosion and well lubricated is critical to long brake pad life and efficient brake operation.

The brake pads sit inside the caliper bracket and move slightly back and forth with every brake application. Over time rust corrosion sets in and causes pads to stick. Often pads will wear out prematurely when this happens. An important part of doing a quality brake job involves cleaning, removing corrosion and lubricating these critical moving parts.

Mazda CX9

Brake caliper bracket with shim removed. Note the rust corrosion. This causes the pads to stick and wear out prematurely.

Mazda CX9

Caliper brake after sandblasting away the rust. The shim below is new.

Brake caliper pistons can also seize up and so can the slider pins. When this occurs the calipers need replacement.

4. Brake pads. The brake pads are generally made of a composite material softer than the brake rotors. Once upon a time they were primarily made of that fabulous mineral asbestos. As with rotors, there is a wide variety of product offerings from cheap quality to premium to high performance. Generally we like to use as close to the original manufacturers type of pad as possible. This ensures good braking with minimal squeaks and squeals and good durability. On the subject of durability, many good quality aftermarket pads will outlast the OEM installed pads, sometimes by a substantial margin.

Mazda CX9

Rear brake pads. Old pad on left and new pad on right.

So there are the brakes and a list of components and steps to doing a proper long lasting brake job. Following all of these procedures ensures that the job is done correctly. It is what we do every time at Pawlik Automotive.

For more information on the Mazda CX9 click here

For more about disc brakes click here

Madza Vehicle Hangout

Talking Mazda with Bernie Pawlik, owner of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 14 time winner of best auto repair in Vancouver.

Mark: Good morning, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive. They’re a fourteen time winner of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How are you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing awesome. How are you Mark?

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Mazda’s and these are pretty popular cars, especially with the new Madza 3 over the last decade or so. What can you tell us about them?

Bernie: Well, first off, I’ve worked on Mazda’s for years and years and I’ve seen many changes in Mazda cars, they have advanced technology. They’ve always been fairly reliable but I’ve always thought of them as a little bit under Toyota and Nissan, in terms of quality and reliablity, and maybe that’s not true, and Honda to boot, but they’re excellent cars – overall I think they’re great.

Mark: So over the years, I’ve seen a number of similar Mazda and Ford vehicles. What’s going on there?

Bernie: Well at one time Ford owned, until recently, they owned 7% of Mazda so they build some vehicles together which is probably a good idea to create a partnership there. Ford had divested a lot of their stock in Mazda. They still own a tiny bit but they don’t seem to build anything together anymore.

But some of the vehicles that have been outstanding over the years, the Ford small pickup trucks and the Mazda truck are essentially the same truck. The Mazda B series and the Ford Ranger – they’re similar trucks. They have made a reliable, again Japanese vehicles tend to be, I’ve always thought, more reliable than American cars, maybe not recently, but over a couple decades past. So it offered Ford a good, reliable Japanese vehicle and the Ford Probe and Mazda MX6, were a nice sporty car that was a combined effort. The main thing about these combined vehicles, is that you could often buy the Ford product on the used market, for substantially cheaper than the Mazda vehicle – just because it’s an American vehicle it appreciates faster. So if you could buy one of these Mazda Fords, you have a very reliable vehicle for a lot less money than the Mazda vehicle.

One thing that we’ve found over the years is that the parts for these cars, especially if you buy them from the Mazda dealer were often cheaper than buying them from the Ford dealer. Seems like Ford bought the parts from Mazda and just marked them up.

I think that’s one advantage with dealing with an independent auto repair shop is that you get the, we source parts and we offer the best price to our customers, whereas if you went to the Ford dealer, you’d be paying a lot more money for the parts.

Mark: So we’re experiencing a little bit of busy-ness even this early in the morning, which is great.

Bernie: I don’t know if you hear me with all that phone ringing?

Mark: Yeah we did. So what about Mazda’s current vehicles? How are they?

Bernie: Awesome. You know, I think the Mazda 3 is an awesome vehicle, very popular. We work on a lot of those vehicles. They’ve been out for over a decade now and they’re just super, reliable cars. We’ve yet to see one with a bad engine or transmission. I haven’t seen one burning oil which is really a good sign. There are a few issues with them – check engine light comes on for a few different components of fail, but nothing that’s really overly expensive to fix. They’re one of those cars, almost like a Toyota Corolla where you could actually predict how much money you’re going to spend every year on maintenance and repairs which is really nice to have a car like that.

Mazda makes a variety of other vehicles, they have their sport utility CX5, CX9 – totally reliable, very little goes wrong with those to, so they’re great vehicles.

Mark: So Mazda, we touched on the pickup trucks, so how are they?

Bernie: Food, it’s funny we talked about pickups in past tense because I just realized that when I was doing a little research for this hangout that Mazda hasn’t made pickup trucks or sold them for a few years now, but overall they were awesome pickup trucks. For compact pickup trucks they were great, they were very durable. We even have customers today, that have small Mazda B22 pickup trucks that were build in the early ’90’s. It’s a four cylinder truck, really simple, most have wind up windows and a lot of them don’t even have power steering, people just seem to hang on to them, they just keep going and going. We’ve had quite a few brought in for ring and valve jobs on the engines and then they tend to burn oil but they just keep on going and going. So excellent trucks. As I mentioned, the Ford Ranger used to be a Mazda truck as well. So great trucks. If you want to buy a brand new one, you won’t be buying it from Mazda anymore.

Mark: So I guess the conversation about Mazda is never complete without talking about the infamous bongo rotary engine.

Bernie: Yup, so the rotary engine was’t Mazda’s invention, but in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, seized upon the technology and ran with it as a good way to differentiate their brand from the other Japanese manufacturers and they stuck with it for quite a while. In the early ’70’s, they had a huge variety of cars and even a pickup truck with a rotary engine, but that soon died out. The rotary is not the most efficient engine, they tend to burn oil and they fail kind of quickly. Now they’ve certainly improved that but they’re still not a great engine. We work on a fair number of Mazda RX8, although there isn’t a lot of them on the road, we seem to see a fair number of them at our shop. They’re pretty good cars, but I mean the engines do tend to fail at an earlier age and I really wouldn’t want to keep one with much more than a hundred thousand kilometres. Repairing the engine on them is a highly specialized item, Mazda is probably the only people actually sell the engine. So you don’t want to get caught with one of those with an engine failure.
The RX8 seems to be fairly reliable up until the point when the engine wears out. Speaking of rotaries, they no longer make them around 2012 was the last year they made the rotary so that’s moved into the annals of automotive history now and I can’t imagine what the success of the engine that it’s going to come back anytime soon.

Mark: So Mazda, their advertising talks a lot about SKYACTIV technology which is something about fuel efficient cars. So what’s that all about?

Bernie: Yeah, so that’s where Mazda has focused a lot of their energy, their so called SKYACTIV technology and what it is, is redesigned engines and specifically fuel injection systems where they use direct gasoline injection which is quite popular in a lot of other cars. It’s basically the same kind of injection system that has been used on diesels for a long time. It just give gasoline engines an incredible extra amount of efficiency. We haven’t actually worked on a SKYACTIV Mazda because they are still fairly new but I think over the years they’re going to be as reliable as the other Mazdas. The fuel efficiency numbers that they claim are pretty much up there with hybrids, and the great thing about that is you don’t have the complexity that you have with a hybrid – all the extra electrical and electronic devices that potentially can go wrong. Fortunately hybrids have proved to be pretty reliable but you know when things go wrong they can be insanely expensive to fix.

It’s funny, when I was driving into work this morning I passed to Mazdas and they both were SKYACTIV vehicles so they’re really popular.

Mark: So any last thoughts on Mazda?

Bernie: Overall they’re great cars. They seem to have focused their market away from the obscure vehicles like the rotary and the pickup truck – they just focus now on cars and compact sport utility vehicles. Overall very reliable. I would not hesitate to recommend any of them except a RX8, unless you absolutely loved having a rotary vehicle.

One thing we didn’t talk about is the MX5 or the Miata which is I think an awesome car. If you like little sports cars, it’s a great car. I’ve often thought of it as an English sports car that has been built properly and reliable because those cars certainly weren’t at one time. So those are my thoughts on Mazda.

Great cars, very reliable, especially the Mazda 3 is all you can ask out of a car – it starts up every day and takes you where you want to go at minimal cost.

Mark: Great, so we’ve been talking with Mr. Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive – again they’re 14 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. If you’re looking for a great place to maintain your vehicle, these are the guys to call. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or go to their website – – it’s a world authority on auto repair. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you soon.

2005 Mazda 3 – Oxygen Sensor Replacement

Oxygen Sensor

Our featured repair today is Oxygen Sensor Replacement on a 2005 Mazda 3.

2005 Mazda 3

2005 Mazda 3

Oxygen sensors are a frequently replaced item on many vehicles.

The function of the oxygen sensor is to inform the engine computer of the oxygen content in the exhaust. Depending on the oxygen content the computer knows whether the fuel mixture is rich or lean and will make appropriate adjustments to the fuel injection system.

Today’s Mazda 3 came in because the check engine lamp was on. After scanning and diagnosis we found the front oxygen sensor dead. This vehicle has two oxygen sensors, one before the catalytic converter and one behind. The front sensor monitors the engine out emissions while the rear sensor monitors the catalytic converter’s efficiency.

Overall Mazda 3s are a very reliable vehicle and oxygen sensors are one of the few parts that fail on these vehicles.

To read more about the Mazda 3 click on this link

To learn more about oxygen sensors click this link

Oxygen Sensor

Oxygen Sensor: the sensor itself is on the bottom left and it screws into the exhaust pipe. The wiring connector is on the right and it plugs into the wiring harness to the engine computer.

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