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My first experience with Ford's service department.

910 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Escape-PA-
So our Escape was due in for it's 15k mile service (16,300 on the clock). I wanted to join my father on the trip so I could eye Ford's newest vehicles up close. So we travel there and they tell us the service will take a total of two hours. We were informed that a recall was in the mail for a PCM recalibration so they would perform that update while it was in. So to kill the time we walked the lot to look at the vehicles. The showroom was cleared out because they were about to host a wine/cheese thing which shocked me because this Ford dealership is in the middle of nowhere.

To be honest I was a bit disappointed with the display models, we walked the lot and found that most of the vehicles (2/3's of them) were pre-owned vehicles. To my surprise I found a few pre-owned BMW's, VW's, Honda's, and a very new looking Toyota Tundra along with Ford's traditional competitors (Including a rare Chevy Malibu with the BAS hybrid system) and of course some pre-owned Ford's. So it seems like Ford is getting it's fair share of conquest buyers, but I was disappointed to see so few of Ford's newest vehicles.

They had a bunch of 2010 Mustangs which had very nice interiors. They were all GT's with stick shifts, with a few convertibles sprinkled in the mix. Looks handsome in red. I was dying to see a loaded Fusion Sport with AWD but they had only one and it only had an intermediate level of equipment (No navigation or AWD). They only had one 2010 Taurus, an SEL which was white. Very nice vehicle but I wanted to see a loaded decked out SHO or at least a Limited.

When it came to trucks though they didn't disappoint. They must of had a bunch (12-15) new F-150's. From the blah single cab basic F-150 up to a very nice loaded King Ranch. The interior on the King Ranch blew my mind, it was beautiful. The only thing I don't like about these trucks are the beds, most of them only had painted beds some had drop in plastic liners. When it comes to pick up's I am partial to rhino-lined beds. Along with the F-150's and some commercial Ford trucks of various types they had 6-8 Transit's on the lot. I was impressed by the size of these vehicles. I drive a Chevy Astro where I work and expected a vehicle smaller than the Astro, it sure didn't seem smaller. Finally they had just a handful of Edge's, Escapes, and Focus's on the lot. Not a great variety. So again my biggest disappointment with the dealer was the ratio of new to pre-owned vehicles.

The dealership itself is only like 10 years old or less. It's clean and modern looking. When it came to the waiting area I had mix feelings. Here like the rest of the dealership the waiting area was clean and modern but it only had seats for 10 people and was on the small side. I could only imagine how cramped the waiting area much be on a Saturday morning or afternoon when everyone is off. The area was a dead zone when it came to data service on my phone, I couldn't even get a signal. So I tried to tap into the Wi-Fi with my Motorola Droid to pass the time. I could only find one access point and it was locked. They had a 20" flat screen and free coffee in the waiting area which is about standard fair now a days.

Now onto the service of our Escape. Two and a half hours into our wait for the Escape my father goes around to the service department to see whats taking so long. He disappears for awhile and comes back after 10 minutes. When he returns he informs me that the vehicle has some problems and he looks a bit pissed. For the 15k service they do a multi-point inspection and discovered that the left front axle had a moist seal. But the leak is so minor my father could not even see the moisture with his bare eyes, at least I know the mechanics are doing their job. My father tells me the part with the problem looks like an accordion which leads me to believe it's something related with the CV-Joint, I just got back home and I didn't look at the service papers yet. Supposedly a small fraction of Escape's have a problem with this part and Ford has a improved part (I heard bearing and seal) that is no longer prone to this failure.

So next Thursday or Friday the Escape is heading back to the dealership to have the part installed since they did not have the part in stock. Since this component is considered part of the powertrain all the work is covered by the 5 year/60k powertrain warranty so it will only cost my father 1 1/2 hours of his life. Thankfully the mechanic re-assured my father that this isn't a big deal and gave him 10% off the bill for the inconvenience.

Still with the recall and a mechanical issue (Even though it's not effecting the safety or driving characteristics of the vehicle) so early into this vehicles life I think my fathers trust with Ford's products are a bit shaken because in his mind recalls/mechanical issues at 16k miles equal poor quality/reliability which dates back 30 years ago to all the problems he had with his Chevette. He is relieved that the warranty is covering these parts for 60k miles and doesn't view this one problem as a big deal, but he fears this is just a taste of things to come. He didn't expect to really have to deal with failing parts until sometime after the 50,000 mile mark. So I had to spend some time explaining to him that the recall is just a software update to improve the performance/efficiency of the powertrain which is quite common now a days, and that mechanical issues can happen with any vehicle at any time (No matter how new). On the up side since the PCM update I noticed the fuel economy improved from 22 MPG combined to 23 MPG combined. I got gas after leaving the dealership and re-set the fuel economy calculator.

So as long as the repair next Friday goes fast and he doesn't get any other surprises over the next 30k miles I think he will forget this minor issue.
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markhampete said:
Nice review of your dealership. My dealer has an even smaller waiting area but offers a shuttle service to take you home and pick you up when service is done. Good to see that your dealer is thorough with multi-point inspections. I would not be upset at all if my dealer finds and corrects minor issues while still under warranty.
Thank you.

I doubt our dealer has shuttle service, but that would be welcomed since they have a strip mall/restaurants/Wal-Mart/Home Depot near by to spend time at. However for what it is the dealership is very nice. I give the technicians credit for spotting such a hard to find problem but I would have felt better if the issue popped up at say 35k miles but it's being fixed for free and the dealer is being cool about it so thats a lot more than other dealerships have done for us in the past. The overall consensus is our dealer is top of the pack and for that I am grateful, they will see future business from us. :thumb:

Sometimes my father has a tendency to overreact to the small things, but now he understands it's nothing to lose sleep over. :yes:
kmoose said:
Tell your dad not to worry about recalls/tsbs this early in the car's life. If he had bought a Honda he'd have just as many, plus a couple of super common problems that Honda denied the existence of (such as squeaking and rattling seats - common on just about every Honda for the past 10 years and they deny that it is there). In 3 years with my 07 Odyssey I had the torque converter reprogrammed, then replaced, the power steering reservoir replaced, then the pump replaced, power door motors (both) replaced, front speakers replaced, and all the wheel nuts replaced - all under TSB and/or recall programs, not to mention a warranty extension due to the class action lawsuit against Honda for odometers that register 5-8% more mileage than you have actually driven. I'm not anti-Honda, but I got sick of paying premium prices and "letting them sell me their car" when they are building stuff that is no better than anyone else. Too bad the resale market hasn't figured this out yet.

Good dealer, BTW. I am still trying to figure out where to take mine - the selling dealer is not convenient (and the service dept just doesn't seem too with it) and everyone I know has had bad experiences with the 4 local ones. We'll see.
I agree absolutely, I always remind him how expensive our late Accord became after the 55k mile mark and even holy holy Honda has recalls and problems. BTW, after my experiences with Honda and Toyota I would never buy another one of their products, even my father has taken this stance. For here on out for my personal needs it's only Ford, GM's, and maybe certain Chrysler models.
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