Your inside view of the automotive industry and discussion of everyday life as an ASE certified master tech.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
-=Our Dealership Experience
I wanted to share with you, the frustrations and experiences while dealing with our 2009 Ford Escape and 2 local ford dealers. First of all this is my wife's vehicle, which she really is overall happy with. Purchased from dealer #1, Late 2010 (with under 200 miles on it). It has a full factory (we lost 1 months time due to in service date being the month before we purchased it) As a technician, and working on cars all the time I wanted my wife to have a vehicle I would work on very little (oil changes, tire rotations to be expected). So a couple months after we purchased it we had noticed a couple small issues, a squeak while turning the steering wheel and a belt squeak type noise along with a hard 2-3 shift which was very intermittent. We took is vehicle in for service at Dealer #2, (after being a little put off by the service dept at Dealer #1) Dealer #2 we chose because it was closer to my wife's work, and members of our family purchase from them and used their service dept. in the past. Dealer #2 replaced a tie rod end, serp. belt, and flashed the PCM with an update for the trans. When we picked up the car we noticed the steering wheel was slightly off, not really that bad, but kind of annoying, the belt noise was gone and the trans seemed ok at that time. Shortly after we noticed the harsh shift and hesitation was back, but again very intermittent, my wife was very reluctant to part with the car so we waited. Aprox 6 months goes by since the first visit to dealer #2, now the belt noise is back and a couple small trim items needed attention, so we returned to dealer #2. While dropping the car off for service and talking with an advisor they mentioned they only count the turns when replacing tie rod ends, and that is why it was probably off, they took care of the adjustment no charge, and flashed the PCM again with another update. They could not hear the belt noise during the time they had it, the noise was still there when we picked it up. So after being told the trans will need some time to relearn it's adaptive strategy (completely understandable when clearing the PCM or reflashing) we decided to drive the car a week and see. The trans issue still occurred, however again it was intermittent and we understand it can be difficult to diagnose intermittent problems. We decided to give Dealer #1 (where we purchased the escape) another try to fix this problem and the belt squeak. We dropped the escape off this week, and they told us this trans issue is common and they may not be able to fix it, ford has not come up with a good resolution for the issue at this time. So they took it checked out the belt noise, replaced the serp. belt tennsioner. They found the trans fluid was slightly overfull, so they adjusted the fluid and reflash the PCM again with an update (which dealer #2 supposedly did the week before so unless for came up with a newly released update did they (either dealer) even flash it?). So when we came to pickup the escape after work, the porter pulled the car up radio cranked up, the belt noise was still there, I opened the hood to look and listen first thing I noticed was oil splatter on top of the engine and air filter housing, second the noise was coming from the drivers side at the water pump belt. So frustrated we left the car again for the service dept. to look at in the morning. The next day I called and talked to the service advisor, and told him what I heard (water pump belt) and saw and that I wanted the oil mess cleaned up that wasn't there before. I wouldn't send a customers car out the door myself with a mess like this (or with the noise still present), and I expect mine not to be either, but I did not act mad or upset no yelling was involved I know people make mistakes or can be rushed I only want the issue corrected. So they later called and said it was ready they replace the belt I told them was making noise, we again went back to pickup the escape, the porter pulled up and the belt noise still there though a little quieter and sounding more from the serp. belt. I checked they did clean up the oil mess, though my wife and I were very frustrated by this time, so I went in and talked to the general manager, explained the situation calmly, and how we were upset about our multiple trips back and forth to the dealer to correct this issue. He did step up and help to resolve the problem, we brought the escape back the following day (Saturday) they gave us a loaner and did replace the serp. belt again (dealer #2 replaced it the previous time) and the noise is now gone. We have yet to see how the trans will be, it does seem to shift slightly different. I feel often times the reason some vehicle repairs are not corrected the first time is due to the flow of communication, as a customer we deal with the service advisor, who deals with the technician, sometimes key elements are lost in translation between all involved parties. I believe in customers dealing directly with the technician, it builds a stronger bond with customers, higher accountability, and provides less chance for miscommunication.