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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Maintenance Service

Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert, Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. And this is the Pawlik Automotive podcast and video series. And we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So this week's victim is a Hyundai Sonata hybrid that came in for maintenance service. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle was due for a maintenance service, and we performed a B service on this vehicle. So the B service is basically an oil and filter change, and then it's a full comprehensive inspection. So what's included in that? A thorough checklist where we inspect the brakes, steering, suspension, cooling system, electrical system, scan the vehicle, visual inspection underneath the vehicle, looking for fluid leaks, worn belts, hoses, that kind of thing. Suspension components, as I mentioned. It's a very thorough checklist, and we do ours at our shop electronically. So we actually email or text message an inspection where you can actually look over the details and it'll break things down into what's good, what's something to watch for, and things that are actually needing immediate repairs.

Mark: So did you find any other repairs needed?

Bernie: No, this Hyundai was good. It's a 2016, so not very old, and I believe it's around 60,000 kilometres, so it's still pretty young. Nothing required at this point. And the vehicle would still be covered under warranty for a lot of items. So anything we would see, depending on, I guess we'd check with the manufacturer on the warranty, but anything that's warranty needed we'd send back to the dealer to get repaired.

Mark: So this is the first Hyundai hybrid that we've talked about. Is there anything unique about Hyundai's approach to making a hybrid vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, this vehicle's a little different. I mean, the Toyota Prius, the Toyota technology is kind of the most common that we see. And it's proven, it's durable. The Hyundai's a little different. I mean it's a hybrid, and I'll just get into some pictures and we'll discuss some of the technology and look at some pictures under the hood.

So there is our vehicle, this one's been a little customized. It's got a bit of a body kit, some nice wheels on it. It actually looks really sporty. It's a pretty cool-looking vehicle. As far as other items, you can always tell the Hyundai, they've got this blue symbol here, which is their hybrid technology symbol. The little green leaf, supposing it's ecological. So there's the view of the engine compartment from the top. So the gasoline internal combustion engine as we now like to call them, we just called them engines in the past, but now there's a new name for them. So the engine located here. This actually has a six-speed transmission, unlike some other vehicles that don't actually have a full transmission. This has one electric motor, one electric drive motor located probably around this area here. And then it has a transmission. It has a clutch that will disconnect the engine and transmission.

So it's a little different than some other designs of hybrid. Back here we have the braking, the master cylinder and braking components. I'll talk about those in a minute. We've got basically two cooling systems in this vehicle. This is an HGV, and so this is for the hybrid system. And then there's a cooling system over here for the engine. And we can talk about that one again in a minute too. I'll get into a couple more pictures. So this is a view, you can see the passenger side of the engine compartment. So there's a separate cooling system for the engine over here.

And this is kind of a unique component here of the hybrid system on this vehicle. This is actually a motor generator. So this is kind of like a starter motor and alternator at the same time. So this will charge the 12-volt electrical system and this will actually start the vehicle via with a drive belt. So it's gotta be a pretty skookum arrangement. You know, in the past of course the starter motor would engage and a gear would, I would say jump, but a gear would be engaged with the ring gear on the flywheel. But in this case it doesn't have that system. It has a belt drive start. So keeping this belt in good condition, of course, is going to be a very important item. And this is a water cooled unit as well. So again, when I look at this, I go, there's an expensive repair. The only other vehicles that I know off the top of my head that use a water cooled alternator are BMW, and it's a very expensive part. So I would expect this one would be equivalently expensive at the time that it goes bad.

Here's a view of the hybrid cooling system, which this is found on the driver's side of the vehicle. So again, there's two cooling systems to service, but given time, antifreezes last a long time. It's not like it used to be 20 or 30 years ago, where you have to flush your cooling system once a year. These antifreezes will last for five years or longer. So good long life, not much service required on these.

Mark: And that's for cooling the batteries, basically?

Bernie: That's for cooling the batteries. That's for cooling the motor generator section. Actually, not necessarily for cooling the batteries, 'cause the batteries are in the back, and they will more likely use the air conditioning system to keep them cool.

But the hybrid cooling system keeps the motors and inverter area cool. So the electrical components under the hood. This is the brake master cylinder. And what's kind of unique about it, it doesn't have a power brake booster as you would traditionally have in an internal combustion engine type of vehicle. A lot of electronics attached to this piece. It doesn't really show the full gamut of this piece, but when I look at it, I go, this is a unique component compared to what braking systems normally are. And of course it's a hybrid vehicle, so it uses regenerative braking. And how regenerative braking works is, as soon as you hit the brake pedal, it turns the electric drive motor into a generator, and that will use the, that'll basically slow the vehicle down and recharge the battery.

So that's really a huge advantage of a hybrid or electric vehicle, is you're using the braking energy to recharge the battery. There's a lot of complexity with this piece. When I look at stuff like this, I go "Well, that's a lot of money to fix," 'cause that's kind of where my life goes sometimes, since we're in the business of fixing vehicles. But hopefully like a lot of ABS type brake components, it'll be durable and have few problems. And it has a regular hydraulic system as well. So again, with this unit the electronics here will separate whether, how much is applied to the actual brakes at the wheels versus the ...

Mark: Generator.

Bernie: Generative braking. Thank you, Mark. Okay. What else do we have here? We've looked at this, the motor generator, the engine. I think we've looked at it all.

Mark: So I'm sure that this vehicle has a fuel savings. What do you think of it as a worthwhile purchase?

Bernie: Well, you know, I've been reluctant about hybrids for a long time. When Toyota came out with the Prius I was going "Oh, that's just way too complicated technology." And I always advised people don't buy it, there's too much stuff to go wrong. And actually, there is a lot to go wrong, but Toyota's proven the hybrid technology is very reliable, because nothing, very little ever breaks down on it, which is good. Battery, even there's actually a statistic that I read that apparently 95% of Toyota hybrids have never had the battery replaced. Which is pretty amazing, because that's people's biggest fear, is when the battery goes, it's a $5,000 or $6,000 replacement. But it doesn't happen very often. So that's a good thing.

Hyundai, we don't know. This technology's a little different. I see a lot of expensive items. Hyundais are generally pretty reliable. But as you and I talked before this podcast, they do have a lot of engine problems. We don't know how good the internal combustion engine is in this vehicle. And all it takes is one problematic component to really make the whole vehicle too expensive to repair given some time. So hopefully this will prove out to be a pretty decent vehicle. It's certainly, you know, the specs are 40 miles per gallon on the highway, which is really pretty awesome. So if it's generally like most Hyundai products, it's good, but hopefully they've done their work and built everything properly in the first place.

Mark: And do you have any, what's the range on electric only? Is this a plug-in hybrid or is it ...

Bernie: Yeah, this is not a plug-in hybrid. So I don't know. I don't know if the newest models, the 2019s, are plug-ins or not. Though that certainly makes it a more worthwhile vehicle too, I think, a plug-in hybrid is a much better option than just a regular hybrid. Not a lot more complexity to it, just to plug it in. And the advantages are huge.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for some service for your Hyundai in Vancouver, even the new ones, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call ahead and book because they're very busy. Or check out the website, PawlikAutomotive.com. YouTube series at Pawlik Auto Repair on YouTube, hundreds of videos on there on all makes and models of cars, all types of repairs. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2017 Hyundai Tucson, A Service

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, working on cars for 38 years in Vancouver, and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How are you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: We're talking about a 2017 Hyundai Tucson, which is an A Service that was done on this vehicle. I've got a couple of questions. First, are a lot of fairly new or brand new vehicles coming to see you for service?

Bernie: We do some. We don't do a lot of them. A lot of people seem to go to the dealer because they feel either obliged, or that's where they should take their car. But we do a lot, we have a number of clients who have new cars that bring them to us. We provide every bit as good service if not better. It's all warranty approved. We use all the right oils, the right filters. Whatever needs to be done. If you're concerned, "I should take my car to the dealer because of warranty", the only thing you need to do is provide receipts that you've done it. I think do it yourself receipts are not valid if you're a do it yourself kind of person, but as long as you have the service done somewhere with the proper fluids, it's all covered.

Mark: An A Service. What is that specifically referring to?

Bernie : An A Service, and we use that term in our shop. I'm actually not sure if Hyundai refers to it as an A Service, but an A service is basically a level one maintenance service. It's an oil change with an inspection. With a basic inspection. That's sort of, generally with car servicing you want to do an A service and a B service. A lot of manufacturers have C, D, Z, and all sorts of things. We won't get into that. But essentially all those other letters add in different items. Hondas will use a B One Two service. The one and two might mean, a one might mean a tire rotation, a two is a brake fluid flush or something. A lot of these things are automated. But for our purposes here on this Hyundai, an A service is a basic maintenance service. An oil filter change, adjust the tire pressure, inspect the lights, inspect all the fluids, and a visual inspection of the vehicle.

Mark: Pretty straight forward in a brand new car?

Bernie: Yeah. There's really not much that needs to be done. We don't ever, I think of all the new cars we service, we don't ever find fluid leaks or anything like that. Although if we do, we can certainly refer you right back to the dealer to have it repaired. But it's really pretty basic.

Mark: What sort of service would be needed on this vehicle going forward?

Bernie: Again, with modern vehicles there's not a lot that needs to be done, as I mentioned. The A service we've done, now I think this vehicle has about 13,000 kilometres. The next service would be a B service where we would do a brake inspection, possibly a brake service. Cleaning and lubricating the brake parts. Rotating the tires. That's sort of going forward. One other item going a little further forward, and this engine, I'll share a few photos in a minute. It's a gasoline direct fuel injection engine. Doing combustion chamber cleanings on these things at a regular interval is really critical to prevent carbon buildup in the engine and on the valves. It's something that happens over time. The nature of direct injections, it actually sprays fuel right into the cylinder, like a diesel engine, which gives these engines amazing efficiency. But the drawback is that you don't have any fuel being sprayed on the back of the intake valve like with traditional, so the carbon buildup will develop and cause performance issues. We can talk, just share a photo here. Here's our 2017 Hyundai Tucson. Good looking vehicle. They've been making this model since 2015, and design wise it's still pretty much the same. The engine, this one has, is says 1.6 litre turbo gasoline direct injected engine. It's got all the nice bells and whistles of modern technology. Variable valve timing. Twin scroll turbocharger. Direct fuel injection. This thing is, for 1.6 litres it's got, I believe, I looked at the specs, it's a bit under 200 horsepower, 185 horsepower or something, which is pretty darn good for a little car like this. I would imagine the fuel efficiency is awesome. Anyway, there's a little view of the engine.

Mark: That carbon buildup sounds like a pretty serious concern. Are there other vehicles that need this kind of service?

Bernie: Yeah, actually there is. There's a lot of engines that use direct fuel injection these days. Some Toyotas actually for the last while, they use a combination between direct fuel injection and, for some reason the name alludes me, but the regular fuel injection system in the intake manifold. They actually used a dual fuel injection system, which is going to be fantastic, but will be extra complicated when things start to go wrong. But being Toyotas, they're pretty reliable. Gasoline direct injection is extremely popular. This is why a lot of cars that have been built in the last few years have extremely high fuel economy, because of the direct injection. But the combustion deposits can create a huge problem, because as they build up over time, if you leave it too long you actually have to dismantle the engine. Take the cylinder head off, take the valves apart, and have the carbon actually physically removed from the engine. You may want to ask, "What does one do about it?". We have a fuel system cleaning service that we can do. I would say about every 30,000 kilometres is a good time to have it done. That's about 20,000 miles if you're in the US. That's a good interval. It's not a very expensive service. It's easier to do than the motor back fuel injection cleaning that we've done on the traditional fuel injection systems. It's easier and less expensive. It's something that you should do. Also, use good gasoline. There's a greater gasoline, it's called Top Tier Gas. If you go to somewhere like Chevron, any name brand gas station uses that kind of gas. They put additives in that prevent carbon deposits too, so you should use good quality gasoline. It doesn't mean premium. It just means a top tier gas.

Mark: I guess it's probably too early to ask how reliable these vehicles are, but what do you think? What's your first impression of a 2017 Tucson?

Bernie: It's a really nice vehicle, and yeah, it is too early. I always figure you need to give it a few years. As I said, this model has been out for about two years. If there's problems already, that's probably not a good sign. I know the Ford 6 litre, by the time it was two years old there were already a lot of problems being found. But as far as I know, these are pretty reliable. I think the way Hyundai builds their cars, they've been building in there, overall quite reliable, although they have had some engine issues in certain models. But those have all been covered by warranties and recalls. I think overall it's going to be a good car.

Mark: There you are. If you're looking for service for your new vehicle in Vancouver, or for your Hyundai, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, or check out their website,

pawlikautomotive.com. Or check out our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

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