Good morning, I’m Bernie Pawlik. My business is Pawlik Automotive an auto service shop located in South Vancouver. We’ve been in business for 22 years. We service most makes of cars and light trucks. Previous to this I had a mobile auto repair business for 7 years. My experience in working on cars is now over 30 years.
In that time I’ve seen a lot of changes in how cars run and how they are serviced and I want to talk about that today.
These days you can hop into your car, and that’s any car from the most economical to the highest priced luxury car and it will run perfectly well whether cold or hot. It wasn’t too long ago when a car engine had to be warmed up. Many cars from the past would run poorly when cold, they would stall when idled or lack power until warmed up.
Servicing on older cars was different: they required annual tune ups. Unlike today when you can just drive and drive and drive, past vehicles would over time run poorly and require parts to be replaced on an annual basis in order to take you from point A to point B. There were many shops that did nothing but tune ups – Those shops are all gone now.
Top view of ignition distributor showing points (yellow arrow) and condensor (red arrow). These parts would require regular replacement to keep your car running properly. This dual point distributor was found on high performance engines.
The biggest single creator of this change is electronic fuel injection and engine management. Everything from the airflow into your engine, the delivery of the fuel and the timing of the spark is electronically controlled. Whatever the temperature and conditions, everything is timed precisely and changes can be made in microseconds.
Another big area of change is the materials that cars are made from. The biggest area that I see this change is around rust: cars don’t rust like they used to. In the past so many perfectly functioning cars would die an early death from rust, but no more, at least not in this climate. Many older cars were truly rust buckets. I was reminded of this a few months back when a client brought in a 1979 Datsun 280ZX that had been sitting in his garage for 10 years. We performed an inspection to see if the car was worth restoring. After sitting for 10 years we were able to start the car easily, it ran like new and mechanically was very sound. The exterior looked nice and the interior was mint. Unfortunately the floor and frame was rusted out and the car was essentially junk: this is something that doesn’t occur in cars built in the last 15 or so years.
Auto body rust is less common these days but in the past sent many cars to the scrap pile after just a few short years
Exhaust systems are another area of great improvement much to the chagrin of Midas and Speedy muffler. At one time mufflers would last 2 to 3 years on new cars but many cars made in the past 20 years still have perfectly intact original exhaust systems even at 20 years old.
Now this isn’t to say that nothing goes wrong and that today’s cars don’t need maintenance because they still do. As cars have changed so too have their maintenance schedules. As cars have changed so too have the tools of the trade. One of our most useful tools these days is the computer. In the past when cars required tune ups there were specification for things like engine idle speed, ignition timing and point dwell. It got so that a good mechanic could remember these numbers and work from memory or at least consult a small book with specs. Not now. Cars are so complex that we receive all of our repair info by computer. At our shop we have 4 specific repair information programs plus we also find additional repair information on the internet. Most shops don’t have this extensive array of information. We have it because it allows us to quickly and accurately diagnose any car that we work on.
An electronic throttle body assembly found on all newer cars. This part can cost a couple thousand dollars on some cars. We want to be very certain that it is defective before we replace it,
How we repair cars is different. While in the past, if your engine was running poorly we would do a tune up which involved replacing several inexpensive parts and things would be fixed, your modern car’s repairs may require one very expensive part. So we want to be certain that we are doing a correct diagnosis and replacing the right part the first time.
I’d like to speak about “Why Pawlik Automotive?” Yes we do good work, Yes we offer a good warrantee on the work that we do, Yes our prices are competitive. So are many other shops. I think that there is one area where we are outstanding that is in our communication: For each of our clients we want to know how you want your car serviced, how do you use it, where do you drive, how long will you keep it.
What’s your “risk tolerance.” This may seem like a funny word for car repair but where I find it applicable is: if something is marginally worn do you want it fixed or leave it? Knowing that we can repair and maintain your vehicle to suit – you.
We explain what we are doing on your car and why we are doing it in an understandable fashion. We also prebook your next maintenance appointment and advise you of what services are upcoming so that you can budget your car maintenance expenses. Perhaps most importantly we will always inform you of the costs up front so that you don’t walk into a surprise bill that you weren’t expecting.
Thanks for your time. I’m Bernie from Pawlik Automotive: Vancouver’s Best Auto Service Experience.