Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They’ve been voted twelve times, best auto repair shop in Vancouver and we’re going to talk about Nissan’s this morning. How are you doing today Bernie?
Bernie: Really good.
Mark: Great, so Nissan is a very popular brand of vehicle. What can you tell us about them?
Bernie: Well, yes, they’re definitely popular. Nissan makes a wide variety of vehicles from subcompact cars to luxury sedans, large cargo vans, pickup trucks, sport utilities. They also make the fabulous Z car that was first introduced, the Datsun 240 Z in 1970. These cars had a very long running production line and it’s kind of interesting to watch the evolution of this car. You can see the whole evolution of the automotive industry in the way this car is built in terms of styling and performance and technology.
Mark: So I guess these are really fairly popular cars, so I assume you work on a lot of them. How are they for reliability?
Bernie: Yes, we work on lots of them and overall they’re very reliable. I mean the Japanese car so that’s usually synonymous with the reliability.
Mark: So what do you find that these cars need for service and repairs?
Bernie: Well like with all cars, oil changes for sure, fluid changes, routine service and inspections. If I consider sort of one faulty component that sticks out in my mind in the Nissans seems to the cam and crankshaft sensors on many models; they die out. It’s a very common issue. There are some vehicles even have a recall for repairs on those things and others don’t, I don’t know why but anyways that’s sort of the most common thing that comes to my mind. Other than that they’re very reliable.
Mark: So, Nissan has used something called a CVT transmission for many years. I’ve never driven one. What are they and how are they?
Bernie: Well CVT stands for constant variable transmission. Its an automatic transmission, that
has no gears basically, it can be in any gear but like typical automatic transmissions have multiple gear sets, originally going way back into the 60’s and earlier GM had powerglide two speed transmission, then automatic transmissions have evolved nowadays, a lot of cars have five and six speed transmissions, there’s even nine speed transmissions out there. But the CVT eliminates all that complication, all those gears. The inside of the transmissions are very simple but strangely enough they’re really expensive to fix and I’m not sure why because you’d think that simple and fewer components would make it cheaper but it’s not. Nissan’s had a lot of problems with these transmissions. You find them in a lot of their cars, the Muranos have them, so many problems, they’ve had a lot of problems with them to the extent that they actually extended the warranty on them, on a lot of the vehicles to ten years to cover the CVT transmission; so you know, there’s still issues. When they work well, they’re good.
Mark: So if they’re so problematic and expensive to fix why are they using them?
Bernie: I think the usual reasons, I mean most manufacturers do things on their vehicles to first of all improve fuel economy, lower the exhaust emissions and better engine performance. They try to make that sort of triangle of things work. CVT transmissions allow manufacturers to tune their engines in a way that you just can’t do it when you’re having to shift gears so it’s a completely different way of operating a drive train in a vehicle and it actually does have a lot of advantages. I’m not really a big fan of CVT transmissions just due to the fact that you know, the issues that I cited above, I mean there’s a lot of problems with them and Nissan’s not the only one. They’re also expensive to repair and the reliability is a little dodgy compared to just your sort of your standard automatic transmission.
Mark: So, Nissan has a big range of vehicles.
Bernie: They do, you know they have very popular vehicles, like their sport utility’s very popular, their pickup trucks are a popular line, they also offer pretty good value, I think when you compare to, I tend to compare Nissan to Toyota, I think they’re kind of head to head competitors and I think Nissan, their trucks generally seem to be a little lower priced, maybe not quite as good but pretty close. I think better value in a lot of ways. Nissan also offers a full size pickup truck and they have a cargo van, quite a large cargo van that competes against the American vans, I find they can look a bit ugly but you know they’re an awesome Japanese built vehicle.
Mark: So what about Pathfinders and the other Nissan Sport Utility.
Bernie: Pathfinders are great, I mean, very popular vehicle. I would say they’re, you know, just a little less reliable than a Forerunner but you know, really close. Nissan also has an Xterra which is less popular than a Pathfinder, look similar but the Xterra is actually a much tougher truck than a Pathfinder. It’s a body on frame designed vehicle with solid axels, so it’s a little tougher of a driving vehicle but if you’re looking for an off road, like if I was looking for an off road type of vehicle I would definitely choose an Xterra over a Pathfinder. The Pathfinder’s got more of a car ride; they try to make that compromise. Some of the Xterra’s were offered with supercharged engines as well which makes for a nice powerful fun small truck.
Mark: So I remember reading in some of your blog posts to beware of and personally have experienced this, beware of vehicles that were sold only in Canada. Does Nissan have any of these?
Bernie: Yes, they have a few and yeah it’s always worth being concerned about that. As a worldwide seller of vehicles which Nissan is, they pick certain markets and models for certain cars and in Canada you know, they will sell some cars they don’t sell in the US but what makes the job tricky is that all the repair information that we receive and the huge amazing parts network of car parts we have in North America is really based on the cars they sell in the US because their market is infinitely huger than ours. So when a vehicle is not sold, a Canadian only model it’s harder to get parts and repair information is more exclusive; it just makes our job a little more difficult but we can always get all the parts we need, you have to get a little more creative with sometimes your repair strategies and parts acquisition but the parts are always available through the dealer, just you may pay a lot more money for it than you would if you aftermarket parts. Some of the Canadian models that I can think of over the years, the Nissan Micra, it’s been gone for a long time but it was a tiny mini subcompact car and the Nissan Multi was also a very popular, kind of a small minivan or boxy station wagon depending upon which way you look at it and then what a more modern offering would be is the Nissan Xtrail, it’s a very popular vehicle. It’s based on the ultima drive train and so a lot of the parts are easily available if you order things from Ultima but some of the things are a bit tricky. As I said Canadian only models, is not correct, it’s just models weren’t sold in the US. When you look around the world, it’s amazing the different varieties of vehicles that Nissan and for that matter other Japanese manufacturers make us. I was recently in the Caribbean on a holiday and I was amazed, visiting these different island how all the cars are almost all Japanese or Korean, vehicles we never see here but really useful cars.
Mark: So any final thought on Nissan?
Bernie: You know the more we talk about Nissan the more things kind of come to my mind, but overall they’re very well made cars and they make very good cars and light trucks. It’s impressive when I think about some Maxima’s that we’ve worked on over the years and you know at over 200,000 kilometers, put on the hoist, look at the vehicle, there’s not a drip of oil coming from the engine, transmission’s not dripping anything. They’re working perfectly, you know this is a really well built vehicle so Maxima is a nice high end vehicle but even their lower end vehicles are still equivalently as good so you know, I’d say, if you like they’re a good Japanese car to buy, there’s a good variety from cheap compact economical to luxury; pickup trucks or sports which anyway you want to go.
Mark: Great. So we’ve talked about Nissan with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the award winning Pawlik Automotive, 12 times voted by their customers as best auto repair shop in Vancouver. You can reach them at Pawlikautomotive.com or give them a call at 604-327-7112. Book your next appointment. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, we’ll talk again soon.