November 30

Range of Cars Serviced at Pawlik Automotive

Car Maintenance


Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Twenty-two time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And today we're going to talk about the normal range of cars in a typical week that they service at Pawlik Automotive. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So what does the average week look like?

Bernie:  Yeah, well last week we serviced 36 vehicles and I broke it down into, you know, sort of regions of where cars are made. So for Asian vehicles, we've got 14 vehicles, we've got 13 European and we've got 9 North American made vehicles.

Mark: And what model year range do these vehicles cover? 

Bernie: Well most of them are from 2000 up, but I kind of broke it down by decades. So we, we actually had one vehicle, from the 80's and 87 GMC S10 Jimmy, when those little Jimmy's and the owner loves this vehicle, four vehicles from the 90's, one was a Ford truck that we did some quite extensive work it was a diesel, 93 Ford diesel truck had some sentimental value for someone. We did a, you know, huge, huge break job. You know, like re basically replaced all the breaks from front to back. A whole bunch of diesel fuel repairs was quite extensive. 

And the rest was, some European cars, you know, nicer fancier European cars, but most of what we did, in the 2000 decade, we had 18 vehicles from that decade. And then the total 2010s, we had 13. So that's kind of a kind of, that kind of breaks the week down. I think that's probably a fairly good average. We don't often, you know, the 80's vehicles and earlier stuff, we don't see so much, but occasionally something like that will poke its head in our door. 

Mark: So what were some of the more common services and repairs that you did this week? Last week I guess? 

Bernie: Well, you know, some of the common things, of course we did a lot of A, we call A services. It's our oil change and basic maintenance inspection, but we did a number of those. Some B services, which are the oil change, but with a comprehensive vehicle inspection.

We had a pre-purchase inspection on a Sprinter. A lot of tire changeovers too. It's getting to be winter time in Vancouver. We've done a lot of tire changeovers last week, we're doing a lot this week as well. That's a seasonal kind of thing.

And you know, in the early spring we'll be taking those tires back off and switching them over for those people who do that kind of thing.

Mark: Any particularly interesting repairs? 

Bernie: Yeah, we had a few. I always like to think of the catastrophic things as being more interesting, but we had a Honda Fit that, was towed in person figured a transmission problem - it was actually a snapped axle shaft. So we're actually starting to see those on a number of Honda's Acuras. The axles will snap and it's kind of an interesting. It's the only vehicle I've seen it on. I think we did a podcast or video on that at one time, a little while ago.

We had a Mercedes GL350 with a diesel engine that was seized. Didn't repair it, maybe we will. I'm not sure. We diagnosed that was a seized engine. 

We did a podcast on this last week, a Ford Fiesta where it had a fuse box problem, and we ended up replacing that in the main engine wiring harness. 

So those are some of the more interesting repairs that we had last week. Oh yeah. Also one other thing, we had a Mercedes GLK diesel. There was a turbo intercooler dock that was leaking. You get like, a hissing noise when you rev the engine up, but also there was some problems with the diesel particulate filter and we replaced that unit. That was a pretty expensive, extensive kind of repair. We've actually had a few Mercedes diesels recently that have plugged particulate filters. It's a repair that you will have to do and in a diesel every once in a while. So we had that going on too. 

Mark: So you guys offer warranties on your repairs. Did you have any warranty repairs last week? 

Bernie: We did have one, a Ford Taurus. We did a front brake job a while ago with the pads, rotors and calipers, and one of the calipers seized up. So  we ended up doing a warranty replacement on that. No charge to the client. 

We don't have a lot of warranty work, but when something happens, we do cover our work. In any typical week, there'll be at least one or two warranty items that we have to contend with. The less, the better, of course. We're always looking at if it was a technician error, well, how could we do it better? Or if it's a part supplier issue, if there's a certain part that keeps coming back that we shouldn't be buying that particular part from that supplier. So we do look at those kinds of things. Fortunately we don't get a lot of warranty stuff.

Mark: Do you have any preference or what kind of cars do you like to work on at Pawlik?

Bernie: For me, I kind of like variety. If you ask my technicians, they'll have a variety of answers. Some of them are pretty strongly opinionated. Some of them like European cars better. Others like Japanese cars better. You can't please everyone, you know. But, to me, I like variety. I find it interesting, but I'm not in the shop quite so often working on the cars anymore.

We do a fairly wide variety of vehicles and, you know I hate to say this... it's kind of Fox guarding the henhouse kind of comment, but cars that are super reliable are not so much fun, because it's not so much business for us. I still recommend Toyotas because  they do tend to be a little more reliable, but they're not bulletproof.

Mark: Modern vehicles are really complicated - many different computer systems, et cetera. How do you keep up? 

Bernie: We keep up with the diagnostic equipment that we own. A lot of it, has background support. We can call in, we can send files to a technical team to help us diagnose the really complicated issues. So that really helps us. We've gotten really good repair information. There are courses available. We do take them from time to time, depending on what's available and what's of interest and important to us. We have really good top end repair information and access to databases for a variety of repair.

So between all of that, and just the brain trust of all the technicians in the shop, we can generally get everything figured out. The resources are out there to do it and do it efficiently, 

Mark: I guess, just the volume of cars that you're seeing and the years of experience with - for you over 40 years - you've seen a lot of stuff around all types and makes of cars that's going to help just having an intuitive sense of, "Yeah, here's where we need to look to diagnose this." 

Bernie: Absolutely that does make a huge difference. There's still always a problem that comes in the door and go, "Well, never seen that one before." There's often that learning curve. What's good is if we see another vehicle with the same problem coming in the door a little while later. It's nice being able to take that knowledge and use it on the next. It doesn't happen very often - you spend like hours and hours trying to figure something out, and you go, "Oh, great. Now we know that one!" knowing that we'll probably never see that vehicle or that issue again. So those are, unfortunately, few and far between. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your vehicle in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead! They're busy! Check out the website,, there's hundreds of videos and articles on there for the last 10 years. Eight years of just videos! All makes and models and types of cars and repairs, YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds of videos on there. Of course, we appreciate you listening and watching the podcast. If you like what we're laying down, leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

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

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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