Toyota - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC


Category Archives for "Toyota"

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake 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. 24 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking about a Toyota Highlander. There can only be one. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Good. I'm good.

Mark: So this is a 2016 hybrid. What was going on with this Toyota? 

Bernie: The owner had some concerns with the brakes. They were making some noises and it didn't quite feel right. So he brought it in for us to have to look at the brakes. 

Mark: So what kind of inspections do you do to check what's going on with the brakes?

Bernie: We have a standard brake inspection that we do for anyone who needs the brakes looked at. And so that entails of course, a road test as a first thing to see if there's any noises, see how the brakes feel. Of course, if the pedal's straight to the floor, and there are no brakes, we don't go on the road test, but that's not very common, fortunately. Because then the road test happens after we do the hoist inspection. So we go on a road test then do a hoist inspection. We remove all the wheels, look at the brakes in detail, measure the thickness of the brake pads, the rotors, test to make sure that things are moving. Look for leaks, inspect the brake fluid, look at the hoses, lines and all those kinds of things. And it depends from vehicle to vehicle. I mean, on an old car, that's perhaps from, you know, more salt prone areas we'll look at a little more detailed the brake lines than we would on say like a 2016 Highlander that's, you know, lived in British Columbia, like Vancouver area, all its life. It's only five years old. 

Mark: What kind of stuff did you find? 

Bernie: Yeah, so on the road test, we noted that there's some grinding sounds. The brakes felt like they're shaking a bit, possibly warped rotors. We found on the front brakes one side of the brake pads were worn down to two millimetres, which is basically worn out. And the other side, they were seven millimetres, which is an enormous difference. I mean, seven millimetres is, you know,  still has 60% of the brake pad life left. Two millimetres is basically worn out. On the rears, they were down to about the four to five range, so almost worn out, but then the rotors were also pretty rusty.

I mean, the brakes looked like they'd probably been on here for a long time. Let's get into some pictures here and we can have a look at what we found. 

So there's the Highlander hybrid.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Brake Replacement

The vehicle as far as the brakes, let's have a look at some of the old brakes. This is a front brake. Not really looking too much in the pads, but you can see the edges of the rotors are starting to rust, which is kind of normal wear and tear after a while. It indicates that these brakes have been on the car for a long time. Unless of course you're in somewhere climates like rustier than then they get worse.

And again, you can see here that the edges of the rotors are very rusted, which indicates they'd been on long time. Not severely rusted though, if in certain areas of the country and we even see it here, sometimes the actual surface will start getting badly rusted and you know, that's definitely not a good thing, but you know, easily replaced.

So just looking at what we repaired, new calipers, rotors, pads in the front you can see everything's nice and clean and fresh services. We lubricate everything with the special brake lubricant, which keeps squeaks and squeals to a minimum, and just keeps everything moving to keep maximize the life. And the rear brakes, did pads and rotors, caliper was okay. So we left that. So I'm kind of jumping ahead to the repairs we did. But we can talk about that some more in detail. So there's our picture show.

Mark: So you replaced everything basically in the brakes? 

Bernie: We did. Yeah. So what causes the breaks to be seven millimetres on one side and two on the other, it's basically a seized caliper, 99% of the time you can get a brake hose where, sometimes a brake hose will develop a blockage and it'll you know, restrict the flow to one direction. So that can happen. 

But on a 2016, basically a five-year vehicle, you'd never find that. It's only something that would happen on a, maybe 10 or 20 year old vehicle, but never on something that's five years old. It would be very unusual. So basically the caliper was seized on one side, causing the brakes to wear out much quicker and on the rear, as I mentioned, there's like four to five millimetres.

I mean one or two millimetre difference is no big deal. We test the calipers when we do the inspection and make sure that everything's moving freely. So the rear brake calipers were serviceable and all good. 

Mark: So why would that caliper freeze on and cause that one brake basically to do most of the work.

Bernie: Well, a couple of things. You can get corrosion, like moisture that intrudes inside the caliper piston, and that causes it to rust. And then seize up. Also the calipers have a sliding portion and they usually have pins that allow the caliper to slide back and forth. Some brake calipers have pistons on the outside and inside, and they don't have any slider pins. So any sticking in that area would either be a pad stuck where the pad slides, I call them pad sliders, the pad sliding area. But there's a few things.

The pins can seize up as well. On this type of caliper, it has an inner piston and pins that allow it to slide. So those seize up as well. And you know, they can be serviced and cleaned. That's a little easier to fix, but once they get really severe, it's better just to change the whole caliper.

Mark: So hybrid vehicles because of the recharge, I guess depends on kind of hybrid whether it's recharging or not, or do they all recharge? 

Bernie: Most of them, yeah. Regenerative braking. I mean, Toyota, certainly do.  

Mark: So that brake, because of the regeneration, the brakes aren't being used as much, shouldn't these brakes last a lot longer than this?

Bernie: Well, you'd think so. I mean, five years is not that old, but this vehicle does have 145,000 kilometres. So that's actually a fair bit of mileage. So I assume looking at these brakes that they were original and that kind of makes sense for hybrid, 145 Ks is pretty good. But you could still get 200. I mean, that's why taxis, they love Prius's because they're reliable. And the brakes last a long time. Like a typical taxi, they'd only get three months out of a set of brakes on a conventional vehicle. Three months on, you know, most people complain when they have to do their brakes every three or four years but on a taxi it's like every three months, but that takes a car off the road for a few hours. So, I mean, with a Prius, they can get a year out of a set of brakes. So that's a big, it's an enormous change. So, yeah, I mean, I'd say 145 Ks is a pretty good amount of time. And had this caliper no seized, these brakes probably would have lasted substantially longer.

Mark: Right. Is there anything that a Highlander or a vehicle owner can do to maximize their brake life? 

Bernie: Yeah, absolutely. Having the brakes serviced every couple of years on a vehicle like this is really critical, especially on a hybrid, because again, the brake pads lasts a long time. You can do a brake inspection after a year or two and go, oh, well, there's still like, you know, 10 millimetres left on the front brake pads. A couple of years later you look and there's like nine and you know, they're barely wearing, but it's a good idea to take them apart. Clean them lubricated with that type of lube we use, take the pad slider pins out, clean and lubricate everything. That keeps the breaks lasting a lot longer.

And if he did that kind of service, you'd probably easily get 200,000 or at least a hundred and probably another 50,000 out of a vehicle like this. Of course, you know, the edge rust on those rotors, you can't really do a lot about that. I mean, you could machine them, but it doesn't really make a lot of sense to do that. You're kind of taking material off the brakes and, you know, as long as they're not grinding and making weird noises, I would probably just service them every year or two. And you should be fine.

Yeah. So how are Toyota Highlander hybrids for reliability? 

They're legendary. Yeah, no, they're awesome. I think they're, older Highlanders did have some issues with inverters. I mean, this is a 2016 as much newer than, you know, I'm thinking like, oh, eight, seven, you know, like older. This is a newer generation. I mean, that far as I know, there's no problems with them. You know, a 145 Ks out of a set of brakes is pretty good. You know, it's a good vehicle.  I can't find any fault with it. Excellent. 

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your hybrid or your EV or your Toyota, or your Highlander, in Vancouver, the guys to call Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website. You can book online there. They'll get back to you. They'll find out exactly what's going on. Be ready for you when you show up. Of course, there's our YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Got nine years worth of videos on there. Pawlik Auto Repair. You can search for that there. Thank you so much for listening. We appreciate it. Bernie, thank you. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. That's important because it's not just some guy's giving it to them. It's their customers saying they're the best. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Good. Very good. 

Mark: So 2006 Toyota Prius the follow on episode. Oh my God. The high voltage battery had a problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah. So last a podcast, I guess we talked about the inverter replacement and how there was a warning light left on, on the dash. We, again, scan the vehicle computer, and found a code for the high voltage battery pack. Not really surprised considering the vehicle had sat for a year. It already had some inverter issues previously and who knows really, you know, the full extent of what the car needed. And, you know, the inverter replacement was a step along the journey of getting the car back into shape. So not really surprised when we found some issues with the high voltage battery pack. 

Mark: So what tests did you do? 

Bernie: A scan tool will do an awful lot to give information on these vehicles. So we connected our scan tool. Initially there was a code that, and I can't remember the number, because I didn't write it down but is it basically generic high-voltage battery failure. Cleared the code because I thought, you know, we want to see something more precise. So we cleared the code, drove it for awhile. And then we actually got some better information and said, cell block eight becomes weak, which was a good bit of information. Because then we knew that the issue was in cell block eight.

So I'm going to show some pictures of just what we can see and on our diagnostic tools and just, you know, this is a good bit of information. So there's our Prius once again, you saw the shot in our last podcast. 

2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair

This is the code we got P3018, battery block, eight becomes weak. And road testing it, our scan tool, we're able to actually put it into graphing mode. There's 14 battery blocks. We can actually look at all of them and see the voltage fluctuation. Now the voltage change in these battery blocks depending on whether you're going up a hill or down a hill, whether it's regenerative, braking. Regenerative braking, the voltage will go up because it's charging the battery. When you're going up a hill, of course,  you're really. giving it, it's going to drop the voltage down because it's taking power away.

But being a hybrid, only a certain amount of voltage fluctuation will occur, and energy taken out of the battery pack or given to the battery pack and the internal combustion engine and computers regulate all of that. But the key is consistency between the battery blocks.

And you can see here, red arrows, battery block V01. This battery is in good shape and kind of represents what the other ones are doing. You can see a voltage fluctuation, 17.26 to 16.79. And if you look at the battery block eight, which had the problem fault, you see those the 17 and a half, a little higher, but much lower 15.16 volts.

And the wave form should be pretty much the same between battery blocks and you can see sort of in this area here, a change. And again, this isn't very much, it looks like a lot, but we're dealing with a smaller mountain range, so to speak then this one here. So, I mean, there was a change, but a different voltage range.

I've got one more picture here too that has even a little more fluctuation. 

So we've got a, you know, high of 17 point almost nine to 14.7. so again, major fluctuations in this battery pack and much less than the other, basically it verifies as a problem in this battery block here. And this is all inside the battery pack. 

This is the kind of data and information that's available. Of course it takes a while to learn how to read all this stuff, but it's there if you look for it on a good scan tool. 

Mark: So armed with that information. What did you do next?

Bernie: We knew of course, problem's in the battery pack. I mean, that code alone was enough to say so, but we like to verify things and get some details. There's really a few options and I presented them to the client. So we can get a brand new battery from Toyota. That's the best option. We could get a used battery, not a bad option, but of course, used is used. And 2006, you know, I mean the best we could probably get is a battery pack that's a little over 10 years old, which is getting old. 

There are some aftermarket companies that rebuild batteries. The word on the street, we've never used one, the word on the street is that they work and they're often problematic. And you'll probably have some issues going on in a couple of years, which, you know, they are cheaper than the Toyota battery, but not enough I think, to justify the cost.

Then of course, there's the option of actually taking the battery pack apart and repairing the cell blocks. Which is complicated, time consuming, doable and cheaper, but not as reliable. You never know when the next cell block is going to go bad. Those were the options that we presented to the client.

Mark: So lots of pros and cons to all of the options. What did the client do in the end? 

Bernie: She chose to do the new battery from Toyota, which made sense. And I don't like to steer people in a certain direction, but I do like to provide some expert advice. And her, you know, choosing to put a brand new inverter in, it would be kind of silly to put a used battery or a lesser quality replacement option.Having that new inverter and a new battery, you can never predict the future, what's going to happen with the car, but based on odds and what normally happens, there's probably going to be nothing that goes wrong or very little that goes with this vehicle. Especially the hybrid system for that the next 10 years, if you go with a new battery. So she opted to do that. It wasn't cheap, but that's kind of the way we went. 

I've got some pictures of the inside of the battery, just to show some interesting, you know, it's just interesting stuff to look at if you ever want to see what goes on the inside of the battery. So this is the high voltage battery pack. This is the new Toyota battery pack. There's a number of items, wires, cables, the computer, a  hybrid computer, connectors, a number of items that need to be transferred from, from the old battery pack to the new one. The power cables that go to the inverter, bolt in right here.

2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair
2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair

This is what it looks like in the back of the vehicle with the hybrid battery out. These are the main power cables that connect up to the inverter. And the battery pack sits in this area back here. And that's the fuel tank in this area here. 

Mark: That's kind of towards where the backseat is?

Bernie: Yeah, it's under the backseat.

Mark:  And then this is a nickel metal hydride battery. 

Bernie: It is a nickel metal hydride battery. This is what the battery looks like when you take the cover off. So this is what's inside the battery pack. It's not just a big lob of battery, but individual cells connected together to form blocks. And a block in this case is actually two batteries put together, that at least on the scan tool, when it says block one, it'll be and I'm not sure actually I should know this stuff, but number one is on end of the battery going all the way to 14. And so, this is the other interesting thing that happens to a lot of these batteries. They end up getting corrosion on the, the bus bars. They're connected together with some copper bus bars. You can see all this ugly green greenness, none of this and corrosion should be there.

I've got a slightly closer shot as well. Again, you can see some of the festering and corrosion. And so full disclosure, I mean, these, you can replace these bus bars. You can clean these up, that may have actually solved her problem. But that it's time consuming. There's no guarantee that after we would have done all this work and it would have been a fair chunk of money that they would have solved her problem.

So again, in anything car repair related, you got to kind of valuate what's the time worth? What are you charging the client and what results are they going to get in the end? And with a brand new battery pack from Toyota, it's a hundred percent guaranteed to work. So, whereas this is, it might work and it might not.

And you know, if you have a backyard type of operation, you want to service it, certainly something you could do. Something I might fix up myself if I had my own car, for sure. But, you know, I can afford the time and not charge myself money. So again, it's just a choice.

Mark:  Not something you can just spray contact cleaner on and fix up though. 

Bernie: No, exactly, definitely not. There are, you can buy these bus bars. I have sources of them. You can probably even buy them on the internet. It's a common issue and common repair. And it's a very distinct possibility that it might be why that code is there, but there's still a lot of, it could be the battery block is bad. And after 14 years and sitting, is not good for these batteries. Leaving them sitting, you know, it can cause problems. 

Which brings me to the point, I know we've talked about it, you know, especially with these pandemic times, you may have have a hybrid car that's sitting around, don't leave it, sitting. Start it up, run it, move it around. Get some juice flowing in and out of the battery. It's very, very important. Otherwise you'll probably be faced with replacing this.

And Prius batteries are the cheapest ones around. Other hybrids, they just go up a lot from there. 

Mark: So overall, the inverter was an expensive repair, the battery was not an inexpensive repair. A lot of money spent on this for a 2006. Was it worth it? 

Bernie: Well, I think so. I mean the mileage on this car, wasn't extremely high.  And you know, it's always a choice in fixing cars. I mean the amount of money that was put into this probably certainly exceeded the value of the car, but now there's a perfectly good functioning car and it's a car that hasn't been sent to the junk yard. A lot of times we just think of our own personal cash outlay. But you know, when you think about it in a broader sense, you know, it's a car that's still usable. It's probably got a good least 10 years of good life left in it without a lot of huge expense. And that's an important thing. 

It's an individual choice for people. I've had people have these strange formulas where, Oh, that repair is half the value of the replacement cost of the vehicle, so I'm not going to do it. I'm going, I don't know. You just got to make your choice. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Prius, keep it running or any hybrid, call the experts in Vancouver Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. They will check your car out. They will test it. They will repair it the best way possible according to your instructions. Check out the website or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos, articles, all makes and models of vehicles, all kinds of repairs. Thanks for watching. We appreciate it. Leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2006 Toyota Prius, Inverter 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. 22 time winners, 22 times. 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 2006 Toyota Prius. This is a hybrid vehicle. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: This vehicle was brought to our shop. The owner had left it sitting for about a year. She'd been told by the Toyota dealer that the inverter needed to be replaced. And it's an expensive repair, so she decided to leave it and was now committed to fixing it. So she had chose to bring it to our shop to have us look at it and repair it. 

Mark: So did you just hammer a new inverter in there or did you do some testing? 

Bernie: No, we did some testing. Of course, you know, how we work around here. So first thing, the car was completely dead, so they tested the 12 volt battery. It wouldn't take a charge. It was completely dead as we expected it might be. So the first step was install a 12 volt battery because we couldn't get any information out of the car without having that going. And so we put that in. Then we were able to see if the car would power up. The internal combustion engine wouldn't start. Basically the ready functions of the car wouldn't happen. So did some scans. Did some tests. There was a DC DC converter code. We tested that unit out and found it was faulty. And that was the cause of our, at least, no start. 

Mark: Okay. What is a DC to DC converter? 

Bernie: So what that does is it converts the high voltage battery. So this vehicle has basically two electrical systems. It has the high voltage system, which drives the vehicle. And then it has the 12 volt system, which you'll find in any normal car, which runs all the electrical accessories. It works with the hybrid system and also of course, works with your lights and radio and wipers and all the other things in the car. 

So the DC DC converter basically converts the DC voltage high voltage from the high voltage battery system down to 12 to 14 volts to charge the battery. So it keeps the electrical system going. It's an electronic alternator, much like you would, or serves the function of the alternator that you'd find in a normal internal combustion engine.

Mark: So the whole system is kaput because of one unit failing. 

Bernie: It is. Yeah. It basically that the DC DC converters, doesn't operate or there's a failure of this type, it just basically won't even allow the car to start. So you're dead in the water. Unfortunately you know, I like to say the cowboy days, well cars are just gotten more and more complicated.

If you know, your alternator is dead, at least you could charge your battery up and drive it for a few miles. But not with this car. It's you fix it or you don't go anywhere. 

Mark: So the DC DC converter, I happened to know as part of the inverter. Is that how that works?

Bernie: It is, yeah. It's all integrated inside the inverter.  And actually we'll just look at some pictures right now. 

2006 Toyota Prius, Inverter Replacement
2006 Toyota Prius, Inverter Replacement
2006 Toyota Prius, Inverter Replacement
2006 Toyota Prius, Inverter Replacement

So, there is our 06 Prius. And let's have a look at the inverter. So here's an engine compartment view. So this red arrow here is actually pointing to the inverter. This sits on top of what would be the transmission is the motor generator units. And the internal combustion engine is located on this side where the yellow arrow is. So you'll notice too there's a couple of cooling systems. This one here is actually for the inverter. And this one here is for the internal combustion engine.

There's the old inverter removed from the vehicle. You can see that coolant tank that was part of it. That comes with the new inverter. Orange cables, any orange cables, these are all high voltage cables. There are a number of different spots where the cables from the motor generator are attached into the inverter. Items that are bolted in place. This is the top view of the inverter without cover off. It says hybrid synergy drive. This is what's underneath it. And of course this can be taken apart. There's many, many layers, but it's all electrical, electronic devices inside here. And finally, there's the new units sitting in a fresh box from Toyota, which is how the customer chose to fix the vehicle.

Mark: So what else does the inverter do? 

Bernie: Well, the primary function of the inverter is to actually convert the DC voltage from the high voltage battery pack, to three phase AC voltage for the motors in the motor generator unit. There's two motor generators one of them primarily drives the vehicle.

The other one will  recharge the high voltage battery. They all kind of work together. It's complicated, but those are kind of the main functions, but there's basically conversion needed from the high voltage battery. To AC triple phase from triple phase AC back to the high voltage battery to recharge it.

And this all happens inside that box. It's kind of like a magic box, really pretty amazing how it all works. The DCDC converter is in there. So there's a conversion to convert that to 14 volts to charge the 12 volt electrical system.

Mark: So it sounds complicated and expensive. 

Bernie: Well, it is complicated. These are things that we, as far as I know, I don't know anyone who fixes them. There's really two options for repairing it. There's buy a brand new one from Toyota or buy used one. The owner opted to go for a new one.

It is very expensive part. There's sort of three main components, you know, on the hybrid system on these vehicles. One is the inverter. The other is the high voltage battery in the other courses, the motor generator transmission type of unit. These are all very expensive components. Usually very reliable,  especially the inverters. I did present the option of a used one, which was very reasonably priced and you know, it's always a bit of a gamble, but Prius inverters are pretty reliable. So it would have been a good gamble, but she wanted to the new part  and the assurance that that would provide.

So once replaced, it'll likely, never go dead again, and for another, the car is 14 years old. It'll probably last 14 or much longer than that. So that's the way she chose to go. 

Mark: How complex is it to repair or replace the inverter?

Bernie: Well of course there are safety concerns with the high voltage electrical system.

You've got to make it safe to work on. Once you do that, it's just matter of unbolting, a lot of electrical connectors and there's a cooling system involved. So it's just time to unbolt things and bolt things back together. Refill the cooling system, bleed it out properly. Then it just works. As long as the computers see everything they want to see, then the vehicle starts up. 

Mark: How did the vehicle work after all the repairs? 

Bernie: Well, it started up just fine. The moment we had the proper inverter, everything started fine.

We drove the vehicle, and there was an issue. The vehicle drove fine, but the warning lights came on on the dash. There's a triangular hybrid system warning light along with the check engine light that came on, which isn't surprising considering the vehicle sat for at least a year, and who knows how long before that?

The issue with that, we're going to talk about in our next podcast, because we've spent a lot of time talking about this inverter and if this was a TV show, it'd be a cliffhanger, but this is just car repair. We'll talk about that in the next podcast.

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service for your Prius in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment - you gotta call and book ahead, they're still busy, they're rocking and rolling even through a pandemic!  Pawlik Automotive, you can check out the website: We're on YouTube: Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos in both places, all makes and models, all types of repairs.  Thanks really, we really appreciate leaving a review or just watching our crazy talks about fixing cars here. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential 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. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair. I love saying that. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about a Toyota  pickup today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well, and I love it when we say 22 time winners too. It's an awesome honour. 

Mark: So your differential replacement, what was happening with this Toyota? 

Bernie: The differential had, something had seized up in the rear differential. Something had broken. The vehicle was towed into the shop on a flat deck and carefully placed on the ground right in the hoisting position. So we could take it apart because it wouldn't roll. Well, we actually did manage to get, make it move, but it made some pretty horrific bangs as we moved it. So yeah, the rear differential had basically blown, something had blown apart in the rear differential.

Mark: So what did you find when you looked inside? 

Bernie: Well that's one of the reasons I wanted to do this podcast because there's a lot of cool stuff to look at here. So just to explain the procedure on, well, you know, we'll just look at some pictures and then talk. So there's the inside of the differential.

Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential Replacement
Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential Replacement
Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential Replacement
Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential Replacement
Toyota SR5 Pickup Rear Differential Replacement

So little bit on Toyota. So on these particular Toyota pickup trucks, the differential, the actual differential assembly is a drop in type. You can unbolt the whole differential from the housing, which makes, you know, probably makes the repair actually a lot simpler. The axles come out quite easily. And then you just with I don't know, it's probably 10 bolts. You can pop the differential assembly out. So what we found was basically no oil in the differential. A lot of broken bits and pieces inside the differential and the pinion gear just completely blown itself apart.

So, you know, that's what's kind of fun about working on cars sometimes, is seeing the damage that can happen when things go bad. So, this is a better view of the pinion. It doesn't take much of that, you know, you don't have to know much about cars to know that that doesn't look good. But again, looking at the last picture, this is sort of a good side of the gear. That's kind of what the gear looks like when it's in good shape. I heard a little laugh there. Yeah. It's kind of interesting. This is the ring gear. So this is where the pinion gear moves against this gear.

And you can see that there's just a number of, you know, the teeth have just been pounded and mashed. I mean, this is really hard metal. I mean, if you hit it with a hammer, you probably couldn't even dent it. So you know, it's taken a lot of abuse. Again, there's a sort of a further away view. This is one of the bearings.

And even the bearings, you can see they're just brown. You know, they're just, everything just got cooked and overheated, and these bearings normally require a puller or a press to take them off of the differential. We were actually able to slide them right off by hand. That's how badly worn everything was. So essentially there was no oil in the differential. And that's really what kind of caused this whole thing to go bad. 

Here's the view of the replacement differential. So this is a rebuilt unit that we put into the vehicle. You can see nice clean teeth and everything's nice and shiny. And of course we did put oil in that when we repaired it to make sure it lasts. 

Mark: So let's dig into this just a little bit. So what does the oil do in the differential?

Bernie: So basically the oil just lubricates the gears and it lubricates the bearing. So differential, it's pretty simple. There's four bearings as one under this cap, one under that cap. And then there's two up here and those are for the pinion bearings. So there's four bearings. They obviously need to be lubricated and then the gears need to be lubricated. So there are two obvious gears here, the ring and pinion, but if you look inside this area here, these are the differential gears. I mean, the function of a differential is to transmit the longitudinally movement from the drive shaft out and change the angle of the movement out to the wheels. You also have to have gears to compensate for the different speeds of the wheels.

For instance, you're driving both rear wheels, but as the wheels are turning and you go around a corner, one wheel is going faster than the other. So there has to be a way to compensate for that. And that's what the differential does. There are gears inside here and they basically compensate for that different movement.

Otherwise the backend would just hop and bounce, and you can kind of get the feeling of that if you have a four wheel drive vehicle where it actually locks the two differentials, that when you go around a curve, things lock up because the wheels won't, the actual transfer case doesn't have a differential in it. So it'll cause cause the wheels to hop. At least most of them don't have a differential in them. So that it'll cause the wheels to lock up. This is something you can find in like a classic American style pickup truck where you could lock it in four wheel drive. 

Couple other interesting things to show here actually, you might wonder, Well, what the heck is this, if you've never done a differential, what is this yellow?

This is like a marking paint. A really important thing with a differential is setting up the ring and pinion gear. They have to mesh a certain way and you can see a little bit of, the paints kind of marked off here. This is when when you put a differential together, you put this marking compound, then you rotate it and you look at the way the gear teeth are meshing together. And from there you may need to make adjustments. So you can see there's a kind of a contact pattern of the gear. If you don't do it properly, it'll howl, and make all sorts of weird noises and depending on how it's set, you know, it could howl when you accelerate or it could howl when you decelerate. So this is a kind of an important part.

This paint just washes off and becomes part of the gear oil. It doesn't really create any issue afterwards, but you can see there's a good contact pattern here and yeah, I think that's it for the picture show. 

Mark: So how do you think this differential had ended up with no oil?

Bernie: I really don't know. I mean, I asked the owner, I said didn't this thing make a lot of noise for a long time? Because it would have been howling away and making a lot of noise. And there was a couple of issues. He said, no, I never heard it. I mean, one problem, and it's something we did fix, is the exhaust pipe had come disconnected after the catalytic converter.

So the exhaust was very loud so that that would mask some differential noise. And also this vehicle had like very large tires on the back end, you know, all over the vehicle. So again. Those tires can tend to be a little noisier also. So he never heard it. I mean, I'm sure that I would have, because my ear's kind of trained for that kind of stuff. But how it had no oil, he doesn't know. I mean maybe someone drained it out and forgot to fill it. I mean, everything was plugged in. There was no evidence of any leaks other than, one thing I didn't mention is as this differential blew up. It actually put a hole in the back cover of the differential housing. So that involves some extra repair. We were able to weld the hole shut, which is and excellent repair. But it was a little more involved than it would have needed to be. But you know, again, that hole wasn't the reason it leaked out oil because the oil was already gone before the hole was created.

So really don't know. And you know, sometimes a differential will develop like a leak from pinion seal and over time it'll spray the oil up. But we couldn't see anywhere that there was any evidence of oil leakage. So really hard to know. I mean, sometimes we were run these mysteries and just can't really quite figure it out. But it'd probably been driven for a while without any oil in it, you know to cause it to do what it did.

Mark: Having experienced this a couple of times with two different vehicles. It's really loud when it starts to howl so it took some work to ignore it. 

Bernie: Yeah, I think so. Well, you know, people turn radios up and I'm not saying that the owner of this vehicle did, but, you know, there was a couple of things like loud exhaust that could mask it and, you know, maybe it just sort of developed over time and go, Oh, that's kind of like normal.

Anyways, you know, and this is a good reason that, you know, check your fluids regularly on your vehicle. Like you never know. You think, Oh, yeah, well, there's nothing leaking out. It's gotta be okay. But you know, who knows what happened. But a simple inspection of the fluid, you know, during an oil change would have been enough to, Hey, wait a minute. There's no oil in this unit or the level's low, let's top it up or replace it. You know, I say it's a bit of a mystery, but it always makes for some interesting repairs when stuff like that happens. 

Mark: So how are Toyota pickups for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're awesome trucks. I mean, they really are. I mean, this vehicle is getting pretty old now. It's a 92, you know, it's approaching, approaching 30 years old, but still really reliable. I mean they're a well-built truck. And you can certainly go off road and keep going places and I think they're still worth fixing and keeping going. 

Mark: If you maintain it?

Bernie: If you maintain it. Yeah. Well you know changing the differential is all part of the maintenance program. And after we fixed it, the vehicle, you know, ran really well. 

Mark: So there you go. If you've got a Toyota in Vancouver that you need some looking after, or you just want to maintain your vehicle so it keeps running reliably so you don't have to worry about it. The guys to call Pawlik Automotive, (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call them book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website. Hundreds of articles on repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars. Over 600 articles on there as well. The YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. Thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. Please leave us a review if you're enjoying what we're talking about and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thank you for watching.

2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. 21 times. How do you do that? 

Bernie: Got a lot of good customers. 

Mark: Your customers must love you because they're the ones who are voting for you, and that's awesome, vote for how good your company is. Plus all the five star reviews I'm noticing. 

Bernie: Yeah. I feel very privileged. 

Mark: So today we're talking about a 2012 Toyota Prius, which is a hybrid vehicle and came in for maintenance service. What was going on with this Prius C? 

Bernie: Yeah, basically the vehicle just do for a basic maintenance service. And the customer did have one complaint, which we'll talk about a little later. But other than that, it was just due for basic maintenance and based on the schedule, it was due for a B service. 

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

Bernie: Well, essentially it's the same as pretty much any other vehicle. It's an oil and filter change, unless of course it's a pure electric car. I guess I'll have to take away the term B service, as time goes by. So it's an oil and filter change, a full vehicle inspection. So we look at the brakes, steering, suspension, you know, the under carriage of the vehicle, visual inspection under the hood and under the car. Test the 12 volt battery and what one thing you know, we also do with this vehicle is scan the vehicle. We do it for a lot of B services on newer cars, but especially important on a hybrid because there could be some hidden stored trouble codes. It might be worth alerting the owner of the vehicle to, for issues that may be upcoming or something that could be occurring.

Mark: So what, are there different items that you would specifically check for because this is a hybrid?  

Bernie: There's not really a lot of you know, the whole hybrid system is pretty much hidden away. There's not a lot to, you know, like for instance, the high voltage battery is under the seat or in the trunk, depending on the model of the car. On this particular one, it's under the seat, so there's nothing really to look at there. You know, on all the high voltage cabling, of course, and, and inverter transmission, all that kind of thing is all sealed and hidden away and really just keeps on functioning until there's a problem. But visual inspections, of course, are important. 

Mark: So I think you mentioned this car had over a hundred thousand kilometres. Any special items due at this time? Wasn't 96,000 kilometres, like time for most Japanese cars for a major service? 

Bernie: Yeah. The 96,000 kilometre thing is kind of old now. I think in the eighties and nineties, that was a big service interval for Japanese vehicles. Timing belts were due to be replaced, spark plugs, tune-ups. All those kinds of things.  It was a time for an expensive service. A lot of, you know, I remember too, a lot of vehicles, the CV joint boots would be about ready to rip apart, so you'd change those. And so it could make for a pretty big service. 

But nowadays, a 96K service is pretty much history. And on this particular vehicle, there wasn't really anything due, you know, this is just over a hundred K. There wasn't really anything due at this particular time. There's a coolant cooling system, flush, due I think it's around 168,000 kilometres and spark plugs are up there, maybe a little further down the road.

So, you know, those are a couple of maintenance items that are on the list. But other than that, you know, until you reach those intervals, from Toyota's perspective, it's really, oil changes and inspections. It's pretty much it. 

Mark: So were there any other service items that you might recommend on hybrid vehicles?

Bernie: Yeah, there's a few things. And then a lot of these apply to, you know, an internal combustion engine vehicles in general. But let's just have a look at some pictures of the car first and then and we'll talk about some service. 

2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service
2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service
2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service
2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service

So there's our Prius C, nice little compact car. This is based kind of based on a Yaris platform, but, anyways, it's a little compact. It's a compact version of the Prius. The C stands for city. So where do we have here? Okay. There's our under the hood view. So there's the internal combustion engine on this side. It's a 1.5 litre engine, so it's smaller than a regular Prius uses a 1.8. This one uses the 1.5 litre, so it's smaller. This vehicle, when it came out, had the highest fuel economy rating of any vehicles sold, except for a plugin hybrids or electric vehicles at the time.

On this side we have our, this is the inverter, this unit here. And we'll just go into some closer views of each side of the engine compartment. 

So this is to me is like the height, kind of the hybrid side of the vehicle. So the orange cables of course, anything with orange cabling is high voltage, this is dangerous. You don't ever want to touch this stuff without high voltage gloves, unless the system, of course, is discharged. You can see the shielding around these wires to, its protection, also protects from electromagnetic fields as well, being dispersed to the vehicle. But there's again, there's the inverter, the high voltage plugs and underneath way below, this is the transmission with the motor generator units that drive the vehicle. So there's a lot of complexity inside here. Almost all electronic until you get down below, and then you get your mechanical devices, your motors, and some gears. 

Internal combustion engine, 1.5 litre with no timing belt. So that again, that 96 K interval we talked about, it's not applicable. And of course, most timing belts are usually get almost double at lifespan now. So they improved things. But, there's your, yeah, basically under hood view, cooling system. There's two cooling systems on these hybrid vehicles. One for the, one for the hybrid system and one for the internal combustion engine. And I think that ends our picture show for today. 

Mark: Now we don't see that there's actually two motor generators in this vehicle?

Bernie: There is, yeah. And well, I can just get back to the picture again just real quick. We don't have pictures of them in this show and we'll get some in some future slides so you can see the inside of one of these units. But the motor generator units are below this, this thing, it says hybrid synergy drive. This is the inverter. The inverter by the way, converts the DC voltage from the battery to AC for different accessories, as well as for the actual hybrid drive. So there's a lot going on in this thing. It's all electrical and electronic of course. But a lot goes on in this unit converting AC to DC and DC back to AC and for a variety of different items. You know, it powers up the 12 volt. With the DC converter powers up to 12 volt electrical system, which runs all your lights and everything else. Plus the air conditioning is also run on an electric as well. So the hybrid inverter works for that too. Tripping over my tongue here. Anyways. Yes, there are two. So the two motor generator units mounted below this thing and  they sit inside the transmission and surprisingly the transmission, I've dismantled a few of these units there. They're not very complicated that you'd think there'd be a lot to them.

There's one planetary gear set in between the two units and the rest of it is basically two large electric motors. So it's actually quite simple. Surprisingly. 

Mark: And why do they use two different electric motors? 

Bernie: Yeah, so on this particular motor generator two, which is the larger one and sits further outside, like the motor generator two is sort of on this side, motor generator one would be over here next to the engine.

The MG two drive is actually what drives the vehicle and MG one starts and stops the internal combustion, well it starts the internal combustion engine. It's also used for regenerative braking as well. So they kind of share the work. So that's the kind of simplest explanation for it.

Mark: Sure. So the regenerative braking is what, where the brakes are, the car is actually slowed by that MG one, and then that energy that's generated in the generator from the slowing the car down, is actually a recharging the battery, is that right? 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And that is really, the biggest advantage of a hybrid vehicle, it's not that it's the vehicle's driven on the road by an electric motor, it's the fact is that breaking energy is captured. It's put back into the vehicle and it's not wasted like it is on every other car. So this is why a hybrid, when you look at the fuel mileage specifications, city mileage is higher than highway, whereas on a normal internal combustion engine, it's always the opposite because it's much more efficient on the highway, but a hybrid is much more efficient in the city.

So this is where it's important. Before you buy one to go, where am I driving my vehicle? If all you're doing is highway driving a hybrid is a waste of money. But if you, you know, you're doing city driving like most people do, then there's a definite efficiency improvement. Enormously. 

Mark: And that's distinctly different with a pure electric vehicle.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. But you know, the thing about a pure electric vehicle, is you're also recapturing the energy of braking and that's going back into the battery as well. So you know, again, an electric vehicle is more efficient in stop and go traffic. 

Mark: Right. So it's just overall more efficient. 

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah because you're recapturing that wasted stopping energy, which is something that we've just dispersed out into the atmosphere in terms of heat and dust for, you know, since cars have been invented.

Mark: So did you find any other issues with this car? 

Bernie: The only other issue that was going on with the vehicle, the owner had a complaint of a, there was a noise coming underneath the engine or underneath the car. And so we, it was pretty apparent, we figured ah that it sounds like an exhaust rattle because it only happened when the internal combustion engine turned on. It turns out there was a loose heat shield, which we removed and solved the issue. So not bad for, you know, the only problem we found an eight year old vehicle was a, it was a loose exhaust shield. 

Mark: So what's different about the Prius C from the other Prius models? 

Bernie: Yes, as I'd mentioned it's just a compact version, like a Prius C is like a Yaris. It's a tiny little car, whereas.. 

Mark: It's even tinier. 

Bernie: Even tinier. Yes, exactly. Well, I tend to think of a Prius is kind of like a Corolla sized vehicle and the Prius C is kind of like a Yaris size vehicle. So it's got a smaller engine, a 1.5, the regular Prius, Prius V, the larger ones, they use a 1.8 litre engine.

So, you know, and they have more power, but it's, it's a larger car. So it's compact, you know, and if you want a nice little economical car to bomb around in, this is it. This is the one. 

Mark: So three motors, three different, drive trains essentially, or one drive train, but three different, powering mechanisms. rHow are the Prius C for reliability? 

Bernie: Super good. You know, Toyota is a, you know, I've said this before, you know, and when hybrids first came out I thought, Oh my God, this is like the worst idea ever because it's so complicated because you basically got two systems. And it's true. There's a lot more to go wrong. But Toyota's proven, you know, that things are really reliable. There are, you know, a few models that have had some issues, but really. It's pretty minimal. Like they're really reliable. I mean, you get taxis that have been running and they run them all the time and run them for a long time, and they're, they're very reliable. So, I mean, that's proof right there. 

Mark: Yeah five, 600,000 kilometres is standard. 

Bernie: Oh yeah, even a million. No problem. You know, and the thing that taxis like about them is that the brakes don't wear out as fast as they would. I mean, normally like a, I think a lot of taxis, I've heard, we don't service taxis, but you know, a set of brakes on an average taxi cab would have lasted one or two months where they can get a year out of them on a hybrid, which is pretty, that's a pretty substantial amount. Now for an average...  

Mark: 12 x difference.

Bernie: Oh yeah, exactly. And for an average person driving, and we have customers with hybrids that are over 10 years old. We've never done anything other than a brake service, which is basically cleaning and lubricating the brakes so they keep lasting. So you know, that's, I mean, that's, again, another advantage less wear out. Overall, you know, they're excellent cars. I don't hesitate to recommend them. They've got a really good track record, so. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Toyota Prius in Vancouver, and you want experts who actually have training and have deep knowledge and experience in fixing these vehicles, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're always busy. Or check out the website,, hundreds of articles on there. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Of course, if you like the podcast, give us some star ratings, some love, check us out on the socials. And thanks so much for watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid – B Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, and they're 21 time winners. I think they're pretty good. You think if you win 21 times in a row, you're pretty good. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing today Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. I always love that introduction because it does make me feel pretty good. 

Mark: 26 and you know, you're welcome. It's earned, you earned it. You guys do a hell of a good job. 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you everyone for voting for us because it really does, it's a real honour.

Mark: So 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid you have, we're doing some service work on this vehicle. What was going on with this Toyota? 

Bernie: The vehicle was brought in as a new customer, brought in for a maintenance service and due for a B service, which is, we often say a B services in oil and filter change along with a full vehicle inspection.

Mark: So hybrid vehicle, what's unique about it? 

Bernie: Well, of course, the hybrid drivetrain is unique. But there's not really a lot different in the servicing. I mean, it's still, it still has an internal combustion engine that needs an oil and filter change. You know, we do a, we do a thorough vehicle scan of this vehicle with an electronic scan of the vehicle, which is, which we include in a lot of other vehicles, but it's especially important in a hybrid because there are a lot of electronic systems that.

If there's a fault of some sort, it could be picked out. Of course, if it's a major fault, there'll be a warning light on your dash, of some sort. But it's just good to just see if there's anything there that might be any cause of concern for the client, but other than that, you know we inspect the brakes. Wheel off inspection, rotate tires if necessary and needed. I mean, some cars you can't rotate the tires because they're different sizes. A Highlander you can, so we rotate the tires, lube the door locks, hinges and latches. And just to do a general inspection of the brakes, steering, suspension, cooling system, charging system, that type of thing.

Mark: So were there any other additional issues that found with the vehicle? 

Bernie: A couple of dirty filters, like the engine air filter and the cabin air filter. But other than that everything else was good at this time. Not due for any other service items at this particular time. 

Mark: And what was the kilometerage on this vehicle?

Bernie: Kilometerage! Glad you changed that, because I always write mileage. I go, why do we do that when we use kilometres in Canada, but a 90,000 kilometres, so just under 60,000 miles for those folks across the border or in England who still use miles. 

Mark: And what maintenance services were due at the specific amount of usage?

Bernie: Yeah. So for this vehicle, basically the oil change interval is a 16,000 kilometres, 10,000 miles. I personally would do it a little more frequently, like maybe 10 to 12 on the oil service. I think it's important to change the oil just a little more often than manufacturer recommends, but that's nonetheless the manufacturer recommendation.

Spark plugs 192,000 kilometres, I think that's 120,000 miles somewhere in there, transmission fluid and 160,000 kilometres, a hundred thousand miles and engine coolant is 160, transmission actually doesn't have an interval on this vehicle unless you do it using it for heavy duty use.

But I think it's important to do it probably around a hundred thousand kilometres. You know, there's a lot inside the electric, you know, the electric motors are bathed in the fluids, so it's important to change it. So next service we'll recommend to the owner to change the transmission fluid.

And it's not a difficult service on these vehicles. It's not a flush, like a traditional automatic transmission fluid.  In this vehicle it's more of a drain and fill like a standard transmission. So simpler, you know not that costly compared to an automatic service. 

Mark: So, do you know off the top of your head, is this a nickel metal hydride battery or lithium-ion?

Bernie: I, you know, I don't know. For some reason I'm going to, I'm going to take a guess that it's a lithium. But I could be wrong. I know Toyota, they, they're kind of around the cusp of changing a few things around, so it might still be a nickel metal hydride because it's a straight hybrid and not a plugin, but I'm pretty sure the plugins all have nickel metal, lithium ion, sorry. 

Mark: Yeah. 

Bernie: Let’s get into a couple of pictures here.

2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - B Service
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - B Service
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - B Service
2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - B Service

So there's our redesign, actually redesign in 2016 a Highlander. Good looking vehicle. What else do we got here? For pictures, there's, there's the outside, of course, several look under the hood. Here's the under hood view. So this is the internal combustion engine located under this hybrid synergy drive plastic cover. Over on this side is where the transmission is located. We actually have the air filter out of this vehicle. So that's why that strange gap is there, which you may or may not notice, but anything marked orange, those are all high voltage cables. So this is where, you know, any servicing has to be done with caution around these high voltage cables. And there's not a whole lot to see on, you know, there's a lot of covers and things that can be removed, but it does have a radiator in the front. Interesting, what I find interesting about this, and actually I'll go into the next picture. So I've kind of split the next pictures to look at two different sides of the compartment.

So let's, this is a sort of internal combustion engine side, but, so on the right hand side, you notice the brake reservoirs over here and the ABS brake and a number of brake components are located over on the side of the vehicle. And yet the brake pedal is actually over on the other side. So this is a fully electronic braking system. it's all drive, I mean, most brake systems on hybrids, they're all essentially brake by wire. But this is interesting because they moved the reservoir and everything over to the passenger side of the vehicle, completely away from the pedal like you would find in a traditional vehicle. And the actual pedal it's interesting. It feels like you're pushing on a brake pedal, but that's all controlled electronically and with dampers and things to give you a feel like you're actually pushing on a brake as you would in a traditional car, but it's actually just, it's completely electrically activated, so when you push the brake, you may actually not even be activating the brakes in the car. It may just be the hybrid drive unit that's slowing the vehicle down in regenerative braking, but of course, when you put a hard activation, then it uses the regular brake system fully. That's a view of that side of the engine compartment. 

This is kind of a closer view of the sort of call a transmission side. The hybrid drive unit is actually down here. The transmission, which has a two electric motors and there's, this is the cooling system for the hybrid. There are two separate cooling systems. So one for the hybrid side, one for the internal combustion engine and being an all wheel drive vehicle, the Highlander, along with a Lexis counterpart, has an electric drive motor in the rear. So the all wheel drive is actually accomplished electrically and not with any coupling between the drivetrain. So there's no transmission tunnel and going down the middle with the driveshaft. It's all done, the rear drive is all electric and that's our picture show for the day. 

Mark: Is the battery basically underneath the floor pan?

Bernie: I believe so. Older Highlanders it is. And so I would say that this would be in the same spot. I didn't really tear it apart to look in detail. It's funny that there's not a lot of information about these. I mean, I sort of go, you know, just to educate myself for the podcast. I'm okay wonder where, you know, let's have a look at this and how is it different from the previous model years. And there's really nothing, nothing out there, you know, in order to find a lot of these things, you really have to, you know, go rip through repair information or actually start tearing the car apart. But I would say that they wouldn't have redesigned the vehicle much any appreciable way. I mean, that's a good spot to put the battery under the seat. 

Mark: And how our high a Highlander hybrids for reliability?

Bernie: Well, they're really good. Now this generation, there's no issues that I could find with it, but you know, I know that on the older generations we're talking like the, I guess would be the second generation Highlander or first, anyways it was a, you know, in the a 2000 model years. First decade of the two thousands a lot of them had inverter problems. Most of those were covered by a recall or factory extended warranty, at least in the US they were. In Canada we weren't so lucky and often owners were had to foot the bill, which is substantial, huge, like, you know, a bit shy of $10,000 parts, labor to do an inverter so they're a very expensive item. And I don't know why they didn't extend that warranty to Canada, but probably not enough people yell and scream up here or something or we don't have enough lawyers to to make that happen. But anyways, inverters have been a problem. Pretty frequent problem. But interestingly enough, I looked at some sites just to get some more information on, it's called It’s pretty good. It's got a lot of good information on issues. In 2009, they just show the Highlander Hybrid is having an enormous spike in problems compared to others. But they all seem to be brake related issues or ABS brake system and nothing with the inverters. It's funny as none of that's mentioned. So my caution is you got to watch websites that have information. Because a lot of times it's just a vent for people to complain about stuff and it doesn't quite paint the full picture of the vehicle. So there's a lot of stuff that happens on these that isn't showing there. And a lot of things I wasn't aware of that people are complaining about. So, but you know, to me it's a good vehicle overall. It's just got to watch the inverter on the older ones, the newer ones I'm sure they've solved that issue. 

Mark: And how about, is this a vehicle that you would recommend?

Bernie: Absolutely.  

Mark: Depending on year, I guess? 

Bernie: Yeah, it depending on year, but you know, I think anything older that you buy, you've just gotta be a bit cautious and just know that, you know, when it's out of warranty, you know, there's the potential for some extremely expensive parts to fail. You know, there's the hybrid battery.

Generally they, you know, these have all lasted a lot longer than people have thought, but, you know, there are potentially more expensive items to fix. But you know, I mean, this vehicle is newer. I mean, I definitely recommend them. I think they're really well built overall. There's very few problems with them. It's a Toyota. They're very good, you know, if you get something with lower mileage, you're probably better off, but you will pay more money of course. And I think with hybrids, it's always a balancing act of, you know, are you actually going to get the value out of the improved fuel mileage if you're, you know, if you're driving strictly highway driving, you're probably not going to see any benefit. If, you know, if your most of your driving is around the city, then you, then you'll get the benefit of the approved mileage and the efficiency that a hybrid offers. 

Mark: Versus the extra cost of having a hybrid versus just as plain ice engine model. 

Bernie: Yeah. Versus the extra cost. And you know, we see that, I mean, we, we do a lot of diesel repairs. I'm not going to single out any other manufacturer, but you know, we do, we see a lot of diesels and some of them aren't so well-built and all that money you save on diesel fuel is often spent in our shop or other shops fixing mechanical problems. And you go, well, where's, where's the actual savings? You would've been better just to, I don't know if it's better for the environment. I don't want to say that, but you know, you may have been better off to just burn that up and fuel then have them, you know, spend the money. There's no savings there. So it's always a balancing act. You never know. And then of course there's the environmental issues to take into account when you try to formulate it all it gets kind of complicated. But the other thing about a hybrid is there's less CO2 going out into the air from your vehicle. For sure. That's an absolute fact when you're driving it.

Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your hybrid in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call them, book ahead. They're busy or you can check out the website,, hundreds over 600 articles and videos of all makes and types of repairs. For many years now we've been doing this. And of course on YouTube, over 350 videos, do a search for Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Leave us a rating on iTunes or Spotify. We would much appreciate that and thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe. We love doing the material.

2001 Toyota 4Runner – Rack and Pinion Repair

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

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: So today's victim is a 2001 Toyota 4Runner that had a steering problem. What was going on with this SUV?

Bernie: Yeah. So the vehicle came to our shop. The owner did move to Vancouver and needed an out of province inspection on the vehicle. So we proceeded to do that. And one of the items that we found is that the steering rack and pinion, not only had a torn boot but also had a leak as well. So that was a required replacement item to pass the inspection.

Mark: So what does the rack and pinion do?

Bernie: Well, basically, the rack and pinion connects your steering wheel to your wheels. More accurately connects your steering wheel to the steering column, and the rack and pinion connects to the steering column. And from there, it transmits the movement of your steering column and wheel out to the road wheels through a couple of tie rod ends. And so the rack and pinion, this is where the power assist occurs in this vehicle. Some racks are not power assist, of course, most are but that's just where the power assist occurs. And also the movement from creates a movement from side to side.

Mark: And rack and pinion is a replacement for steering box?

Bernie: It is, you know, used to be that you would have a steering box in place where the rack and pinion would be in the rack. And pinion provides a couple of advantages. It's simpler, there's less moving parts, and it's, it's a tighter because there's less moving parts as well. It's also tighter. There's a, it gives a better control over your steering. So it was quickly adopted. It's been around for a long time, but really kind of commonly came into use around the 1980s. And ever since it's been used in most vehicles. I mean, there, there's some that still have steering boxes and you'll find those, you know, like in large trucks, they still use steering boxes cause they do provide it. They're very good and heavy duty applications. But for most vehicles and light trucks, the steering rack does a great job.

Mark: Yeah. So if you've ever driven a vehicle from the sixties or fifties that didn't have power steering, you know that it took, they had big steering wheels and it was a, it was a long ways before you turn the wheel, before the wheels would turn. And that play was basically what made the steering box operate. Rack and pinion took that away.

Bernie: Exactly. Now, in all fairness, you know, some vehicles do have steering boxes that have pretty tight steering, but as things wear, they tend to get a lot more movement and looseness. Why don't we just get into some pictures here?

Mark: How durable are rack and pinions in the 4Runner?

Bernie: Oh, yeah they're really good. You know, they do wear out. I mean, this one I would say is certainly original, and this is a 2001 vehicle, so we've got about 18, 19 years of usage, so that's pretty good. I know on these vehicles, they have and I'm not sure if this model year, whether it's slightly nerve, but there's a bushing that used to wear on the rack and pinion, or would cause the rack to get a little sloppy. So if your steering had a bit, there's a little more movement in your wheels, a little less controlling your steering, sometimes the rubber bushings would wear and you could actually replace them.

2001 Toyota 4Runner - Rack and Pinion Repair
2001 Toyota 4Runner - Rack and Pinion Repair
2001 Toyota 4Runner - Rack and Pinion Repair
2001 Toyota 4Runner - Rack and Pinion Repair

Anyways here's a picture of the rack and pinion as removed from this 2001, 4Runner. The arrow here points to the actual ripped boot which and this part can be replaced separately. It doesn't require a whole rack, but in this case, there was fluid leaking out in this area. And you know, that's a sure sign the rack and pinion is worn out. So there's no sense in changing a boot when you, when you have a leaking rack. there is fluid here. This is just because the rack and pinion has been removed from the vehicle and it's leaked fluid out of where the power steering hoses connect. So that's not a problem, so to speak. Getting into some other pictures here.

What have we got here? Here's a close up. This is the, a torn boot. The boot basically keeps water and dirt from getting inside the, you know, you can see, this is a very shiny piece. This is the actual rack. It's a toothed piece. so inside the rack and pinion inside here, there's a very long shaft. You can see a little bit of it here. Big long shaft. And in this section of the shaft from about here to here, there's gears on it. And so, and this part here, which is the pinion has another little tiny gear, and that'll move the rack back and forth as you turn the steering wheel. This part here connects up to your steering column and your steering wheel. And we'll do it a little more close up of that particular piece, which is here. So in here you can see this is where the steering column attaches. There's the power steering pipes that go out to the rack and pinion. And then if this was a non power steering unit, it wouldn't have any of these pipes or hoses. And it's very rare to find a car with non-power rack and pinion steering. But there are some around, and probably just in generally more older models. This here we have ran into one other issue with this vehicle. You know, sort of based on age and maybe climate conditions with the hose required replacement. When we went on and do the fitting, it was basically seized and snapped off. So it's also required a power steering pressure hose. Usually not a very common thing to replace at the same time unless it's leaking. But you know, sometimes we're in the middle of a job and expect to unbolt something that normally unbolts and it doesn't. So that's a, this arrow points to the fitting that was leftover from the power steering pressure hose. And this fitting here is where the return goes. So fluid flows in one direction and returns out the other way. And what else have we got here? Just a quick view of the engine compartment in this 4Runner, a 3.4 litre, V6 engine, very common in these vehicles, used for a long time. Fairly reliable, but there are some issues and we can talk about that in a little bit.

Mark: So any other leaks or issues common to rack and pinions?

Bernie: The only other issue, I mean leaks, 95% of the racks we replace as a matter of fact, almost a hundred, I think 100% of the racks we replace these days are for leaking , you know, which happens on every vehicle sooner or later. But the, the other issue we used to see a lot, and especially in the 1980s, was a, it was something we called morning sickness. And what happened in the, in the 1980s, GM Ford, Chrysler, all the American manufacturers went fully in on rack and pinion steering. Everything had rack and pinion steering. It was like the big new thing. And you know, for good reason. But in their haste to manufacture them or figure things out, the rack and pinion's used a soft aluminum housing with hard metal seals or graphite. They were hard type of seal. And over time, these seals would wear the aluminum housing. So it would create a gap in inside the housing and the allow fluid to flow past. And so when the vehicle was cold, you got to turn the steering wheel and you have no power steering. It was known as morning sickness. Super common problem. We replaced racks on pretty well every GM vehicle back then and many Fords, I can't remember about Chrysler's, but certainly GM and Ford was a big issue. And it just turned out to be again, the solution was just to put some, a hardened metal in where the aluminum housing was and that would prevent the problem from happening. And of course, it got figured out. It never happens anymore. But it was a big issue way back when. So I haven't seen a morning sickness vehicle in a long time.

Mark: So aren't many steering racks these days, electric, how does that work and what issues do you see with them?

Bernie: Yeah, so a lot of steering racks are electric. One of the bigger, couple of reasons, it's more efficient. I mean to have power steering in the traditional sense, you need to run a hydraulic pump and it tends to run all the time. And really you only need it when the engines idling or maybe at very slow speed maneuvers. Other than that. Once you get in the highway, you don't need it. So there's a pump that's being driven. It's a waste of energy. So electric is awesome because it's just completely on demand. They generally use an electric motor in the rack and pinion, but some actually put it on the steering column. But that motor provides the power assist and it'll do so only on demand situation. The other advantages as we've got to into vehicles, not only hybrids and electric cars, but vehicles with start, stop technology. It's essential to have electric rack and pinion because you've got to have power steering even when the engines off. So that's a critical component. But as far as problems, we've never replaced an electric rack and pinion in our shop ever. They are very reliable, not 100%. I know that there are some that do have issues, but I think a lot of them have been covered by manufacturers warranty. The problems had been kind of figured out quite quickly. And besides getting maybe in an accident where you actually bend the rack or create some other problem there, they're usually really reliable. That's good news for vehicle owners. And of course, they are very much more complex and much more expensive. So it's a kind of part you don't really want to be replacing.

Mark: So with the 4Runner, how difficult of a job was this?

Bernie: It's not really too difficult. I mean, it's a few hours work to take the rack and pinion in and out. You do need some special tools and big tools. And doing it on a hoist is critical, but it's not the, racket and pinions vary from being, you know, really simple to remove to some, some are really buried in under the frame of the vehicle and require a lot of finagling to get in and out. This one is pretty straightforward.

Mark: So this 4Runner is 18 years old now. Is it still a worthwhile vehicle to keep?

Bernie: Yeah, it is. I would say, well, you know, it depends on how well it's been maintained, but 4Runners were really well built vehicles and they still retain their value really well. I remember there was a time when, you know, a 4Runner, had the lowest depreciation rate of any vehicle on the road. I might still be the case, I'm not sure. But I mean, they are a really well-built vehicle. I would, I like to say not a lot goes wrong with them. I mean, there were some issues with this. You know, I showed a picture earlier, and maybe I'll just get back into a screen share we'll look at the engine here. So this 3.4 litre, 4 cam, 24 valve engine, they did have a lot of head gasket problems with these particular engines. And a lot of them were covered by warranty, but yeah, head gaskets were definitely a big issue. This is also a timing belt engine, so it does require a timing belt replacement and that's, you know, obviously a critical thing to do. You'd never want your timing belt to break on one of these. But many Toyotas and I'm not saying this as one of them, do not have interference fit engines so that if the timing belt breaks, you're just going to be stranded on the road but not damaging your engine. And I believe this is one of those such engines, but I never liked to think of that. It's never good to take that chance because if you do bend any valves or cause any damage, it costs a lot more money to fix. But a timing belt is a maintenance item on these engines. So that's, you know, something that'll probably cost you in a one to $2,000 range. You know, changing the water pump and all the other tensioners and pulleys and pieces of seals that should be done at the same time. Yeah but other than that it's a generally good solid vehicle. You know, 18 years old. Of course, things will go wrong, but it's a well-built truck. And you know, if you can get a good used one for a good price, you can afford to spend a bit of money on maintenance because it's a good vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Toyota 4Runner, the guys to see in Vancouver 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. Check out the website Hundreds, over 600 articles on there, videos all makes and models of vehicles, repairs, maintenance items. Of course, the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, over 350 videos there now and growing every week. And of course, thanks so much for watching listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching listening.

Services For Toyota Prius

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver and 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 we're going to talk about Toyota Prius. What kind of services do Toyota Prius need?

Bernie: Yeah, well, there's a variety of services they do need. I mean, let's talk just generally about the reliability of the vehicle overall first. My first. thought when the Prius came out, a couple of decades ago now is, "Oh my God, this is way too complicated".

You know, you're not only have an internal combustion engine to deal with, but all the electric drive, train batteries, inverters, all the bits and pieces that make it work but, you know, two decades later, it's turned out to be one of the most reliable vehicles on the road.

You look at taxi cab fleets, 20 years ago, they were all largely American cars and now they're all mostly Toyota Prius's or you know, Camrys, that kind of thing. So they're, it's proven to be very reliable and a huge cost reduction vehicle you know, when operated, especially for a long range type of heavy use vehicle.

Mark: So no car is perfect. What goes wrong with them?

Bernie: So, yeah. So, I mean, Toyota's are legendary for reliability, but there are things that do go wrong with these vehicles. I mean, overall, you know, the internal combustion engines are pretty reliable. I mean, some of them do develop some oil consumption issues over time.
And I'm, I'm just kind of painting the Prius with a broad brush, because there's four generations of Prius. So there's a, you know, we go back the first generation goes up to about 03 and from 03 to 09 there's a second generation, which is where the Prius really sold a lot of cars. Generation three, 09 up to about 2015 and then 2015 and newer is the latest generation. Most of the vehicles we see are in generation two and three. So that's where we have most of our experience with these cars. Anyways yeah, so what goes wrong? I mean, the you know, water pumps fail, that seems to be a pretty common issue in a lot of Toyota engines and there are electric water pumps on certain models, different generations, there's failures with those, the water control valves. I mean, there are a few failures with the drive motors, the electric drive, motors, inverters, batteries do eventually wear out, but they've all proven to be pretty reliable. And then we don't repair a lot of those more major components, which is a good thing because they are very expensive to repair and do after time sort of require a, you know, some thinking to whether it's worth the cost, but for the most part they are. I mean, if you've taken good care of it, it's a good reliable car.

Mark: So what about routine maintenance items?

Bernie: So, yeah, so of course, it's an internal combustion engine vehicle and it needs oil changes on a routine basis. Again, don't stretch your oil change intervals out, because these are very high tech engines. They need their oil changed. They need clean oil in there. There's a transmission, the transmission does need a fluid change every once in a while, there's coolant, of course, brake fluid. Things like power steering fluid are eliminated because it's an electric power steering system. So there's one less fluid, but routine inspections are important on any vehicle. As time goes by, of course, suspension components wear, the brakes need to be looked at again, they do last a long time, but things do need to be looked at just to be inspected. Actually one repair item that I will mention that is frequent is the 12 volt batteries do go bad quite a lot and they cause all sorts of interesting issues in terms of starting the vehicle. So that's, that's another area that again, testing that battery on a routine basis is an important thing to keep your car reliable.

Mark: So, a Prius has two different battery systems.

Bernie: It does, it has a high voltage battery system, and then it has the traditional 12 volt, battery system. And that 12 volt battery system keeps all the lights, the radio, and it actually allows the vehicle to start as well. So, you know, the starting functions can't happen without a proper 12 volt, 12 volt battery. That allows the contactors to close and allows the battery and energy to flow into the motor. So, so it's a very critical part of the vehicle. And you know, you may not notice it's bad like you would in a traditional car, because on a traditional vehicle when your battery is bad, the starter might be, it won't start, but on a Prius, if the battery is weak, it'll still keep starting. But then on a number of quirky issues may show up. So testing it is a good thing to do on a routine basis.

Mark: We also mentioned brakes there, hybrids use or some of them definitely use regenerative braking, so that recharges the battery. How does, how do the brakes last on a Prius?

Bernie: Well, for the brake, as you mentioned, it has regenerative braking. That's one of the best things about a hybrid is the energy of braking, which is wasted on every vehicle other than a hybrid or an electric car, is the energy is recaptured. The drive motors turn into generators and they send the energy back into the battery, which is why a hybrid really gets way better mileage than a conventional, non hybrid type of vehicle. Interestingly enough, if you're just driving straight down the highway and you don't use the brakes at all, the hybrid really doesn't have a lot of advantage. But you know, when you're going down a hill or normal sort of city type of driving, which is what most people do there, that's where the advantage comes in. Anyways the regenerative braking system is really very reliable because it uses the drive motors and the batteries. One of the advantages of a hybrid is the normal service brakes, the brakes at the wheel are used very little. In a panic stop, of course, they're, they're used primarily, but in any other sort of regular breaking stop, they barely get used. So they can last a long time.

Taxis, you know, the traditional taxi cab, non hybrid, they may have changed their brake pads every month or two, whereas on a hybrid, a lot of times they'll last a year. So that's a huge savings for a taxi, not only in dollars, but in terms of downtime and, you know, because the car can keep going. It doesn't need the service. But anyway, for your average driver, the brakes should be serviced every once in a while. Probably around our climate in Vancouver, every couple of years. A good idea to do a break service, take the breaks apart, clean, lubricate everything, remove corrosion from the brake pad, sliders. In more hostile climates, like you know, Eastern Canada and the US where road salt is poured on the road six months of the year. You know, things like brake rotors will probably wear out, just from rusting out, cause it's a solid, it's a bare metal surface. But also the, you know, again, the pad sliders are subject to more corrosion. So an annual break service and that kind of climate is probably more valuable.

Also, of course, brake fluid, needs to be flushed. Brake systems in these are actually very, like, the hydraulic system is very complicated compared to a regular car because as you push the brake pedal, you're actually actuating, it's not just, pushing on the brakes as it would normally do in most vehicles you know, pushing fluid out to the wheels. It's actually actuating electronic valves to first of all, do the regenerative braking. Then if it needs fluid sent to the wheels, then it'll, it'll actuate it, you know, basically the ABS unit. So there's a lot more complexity. So flushing the brake fluid, you know, again, like in most climates, every two years is really critical to keep things functioning and flowing and keep your repair costs down.

Mark: So pretty much a basic set of a normal internal combustion engine car maintenance items.

Bernie: Exactly. I mean, things are a little different. I mean, transmission fluid, you know, the automatic, it has a transmission, but it's much, it's different than a traditional automatic transmission. It has some gears, but very little, mostly motors. So it doesn't, and it's cooled it sort of internally with a, with a cooling, you know, with its own separate liquid cooling system. So you know, fluid does need to be changed, but, you know, for maybe different reasons than you would in an automatic, traditional automatic transmission. But nonetheless, you know, it's got most of the things that need to be done on a routine basis, but overall, less, less expensive maintenance than you need to do on a, on a traditional internal combustion car.

Mark: Any further thoughts on the Toyota Prius?

Bernie:You know, overall it's a great car. I mean, my impression just driving in them is that they are kind of a cheap feeling car and they're kind of noisy inside. And I think, you know, where the Prius is, kind of Toyota's entry level model, and they do a fantastic job. I think they, you know, they've poured all their money into the drive train and made it reliable. And that's really the most important part of any vehicle is to keep that reliable. You know, if you're looking for a little more upscale drive, you know, there's a Camry, a Lexus has hybrids. They'll use the basic same, that same type of system and same level of reliability. So if you're looking for something a little more upscale, and you can always go with those and you'll, you'll have the same level of reliability and they need the same kind of services.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Prius in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, got a call and book ahead because they're busy. Check out the website Hundreds, over 600 articles on there on all makes and models and types of repairs. Over 350 videos on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thanks so much for listening and watching the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

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

2004 Toyota Sienna Rear Wiper Motor Repair

Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive video and podcast series. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Auto Repair in Vancouver, BC. 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers, and of course, we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So 2004 Toyota Sienna is today's victim. What was going on with this? Wiper motor problem? What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, the rear wiper on this vehicle had quit working. We'd done some diagnosis and found the motor was dead. Actually, this client brought this vehicle to us quite a while ago and so he'd been living with a dead motor for a while. This was the day to repair it.

Mark: So what might have caused the motor to die like this?

Bernie: Well, if you looked at our podcast we produced last week about some tips on preserving your windshield wiper and motors, which I mean a possible cause of this could have been that there was a lot of snow on the back window when he went to use it, burned the motor out. Could also be that he left the motor on the windshield wiper was iced and frozen onto the back window at some point in the past and caused the motor to burn out. That's a common cause of these kind of issues.

Mark: Any other causes?

Bernie: Other items that happen is of course, it's just things just get old and wear out, and that does happen. The other thing, too, is rear wipers are one of those things where sometimes people will very rarely ever use them and it's kind of like a parking brake, where if you don't use something for a long time it may actually just stick and gum up and not work. We see that with parking brakes, for example. People with automatics, they never use the parking brake and all of a sudden one day, they're on a steep hill and they say, "Hey, I better use the parking brake." It hasn't been used in five years, they put it on and the cable sticks. I mean, the wiper motor's a little different, but it can have the same kind of issue if you don't use it for a long time.

One other item we do find with wiper motors, too, is moisture intrusion. A seal can get weak and then water can seep down the shaft and into the motor and jam it up. In the case of this one, and I'll show pictures in a few minutes, it didn't look like there was any evidence of that. Hard to know, but those are some of the causes.

Mark: Is this a complicated replacement?

Bernie: Not particularly on this vehicle. There's a panel that needs to be removed on the back and then the motor sits right there. Wiper linkage and the wiper arm has to come off, but that's pretty much it. We can actually get into some pictures right now.

2004 Toyota Sienna Rear Wiper Motor Repair
2004 Toyota Sienna Rear Wiper Motor Repair

There's an 04 Sienna. This is not the vehicle we worked on, but I like this picture because it actually shows the back of the vehicle and there's your rear wiper with the motor. The motor will be located right back in here. When you pop the tailgate open, there's a panel and that can be removed and that's where the motor's located.

There is the motor. This is the old one, out of the vehicle. I mean, it really doesn't look ... it looks to be in really good shape, but somewhere inside the motor's burned out or something's happened that's causing it not to work. You know, sometimes if it'd been rust and moisture damage, you'll often see some rusty, sort of evidence of rust around the shafts or seeping out of the motor. This is just one side of the motor, but the other side looked fine, too. That's basically it. Pretty simple device.

This is a motor. It's got the linkage, well it doesn't really have linkage because it's one piece, but it has all the gear mechanisms and whatever causes it to move back and forth, the gears, they're all in one assembly so pretty straightforward.

Mark: And how did you replace it?

Bernie: So we used a used part in this case. You know, it's an older vehicle. A new motor was really only available from Toyota and really quite expensive. We were able to obtain a used motor for about half the price of a new one and the owner was good with that. That's what we did and it worked great.

Mark: Are used parts always a good option?

Bernie: No, they're not. You know, we do it on a case by case basis. Based on experience, certain items ... say a wiper motor like this. We can test it, we can listen to it, make sure it's not growling and making weird noises before we install it. Then it's a pretty good guarantee at least that the motor itself is in good shape when we install it. There are certain items that are not worth risking used. Over the years, I've seen cars where they have, certain engines will have very common failures and it doesn't make sense to spend the money and the amount of work involved putting a used engine in whereas a remanufacture engine would just make so much more sense, although a lot more money. The possibility of failure is quite high.

So that's kind of what we look at. There are other used parts where, I mean, it's just basically a solid piece of metal and you can be pretty assured it's going to work. Used parts, again, it's on a sort of as ... you got to kind of do a cost benefit analysis of doing a used part.

Mark: And of course, after replacement, works everything works fine and this fifteen year old Toyota Sienna has a lot of life left in it, is that right?

Bernie: Oh yeah. Yeah. It's a good vehicle. Definitely very reliable vehicle. I will say, in terms of cost for repairs, a lot of these vehicles, they can be a little costly. As I was saying, the new wiper motor was a pretty expensive piece. We'd done some repairs on one of the sliding doors in the vehicle, this has power sliding doors, and there was some pretty expensive latch ... I can't remember exactly what we did on it it, but the final bill was quite expensive and so I'm going okay, it's ... sometimes we think Japanese vehicles are so much cheaper than a German vehicle, but often they're not. They just tend to last longer before things tend to go wrong. You can be faced with some expensive repairs on Japanese vehicles. Just often, things are built as assemblies and you can't buy just a little piece for it.

Mark: And wiper motors can be pretty expensive as well. I think we mentioned that last week.

Bernie: They can, absolutely. And it really depends from car to car. In some more common cars, I think of American cars as being more common, which is not necessarily true, but in more common, there's a lot remanufacture options available. Things like rear wipers, for instance, they're not a very common replacement item, so they, a lot of times there's not a lot of aftermarket replacement pieces for them. Front ones, there's a lot more options.

Mark: So there you go. If you're needing some service on your Toyota Sienna, or any Toyota product 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 are busy always. Or you can check out their website YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Literally almost a thousand videos on there now of different makes and models of cars from the last 8 years of our doing these kind of broadcasts, as well we don't give over the phone estimates and we don't really like giving advice because we don't know your particular situation. So please enjoy our podcast and videos. Thank you for watching, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching. We totally appreciate it.

2009 Toyota Highlander, Brake Backing Plates

Mark: Good morning! It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers, and we're talking cars.

Mark: How are you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: Today's victim is a 2009 Toyota Highlander with a brake backing plate issue. What was happening with this Toyota?

Bernie: This vehicle, our clients were concerned. There was a squeaking noise, kind of intermittent but coming from the rear of the vehicle somewhere. That was their primary concern. It's kind of a rotational squeaking noise. When we looked at it, we found it looked like the noise was coming from the back brake area.

Mark: And what else did you find?

Bernie: Well, we did a brake inspection. What we found when we took everything apart, was a lot of rust on the brake backing plate, in fact, the right rear backing plate was so badly rusted, it was starting to disintegrate. And when that happens, the rotors, parking brake shoes, things start to rub in ways that they're not meant to rub, so that was causing the squeaking sounds.

Mark: Okay. Why would that happen?

Bernie: Basically, the backing plates, it's rust. There's vehicles from back East, eastern US, where they use a lot of road salt. I'll just get in some pictures right here, so we can have a better idea of what's going on, but it's road salt.

Here's our Highlander. I mean, as far as road salt, you'd never guess, the outside of the vehicle looks in good shape, and I have to say, auto manufacturers have really done a great job over the last couple of decades making their cars out of good quality metal, because back in the ... especially the seventies, and eighties, a lot of cars, especially some Japanese cars, were really bad. They just rust out, and cheaper quality cars, rust was a big problem.

2009 Toyota Highlander, Brake Backing Plates
2009 Toyota Highlander, Brake Backing Plates
2009 Toyota Highlander, Brake Backing Plates
2009 Toyota Highlander, Brake Backing Plates

But nowadays, we do find problems underneath the vehicle, where vehicles have been driven in those kind of corroded conditions. Here's the left rear back plate. This is actually the one that was in better shape, a little more solid than the one on the right, but you can see, a lot of rust here, a lot of rust; the paint's basically gone. And down here is sort of the worst area on this side, but on the other side, it was literally ... It rusted so bad, it was breaking apart.

You can see here, the parking brake shoes have never been changed. There's still some material on this shoe, but the angle I took the photograph on, the rear shoe had very little friction material left. This is kind of the ugly part of it, and getting back to ... That's a replacement. This is on the right-hand side, the side that was worse worn. You can see the plate is solid, the shoes are thick, and there's a final picture. That's the brakes back together, new rotor, new ... Sorry, not new ... New pads, new rotor. The calipers were actually still in good shape, so we're able to clean and lubricate them, and make all that work.

Mark: Were there other brake components that were worn out as a result of the rust?

Bernie: Well, not necessarily as a result of the rust, but at this point, other things needed to be replaced. The pads and rotors were worn. You know, rotors tend to take the brunt, especially in salty climates, rotors tend to get damaged really quickly. The surfaces rust, because it's bare metal, and they heat and cool, heat and cool, and with salt, they just start to rust pretty badly. Driving around this kind of climate where we use very little road salt, they can tend to last a long time. But in saltier climates, they go pretty fast.

Mark: Well, let's be specific. In snow, in climates where they get a lot more snow, where they use more road salt.

Bernie: Exactly, yeah, that's a good distinction. Yeah. No, I'd say road salt climates are the worst. But actually, interestingly enough, if you live near a coast, where there's a lot of wind and sea spray, that can actually have a pretty bad effect on your vehicle, too. We do see some vehicles that have damage from that. You have to be a little cautious if you live somewhere by a windy coastline. Almost have to treat your vehicle almost like you would driving it in road salt kind of conditions.

Mark: What can you do to alleviate or kind of take some preventative actions in an area where there's a lot of road salt or it's just basically a salty climate?

Bernie: Well, best thing to do is flush the undercarriage of your vehicle as frequently as possible, and that's always easier said than done, especially if you live somewhere where the temperatures remain sub-zero for maybe a month or two on end, and you're basically just left with having the salty grime under the vehicle. It may not be possible, but where it is possible, flush underneath the vehicle as much as you can, because that will prevent this kind of thing happening.

And that's really getting a hose into a back brakes, it's getting it underneath the vehicle, spraying all over the place, because this is where the salt sits and starts corroding things like brake lines and fuel lines and brake backing plates, thin sheet metal kind of pieces.

That's the best preventative thing you can do, if possible. I also had a client once from Montreal, where they use a lot of road salt, and she told me ... had an older Volvo. I said, "It's surprising how little rust there was in this car." It was a 10-year old Volvo. And she said, "The secret, what I've done is, I never let ... when it's road salt season and cold out, I never put the vehicle in a heated garage. It always stays outside so it stays cold all the time."  I thought, that's a pretty smart idea. Something you might wanna take on if you live in such a climate. You don't get the privilege of getting into a warm car in the morning, but at least your car will last longer, which is probably a good thing.

Mark: And the joys of scraping your windshields.

Bernie: Yes, yeah. There's all sorts of other things there, but preventing ... Once you bring a car, it's got salt on it and moisture in a nice, warm climate, the salt just starts eating at the metal and ...

Mark: The chemical reaction takes place.

Bernie: Chemical reaction's having a good time.

Mark: How are Toyota Highlanders for reliability?

Bernie: Well, they're awesome. Yeah. Really good, nice little SUV. Smaller size. You know, very reliable. Not much bad I can say about them. They really ... Do the maintenance, they'll last a long, long time.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for any kind of brake backing plate issues or squeaking or service on your Toyota Highlander 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 busy. Or check out the website, We've got hundreds of articles and videos on there over the last eight years, as well. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds, literally. Getting close to a thousand, actually, on there, and all makes and models and types of problems and repairs, and of course, thank you for watching the podcast. And thank you, Bernie!

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. And thank you for watching!

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