Honda - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

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2004 Honda Accord – Axle Shaft Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing well.

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

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

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

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

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

Mark: Ok how? How did this break?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernie: Thanks Mark, thanks for watching.

2015 Honda CRV, Cabin Air Filter and Maintenance Service

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

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

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

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

Mark: So what does that look like?

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

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

Mark: Is replacing the cabin air filter complicated?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark: And how reliable are the 2015 Honda CRVs?

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

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

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

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

2007 Honda Civic, Front Brakes Repair

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

Bernie: Doing well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernie: It was, yeah, yeah.

Mark: And why was that a warrantied item?

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

Mark: And so what was causing the hot spots?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2006 Honda Ridgeline, Timing Belt Replacement

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

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

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

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

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

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

2006 Honda Ridgeline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Honda Civic Maintenance Service

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Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and we're here in Vancouver with the big bopper himself, Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I am doing very well.

Mark: So we have a 2016 Honda Civic, a newer vehicle and had a maintenance service. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this vehicle was due for a maintenance service, actually a little overdue for scheduled maintenance service. Vehicle has 50,000 kilometres so a number of items were due at that mileage.

Mark: Maintenance service, so that's regular kind of scheduled thing that you guys let folks know about coming in for. Did you find anything unusual? 

Bernie: Well there was a couple things. First of all, and one of the reasons I wanna talk about this car, is that the owner came in, the vehicle was 5,000, more than 5,000 kilometres overdue for service. I'll just get into a real quick photo here. We have the dash, I think you can see that. If you look, this is the dash display, this comes on, you turn the key on in the car and it, right away, it says right there, maintenance past due, 5,616 kilometres. There's also a couple of little numbers here, 01279 those are maintenance items that are required, and those correlate to different parts and components, so those are all due as well. But, the light will come on when you're due for an oil change for certain. So basically, I guess one thing I wanna talk about is leaving that too long. Most modern cars, they have a maintenance reminder, it's a timer, some of them, in the olden days it was just a timer it would just go on mileage and then go off. But more modern cars they're sophisticated, they'll actually monitor your drive cycles. 

They'll make assessments. Like if you do a lot of highway driving, you'll get a longer oil change interval. If you do a lot of short trips, cold weather, it'll remind you to change the oil more frequently. It's actually pretty sophisticated on a lot of cars. I find with Honda's by the time the light comes on and tells you, you're due for service it's a good time. The oil's dirty, but not really dirty, and I think that's really the optimum time to change it. So leaving it 5,600 kilometres beyond the service interval is really not a good thing. There's a lot of expensive components, variable valves, timing in this engine, it's sophisticated, timing chain. A lot of things that could go wrong if you leave your oil too long.

Mark: So variable valve timing, just what does that do for the vehicle?

Bernie: Variable valve timing adjusts the timing of your engine valves and it allows your engine to ... I mean, it's basically there for improved gas mileage, improved performance, improved exhaust emissions, and it's amazing what a difference it'll make to an engine. A normal engine there's a timing chain or belt that drives the camshaft and the valves open and close at an exact time whether you're idling or whether you're at 6000 RPM. Really an engine, having the valves opening at different times makes a big difference to the performance of the engine depending on the speed and what's required. So variable valve timing solves that. This is why so many of our modern cars run so well, you can get so much power out of a little engine. Now variable valve timing, they have, the way it operates is it uses the engines oil system with valves and special gears and sprockets that are adjusted with oil pressure. They're very narrow passageways so they require good oil flow through the passageways. What happens to oil when you leave it, like beyond the oil change interval, it starts developing sludge. It'll start plugging the passageways up, then your variable valve timing system won't work. So you'll have engine performance problems, check engine light'll come on. Bottom line, very expensive repairs.

Mark: So is any kind of special oil required for this particular engine?

Bernie: Well this oil specifies 0-20 synthetic oil, it's a common oil that's been used in Japanese cars for a long time. A lot of other manufacturers have their own kind of specs. But most modern vehicles use pretty thin oils, like 0-20, 0-30, 0-40 on some more high performance model cars. They use the thin oils for good fuel economy because they flow really easily, especially at cold temperatures. But this is like 0-20 synthetic, it's a pretty common type of synthetic oil.

Mark: And what else did you do during this service?

Bernie: Well there was a number of other items recommended. So we did a brake fluid flush, we also did a motor vac fuel injection cleaning, which isn't a Honda recommended item, but we recommend that about every 50,000 kilometres, every two or three years for good engine performance. This is a port fuel injection system so you can still do a motor vac cleaning. A lot of modern cars you direct fuel injection and there's a fuel cleaning service as well which is really critical. Like a valve combustion chamber cleaning service. But that is a slightly different service, same kind of idea. The other thing we did is the cabin air filter was due for replacement, and I'll just share a couple more photos because there's some interesting stuff to look at here.

Here's the cabin air filter, it's amazing how dirty one of these can get after 50,000 kilometres, or basically two years of driving. I was actually kind of shocked, I pull this open and there was just loaded full of dust, you can see feathers, dog hair, leaves, a lot of stuff. Again, the cabin air filter's one of those things, they're often difficult to check, so you just change it when the service is due. On this vehicle one of those numbers that I showed earlier on the dash indicates that this one was due for service.

Mark: That's not what it would look like in a normal service interval though is it?

Bernie: You know what, I've done them at a normal service interval and they're, they look just a little dusty, so this one is exceptionally dusty. I would say, based on what I noted under the hood, when we popped the hood of the car. There's a lot of dust, so this vehicle's been driven on some dusty roads. But this is pretty extreme.

Mark: It looks like a mouse nest.

Bernie: Yeah. Kinda close. I've seen worse, but this is like among as bad as they get which is surprising. Yet sometimes I've seen them at 50,000 kilometres where they're barely dirty. But it's always best to just change it whenever the interval is required. Or if you do a lot of dusty road driving, change it more often. One other photo I've got to share too. The engine air filter. So this is the engine air filter. Again, hideously dirty. Probably should have been changed at the last service. In all fairness this vehicle probably went 15,000 kilometres since the last service based on the, what you normally get on that maintenance reminder. But this filter was so dirty, I figured it should have been changed a long time ago. Often, this was a dealer serviced car, often these things get neglected. I'm amazed how many times we have a dealer serviced vehicle where we check the air filter and it's just hideously dirty. They don't get looked at. It was really about a one minute extra check. Little bit of a rant about dealer service. Sometimes it appears to be neglected.

Mark: Why do you think that is?

Bernie: I think the reason why is that ... I mean the way dealer service works, technicians are paid flat rate. So they have, they're assigned a job, you've got like, you're paid half an hour to do this job. Faster you do it, the more jobs you can do in a day, the more money you can make. It's kinda that simple. Whatever specified, if it isn't specified to look at the air filter in the maintenance schedule, they don't look at it. Now, in all fairness some cars it's a lot of work to look at an air filter and you wouldn't wanna spend the time doing it unless you were paid extra time to do it. But, on a lot of vehicle's they're so simple to inspect and it's literally takes like a minute to look at it. So that's just, I think it's really the pay system that's used in a lot of dealerships. You know the incentive is there for the technician to do the least amount of work possible. Whatever's just barely recommended, that's what they'll do.

Mark: So given those images that we just saw, this vehicle maybe has been a little bit neglected. Is that just due to the owner?

Bernie: Well, I was just saying, some of it's due to the owner of course with the age of the, the overdue oil change. You know, that's the, the cabin air filter, hey, that's just something that sucks air in and that's, there's nothing you can do about it, same with the air filter. But the air filter, to me, is something that probably could've been inspected last service and replaced. I mean, I can't say because I wasn't the person looking at it the last service. I get it, sometimes it's hard to get in for a service, so there's a bit of neglect there, I've left my oil sometimes too long. I hate to admit it, but you know what, I know what the consequences can be. But yeah, some of it the owner, but I think sometimes, I think sometimes where you're taking your car for service. Are they looking at all the, are they looking at things like the fluids? Are they really looking at the big picture of the car? One thing I noticed with this car as soon as I looked under the hood, is there's a lot of dust in the engine compartment. That right away tells you this person drives on dusty roads. That might warrant a little extra inspecting over someone who's car is clean and it's a straight city use car.

Mark: And is it also a function of this, we got all this extra performance, and reliability, and economy from the VVT style of components in our vehicles. But they also require a little bit more rigorous maintenance schedules?

Bernie: They do. I mean the great thing about modern cars is they really don't need a lot. When you think about, I mean I've been working on cars for a long time. It used to be that every year you'd have to have car tuned up, you'd have to change your spark plugs, and have your points replaced, and carburetor adjusted, carburetor cleaned because the car wouldn't start, or it would run really poorly. But with modern cars you just hop in you start it, it's like minus 20 Celsius out, the car starts and runs just like it does at plus 20. It's fantastic. You don't need to change your oil as often. There's longer intervals because the oils are better. You know the engine's, the fuel systems are more precise, oils don't get contaminated. It's great how modern cars work, it's just easy to forget about it sometimes. The important thing is when your oil change reminder comes on just do the services. They're simpler than they used to be. They cost often more per service, but you need less service overall. So it's really just a matter of following the schedule and maybe doing a tiny little bit more, because I find a lot of manufacturer schedules are a little stretched if you want your car to last for a long time.

Mark: Yeah, as we've seen in other podcasts, if you leave your oil for 50,000 kilometres you might be getting a brand new engine.

Bernie: Yeah. Oh yeah, more frequently than not. I have seen the odd person severely neglect their engine. I had one client that used to, a couple times when 50,000 kilometres. I'll tell you it was actually a Honda CRV, 50,000 kilometres between oil changes on a couple of occasions and the engine actually survived and never blew up. That is like the most unusual, rare thing I've ever seen, because I've seen many other cars where you hit 40,000 without changing the oil and the engine throws a rod. So there's something miraculous in that Honda, that particular Honda. But that one too, had no variable valve timing, it was a timing belt. Not saying, you shouldn't abuse it, but it had, it was less sophisticated in that way. It relied less on the oil for some of the more sophisticated systems in the engine.

Mark: So be safe, follow the maintenance schedule, or better.

Bernie: Yeah. I wanna share a couple other photos too just before we ... I know we're nearly wrapped up here, but I found a couple other things kind of amusing on this car here. Oh the other thing, I was gonna share too, this is the air filter box. I apologize the picture's kinda blurry, but this, again a lot of guck inside the air filter box. When we do the service here we actually take the time to vacuum that out so it doesn't get sucked right back into the air filter immediately. Here's basically a view of the engine. You can see the dusty and dirtiness of it, which kind of makes you realize why the cabin air filter might have been dirty, and the engine air filter. The other thing that I thought was very amusing is this little decal right here. I have a closer photograph of it. I don't know what manufacturers think of sometimes, but I don't know what Earth Dreams Technology is but ... It just made me chuckle. It's like GM had 10, 15 years ago brought out the Ecotec engine. And it's just funny how they have this environmental green washing terms for a carbon dioxide pumped engine. It amused me, so I just thought I'd share that.

Mark: Well, since we're dreaming about earth here. This car's pretty young, how are Honda Civics for reliability?

Bernie: Well they're really good. Again, change the oil regularly. It's a fantastic car, really, really nice to drive, lots of power, lots of pep. Should last a long, long time, again if you change the oil regularly. Again it's a 2016 so I don't know how long it's gonna be, how good it's gonna be in the long run, but based on Honda's track record I would say it would be a good buy of a car. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Mark: Probably will last until they need to buy themselves an electric car.

Bernie: Yeah exactly. Yeah, 'til electric cars are really popular.

Mark: Yeah.

Bernie: 'Til the earth dreams are really ...

Mark: Taking place.

Bernie: Whatever that means.

Mark: Alright, so if you're looking for service for your Honda products in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're always busy. Or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. For you folks who keep calling from all over North America, we appreciate your calls, but if you're not in Vancouver we can't really diagnose your car over the phone. Not very in integrity for us to try and do that. So enjoy what we provide, and talk to your local service dealer for your service needs, please. We help people in Vancouver. And thank you for watching the podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you for mentioning that Mark and thank you for watching.

2006 Honda Element Clutch Release Bearing

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Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So, we're going to talk about a Honda Element 2006 that had a clutch release bearing problem. What was going on with this, a little bit unique vehicle?

Bernie: Well, when you push the clutch in, it made a rather horrific grinding, grating noise. And it's not ... wasn't too difficult to determine that the problem was either a warn out clutch release bearing or something wrong with the actual clutch mechanism, like the pressure plate or disc. But usually a noise like that is pretty indicative of a bad clutch release bearing.

Mark: So what's a clutch release bearing?

Bernie: Well, what it is, the way a clutch works, it has a disc that attaches to the transmission. It's like a friction disc, kind of like a brake pad. And then there's a fly wheel and a pressure plate, which are bolted to the engine. And these ... The pressure plate clamps the clutch disc to the, between the pressure plate and the fly wheel, and the release bearing basically facilitates releasing the pressure plates. So when you push the clutch pedal down, it moves a few parts and pieces, eventually moves the clutch release bearing which presses against the pressure plate. There's a lot of force and friction. A lot of movement. There's a spinning at the speed of the engine, so it could be anywhere from 500 to 6,000 RPM, so it's got to handle a lot of pressure and speed. So that's what the clutch release bearing is that sort of intermediary piece.

Mark: And what was involved with this repair?

Bernie: Well, anything like a clutch release bearing always involves taking the transmission out of the vehicle, so we had to remove the transmission, and basically replace the whole clutch. While we're at it, we'll just have a look at some photos.

Here's our Honda Element '06 again, you were saying a unique vehicle. Very utilitarian, but practical. Our next photo we'll look at is, this is the one out clutch release bearing. So, this bearing it sits on a ... It's called a collar in the transmission, and it slides up and down in this piece, and this piece here is what rubs against the pressure plate. And inside, which you can't really see, there's a ... And normally you can't really see it, there's a number of ball bearings that sit in a race. And they're lubricated. It's sealed. And what's happened with this one, I actually didn't take it quite apart, but the actual bearings are ... There's only about a quarter of as many bearings as there's supposed to be, because the rest of them broke and then fallen apart. And, if you look at this bluish colour here, this is a bluing from excessive heat. So this thing is basically most of the time been seized up, when it's running against the transmission for quite a long time. That explains the racket and the noise. And this rough surface is again metal transfer that's been transferred from the pressure plate. This is what the release bearing rubs against. So this is a pressure plate, and these are the fingers. And these pieces here, you can see, there's quite a step of wear it's not supposed to be like that. So, this clutch is basically moments away from complete failure. The bearing would have just broken apart, and pieces would have gone flying everywhere. It would have been horrific. The clutch disc by the way, is sort of in here and there's a ... you can see, this spline is where the transmission shaft slides into. So, we'll get into what it looked like after fixed, so you can have an idea. So that is the new bearing installed on the collar, with lubricant and the ball bearings I mentioned are in here, you notice ... It's a shinier piece than the older one, but also there's no bluing colour here, and a look at the pressure plate. That is a good, new ... That is before installation, this is a new pressure plate, you can see a noticeable difference here with the fingers here. They're not ground down or worn. They're nice and thick and unworn.

Mark: So that's a big job. Is there anything that can be done to prolong the life of the clutch release bearing in the fingers?

Bernie: Actually, there is. This is one thing that's good news, and it all involves your driving habits. So, if your familiar with the term "riding the clutch," it basically means that your putting your foot on the clutch pedal, and a little bit of pressure on the clutch pedal, when you don't actually need it. So, you should only ever put your foot on the clutch pedal when you actually want to disengage it. At any other time, when your driving down the road, you just leave your foot off the clutch pedal. Because riding it is the first way to destroy the clutch release bearing. Because your just using it more than it needs to be used.  Really the key to the clutch is just use it only when you need to. So, if your sitting at a red light. Your there for you know, I don't know, 40 seconds, a minute, put the car in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, it'll rest your foot anyways and you can shift into gear when your ready to move. If your anticipating you have to move, of course, it's much safer to be in gear, but if you know your going to be sitting somewhere for a while, put on the brake, just leave it. And that's probably the best single thing you can do with the clutch, to prolong the life of the release bearing. I mean, they will wear anyways. And it's hard to know, with this vehicle is interesting, because the actual clutch disc was quite thick, and yet the release bearing was completely fried and the pressure plate ... So, the fly wheel surface was really badly worn like it had got very hot, so it's hard to know who had been driving this vehicle in the past, may have had some kind of strange habits. I mean, maybe they rode the clutch and that's what wore that particular ... wore the bearing out.

Mark: So no resting your foot on the clutch pedal.

Bernie: No. No resting your foot. That is not a place to rest your foot. Do not do it unless you want to come in and have your clutch replaced frequently.

Mark: Which we highly recommend.

Bernie: Yeah.

Mark: As I'm ... So, we talked about the Honda elephant Element being unique vehicle. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're really good. I mean, it's a Honda product. There's really ... They're very reliable ... As they get older, and we do actually service a lot of them that tend to get on in age, and they do need a few repairs and some of them become a standard, so clutches wear out, and brakes and things. But, overall it's a very reliable vehicle. You know, with good sound engineering and the kind of product you expect from Honda, it's reliable.

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Honda Elephant, the guys to see you are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 in Vancouver to book your appointment. Remember they are busy. They are 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And they've been repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver for over 38 years. You can also check out the website pawlikautomotive.com on YouTube. Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there. Or, our new lovely podcast. Hopefully your listening. Thank you so much. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

How Reliable Are Honda Odyssey Vans?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local here, talking cars with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They're 17-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. Bernie's an auto expert, and we're going to talk about how reliable are Honda Odyssey vans. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well

Mark: Honda Odysseys, they've been around for a long time, many generations. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: I'd say fair. That's true, they have been around for a long time. The Odyssey, the first generation of Honda Odyssey, started in 1994. It was really basically built on the Honda Accord platform and just an enlarged Honda Accord, bigger than a station wagon, but with the four-cylinder, very reliable vehicle. It's interesting when you look at the Odyssey, every generation just keeps getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. I don't know how much bigger they can get, but they just keep getting bigger. Basically in 1999, when the second generation of Odyssey came in, this was a true minivan, with sliding doors and came equipped with a V6 engine, so more powerful and definitely a nicer, more van-like vehicle.

Yes, how are they for reliability? I'd say pretty good, quite good, but there's a few exceptions.

Mark: What are these exceptions?

Bernie: Transmission failures are the big one. It's a pretty well-known issue. Between around 1999, 2003, the transmissions are almost, If you own one of these vans of this vintage, you're guaranteed to have a transmission overhaul. When you get a little newer, there's some issues as well, but they tend to taper off. They got better and better in terms of quality. They address the issue, unlike Dodge Caravans, where they just seem to go on for 20 years with bad transmissions.

There's other complaints with the vehicle. There's some power steering issues, pumps fail. When you get into some of the newer models, in the 2014, there's some jerky transmission issues, which seem, we’ve never actually serviced this particular issue ourselves, but I read a lot up on things. There's valve body issues. These seem to be more simple solutions, valve body repairs, or computer re-flashing.

I'd say overall, that's the major issue. The engines themselves, extremely reliable. The rest of the vehicle is built very well, very high quality. The rest of it is pretty reliable.

Mark: Are there any typical maintenance services required for Honda Odysseys?

Bernie: Certainly regular oil changes, and especially when you get into the newer engines that don't have timing belts, this is more critical than ever. We talk about this a lot. Change the oil. The variable valve timing systems use very narrow passageways. They're very prone to sludge damage, so if sludge gets in the passageways, it blocks it, blocks the oil flow. Similarly, if you don't check your oil regularly, and the oil gets too low, it will also cause problems with the valve adjustments, and that will cause your check engine light to come on, and of course, damage and engine wear. Oil changes are the very biggest thing to do. Other than that, fluid changes, transmission flushes on a regular basis, and that kind of thing. Brake life on these vehicles is average. You probably expect about 50,000 kilometres out of a set of brakes. They're all automatic transmission vehicles, so the brakes do wear faster. There's no standard transmission option, so your brakes will wear faster.

Mark: How often is regularly?

Bernie: Sorry Mark, can you say that again?

Mark: How often is regularly?

Bernie: It depends on what kind of oil you have. The earlier vehicles, they use just a regular oil. Usually about every 5,000 kilometres is good. Newer ones, they use a synthetic oil, so you can go eight to 10, maybe a little longer, depending on your driving. These vehicles, especially when you get into the newer models, they have an oil light reminder, like a smart oil life system. I'm reluctant to follow these, but I've noticed on Honda, they seem to be pretty accurate. When the light comes on and warns you, I think it comes on at 10% or 20% oil life, warns you to do a service, it's usually a good time to do it. The oil is a bit dirty, but not too dirty. Unlike, say, a BMW, when it hits 24,000 kilometres, it looks like tar. I think Honda's got it dialed in to do it at the right time, but without that in place, I'd say on a synthetic vehicle, 10,000 at the most. Regular vehicle, 5,000. One other area, we haven't talked about, timing belts. This is another maintenance item. Timing belts are, all the four-cylinder engine models, so these would be the first generation, all have timing belts. The V6s, up to around, I think it's '05, '06, have timing belts. The recommended interval is 160,000 kilometres, or 100,000 miles, so that's an important thing to do. Once you get into the newer ones, they're all chain-driven, no timing belt to deal with. But change your oil.

Mark: Any last thoughts on the Odyssey?

Bernie: No, overall it's a good van. I think it's a really nice van, very well built, very reliable. Really, the transmission issue is the big thing. If you're buying an early 2000's model year, you might want to make sure someone's had the transmission done. If they haven't had it done, you can expect to do it. Just factor that in the back of your mind when you're looking to buy one.

Mark: Transmission rebuild cost is roughly?

Bernie: I think on that vehicle, it's probably in the $4,000 range, $3,000 to $4,000, depending on who does it, what's done to it.

Mark: There you go, free negotiation tips, if you're looking at an older Honda Odyssey. The guys to see to service your Honda Odyssey in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. They're busy, so you got to book ahead, or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com.

Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2006 Honda Civic Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re with Bernie Pawlik, Vancouver’s best auto repair service experience, Pawlik Automotive. They are 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a Honda Civic, now this is a little bit unique. You did an engine replacement on a Honda, that’s kind of different. What happened?

Bernie: Yeah, so we replaced an engine on a Honda. It’s a little unusual. Basically it’s a 2006 Honda Civic, came to us for a maintenance service and it had a coolant leak so we pressure tested the cooling system and we found the engine block was actually split and was leaking coolant right out of the engine block. I’ll just go straight into sharing a couple photos because it’s interesting to look at here. Now are you seeing this? Ok - so that’s the front of the engine block on the Honda Civic, that sort of dark reddish thing you see up above with the two bolt holes, that’s the exhaust, that’s where the exhaust manifold bolts up to the engine. The red arrow points to the area where the coolant was leaking and you can see a bit of a bluish discolouration below it, that’s the Honda antifreeze. Now here’s a closer up view of that area and you can see the bluish stain now, the crack is actually not visible and I kind of regret not taking a photo when we had the pressure tester because you could see coolant spraying out but that red arrow points to the leak, it’s on that sort of casting web of the engine was where the coolant was leaking out so basically nothing you can do about that but replace the engine.

Mark: So is that a common occurrence on this kind of motor?

Bernie: Well strangely enough it is, although this is the first time we’ve ever seen it and prior to this week I would of told you that Honda engines are bullet proof and they pretty much are, but this is a common occurrence on this engine and actually Honda has issued a TSB. They’ve extended the warranty on this vehicle to ten years for any engine problem for this particular issue - 2006 to 2009 model years.

Mark: So you know that is a common occurrence because of the, how do you know that it’s a common occurrence if you guys haven’t seen it that often?

Bernie: Well, what I judge as a common occurrence, even though our shop is growing, we’re still a pretty small shop, I mean we don’t do Honda’s all day long so, there’s a whole world of things that happen that we don’t see. But the first thing you do, our junior technician, he’s the one that did the diagnosis, he looked up, looked for technical service bulletins which is something that we do in our business and found a bulletin for this particular issue and there’s a 10 year warranty. So sadly enough for the customer, we got the repair job because this vehicle is just a few months out of the warranty period. Sadly for the customer, it’s too bad it didn’t happen four months ago because then he would of got the engine job done for free. So once there is a technical service bulletin issued that becomes a common problem because manufacturers identified there are issues and they need to rectify, they need to deal with it and they tell their service departments and the general public that this is something that needs to be done and this is how you fix it.

Mark: So no warranty on this vehicle, I guess it was, what kind of motor did you replace this faulty engine with?

Bernie: We got a good used engine, it was a low mileage used engine. I don’t anticipate that they’re going to see any problem with this engine. Obviously it’s used and you’d think well it might happen again and yes, it could possibly. But these engines besides this issue were incredibly reliable and we do work on a lot of these Honda’s and this is the first time we’ve seen one. So, just to go a little further just because it’s a bullet, doesn’t mean every single one of these cars has the problem, it’s just a more frequent occurrence than it should and that’s why Honda extended the warranty to give good will to their customers.

Mark: So is there anything that a Honda owner can do to prevent this from happening?

Bernie: No, it’s just basically a manufacturing defect that will show up on some engines and just to keep in mind if you have a 2006 to a 2009 Civic and the engine block splits, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a warranty. Although with the 2006 model, again that time is passing so by the end of the year it will be in the 2007 range. You can do the math. So yeah nothing you can do just, change your oil, flush you cooling system, change your fluids and do your service. These are very reliable cars, they’re excellent.

Mark: So if you need some service on your Honda Civic on your Honda anything, these are the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112 to book, they’re busy give them a call or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Remember Vancouver’s best auto repair service experience. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you soon.

How Are Honda Vehicles for Reliability

Honda Fit

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here today with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of award-winning, Best in Vancouver auto repair company, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at pawlikautomotive.com. How are you doing tonight, Bernie?

Bernie: Excellent. How are you?

Mark: I’m good. So, we’re gonna talk about Hondas.

Bernie: Yes.

Mark: Honda cars have been around for a long time, I remember when the Accords first came — or the Civics, I mean, first came out. They seem to have a great reputation. Have they always been good cars?

Bernie: Yeah. Honda cars are awesome. I mean, they and Toyotas are always cars that I recommend to people who want a solid, reliable car. We’ve serviced Honda for many years, and they just keep getting better and better. You know, in terms of have they always been good cars, you ask? Well, I think, not always. Some of the first Hondas that came to America in the mid-1970s, the Civic, were a huge seller. It filled that compact, economy niche that many people were looking for, but I don’t think they were really particularly well-built cars. They were kinda pieces of crap. Lots went wrong with them; timing belts broke, head gaskets failed, CV boots cracked, CV joints wore out. Compared to the Hondas of the past couple decades, they were really very different in terms of quality. Japanese cars have been amazing to watch over the past 30 years — when I consider having worked on them. They constantly improve. It’s like kaizen, the Japanese principle where they constantly make small improvements — and you can see it in their cars where every year they just keep getting better and better and better and better. To put things into context, I mean, a lot of cars back in the 70s weren’t built like cars were today, so maybe Civics weren’t as bad as they seemed.

Mark: Right, so I’m sure like everybody, I see a lot of Hondas on the road — you know, they have motorcycles, marine engines, and all sorts of stuff. Do they build trucks?

Bernie: Well, I’d say yes and no. I’m not sure what they sell in the rest of the world, but in North America, I’d say they don’t sell trucks. Some of our repair information book lists the Honda Ridgeline, which is a mini-pickup truck. There’s also the Honda Odyssey and the Pilot, but I’d say those aren’t really trucks, more like large cars. Honda doesn’t make full-size trucks like Toyota or Nissan do.

Mark: What sort of repair issues do you see with Hondas?

Bernie: Well, sadly for us [Pawlik Automotive], but not for Honda owners, we don’t see many. Most of the work that we do on Hondas built in the last decade is routine maintenance. So oil changes, a few fluid flushes, and services like break pads and rotors. On models equipped with timing belts, they need occasional replacement, although they’re making fewer and fewer timing belt models so that service is starting to disappear, too. A lot of their engines have gone to timing chains.

Mark: So timing chains don’t require service?

Bernie: That’s correct. But it does bring me to an important point. You must be more vigilant with your oil changes if your car has a timing chain. You can’t afford to skip oil changes. If the oil gums or sledges up, it can wear the timing chain and the timing chain guides start to fail early. All of these engines have variable valve timing, which have very narrow passage ways and solenoids to actuate things, so if anything gets gummed up these things start to fail, and it can cost you just an absolute fortune to fix. So you really want to keep on top of your oil changes. That applies to any other car with a timing chain, and there are lots of cars out there.

Mark: Don’t miss your oil change. Honda has a maintenance reminder system. Tell us how that works.

Bernie: Interestingly enough, when I think back on all the cars I’ve worked on, Honda’s maybe the first vehicle that I can think of that actually had a maintenance reminder system, even way back into the early Civics. The early maintenance reminder system consisted of a little green flag that appeared on the dash that said your oil change was due. These were just a mechanical device tied in with the speedometer, and every, I don’t know, five to six thousand kilometres, the oil change indicator would light up orange. You could simply reset it by taking the key and pressing a little button on the instrument panel right next to the flag thing that came up to shut it off. So that’s your early maintenance reminder. It’s funny how many people disregard those too back then.

Nowadays, they’ve got a very elaborate system. It’s electronic, and it’ll usually put up an indication of an A 1 or 2 or 3, 4, 5, 6 – I think they have up to A1 or B 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 service. These letters and numbers correspond to different types of services: Like an A service is an oil change; a B service is usually an oil change and a comprehensive inspection, what we call a Level 2 service at our shop; the 1s and 2s are your tire rotations and transmission fluid flushes. So everything’s timed, but it’s very sophisticated. It’s not just about milage, it’s also about time and how the car is driven. So if you were to drive very short city trips, the light might not come on for a year, but it’s going to come on at a very low distance, like 5,000 kilometres. But if you do a lot of highway driving, driving out to like, Hope and back every day, it might go 10,000 to 12,000 kilometres between oil changes because the oil doesn’t get dirty as quickly under those conditions.

The indication system seems to be quite accurate. I’ve noted a lot of our customers, if even if you tell them to come in every 6,000k, they just wait until the indicator light comes on at maybe 8,000 or 9,000k. At that point the oil seems dirty but not that bad, so I think they’ve got the system down pretty accurate.

Mark: Are there any major problems with Hondas?

Bernie: Well, there aren’t many. The only thing that leaps to my mind is some of the Honda Odysseys built in the first half of the 2000s, they had quite a few transmissions failures. Engines on all models seem to be rock solid. Most electronic systems are trouble-free. I mean, the odd thing does happen, but really, it’s rare.

Mark: Any thoughts in conclusion?

Bernie: Well, I mean, overall, as I said, Hondas are great cars; they’re very reliable. It’s interesting. Many Japanese cars start off small — like the Civics, and they keep getting bigger and bigger. The Civics and Accords back in the 70s and 80s were pretty small cars and they keep getting bigger and bigger until they’re the size we have today. If you look at a Honda Fit nowadays, that’s pretty much the same size of the Civic when it was first introduced, maybe even a little bigger. You know, I mean, Hondas are fairly expensive cars — they used to be cheap cars at one time — but as they get bigger and better, the price has gone up as well. Kia and Hyundai have taken in that lower end price point, and interestingly, they build very good cars. When Kias and Hyundais first came out, they were just pieces of crap, but they’re really nice cars. I’d say probably as good in quality as Honda or Toyota, so they’ve definitely got some competition. But I mean, if you’re looking for a good car, Honda Civic, Accord, they’re always reliable, well-built cars. You can’t go wrong.

Mark: Alright, so we’ve been talking with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. He’s 12 times been voted by customers in two different publications in Vancouver, as the Best Auto Repair and Maintenance shop in Vancouver. So you can reach them at pawlikautomotive.com or give him a call (604) 327-7112. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2008 Honda Fit – B1 Service

Honda Fit

Tuesday’s feature is a B1 Service performed on a 2008 Honda Fit and brought to us by a client from Point Grey, Vancouver.

Honda Fit

2008 Honda Fit

Our 2008 Honda Fit is equipped with an electronic maintenance reminder. This system is used across the Honda vehicle line up.

The B1 service that this car required consists of an engine oil change along with a comprehensive inspection.

While I’m often skeptical of electronic oil change reminders, and believe that many stretch out oil change intervals to excessive time frames, it seems that Honda is spot on in their calculations. Every Honda that we’ve serviced when the reminder lamp comes on has oil that seems just dirty enough to change, but not so dirty that it’s badly contaminated.

This 2008 Honda Fit still had under 90,000 kilometers and was in great shape with one exception: the manual transmission had a noisy bearing. Over the years we have found many Honda’s with prematurely worn out transmission mainshaft bearings. This is the first Fit that we’ve seen with this concern.

Overall the Honda Fit is a great car if you are looking for a reliable, economical car. We have found maintenance costs are very low and this is the first Fit of the many that we work on that has had any problem. When the transmission concern is fixed, this Fit will undoubtedly give the owner many years of trouble free service.

Long before electronic service reminders became popular Honda used a mechanical reminder going back into the 1970s. These devices were easily reset by pushing in a little button on the dash.

For more about the Honda Fit click on this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Fit

For more about electronic maintenance reminders click here http://motorist.org/articles/auto-service-reminder-light

Honda Fit

Engine compartment of 2008 Honda Fit with manual transmission

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