Ford Story

a litigation saga by Philip Greenspun

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Prelude

I bought a Ford Scorpio in November, 1990, with 5000 miles on it. It was an "executive car", having been driven by a Ford employee and hence kind of falls into a shadow area. However, it was still under a new car warranty and I bought a 6 yr./60,000 mile extended warranty plus a Ford alarm system.

I drove it to New York a few days after picking it up, parked it on the street and set the alarm. Someone smashed the window and took a few things from the interior without opening a door. The alarm did not go off.

The Scorpio proceeded to literally fall apart, eventually requiring 15 separate visits to repair shops. Ford never successfully fixed any of the engine control, brake or suspension/tire vibration problems with the vehicle. Nor did they honor their explicit warranty that promises a free loaner car and/or rental car reimbursement.

I did all the usual consumer stuff, calling their 800 number, writing letters, supplying documentation to their offices. Nothing I did ever resulted in either my car being fixed or me getting a check.

Yogurt President Causes Lawsuit

One day I was in a friend's kitchen when his girlfriend opened a letter from Stonyfield Farms. She had written to complain that they had a grammatical error on the side of their yogurt container (she's a Harvard graduate). The president of Stonyfield Farms wrote her back a nice handwritten note in which he apologized, explained that they were small and didn't have enough money to hire professional copy writers, promised to fix the problem in the future, and included some coupons for free yogurt.

I thought to myself "Melissa only spends about $5/week on Stonyfield Farms yogurt and the president personally replied to her letter. I paid $16,000 for my Ford and they won't even send me a form acknowledgement." It was then that I resolved to bring the Ford Motor Company into the one forum where they'd be forced to answer my letters: small claims court.

I sued Ford for the expense of renting a car while my Scorpio was in the shop, something the extended warranty plainly stated they had to do. Jeffrey Moss, an outside attorney retained by Ford, called me up and said that I had to settle the case on their terms: "You don't know how to litigate, you aren't a lawyer. I can move the case to district court and then win on summary judgment. I'll sue you for distributing privileged information about Ford if you tell anyone what is happening and I'm going to register a settlement offer with the court under Rule 68 and then sue you for Ford's legal expenses if you win, but not as much as we offer now."

I'll Kick your Ass (May 1992)

I was angry at being pushed around, but I kept my voice calm. "That all sounds very reasonable," I responded, "but I have one question. Are you a graduate of Harvard Law School?" "No, why do you ask?" Moss answered. "Because you don't sound that intelligent, and if you're not a graduate of Harvard Law School, I don't see why I should cave in."

If we'd been in the same room, I would have been able to see the steam coming out of Moss's ears. "That's OUTRAGEOUS! That's the most insulting thing anyone has ever said to me! I'll see you in court. I'm going to kick your ass!" Moss shouted before slamming down the phone.

Moss filed a motion to move the case to district court but never sent me notice, as required by the rules. The motion was thus allowed unopposed. I filed a motion to kick the case back to small claims, which the judge denied presumably because Moss swore that he'd mailed me notice of the first hearing.

Summary Judgment (September 1993)

Moss filed a summary judgment motion asking the court to impose a settlement of the case under the Lemon Law, which I had not even mentioned in my complaint (a standard breach of contract/warranty case). Here is what happened at the hearing: Ford's motion was denied.

Real litigation

At this point in the story, both Greenspun and Ford are committed to a real lawsuit. I amended my complaint to ask for all the damages I'd suffered due to the Scorpio's flakiness and sent requests for documents and interrogatories to Ford.

Moss objected to practically everything I asked for as "irrelevant" or "burdensome" without saying specifically why. I filed a motion to compel production of documents. Moss filed an especially ignorant reply brief, citing cases without summarizing their facts. When I looked up the cases, not only were the facts too far away from mine, but the cases in fact all support discovery. I filed a reply to his reply.

My Motion To Compel Discovery (November 18, 1992)

The judge, a 50ish woman in a bad mood, (not the same judge who denied Ford's motion for summary judgment) came in and was upset because the requests for documents and responses were not "filed with the court", i.e. in front of her. Although Ford's attorney (some associate of Moss) and I gave them to her, she was sour. She clearly did not read the legal arguments in either my motion to compel or Ford's opposition memo or my reply to their opposition memo. Obviously, she did not look anything up in a law library since she decided the motion on the spot (judges who wish to give an appearance of fairness usual say "I'll take the matter under advisement").

She asked us to orally argue each point, and she only allowed me points 1,4,5, and 12:

1) more paperwork between Ford and the dealer who sold me the car

4) more complete production of correspondence between me and Ford

5) more complete production of internal documents relating to me or my particular car

12) documents relating to service procedures for my car

Ford's lawyer made weak, vague objections and kept talking about my "conspiracy theory" and how they couldn't produce advertisements, for example, because they were now on microfilm.

In short, I was railroaded, and I didn't get documents to prove my contention that Ford concealed likely problems with this car. However, this would have been grounds for appeal if I'd lost my case at trial or didn't win as much as I thought I should have.

The high point of the day was when the judge shook her finger at Ford's attorney and said "I'll bet that you will rue the day you had this transferred from the small claims docket." Ford's attorney replied "We already do, your Honor."

February 1993

Upon returning from two months in New Zealand, where life is thoroughly wonderful and people live with a real sense of community and honor, I discovered the following: I filed a motion to compel Ford to answer the interrogatories I'd filed in September, more requests for admissions, and a motion for sanctions against Ford because they ignored the court order compelling discovery.

We went to court to argue some of these motions and my nemesis Jeffrey Moss was there to represent Ford. No judge was available to hear our motions but we managed to agree to reschedule the trial for April 16. Moss suggested that we talk settlement, but opened with his standard line about how they didn't want to pay for more than five days of rental car, etc. I replied that we were clearly too far apart to make a discussion worthwhile, at which point he seemed crestfallen and said he'd get back to me after he'd spoken with Ford management.

Settlement Negotiations

Jeffrey Moss, Ford's lawyer, called me to offer $20,000 and they take the car back. I told him that I would have been happy to take that six months earlier, but that he was too late. I said I wouldn't take a dime less than $28,000. Moss was outraged and said "you'll never get that from any judge or jury; you only paid $16,000 for the car in the first place." I said that "it is my case to settle if I choose. At this point, I'm only willing to settle for a price at which you've clearly been crushed." Moss hollered "I'll see you in court; I'm going to kick your ass."

Shortly afterwards, Martin McGinnis, the zone office manager, phoned to ask how much I wanted. I named my price and he said "OK". We talked for two minutes and agreed upon terms, including a clause the prohibits me from saying exactly what the terms and final price were (sorry). McGinnis turned the settlement details back to Moss who managed to turn a minor dispute over the date I'd return the car into a deal killer. He noted that he'd advised his client against settlement, that he wanted to try to case, that Ford was giving me far too much, and that he would destroy me in court.

I wasn't entirely unhappy about continuing to litigate, but after being in New Zealand for two months, felt like putting the matter behind me. So I called McGinnis again directly to try to determine where we really disagreed. It turned out that things weren't as bad as Moss had indicated and that Ford per se really wanted to settle the case even if their attorney would have been happy to keep fighting (presumably at $100+/hour). Roadside scenery driving south to Skagway, Alaska.

The End

I bought a Dodge Caravan and drove to Alaska.

The Epilogue

As soon as it started to rattle, I donated the Dodge Caravan to the Southern Animal Rescue Association. My dog Alex is now befilthing a Toyota Sienna minivan.

Note: if you liked this, I have written more on the subject of litigation. On the other hand, I'm not an expert so if it is practical advice you seek, you'll find it on these Lemon Law Pages.
Text and pictures copyright © 1992-3 Philip Greenspun


philg@mit.edu

Reader's Comments

I purchased new a 1995 Grand Marquis.This car has had many problems starting as early as 5000 miles. The horne twice, an inoperative right front window, a rear trunk latch assembly that still does not stay closed. This is followed by major part failures such as the torque converter, the drive shaft, the brakes. Further the replacement of the left outer tie rod, the left inner and outer tie rods and both upper arm assemblies. Ths car had been the shop six time for fron end failures.

Ihave 28,000 miles on the car and there are still other problems The major problems started around 19,000 miles. I would like to hear in other owners of 1995 Grand Marquis have like problems.

-- J. Alan Hensler Jr. --, August 7, 1997

The Cold Shoulder of Ford Motor Company

Please take the time to read yet another Ford transmission nightmare story.

I purchased a 1992 Ford F250 diesel pickup in February of last year, the truck was used but had impeccable service records. Excited with my good fortune my son and I left for a combined business/ pleasure trip up north. The transmission with only 63,000 miles failed early in the trip. Unshaken I had the truck towed to an independent transmission shop next door to a good friends repair facility. Knowing the proprietor I felt at ease with his expertise. His recommendation was to purchase a Remanufactured Transmission directly from Ford. His reasons sounded good to me, he said there had been many problems with this transmission, especially in diesel applications and that all the factory recommended upgrades had reportedly been done to these units. They were also backed by a Ford Warranty. (at this time I thought this was a good thing) I purchased one over the counter at the local dealer and had it installed by the independent shop.(almost 1,500.00) The transmission failed within 150 miles leaving me stranded in the desert. I took the truck to the dealer I purchased the transmission from because they said to honor the warranty they must check the transmission on a computer. I was originally told there would be no charge if the transmission was bad but once they had it apart there was a labor charge added. Being in the automotive industry I could understand this as the transmission was purchased over the counter. I authorized the repair hoping this would put an end to the troubles.(351.00) This transmission shifted so hard I was afraid it would rip the drive line out of the truck. After several trips to the dealer they agreed and again replaced the transmission under warranty. Again the transmission shifted hard. Repeated trips to the dealer produced no favorable results. "Normal" they said. My wife and I left for a much needed vacation. You guessed it,the transmission failed completely going up the Sherwin grade. This time my wife and I were put in grave danger. My truck and airstream trailer (Only a 20 footer) were left stranded in the lane with no shoulder and cars and trucks gaining speed for the grade. We climbed up a steep cliff , as my wife wept I called 911 to alert them of the traffic hazard. We were towed to the local Ford dealer in Bishop Ca and if you can believe it told we would have to pay for a rental car even though that dealer rented cars !! We then paid to have our trailer towed to a local campground and waited for yet another Ford rebuild. We decide to continue our trip thinking it just could not happen again. Well while doing some beginners prospecting( 50 miles from the highway) the OD OFF light began to flash. Checking the owners manual it recommended going to the closest dealer as there was a serious malfunction in the transmission. The cab began to fill with the smell of burnt oil. With darkness falling, miles from nowhere my wife again began to cry.

I nursed this truck home and took it not to the Ford dealer but to an ASE certified local repair facility. I was told that whenever a remanufactured transmission is installed it is recommended that the TPS sensor be replaced and the computer controller for the transmission be upgraded. When another local dealer was contacted to order the parts they could not believe these items had not been upgraded given the history of the truck.

After another large expense ($442.18)the transmission still was hard shifting and the OD OFF light flashed on occasion, Back to the local dealer. I was told point blank that Ford would not warranty this transmission and that it was the controller that I had installed "somewhere else". I returned the truck to them (the independent) and was assured that the controller checked out fine)they too have the computer to get the codes out of the controller. During a test drive by one of there technicians the transmission failed again.!!!!!!!!!!! At this point I spoke with the district representative for Ford and requested some type of extended warranty as my 12,000 miles were about to be reached. I was told that Ford had done all that it would for me replacing the transmissions as they went bad and that I would be expected to pay for any repairs after the 12,000 miles had expired. The truck was towed to yet another Ford dealer and another remanufactured E4OD Transmission was installed just before the warranty expired.

This transmission also shifted hard and made noise. Giving up on Fords Junk rebuilds, I took the truck to another transmission rebuilder and he took the transmission out and apart. There was already a large amount of metal in the pan and the torque converter needed to be replaced.(Another $853.36)

With Ford having nothing to do with the rebuild it seems to work OK. However ,I no longer trust this truck nor do I even like to look at it. I refuse to sell it to anyone because of the history behind it. I have left out many details about all my calls to the customer service hotline (Jokeline)and how many times I was lied to , ignored , and generally told if I didnt like it, To bad. This story is long enough in its short version. Fight Back!!!!! If you have had repetitive or premature transmission failures in your 89-97 ford vehicle please let me Know..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! E-Mail your story to vwprts4u@aol.com and make a difference.

P.S. Currently it is estimated that Ford has invested over 100,000.00 dollars in fighting my case against them. This is nothing to them as their liability could reach in the hundreds of millions. Please help us fight this uncaring giant corporation and create accountability to the little guys who money does matter to.

Sincerely,

Christopher A. Cocks

-- Christopher A. Cocks, February 15, 1998

My 1989 Mercury Sable is on its 4th transmission. The first went out at 68000 miles (warrenty was for 60000 miles. Ford informed me "nice to have your business four years ago now get lost".) I had a used one put in it lasted 30000 miles. Upon its failure the mechanic discovered that the second transmission had been rebuilt with the new and improved parts. This time I had it rebuilt again It lasted less then two months. The mechanic redid it again and now it has lastd almost 10000 miles. I will never buy a Ford product again.

-- Brian Teter, May 12, 1998
I just want to say thank you for Ford comment, I'm glad to know that I am not the only one screwed by Ford. What ever anyone does, do not buy the Ford Windstar, after 45,000 or should i say as soon as you are out of warranty, the head gasket goes. Ford knows it, I talked to many dealers. If you say "I'm having a problem with my Windstar," they answer "Headgasket?" Scarey isn't it. It turns out they know its a bad motor, they just don't tell you. They won't recall it because its an expensive job ($1,000 to $3,500) And all Customer Service says is "we can't help you, we're sorry, but you are helping us make Ford a better product with your comments."

-- Beth Lucidi, May 15, 1998
I have a 1994 Ford Tempo with 70,000 miles and the transmission has gone out on it.The ford dealership is charging me $ 1,750 to put in a rebuilt one. I don't know what kind of a transmission it is, I only know that it's a 4 cylinder.

-- anonymous anonymous, May 20, 1998
I have a 1994 Ford Thunderbird that has had transmission problems since 4,000 miles. Ford mechanics were unable to find any problem with it and they kept telling me to bring it back in when the problem worstened. Well, I must have been back there 20 times with the same complaint and they kept sending me out the door saying they still couldnt find a problem during their test drives of my car. The last time I took it there (the car had 35,000 miles on it at the time) they said they would take it for a LONG test drive this time to finally see what the problem was. Well, they called me & said the transmission was fine...no problems at all. I checked the odometer on the car when I went to pick it up and they only took it for a 1.5 mile test drive!!!!! My warranty expired at 36,000 miles, and at 42,000 miles the transmission went totally. Ford would not cover the cost of the transmission because they said they had NO RECORDS of my car ever having a transmission problem while it was under warranty with them. I will never own a Ford again and I hope anyone with common sense will stay as far away from Ford as possible. They are liars and couldn't give a crap about their customers.

-- C. Lamonaca, June 15, 1998
My 1995 Ford Explorer XLT was probably marked for problems from the start, considering the fact that my dealership had inflated the tires to 65lbs on the day of delivery, making the first ride home wickedly bouncy. They claimed it was not their mistake, noting that my air pressure measurement was "inflated" (hah!) by having driven the car. Letting the tires cool for 4 hours did not deflate their argument. Lots of mild to middling things went wrong with the vehicle in the first year, and to Ford's credit, about 66% of them were reasonably resolved. One particularly troublesome item in the 33% camp was a noticeable resonance, vibration and humming when the passive 4-wheel drive system was activated and driven over 40MPH. After many trips to the dealer, the regional Service rep took a ride and noticed the same problem while _he_ rode. He apologized for Ford Service not responding quicker to the issue, and promised that their folks would take a look at the transmission and related areas. His caveat: if it was something small that possibly required an involved replacement ($ and time), they would probably not "be able" to justify such a job under warranty. As expected, the Service department stated that the mechanicals involved were "within spec", and therefore nothing was wrong nor logged as such in my Service record. Disgusted (and after trying a few more times with other dealerships), I sold the car to someone who didn't care about the issue (my transferrable, extended warranty helped) and bought an Audi A4 with Quattro - the difference in my happiness with the car is startling. I miss the capacity of the Explorer very little, since I've found that when the car gives you little to worry about and seems reasonably well-built, driving can actually become a task you don't mind - or even relish - doing. My 1972 Mustang was more fun than the Explorer, though it had numerous problems (mild to serious). The difference: all of the Mustang issues were fixable, as it's construction was relatively simple and generic. It died of crankshaft failure around 130K miles, but I was willing to put up with starter, coil, distributer, water pump, and suspension failures because they seemed due more to old age and old technology than poor craftsmanship. Not so with the 1995 Explorer.

-- Wade R. Boaz, September 6, 1998
I can see tat there is alot of lemons on the Ford tree I purchased a 1997 Ford Probe. Ten days later theyha torebuid the top half of the motor. I wa told a rocker arm was bent. I didn't think a DOHC egine had rocker arms? It has been in three times since April. I think a 72 Vega would be a step up. Do you think they would trade me?

Good Luck in your battle Thanks 4 the space Scott in AZ

-- Scot Fleeger, September 23, 1998

For a completely different experience, consider Honda. When I finally donated my '85 Accord to charity, it had 280,000 miles on it. Other than routine maintenance, I had no (none, zero) engine work done.

I now drive a '96 Accord. 60,000 miles into it and everythings fine.

BTW, Both cars were manufactured in Marysville, Ohio.

-- Ben Diss, May 5, 1999

Hilarious but true: I owned a 1959 Edsel until it was recently destroyed and no car could have been as mechanically sound as it was. However, my parents owned a Taurus which exhibited all the hallmarks of worthlessness. SO, I'd have to say I'll never buy a Ford product, unless it's made before 1960. Heh.

-- Eric Nelson, May 19, 1999

23 years ago, I remember one of my neighbours used to drive around the city in his beautiful car with a LARGE 4' x 6' sign mounted on the top of his roof that proudly stated on both sides of the car in brilliant orange paint.

If you want trouble, buy a Ford

Eventually he was sued by the Ford company and he had to take the sign off of his car. He then built the sign into his front steps so that it was still visible if you drove by the front of his house

I asked him about all this and he told me a tale of woe about all the problems he had with his brand new car and how the Ford dealers totally screwed him over by not honoring the warranty

It appears that some things never change

pdwalker@usa.net


-- Paul D. Walker, May 28, 1999
I have a 1997 Ford Explorer with 19,000km on it. It caught on fire (transmission overheated) while I was towing a boat rated at about one-half the truck's supposed capacity. Ford has refused to cover the transmission under warranty citing that I must have abused the truck. The fire was on May 1 and I am still waiting for repairs as of June 7 (over $10,000 in fire damage) - I made the mistake of taking the truck to a Ford dealer for the fire repairs.

I plan to start another Dead Ford web page among other actions. Please let me know if you have heard any similar horror stories or if you have any suggestions.

djk@intergate.bc.ca

-- Don Klimchuk, June 8, 1999

Your original comment about the yogurt company president brought back a pleasant memory. A few years ago, I bought an ancient used Hasselblad camera. The dealer sent it to Hasselblad's service department for a thorough servicing as part of the purchase deal. A couple of weeks later the camera hadn't come back yet. I emailed the president of Hasselblad U.S.A. to ask where I should go to inquire about the delay. He replied a day later with complete information about what was happening in the service process, and an estimated time for getting the camera back. This guy had taken the trouble to personally check on this camera, on which Hasselblad hadn't made a dime since the 1950s, and send a response. What's more, the reason it was taking a while is that they essentially replaced everything that ever wears out. It's worked perfectly ever since. THAT's how you build customer loyalty.

-- Bill Tyler, October 27, 1999
Just wanted to say that I'm disappointed (but not surprised) to discover how many other people out there are having problems with Ford over how poorly they treat their customers.

My 1995 Mustang 3.8L experienced a head gasket failure at 53000 miles (last week). The entire engine is being replaced, and it's going to cost $3300+. I asked the service rep to do a 'request for payment assistance', he got in touch with me later to say that Ford would only pay $1000 of it. That amount is more of a slap in the face than anything else as far as I am concerned.

I've since found out the 3.8L engine is notorious for this problem and am considering litigation to recover the remainder of the replacement cost.

-- Sandra Walters, November 17, 1999

I am ever puzzled with the number of web pages that deals with the failures and break downs of Ford engineered products!

How come that I am amused?

Well, to introduce myself I4ll tell you that I grew up in a country where one can`t buy exotic food like lime juice, or generally shop after 18.30, but we are also blessed with manufacturers who take pride in their work i.e. product.

But guess what? After my college years I had to learn the following:

Whilest serving an internship at an automotive supplier, I somehow got to know that Ford constantly changed and mixed up their parts numbers, which lead to a lot of confusion on our customers part, but we couldn4t do anything about it ,but insist on Ford to come up with better documentation.

After some time I changed horses and worked part time with a firm that manufactures brake parts for the automotive industry. I sold their products to international customers like GM, Toyota etc. but not to Ford. This didn`t give me peace of mind, as it should have, so I asked the owner of the business about it: He just stated that Ford`s headquarters in Cologne were a "Saustall" and that he on his behalf canceled business with them back in the 70 ies and that he wouldn`t reconsider this decision, as long as this company had his name on top.

It was about the same time when a friend of mine, who studied software engineering told me about his new student4s job. He should go to Cologne to teach some Ford engineers about the latest CAD-Software... Well, he threw up the whole thing after 2 weeks when some of the fellows persistantly showed up with newspapers under their arms telling him that they didn`t have to learn "that damned computer stuff"!

You might ask yourself now what kind of car I am driving?

Now in midwinter days I4m relying on those public transportation devices which not only look, as if they have no climate control and on sunny summer days I4m driving out a classic Alfa Romeo Spider - with no climate control either.

Keep up your attitude Phil ! (I would have especially liked it ,to be one of your undergraduates ;)

-- Martin Simpson, December 28, 1999

I allegedly 'own' a e 350 ford van that has been in the repair shop for 214 days
Attachment: crystal cleaned up

-- cliff enz, January 17, 2000
I glad to see that there isn't one person that has 1 good thing to say about Ford. Maybe Henry should have gone and played golf and left the car business to Harvard. I am surprised that Ford is still in business with the "lemons" they mass produce. Let's see if any of you wizards can do any better. I am so sure that every product that each of you push, has never had a problem.



-- Bob Shell, July 13, 2000

I have a 1992 F150 Ext Cab FORD 4x4, which has the after manuf. 2nd fuel tank. See NHTSA RECALL website. In Feb. 1994, I had recall completed. In July of 1999 began having major problems involving entire fuel system repaired repeatedly. EMPIRE FORD Service Dept. advised NO RECALLS in the Ford Oasis sytem. I checked NHTSA RECALL website, found recall. Had records check of EMPIRE, they did the 1994 recall work on my truck. Still not beleive me insisting this was the problem, as they advised since recallwas done, it is not the problem. I called Wash. DC, NHTSA, spoke with investigators working fuel systems with autos. They advised they were very aware that the recall was a "failed remedy", and had advised FORD MOTOR COMPANY in May of 1998. I let them know of troubles, costs, and rude comments by Dealership Mgr. and Service mgr. and inability to get name and number of Ford Representative for my area. NHTSA contacted Ford Motor Company ref. my vehicle troubles, and dangerous situation. Jan. 2000, FORD MC called me, sent a contract engineer via airplane to my area to oversee complete overhaul of entire fuel system. Free. 1 year warranty. Parts taken to Ford to examine defect. 53% reported failure rate of the recall. Never received any comment or reply from Empire Ford Dealership. I am still not able to contact the area Ford Rep. after lots of calls, lots of hours on internet, and over $1,000 of my money. Ford Customer Servie Center 800 number is pure waste of time and energy. Writing to Dealership owner was waste of time and paper. I am hoping to recoup my monetary losses, considering filing in small claims court. I desire the opportunity to speak in person to the local Ford Rep., but my efforts to get his name and number have been rejected, refused. Can anyone help? I am near the VA/TN state line. Please email me at scootjoe@hotmail.com with Ford Rep. name and number for this area before Sept. 1, 2000, or I will proceed with small claims court. FYI: NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION is excellent resource.

-- Jenn Clarke, July 13, 2000
My last Ford was almost 50 years ago and I swore I would never own another.Recently,having been influenced by some magazines, I have been interested in the new Ford Focus.After reading the above tales of woe I have decided to stick with my Toyotas.Perhaps Ford will begin to listen to their customers someday before I'm too old to drive.

-- Richard McGuire, September 1, 2000
I bought a 1995 ford taurus in 1997 it had 60,000 miles on it at the time. we had it 4 months and the transmission went on it. We took it back to the dealer they changed it 2 times before they found a rebuilt that worked. It worked fine, but now the speedometer made noise and jumped around. back to the dealer, They replaced the speedo assembly. Needless to say it worked for a week. Took it back again, fixed again. Quit two weeks later. Finally just drove it broke. At 90,000 miles transmission starts to slip. Got rid of it. Here is the kicker now I have a 1992 Mercury sable in the drive, transmission went out. Ford=trouble

-- ROBERT SHAUL, September 26, 2000
I have a 1995 Mercury Cougar XR7 (3.8L V6) that started having transmission problems when it had 50,000 miles on it. It shifts hard and sometimes "bucks" in passing gear. I have been told that Ford knows these transmissions are junk but they won't do anything about them. The advice I got from my transmission guy was to let it blow then he would fix it. The air conditioner has also quit working in this car. I know one thing for sure; I will never buy another Ford Motor Company Product, EVER. I will also tell everyone who will listen to me about my experience with this car. If you can't afford to lose money, DO NOT BUY A FORD, LINCOLN, MERCURY PRODUCT!

-- Peggy Gann, October 27, 2000
In 1996 I bought a 1988 Ford Escort($1300) with a rebuilt engine that had 15,000 miles on it, the tranny had only another 40k on top of that. Once the tranny hit 58,000 it was toast. Rebuilt ($1900) it and 4 months(3600miles) later the tranny bit the bullet again. My mechanic at that point called me about 10 minutes after I dropped the car off and asked if I had gotten the transmission rebuilt because some of the parts were still shiny. He the congradulated me on owning one of the shittiest trnasmissions hes ever seen.

-ken

p.s. I pulled the engine and sold it, the new owner said that it had died as well about 6 months after he had it installed in his daughter's car.

-- Ken DuCharme, November 22, 2000

I have a 1995 Mercury Mystique which recently has a bad vibration when I am stopped and it is in gear. After having it in the Mercury dealership for several days, they finally said it needed an Idle Control Valve. I also had the speedometer cable break at 54,500. They replaced these items at a cost of $339.00. Later when I got on the freeway, the gas pedal was very hard to push. I got off the freeway and a little later was driving on a 3 lane boulevard when the gas pedal stuck at 50mph. After attempting to stop using brakes and emergency brake to no avail, I was able to drop off the pavement onto a wide dirt shoulder and turn off the engine. Luckily I wasn't on the freeway and had someplace to go, or I would have been killed. I had Auto Club tow the car back to the agency, and it has been there since last Friday evening. I was told today that they have to replace the airbag module and steering wheel. The cost would be $1,000 however under some Ford Service they said I will only have to pay $140.00. There has been a lot of recalls on airbags but the Agency won't admit that is the problem. Otherwise, why would they be paying for the repairs? Also, since, I was almost killed, I don't think I should have to pay for anything, including the $339.00. Has anyone else had any problems with their 1995 Mercury Mystiques?

-- Mary Hentges, December 6, 2000
I bought a 1997 Ford Probe with 15 miles on the odometer. I noticed almost immediately that the car had a tendency to pull right, and also that the tachometer would stick and not register the true engine speed (rpms). I was told by a friend that usually cars were tighly belted to the tractor-trailer and that this would cause misalignment of the front end. Not really worried about it, I took the car to the dealer, and was told that the part for the tachometer would need to be ordered. It took over a month to get the part in, and like so many others, I had to call several times. Meanwhile, they attempted to align the front end twice, but with no noticible results. I ended up taking the car to a major retailers service center, who after two attempts managed to align the front end somewhat correctly. Only problem was, the steering wheel did not line up properly (looked like it was always turning right, even though it wasn't). Well, I attributed it to the incompetence of the service techs, and did not find out until well after the warranty expired that the problem was actually with the rack and pinion steering mechanism. According to a certified service technician who recently serviced the car, the problem was that there was a defect which caused a gear to be misaligned, and this problem most likely existed since the car was built. In my opinion, It certainly could explain why no one yet has been able to align the car properly with the steering wheel in the correct position. I probably have, of course, no grounds to file a formal complaint against Ford or the dealership thanks to the stupid moves I made, but there is a definite pattern here. The following are firmly based in fact:

1. Service at the dealership failed to properly align the front end, TWICE (I haven't been back to the dealer since). In addition, no one who has serviced the car since has been able to align the car properly with the steering wheel in the correct position. For all those non-car people out there, this is a very routine procedure that any trained mechanic can perform without difficulty. 2. The dealers service technicians did not notice (or at least didn't tell me) that there might have been a component failure causing the difficulty. In my naivity, I didn't try to return the car for the third time. This was a mistake - PLEASE DON'T DO THIS. If you have a problem, keep taking the car back until you are satisfied with the outcome, and DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! This is one of the reasons I still have a problem with the car. 3. The tachometer problem required three visits to the dealer, two months, and several calls to resolve. 4. Oh, I almost forgot. I had to return the car right after purchase to have the front bumper repainted because the paint felt a lot like course-grade sandpaper. 5. The darn thing rattles. My old Celica, with 180,000 miles on the odometer, didn't rattle like this. Noise comes from the dashboard and the rear end every time I hit the slightest bump. 6. Oh, and by the way, the Firestone tires that came with the car had to be replaced after only 15,000 miles, the same time I had the car aligned by the third party. I was told (and saw for myself) that the front two tires were experiencing tread separation and that to coninue to drive on the tires was a safety hazard. Anyone check the news recently? It is very possible that this is related to the alignment problem, but I was still out $200.

Prior to the Probe, I drove a Toyota Celica that ran perfectly until 180,000 miles. I will never buy another Ford product again. It was my first new car purchase, and I can honestly say I learned several very valuable lessons. Chief among them being, DONT BUY FORD PRODUCTS. Thankfully, most of my problems have been mostly annoyances. My sympathies certainly go out to those people who have had much more serious problems than I.

-- Name Withheld, January 9, 2001

Let's hope we've all learned something from this:

Don't buy Ford.

Like, duh? My parents had a Ford Taurus something or another, and it was always broken down and in the shop. Finally, it completely died at like 60,000 miles or something small like that. So what do they do? Buy another Ford. I guess some people just don't want to change. They get used to spending thousands of dollars on lemons, and they keep buying lemons from the same companies.

Ford left the realm of building reliable cars sometime just before the 80's began. We'v had 20 years to learn, and we're still buying Ford? Hello, McFly?

I bought a Honda Civic because everyone I know that owns a Honda, Toyota, Nissan, or the like say things like: "Hmmm. I guess it's got 130,000 miles on it now, and I have had to take it to the shop twice" which is a little better than the best of the Ford stories I've seen here.

Do a little research before you buy your next car.

-- Philo Vivero, February 25, 2001

My previous car was a 1996 Mercury Sable GS wagon, which I bought used. Head gasket blew at about 45,000 miles, which cost about $1,500 to repair. A few months later, a freeze plug popped. This $6 part cost $1,000 to replace because the replacement required dropping the engine and transmission. The very kind independent mechanic who worked on both problems told me, "I've seen a lot of these Sables and Tauruses come through here, and once they get a problem in the cooling system, the problem never seems to go away. My advice is that as soon as I fix it this time, you go trade it in." I did, on a 1998 Toyota Sienna.

-- Jim Grey, March 27, 2001
Ford Focus 2000 wagon. This car ahs been unsafe for over 10 months with back fold down seat pivots breaking after one or two days. A recall finally has fixed it. The wagon has had 4 recalls so far, but before this I have experienced problems with most of them. Clutch Spring broke took over two weeks to get parts. Ignition locks up and car is off the road for a full week. Battery cable wire breaks from plastic coupling and it takes 9 weeks to get a part a full 2weeks after calling Ford of Canada "Executive" area.

In one year the car has been broken up to 75% of the time. It has been out of service for 10 weeks plus many day trips to the service department.

I just got it back and the radio sounds like an ambulance if you turn on the signal lights or depress the breaks.

So far this vehicle is a nightmare.

I am awaiting Ford to see if they will compensate me for rental cars, or other losses.

-- ron tarr, June 30, 2001

I bought my 1995 3.8 Windstar in 1997, it had approx. 35,000 miles on the odometer. Aside from a clunking sound that this van made when backing up and turning out of the driveway, it ran beautifully. I took the van in to the dealer where I bought it to address the clunking sound and it was attributed to some sort of body mount plate and the service manager said that if ignored the problem wouldn't worsen. Well, aside from the clunking sound the van drove incredibly well; 60 thousand miles without the slightest of problems. Oh! I replaced the starter once. Frankly, I was amazed that a car/van could continue to operate so long without any "major" repairs. I must add that my other previous cars were older 60's and 70's muscle cars that always needed some degree of tinkering. My 1985 Corvette also always needed something fixed as well. This Windstar was incredible. During those problem free years I had heard/read on the internet that Windstars were prone to many problems and I thought that maybe I just got lucky. Well right at about 100,000 miles things started to spiral downward ever so slowly. First the rear window wiper, then the horn continuously got stuck in the middle of the night while the car was parked in the driveway, waking all the neighbors only to see me running out in my "tighty whities" to pull out the horn fuse. Then the Clunking sounds from the front suspension (CV joints?) and then the clincher, when the engine started running rough I thought I'd just replace the spark plugs, Nooooo! that would be too simple, It still ran rough, the next day on the way to my mechanic, a blow out on the highway doing 65 (I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think it was the tires) changed it, arrived at my mechanic, still nice and early, only to be told in approximately 15 minutes that I needed a Valve Job to the tune of approx. 800-900 dollars. Well I have 115,000 miles on the odometer and I think I'm going to trade the van in - I AIN'T STICKIN AROUND FOR NO EXTENDED HORROR TRIP! - but I must reiterate, those first 100,000 miles were trouble free.

-- Anthony V. Paccione, July 3, 2001
I bought a 2001 Ford Ranger XLT in Dec. 2000. It has a handling problem two Ford Dealers have been unable to duplicate. I regularly drive the vehicle on rough, gravel roads and I have to hold on for dear life to keep the vehicle from jumping sideways. It also chugs and bogs down going up the hills. I'm in the hills and the Ford dealers within 100 miles are in the Valley on flat land with paved roads.. When driving on Freeways if I hit a series of bumps it sets up a harmonic motion and the truck begins to hydroplane without water!!! Ford says there is nothing wrong with the truck yet I've got a signed statement from a fellow with 60 years automotive mechanical experience and I, personally, have 40 years of automotive mechanical experience to document the problem. Now Ford says they will only do warranty work and are totally avoiding my Lemon Law complaint. I'm continuing to pursue the matter.

-- Ed Hughes, October 10, 2001
I have a 1999 Ranger Ext. Cab 4x4 I have been taking it in to my dealer Noble Ford in Indianola, Iowa since Sept. 01 for a dogtracking problem they have had it 5 times and are not able to completely fix the problem. They told me they could see it go down the road sideways but could find nothing wrong so they couldn't fix it. A Ford engineer had them change the rear springs and that helped but did not fix it. The Service Manager told me he would talk to a foctory rep. and see if they would negotiate a buy back. The Factory Rep. Bill Mc Donald told me over the phone they would give me $1000.00 trade allowance. I turned it down and was set up with a meeting in person, I told him in the face to face meeting that it was more than a cosmetic problem the truck was starting to wander. I have been driving the truck for 3 years and he drove it for 10 min. and told me there was nothing wrong with it. He then told me his Factory Engineer said there was nothing wrong with the truck and he would stand behind the engineer. Noble Ford has a copy of a video with my tire tracks in the snow that clearly show the left rear tire 1 3/4 to 2 inches to the right of the left front tire. Bill Mc Donald refused to look at the video, eaven at the urging of the Service Manager. When Bill Mc Donald asked me what I wanted Ford to do I told him I first wanted my truck fixed and nothing more but after I was told it couldn't be fixed I wanted a truck that was right, I even offer to pay for milage because of use of the truck. He told me flat out "NO ABSOLUTLY NOT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN" this is how Ford trains its people how to deal with there customers. I am 48 years old my first car was a 67 Falcon I have owned only Fords I still have my 75 F100 4x4 with over 200,000 miles but as of right now I will probably not buy any more, not because of the vehicles or even the problem but because of the way I was treated by Bill McDonald.

-- rocky vitiritto, March 9, 2002
I worked at various Ford dealers for over 20 years. I worked as a parts counterperson, and I was good at what I did. However, the dishonesty and lack of caring for customer's vehicles finally chased me out of the industry. Most Ford owners in the Seattle area are hard pressed to find a good technician to work on their FOMOCO vehicle, let alone an entire dealership! While I have had good experiences with Ford products, I can certainly empathize with the comments made here. But I must say this: most repair failures are due to misdiagosis and lack of concern by service personel. I know this as I have witnessed it FIRST HAND. Ford is very lax in its training of decent service techs, and its field reps are arrogant asses. Consider this next time you go to buy a Ford. By the way, my Mother just bought a new 2002 SC-2 Saturn. She loves it. She owned Fords for over 50 years. Ford lost another one!!!

Mark in Seattle

-- Mark Mathews, August 5, 2002

I have only a couple comments to add about how Ford lies and cheats: When I purchased my 1992 Ford Taurus I told the salesperson I didn't want a lease. He was told this several times. He kept telling me that it wasn't a lease it was like puchasing the car and renting it. We fill out the paperwork on the top it says Lease Agreement, we mention it again. We're told no its not a lease but we just have to use the paperwork for it. After everything was said and done...a Ford Commercial comes out with the "Ford Red Carpet Lease." Yep, I got a lease.

-- Tracy Swilley, August 11, 2002
I BOUGHT A NEW 2002 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS GS (LIST $25,500.00) AND IT LOST $12,500.00 IN VALUE IN LESS THAN 6 MONTHS, WITH LESS THAN 6,000 MILES ON IT. I WANTED TO TRADE FOR A NEW 2003 MODEL BECAUSE FORD HAD FINALLY CHANGED THE FRONT END SET-UP AND STEERING. MY 2002 CANNOT MAINTAIN ONE LANE AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS WITH CONSTANT CORRECTIIONS, EVEN THOUGH I HAD THE BEST LINC-MERC SHOP IN DALLAS, TX, AREA REALIGN THE CAR TO TRY TO CORRECT THE HANDLING PROBLEM, WHICH HELPED SOME, BUT COULD NOT CURE THE PROBLEM. THE 2002 IS NOT A GOOD CRUISER ON THE HIGHWAY. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD MOTOR COMPANY PRODUCT OF ANY KIND. I SENT CLAY FORD JR AND LETTER AND FINALLY GOT A BULLS--- REPSONSE FROM HIS PR PEOPLE SAYING "WE GOT YOUR LETTER. GOODBY" FORD DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN ONCE THEY'VE GOT YOUR DOUGH.

-- M.C.WALTERS WALTERS, October 31, 2002
I had a similar experience but not quite as bad as Mr. Greenspun's. I purchased a 1989 Ford Ranger Pickup and almost immediately began having problem's with the transmission. It was actually dangerous, locking in 1st and reverse, once I had to stall it to keep it from taking off into traffic at a red light. The dealarship would attemp to fix it every time I brought it in by replacing the clutch. This would work for about 8000 to 10,000 miles. In California, lemon laws only cover 3 instances of the same breakdown within 12 months of orginal purchase.(I went through the lemon law process and the Ford Mediation process to no avail after the 3rd incidence in 16 months.) The dealer put 6 new clutch systems in the vehicle over 6 years, about one a year. When the warranty ended and I brought it in at 62,000 miles the dealership finally investigated what the real problem was. Word came back to me that it was a $2200 dollar repair. I was outraged, the service manager said he would review the situation. He returned my call 24 hours later stating that the Dealership would donate the labor after reviewing the service records. The part would cost $1100. I still refused. I supplied the dealer with an upgraded salvage tranny and they installed it for free. I left the lot, crossed the street and filed breach of contract in small claims court for failure to repair under warranty. I attended samll claims as an observer to determine a strategy. I eventually ended up losing because I had no credible witness to the technical evidence to which I based my case. The Baliff would not allow me to bring in the tranny case to explain what had occured. Ford brought in a chief mechanic to which I could not dispute without the Tranny Case. However, in a gesture of magnaminity, the dealership sent me a check for half the cost of the replacement tranny. (The original tranny was a Mazda product.)

Technical Information for those interested: The problem was becasue the tranny housing is cast alumuinum holding steel parts. The main bearing housing at the exit shaft was either not milled correctly or the shaft bearing pressed incorrectly. The exit shaft bearing was slipping backwards and forwards in the aluminum housing .030 (A huge amount in things like transmissions.) pushing the entire transmission assembly back and forth in the housing by the same distance every time you shifted gears. This was causing the gear syncros to misalign, causing the "locking" in gear and the shift difficluties. I suspect that the new clutch plates would provide enough thickness to press the tranny assembly back into the aluminum housing. As sson as the clutch plate would wear past that point the tranny innards would again begin to slide back and forth. The Ford Mechanic claimed that if this really occured the transmission would not work, obviosuly, he was mistaken or lied. However, most judges are not technically or mechanically oriented and will defer to "professional" opinion. Since I was only a prototype machinist and not a "mechanic" my "theories" were discounted. (Of course a machinist would know much more than a mechanic on the working intenals in this case.) The main lesson here is if you are going to press on technical matters you need to have credible witnesses or someone willing to make a credible statement on paper and notorized. These I did not have, therfore I could not win.

On the brighter side, I have had the vehicle now for 13 years and it has rum with a minimum of problems for 115,000 miles since replacing the transmission. Generally I am quite pleased with the vehicle. However, I will never buy another Ford again over the hell they put me through to get what should have been done from day one, satisfactory warranty repair service. You know what they say; Fix Or Repair Daily! :-)

-- Greg B, May 23, 2003

well i stumbed across this site...well i do own a ford, but i wouldent consider it one. Its an aspire (modern festiva)and it has 145k on the odo heres the kicker it isnt really a ford its a kia alevia one of the most indestructable cars out there. after hereing your storys i dont think im ever going to buy any other ford

-- hans evensen, August 1, 2003
I purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer in November of 2002. It is an Eddie Bauer edition with all of the bells and whistles. On the way home after taking delivery I heard a whining/grinding noise coming from the rear end. Took it back to the dealer and they replaced the rear end. That fixed it for a little while but the same noise returned. The vehicle is now on it's Fourth rear end, had the driveshaft replaced, new tires and still makes the noise. Ford sends a field service "engineer" to diagnose the problem. His solution is that it isn't a problem and Ford will not authorize any further repairs to this vehicle. To add insult to injury, neither Ford or the dealer will give me any contact information for their regional representative so I can get something going. My last resort is to contact an attorney but I'm not holding out much hope. The one positive I can take from this is that I now know better than to buy a Ford!

-- Dan Payton, August 4, 2003
Another Ford Horror Story!!!!

I bought a 1993 Ford Taurus GL in 2000.

Head-Gaskets blew up at 60,000 miles. There was white smoke comming out of the tailpipe, and out of the front of the engine. I drove it home in this condition. My neighbor got scarred and immediately called for the police and a fire truck (she thought it was on fire)

Head Gaskets replaced-$1700

The anti-freeze leaking from the blown head gaskets caused some major engine problems and completely destroyed the "shortblock" I had to get a whole new 3.8L engine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have had to replace the transmission 3 TIMES, at 55,000 miles, 79,000, and 91,000

Now for a comparison:

My dad has a 1990 Lexus LS400 with 223,000 miles on it. RUNS LIKE BRAND NEW. NO PROBLEMS AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After being fed up with Ford. In 2001 My dad bought my sister a 1995 Subaru Legacy with 170,000 miles on it. THIS CAR RUNS LIKE A CHARM. It now has 207,000 miles on it and has had NO PROBLEMS.

BOTTOM LINE:

IF YOU WANT A 100% RELIABLE VEHICLE...ITS NOT THAT HARD. BUY A HONDA, TOYOTA, SUBARU, NISSAN, ETC....................

-- Michael Sabin, December 8, 2003

Our Family owns a number of Fords, and a Chevy Truck. I have a 2003 F150 with no problems and a 79 Ford Bronco with 289,000 Miles on it, all I have ever replaced (except for normal things like oil, tires, etc) is the alternator, exhaust, front shocks, and just recently the water pump and radiator. The thing starts on the first kick of the starter in the dead of Nebraska winters and is a daily driver...My Wife has 2002 Bronco and hasn't had a burp out of it...My daughter owns a 1985 Tempo, with no problems, except recently had to replace the tie rods and the AC condensor after 146,000 miles...My dad has a 86 Escort with no major problems except for his AC cratered in recently. Sorry to report that we must just be darn lucky in picking out the few good Fords on the lot...

-- Bob Bradley, August 1, 2004
2000 ford explorer 4L engine 53K miles. oil changes evert 3000 miles, radiator fluids properly maintained, head gasket fails between oil jacket and water jacket. Antifreeze floods the oil pan. Ford says its not their problem warranty only for 36k miles. engine replacement $5K+ never buy a Ford Again.

Dave Green

-- David Green, March 7, 2005

In February of 2004, we bought a 2003 Ford Windstar. It was used, but the dealer explained to us that all of the maintenance had been done on it as scheduled. We had absolutely no problems out of it... until... I was driving it one day, (about 45 mph.) and all of the sudden, it just lost power. The engine was still running, and all the lights were on. I just couldn't move. I did my best to get to a safe spot, and put the van in park. I put it back in drive, and it wouldn't go anywhere. None of the gears worked. We called a tow truck, and had it taken to the Ford dealership in Kilgore, TX. After a few hours, I received a call explaining to me that the transmission pump had broken off and fallen into the transmission, throwing pieces of metal throughout my transmission. WHAT?? I have never in my life heard of such a thing! And it's not a factory defect??

Anyway. The dealership explained to me that there was nothing we could do except for replacing the transmission, and that it would cost us about 2700 dollars. We had never had any trouble with the transmission. The fluid levels were all normal, and nothing caused this, but here I sit with a relatively new van, and it's got no transmission. If anyone has any advice with this situation, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear some feedback.

-- Donald Miller, March 15, 2005

Trust me, you haven't had a Ford problem until you've had a Ford set your house on fire.

http://www.wxyz.com/wxyz/ys_investigations/article/0,2132,WXYZ_15949_3583301,00.html (or just Google "fords on fire," you'll find tons).

My sister owned TWO of these (the second one was part of the settlement from the first fire). The first one destroyed her garage and smoke-damaged her house. When the second one caught on fire, she crawled out of her wheelchair to drive it out of the garage (no way she was going through that again).

-- C. D. Tavares, April 20, 2005

I'd like to contribute my own Ford horror story about one of their service departments.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005, I took my 2004 Ford Escape to the service department of North Point Ford Lincoln-Mercury in North Little Rock, Arkansas. I dropped if off in the morning and picked it up that afternoon. Not only did they fix the two outstanding vendor recalls, but they also permanently "fixed" the passenger-side door as well with MULTIPLE, long, deep, plainly-visible scratches on a brand-new vehicle with absolutely not a single scratch anywhere on it before they "serviced" it.

Like most customers, as I would imagine, when I picked it up later that afternoon I was in a hurry to get back to work. I had already missed work that morning in order to drop it off. Of course, had I noticed the scratches while it was still on the lot they would have denied everything. Even still, I noticed it that evening immediately after I got off from work and before I had even returned home.

There is no question whatsoever that North Point Ford was responsible for the damage. I had washed the vehicle on Friday evening the week before as well as Monday evening of the very same week. The scratches were not there Monday evening. I did not go anywhere Tuesday evening after work.

The vehicle had never had a scratch on it before. I always, without exception, park at the far end of the parking lot at every single store or restaurant I go to in order to avoid other vehicle's doors and particularly any shopping carts. The same holds true at where I park at my work location, away from everyone else.

Does this look like a door ding or shopping-cart bump to you?

Incompetence of the Service Department of North Point Ford Lincoln-Mercury in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Wednesday night I left a voicemail for David Taylor who is the manager of the service department. He promptly returned my call the next morning but offered nothing but to "buff them out". I've used a buffer on many occasions. This damage, through the clear cost and deeper than the paint itself, is not going to "buff out". No apologies. No inquiry of the people that "serviced" the vehicle. No admittance of their incompetence. From the invoice I know that "Techs" 793 and 733, whoever they are, did the labor. (Obviously it took two people to put this many scratches in a door.) Glenn Zumbaum is listed as the "advisor".

My entire family--parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents--have owned Fords my whole life. None of us will ever be returning to North Point Ford Lincoln-Mercury in North Little Rock.

My strong advice to anyone taking their vehicle in for service is to provide your own "insurance", take a dozen or so photos around your vehicle on the service lot immediately before handing the key over to the service personnel. It will only take a few seconds and will cost you nothing if you own a digital camera. Let them watch you do it. Let them know you are watching them. Do not expect them to care about you or your property. Make them. I will never leave a vehicle in a dealership's hands again without doing this.

Any vehicle is eventually going to get scratches on it. But being 100% paid for, I was trying hard to delay it as long as possible on this one. Leave it to North Point Ford to not only let two defects go into production resulting in the two recalls, but to add physical damage to their own products.

Their professional incompetence and cover-up is why I will never be back.

My original blog article on this can be found here.



-- Terry Smith, April 21, 2005
I own a 1994 Ford F-150 4x4. Last winter my radiator went bad, and I blew the head gasket, since I was not at home when the head gasket went out, I had to continue on the drive. By the time I got back home, smoke was billowing out from under the hood, and the head and block of my 300 CID was cracked. I let the truck sit for a few days, then got notice that I had to move it, or lose it. I did some breif checking to make sure everything was still working right, and turned the key, after some sluggish cranking, the blown 6 cyl started up, and let me drive it until I was aty a place I could safely store the truck. My F-150 has 188,xxx Miles, and I'm proud of the truck.

I'm sorry to hear about all the problems everyone else has been having with their Ford's, but, any vehicle is bound to give you problems.

-- Rick Eckardt, September 7, 2005

Ford - Fix Or Repair Daily - as someone has told me before. I bought a 2004 Ford Focus for my son. He drove it home from work one day with no problems, parked it in front of the house since he was going out again later that evening. When he went out to leave, the ignition was locked and he could not turn the key in the ignition at all. We checked on the internet and found this is a common problem with the Ford Focus, but is not recognized as a recall issue by Ford. The next day we called the Ford Warranty Towing service to report the problem since it was still covered under the original warranty. They had their towing company tow the car to the dealership. They did not provide a rental car. Later that day, they called to say the car was ready. I took my son to the dealership to pick it up. He started to drive off the lot and noticed the steering was really off. He immediately turned around, drove back into the service area and requested they adjust the alignment, since it was not messed up before it was towed to their shop. The next day, they called and said the problem was not with the alignment, but with a bent tie rod. They denied any responsibility for bending the tie rod, their tow company was contacted, and, predictably, their investigator said their was no signs of scraping on the tie rod, so they also denied any responsibility for the damage. The Ford dealer recommended he check with his insurance company - he did, and our insurance adjuster found the damage was less than the deductible, so they would not do anything about it. The Ford dealer called to say they were ready to proceed in fixing the tie rod, but were waiting for his deposit on the repairs. They still refuse to accept liability for the bent tie rod, even though it was not bent prior to the car going into the shop for the warranty repair on the ignition. If he moves the car to the dealer (across the street from Ford) who sold him the car - since we paid for an extended warranty plan with a lower deductible, then the Ford dealer will charge for storage fees for the two weeks it has been in their shop, even though they first told him he would not be charged storage fees (based on the presumption they would do the repair work). What can we do about this - Both my son and I are furious with the local Ford dealership. It looks like the only way we can try to get it resolved is through small claims court after the fact.

-- Alice Roberts, March 16, 2006
I too am a Ford Focus/Lemon owner. I own a 2000 LX. My ignition is gone for a second time within one year from getting it replaced the first time. Currently I have to leave my key in the ignition, with a scarf wrapped around it. I made the mistake of forgetting about the faulty ignition and took my key out one day. I then had to bang on the key with the old ignition piece in order to get it to turn. For some reason banging on the key inwards, hard, makes it turn but not always does that work. So my second ignition is gone and I refuse to get it fixed again. It is a recall that Ford should acknowledge. I am noticing many others with the same ignition problem. I called the local dealership about the ignition and they informed me that they were after replacing 5 others that same month and that it should be a call back. Not just a coincidence. My front two springs broke off after only 75000km. I went to the dealership and bought new ones, afterwards finding out that there is a 10 year warranty on the front springs. I called Ford to ask for a refund of my springs and was denied. I then asked them as to why wasn't I told when I was there, specifically asking for Ford Front springs, that there was a problem with the front springs and that they were covered if ever broken. I was informed that Ford Servicing department is not responsible for informing or knowing of specific call backs......a load of BS I think. I believe they are the most rude customer service I have ever dealt with...well actually customer service is something they don't provide is more like it. "Take the money and run" seems to be there motto. I had to replace my rotors and pads and now within 3 months of having them done, they are gone again.....not just the pads but the rotors too. There is definately something wrong with the wheels. I cannot seem to keep a hub on my wheels either and the funny thing is that now we have made a joke about it while driving around town.....every focus we see we laugh because they too are missing hubs or have none at all. Seems pretty fishy to me. The back door latches have been replaced from a recall but are still the same as before they were fixed. For some reason, beyond my understanding, my passenger floor pools up with water on wet days or during the winter. I have noticed many other focus owners are having the same problem. My front end is shaky and my brakes are squeaky. My steering sometimes has a mind of its own. I could be driving straight and then my car swerves to one side and I have to straighten up my wheel again. My heater only works on setting 4, the loudest setting....so whats the sense of having settings 1, 2 and 3 there if they are not going to work in that car. My gears sometimes slip. I could be driving and sometimes it feels like the car is in neutral. I was driving up a hill one day with my foot to the floor and my car was crawling. Ugh...I don't know. My stereo shuts off and I have to push in on the dash plate to get it to come back on. The car is a 4 cylinder and eats gas like a tank. I'm just so sick of things going wrong with this car. It is a LEMON that eats every penny from your pockets. If you are into Lemons that need daily maintenance then this car is for you. The only way this car works right is if it is never driven. The biggest piece of crap ever made. If anyone is interested in a class action lawsuit for problems with this car that should be fixed by call backs, then let me know. We should all get together on this one. The whole car should be called back. blasty30@yahoo.ca

Paula

-- Paula Norman, September 3, 2006

Well it's been awhile (16 years) since I had a Ford as well. I have been seriously looking at the 1999 F250 Ford, 4x4, Automatic, Diesel. I want to tow a toy trailer and have a Crew Cab with room for four, but man I am terrified. Is there a full four-door diesel that will not fall apart every 60,000 miles?

FYI, did you know that Toyota has been engineering diesel engines for quite awhile? Google "diesel Toyota" and you'll find their European minis. These little guys have diesel engines getting 40 MPG. It appears that Ford is like Mexican politics; entrenched family, greed, lies and deception to maintain the status quo. How many politicians HAVE to be buying into the lie that we 'must' keep the car companies alive? I love American more than you can know, but these few at the top live only for today (like most of us). They don't look out 10 years like Toyota does, Honda, Nissan.

Frankly, I cannot WAIT for the day that Toyota puts out a full-size 4x4 Diesel. On that day, Ford will cease to exist. That is WHY you won't see a diesel from Toyota in the States.

So here's my Ford sucks story:

I had a 1990 Ford Taurus, bought from Shaklee Corporation as a returned vehicle (from an Independent Distributor - they earn 'bonus' cars). It had 60,000 miles on it, was large and very comfortable.

I was informed the tranny had been replaced twice already, the most recent at 60,000. I drove it awhile and had the front end repaired since the bushings had worn out (maybe 70k miles).

From what I can recall it ran fine until about 120,000 miles, when the tranny blew out (60k after the 2nd one - they must have a timer). I replaced it at Midas, using my credit card as we did not have anywhere near that cash on a single income (living in CA). I asked the Midas service guy what trannys they saw the most. Almost 20 years later I remember for some reason, "Well, you know, the Fords, chevy's..." What don't you get in here, I queried. "The Hondas, Toyotas." That ended my comittment to American cars.

I bought an old Oldsmobile and it was good for awhile until the engine started running very 'off', like it was missing a couple pistons pumping. Troubleshooting at one independent, they could not find the problem. Took it to Oldsmobile; they told me, "why don't you save money and buy a new car!" Get it? Save!

Well, a girl at my job told me her mom, brother, etc, etc., drove Toyotas with 300k on them and they ran great. I still did not fully believe it. Raised in the 60's and 70's, I worked on the car with my dad. So 100k and a rebuild was what I knew.

But no! I knew I could not afford a Toyota, the Corollas were about $14k new at the time (alot of money to me). I went to a AAA/Enterprise car rental 'once a year' deal, but limited myself to $10k. This was 2003.

I picked up a 'close to new' Focus, but all week long I could not get 'into' it. It just felt wrong for some reaston. No power windows, locks, I'm 5'11" and it was tight inside. I was used to having PW, PDL, power everything, and this sucked!

In anger one day (this is true), I grabbed a buddy and we went to Toyota of Riverside (CA). I said, "I have 1/2 hour and $10k", with a clear tone of frustration and no hope. He showed me a few cars, but all at $13.5 - 15k. I said, "you don't get it, I have $10k and 1/2 hour". So I left and he said he'd try to find me a car. Righhhhtttt...

He called the next day and said he had a $9,995 car; sure. So I went in and we started walking, and kept walking. As we hit the 2nd story parking area, cars started looking older and dustier. What am I going to see?? I started to worry.

So we find this silver Corolla, a 2000 4-door. It looked really clean. I walked to the right side, he to the driver's side (and opened the door). He put in the key and asked me, "How many miles to you think it has?" "I don't know, 60 or 70k?" "How about 5,000 miles?" "What?" I replied.

As we test drove the car, I repeatedly asked 'what's the catch' over and over. He finally pulled an ad out and showed me.

In summary, this sale was a 'loss leader'. A weekend Saturday sale, he showed me the ad on Friday. It had been a loaner or rental car, but I guess it was hardly driven. Then I thought I lost the deal when the Manager would not sell it; (there's the scan I thought!} I had to wait until Saturday to be fair.

Well I picked up the car Saturday, have driven it almost 90k miles. Not one issue, none. Change the oil and drive, that's it. Automatic, power windows, power door locks, cruise control! Loud stock stereo as well. 35MPG.

It is not that Toyota 'rules', it is that is simply 'runs and runs and runs'.

Ford sucks! Tell a Friend!

-- Rob Shackelford, September 10, 2006

I purchased a 1994 Ford Probe GT from a service manager of a local ford dealer in early 2001 with 32k miles on the odometer. I went through the car as he suggested at around 35k miles by replacing the usual goodies such as plug wires fluids and doing a tune up. The Probe ran without a single issue for close to 60k miles and was extremely fun to drive all the while. The vehicle blew a plastic radiator in July 2005 which was 121 bucks and half an hour to slide in. The battery also went gimp at around 90k. Just as I was beginning to believe all the negativity posted here was due to negligence or just plain bad luck, the odometer rolled past 100k and the problems have begun. . . I scheduled the car into an indy shop to replace the timing belt and noted the ire as I was getting estimates from all of the mechanics I contacted about Ford Probes being a nightmare. Since I have excellant karma this lifetime, I noticed the H2O pump shaft leaking the very morning before the car was scheduled in for the cam belt swap! I am having the pump replaced and then I am gonna sell or trade that car in for a Honda or Toyota pronto! I just wanna thank all the honest people who have posted here for saving me and others like myself a lot of future grief. It would appear to be true that no matter how diligent the attention given to a Ford product the piece of AMERICAN TRASH will fail reliably as other cars just motor on by. . BTW I work in aviation maintenance. Most, if not all, of the "mechanics" drive Ford trucks. Nobody else in the company besides me owns a ford anything. Just thought you might be able to use that info!

If you can stand being seen in a big pickup truck, Ford MAY be Ok. Thats why we the people are putting their antique asses out of biz!

-- Joe Smith, January 28, 2007

Several years ago, I bought a '97 Ford Thunderbird from my sister. She needed a larger vehicle since her family was about to expand. It only had 65,000 miles on it. About a few months into owning it, I notice the heat was no longer working, so I took it to a local Ford dealer and waited 5 hours for them to diagnose the problem using their Diagnostic equipement. The machine indicated that the atmospherically controlled heating components needed to be replaced. It would cost me about $900, but I needed heat, so I had them replace the components.

When I paid for the repairs and picked up the car, I looked at the Itemized bill and notice a short hand written note by the mechanic: "Head gasket leaking". After speaking to the mechanic he recommended that it be replaced soon. I was shocked as I had several GM cars in the past with 200,000 miles + and never had a head gasket problem, especially around 67,000 miles.

Well, after driving it for about 30 minutes, still had no heat, and this time the car was running extremely rough. Drove it back to the dealership and they explained that my head gasket was the cause and needed to be replaced. It would cost an additional $1,400. It was running fine when I initially brought it in, and Now I have another problem with the original problem still not fixed.

Every mechanic I spoke to about this commented that the gasket was probably the cause to begin with and that any mechanic worth his weight in tools would have made the connection immediately. Ford insisted that these were two separate problems. I also found that that paricular engine has a long history of head gasket problems and that Ford was fully aware of this. That being the case, the mechanic should have made the Heat/gasket connection immediately.

I took the next logical step and had the BBB mediate our dispute. I thought I'd compromise to avoid small claims court. I lowered my demands to reimbursement of just the Labor since the heater component was already in the car. They wouldn't budge from their position. I thought that unusual since they have a large sign in their shop that reads "We are a Better Business Bureau Partner", AND the fact that I still had no Heat; the original problem for which work was done.

Off to court we go. After presenting our sides of the issue, the judge looked directly at the Ford Supervisor, who represented himself, and asked if a leaking head gasket can cause the same symptoms that I was initially experiencing, (no heat) and all he could say was "Yes". That was enough for the judgement to swing in my favor. I'm still shocked that it had to go to court.

I see a pattern in most of these stories and that is "Ford Arrogance". Apparently the customer doesn't come first. I hear about all the financial woes Ford is experiencing and All I can think of is "Good Riddance". It stands to reason when you consistenly create a bad product, people will stop buying that product. Pretty simple concept. I will Never buy another Ford and will Never recommend one.

-- Jeff Haumesser, December 6, 2007

After reading all the horror stories posted here, I feel that I had to add to this . I have owned Fords for over 25 years. I have also had GM cars and Chryslers, but the best built and most reliable cars that I have owned have been Fords. Yes,their dealers sometimes leave something to be desired. But their cars are another story. I currently own a 1995 Lincoln Towncar with 280,000 miles that performs perfectly on the original 4.6 litre V8. I had the transmission replaced at 165,000 miles when it failed. I also own a midsize 1985 LTD wagon with 174,000 miles on the original 3.8 V6 and original c3 transmission. The car bodys hold up good and the interiors are very comfortable. Some folks do not maintain their vehicles as they should and this results in a myriad of problems. My neighbor bought a Honda Accord last year and proceeded to tell everyone about his awesome well built Japanese car. His wife drove of the road in the snow and was nearly killed when it caught fire from a ruptured fuel tank. They now own a 2008 Taurus X and are very pleased with it. I drove off the road in the same spot several years ago in my Towncar. The only damage was a broken headlamp and an $85.00 tow bill to pull the car back up on the road. It was driven home afterward . Small Jap cars are not the answer. They are inherently unsafe as are most small cars ,Fords included. We also owned a 1986 Taurus LX. It was my first front wheel drive car. It lasted 18 years and 202,000 miles until it died from under body rust. No major repairs other than a transmission replacement when it failed at 120,000 miles. It was a terrific car. It was cool looking and had Digital Dash and all options except the moon roof. I literally drove that car into the ground. It drove wonderfully in the snow. It had traction like a 4 wheel drive with winter tires on the front. To cut this short theres good and bad in everything. When you build 500,000 vehicles a year at a plant, you cant expect every car to be perfect. Look on line and you will find these same type of sites relating to (bad) Hondas and Toyotas. Most cars are built about the same. Most companies build quality cars. The difference is how their dealers treat the customers. Stay away from high volume dealers and try to do business with smaller dealerships. Customer happiness matters to them and they are more apt to solve problems and create a relationship with a customer. I have been dealing with Toothman Ford in Grafton Wv for several years. They call me by name when I come in to have my car serviced. They have gone out of their way to solve problems for me at no cost. I hope this benefits someone. Good Luck and God Bless

-- Brian McDermott, March 15, 2008
I have a 2001 Ford Focus that I bought used with 12,000 miles on it in December of 2001. I have been driving it for a little over 6 years and now have 201,700 miles on it and have had very few and minor problems with this car. It still has the same engine and trans. I have never changed the transmission fluid. I change the oil every 5,000 miles which is about every 6 - 8 weeks. It average 28-30 mpg and I love this car. I would definately buy another Ford.

-- Margie Montgomery, May 2, 2008
i've never saw myself as brand loyal. being poor, i usually drive what i can find thats cheapest. i must say i've owned quite a few f150's with 300 six and standard shift and find this to be the best combo bar none ! the 300 is no racer but the little 6 does her job with out complaint and parts are cheap, plentifull, and easy to work on.. i've had several run over 250,000 miles. one we drove over 239,000 miles, 100,000 miles were with a rod or wrist pin wrapping that sounded like the engine was going to explode. never did blow up. the body rotted too bad to repair so it was scrapped.

-- bruce anderson, November 13, 2008
I'm 54 years old and have been around cars all my life. In the many Fords I have owned, problems have been few, and fewer the newer they get. 1964 Galaxie, nothing major needed a valve job in an 8 year old car. 1974 Mustang II. 2.8 V6/automatic. No problems other than the Firestone 500 tires. 1982 Mercury Capri 5.0/4 spd. Computer module failed, replaced under warranty. No other problems. 1986 Taurus MT-5 2.3 I4/5spd. Fan switch failed, caused engine to overheat. $800.00 repair. I was kinda POed because I even brought it in beacause I knew it wasn't working. Dealer's fault really. 1990 Mustang LX 5.0/5spd. No problems. 1995 Taurus SHO 3.0/5 spd. No problems. 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII. 4.6/auto. Alternator failed after 72K miles. Rear air bags developed a leak. Both were out of warranty. Otherwise it was still "as new" in 2005. 2005 Mustang GT. 4.6/auto. A small rattle developed with the exhaust and the frame, and the defrosted had some lines that didn't work: fixed under warranty. No other problems. Great car! Actually I loved every one of them.

To be fair there are some Fords I wouldn't touch: FWD Taurus/Sable/Windstars with the 3.8/automatic specifically due to head gasket failure. But there are problems with every manufacturer.

Did I mention I was a Service Advisor for a used car retail chain? Lexus has a problem with power steering pumps. Toyota has problems with engine sludge, truck frame rust and now the deadly unintended acceleration (floor mats indeed! LOL Just watch, this is going to be a VERY expensive recall). A friend had to have his Celica engine rebuilt with only 64K miles on it. GM has problems with their V6 engines and head gaskets. Daewoo had problems with EVERYTHING. Subaru has had problems with head gaskets also. Honda and Acura have had a serious problems with transmission failures since 2000.

I've had a couple GM cars, 3 Chrysler products, and 2 Mazdas (Miatas). Often times the problem is with the dealer more than with the car itself. Luckily I've had good Ford Service Departments here in SoCal.

Good Luck to you all.

-- Timothy Brandsoy, January 24, 2010

I have a 2000 Ford Contour SVT that my daughter purchased new. She was living in Fort Lewis, WA with her husband who was in the service at the time. A customer service recall came out, about the dash board glue giving away! Evedently the recall notice must have been missed placed at the army base as she claims that she did not receive it. Anyhow, I purchased the vehicle from her, and the glue has given away, which in turn has made the defroster useless. Ford and the dealership both say that the recall expired and it is an old car and what did I expect? I would expect them to fix the problem that they created. Both the local dealership and Ford state that if they fixed all the problem that customers had with their products they would be out of business. They made 4 BILLON dollars, however, after much research on their products and complaints, they might be correct!! So much for customer service. I guess that I am one of the lemons from Ford's lemon tree. I will never purchase another Ford or Ford product again or recommend them!!!

-- John Fusco, November 10, 2010
I purchased a ford F150 2007 brand new from a ford dealer with 5.4 engine its now April 2014 while driving my truck I hear a knocking noise in the engine so I took to the dealer to have it check I was told the that the engine is bad you need to replacd the engine the and truck only has 41000 miles , I also was told that these trucks have defected engines. I never saw a check engine light come on or the oil gauges show low oil ..The ford dealer said the oil presure does not hold. It sad I call ford corporation to see why they have not recall engines , ford open a file but it does not good .

-- john ard, April 11, 2014
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