Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and we're here in Vancouver with the big bopper himself, Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: I am doing very well.
Mark: So we have a 2016 Honda Civic, a newer vehicle and had a maintenance service. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well this vehicle was due for a maintenance service, actually a little overdue for scheduled maintenance service. Vehicle has 50,000 kilometres so a number of items were due at that mileage.
Mark: Maintenance service, so that's regular kind of scheduled thing that you guys let folks know about coming in for. Did you find anything unusual?
Bernie: Well there was a couple things. First of all, and one of the reasons I wanna talk about this car, is that the owner came in, the vehicle was 5,000, more than 5,000 kilometres overdue for service. I'll just get into a real quick photo here. We have the dash, I think you can see that. If you look, this is the dash display, this comes on, you turn the key on in the car and it, right away, it says right there, maintenance past due, 5,616 kilometres. There's also a couple of little numbers here, 01279 those are maintenance items that are required, and those correlate to different parts and components, so those are all due as well. But, the light will come on when you're due for an oil change for certain. So basically, I guess one thing I wanna talk about is leaving that too long. Most modern cars, they have a maintenance reminder, it's a timer, some of them, in the olden days it was just a timer it would just go on mileage and then go off. But more modern cars they're sophisticated, they'll actually monitor your drive cycles.
They'll make assessments. Like if you do a lot of highway driving, you'll get a longer oil change interval. If you do a lot of short trips, cold weather, it'll remind you to change the oil more frequently. It's actually pretty sophisticated on a lot of cars. I find with Honda's by the time the light comes on and tells you, you're due for service it's a good time. The oil's dirty, but not really dirty, and I think that's really the optimum time to change it. So leaving it 5,600 kilometres beyond the service interval is really not a good thing. There's a lot of expensive components, variable valves, timing in this engine, it's sophisticated, timing chain. A lot of things that could go wrong if you leave your oil too long.
Mark: So variable valve timing, just what does that do for the vehicle?
Bernie: Variable valve timing adjusts the timing of your engine valves and it allows your engine to ... I mean, it's basically there for improved gas mileage, improved performance, improved exhaust emissions, and it's amazing what a difference it'll make to an engine. A normal engine there's a timing chain or belt that drives the camshaft and the valves open and close at an exact time whether you're idling or whether you're at 6000 RPM. Really an engine, having the valves opening at different times makes a big difference to the performance of the engine depending on the speed and what's required. So variable valve timing solves that. This is why so many of our modern cars run so well, you can get so much power out of a little engine. Now variable valve timing, they have, the way it operates is it uses the engines oil system with valves and special gears and sprockets that are adjusted with oil pressure. They're very narrow passageways so they require good oil flow through the passageways. What happens to oil when you leave it, like beyond the oil change interval, it starts developing sludge. It'll start plugging the passageways up, then your variable valve timing system won't work. So you'll have engine performance problems, check engine light'll come on. Bottom line, very expensive repairs.
Mark: So is any kind of special oil required for this particular engine?
Bernie: Well this oil specifies 0-20 synthetic oil, it's a common oil that's been used in Japanese cars for a long time. A lot of other manufacturers have their own kind of specs. But most modern vehicles use pretty thin oils, like 0-20, 0-30, 0-40 on some more high performance model cars. They use the thin oils for good fuel economy because they flow really easily, especially at cold temperatures. But this is like 0-20 synthetic, it's a pretty common type of synthetic oil.
Mark: And what else did you do during this service?
Bernie: Well there was a number of other items recommended. So we did a brake fluid flush, we also did a motor vac fuel injection cleaning, which isn't a Honda recommended item, but we recommend that about every 50,000 kilometres, every two or three years for good engine performance. This is a port fuel injection system so you can still do a motor vac cleaning. A lot of modern cars you direct fuel injection and there's a fuel cleaning service as well which is really critical. Like a valve combustion chamber cleaning service. But that is a slightly different service, same kind of idea. The other thing we did is the cabin air filter was due for replacement, and I'll just share a couple more photos because there's some interesting stuff to look at here.
Here's the cabin air filter, it's amazing how dirty one of these can get after 50,000 kilometres, or basically two years of driving. I was actually kind of shocked, I pull this open and there was just loaded full of dust, you can see feathers, dog hair, leaves, a lot of stuff. Again, the cabin air filter's one of those things, they're often difficult to check, so you just change it when the service is due. On this vehicle one of those numbers that I showed earlier on the dash indicates that this one was due for service.
Mark: That's not what it would look like in a normal service interval though is it?
Bernie: You know what, I've done them at a normal service interval and they're, they look just a little dusty, so this one is exceptionally dusty. I would say, based on what I noted under the hood, when we popped the hood of the car. There's a lot of dust, so this vehicle's been driven on some dusty roads. But this is pretty extreme.
Mark: It looks like a mouse nest.
Bernie: Yeah. Kinda close. I've seen worse, but this is like among as bad as they get which is surprising. Yet sometimes I've seen them at 50,000 kilometres where they're barely dirty. But it's always best to just change it whenever the interval is required. Or if you do a lot of dusty road driving, change it more often. One other photo I've got to share too. The engine air filter. So this is the engine air filter. Again, hideously dirty. Probably should have been changed at the last service. In all fairness this vehicle probably went 15,000 kilometres since the last service based on the, what you normally get on that maintenance reminder. But this filter was so dirty, I figured it should have been changed a long time ago. Often, this was a dealer serviced car, often these things get neglected. I'm amazed how many times we have a dealer serviced vehicle where we check the air filter and it's just hideously dirty. They don't get looked at. It was really about a one minute extra check. Little bit of a rant about dealer service. Sometimes it appears to be neglected.
Mark: Why do you think that is?
Bernie: I think the reason why is that ... I mean the way dealer service works, technicians are paid flat rate. So they have, they're assigned a job, you've got like, you're paid half an hour to do this job. Faster you do it, the more jobs you can do in a day, the more money you can make. It's kinda that simple. Whatever specified, if it isn't specified to look at the air filter in the maintenance schedule, they don't look at it. Now, in all fairness some cars it's a lot of work to look at an air filter and you wouldn't wanna spend the time doing it unless you were paid extra time to do it. But, on a lot of vehicle's they're so simple to inspect and it's literally takes like a minute to look at it. So that's just, I think it's really the pay system that's used in a lot of dealerships. You know the incentive is there for the technician to do the least amount of work possible. Whatever's just barely recommended, that's what they'll do.
Mark: So given those images that we just saw, this vehicle maybe has been a little bit neglected. Is that just due to the owner?
Bernie: Well, I was just saying, some of it's due to the owner of course with the age of the, the overdue oil change. You know, that's the, the cabin air filter, hey, that's just something that sucks air in and that's, there's nothing you can do about it, same with the air filter. But the air filter, to me, is something that probably could've been inspected last service and replaced. I mean, I can't say because I wasn't the person looking at it the last service. I get it, sometimes it's hard to get in for a service, so there's a bit of neglect there, I've left my oil sometimes too long. I hate to admit it, but you know what, I know what the consequences can be. But yeah, some of it the owner, but I think sometimes, I think sometimes where you're taking your car for service. Are they looking at all the, are they looking at things like the fluids? Are they really looking at the big picture of the car? One thing I noticed with this car as soon as I looked under the hood, is there's a lot of dust in the engine compartment. That right away tells you this person drives on dusty roads. That might warrant a little extra inspecting over someone who's car is clean and it's a straight city use car.
Mark: And is it also a function of this, we got all this extra performance, and reliability, and economy from the VVT style of components in our vehicles. But they also require a little bit more rigorous maintenance schedules?
Bernie: They do. I mean the great thing about modern cars is they really don't need a lot. When you think about, I mean I've been working on cars for a long time. It used to be that every year you'd have to have car tuned up, you'd have to change your spark plugs, and have your points replaced, and carburetor adjusted, carburetor cleaned because the car wouldn't start, or it would run really poorly. But with modern cars you just hop in you start it, it's like minus 20 Celsius out, the car starts and runs just like it does at plus 20. It's fantastic. You don't need to change your oil as often. There's longer intervals because the oils are better. You know the engine's, the fuel systems are more precise, oils don't get contaminated. It's great how modern cars work, it's just easy to forget about it sometimes. The important thing is when your oil change reminder comes on just do the services. They're simpler than they used to be. They cost often more per service, but you need less service overall. So it's really just a matter of following the schedule and maybe doing a tiny little bit more, because I find a lot of manufacturer schedules are a little stretched if you want your car to last for a long time.
Mark: Yeah, as we've seen in other podcasts, if you leave your oil for 50,000 kilometres you might be getting a brand new engine.
Bernie: Yeah. Oh yeah, more frequently than not. I have seen the odd person severely neglect their engine. I had one client that used to, a couple times when 50,000 kilometres. I'll tell you it was actually a Honda CRV, 50,000 kilometres between oil changes on a couple of occasions and the engine actually survived and never blew up. That is like the most unusual, rare thing I've ever seen, because I've seen many other cars where you hit 40,000 without changing the oil and the engine throws a rod. So there's something miraculous in that Honda, that particular Honda. But that one too, had no variable valve timing, it was a timing belt. Not saying, you shouldn't abuse it, but it had, it was less sophisticated in that way. It relied less on the oil for some of the more sophisticated systems in the engine.
Mark: So be safe, follow the maintenance schedule, or better.
Bernie: Yeah. I wanna share a couple other photos too just before we ... I know we're nearly wrapped up here, but I found a couple other things kind of amusing on this car here. Oh the other thing, I was gonna share too, this is the air filter box. I apologize the picture's kinda blurry, but this, again a lot of guck inside the air filter box. When we do the service here we actually take the time to vacuum that out so it doesn't get sucked right back into the air filter immediately. Here's basically a view of the engine. You can see the dusty and dirtiness of it, which kind of makes you realize why the cabin air filter might have been dirty, and the engine air filter. The other thing that I thought was very amusing is this little decal right here. I have a closer photograph of it. I don't know what manufacturers think of sometimes, but I don't know what Earth Dreams Technology is but ... It just made me chuckle. It's like GM had 10, 15 years ago brought out the Ecotec engine. And it's just funny how they have this environmental green washing terms for a carbon dioxide pumped engine. It amused me, so I just thought I'd share that.
Mark: Well, since we're dreaming about earth here. This car's pretty young, how are Honda Civics for reliability?
Bernie: Well they're really good. Again, change the oil regularly. It's a fantastic car, really, really nice to drive, lots of power, lots of pep. Should last a long, long time, again if you change the oil regularly. Again it's a 2016 so I don't know how long it's gonna be, how good it's gonna be in the long run, but based on Honda's track record I would say it would be a good buy of a car. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
Mark: Probably will last until they need to buy themselves an electric car.
Bernie: Yeah exactly. Yeah, 'til electric cars are really popular.
Bernie: 'Til the earth dreams are really ...
Mark: Taking place.
Bernie: Whatever that means.
Mark: Alright, so if you're looking for service for your Honda products in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're always busy. Or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. For you folks who keep calling from all over North America, we appreciate your calls, but if you're not in Vancouver we can't really diagnose your car over the phone. Not very in integrity for us to try and do that. So enjoy what we provide, and talk to your local service dealer for your service needs, please. We help people in Vancouver. And thank you for watching the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you for mentioning that Mark and thank you for watching.