A little history....
- Our 2008 Ford Escape started and ran rough. It felt like the transmission was slipping when pulling out of our parking spot. It had been very cold overnight, so I just assumed that might be why. Once it was warmed up, it seemed OK.
- Another rough start. More of that "slipping" feeling. Again, warmed up, it seemed fine, although sometimes when accelerating from a stop or a slow roll, something didn't feel quite right.
- After sitting for 9hrs in the underground parking at work -- where it's above freezing -- the truck started fine. While driving through the underground parking, I accelerated lightly and felt slippage, followed by a sudden grip of the transmission. This is probably what it would feel like if you were in neutral, revved the engine slightly and put it into drive. It made the tires chirp on the concrete. Not good.
- While driving up the ramp to exit the underground parking, the transmission slipped again. I almost didn't make it all the way up. Not good at all.
- It drove fine to my wife's work. I told her what happened. She called the dealership and was told the transmission guy went home already, but would be in at 7:30am Wednesday morning. She asked if he could take a look at it right away in the morning and they said he could.
- After leaving the block heater plugged in all night, the truck started fine. I felt a little slippage when we went to Timmy's for coffee.
- We drove all the way to Orleans and arrived at the dealership at 7:30am and pulled into the service bay.
- Jim, the "Senior Service Advisor", helped us. We explained the problem. He checked with the transmission guy and was told that he had 3 or 4 cars to do today. It probably wouldn't get looked at today.
- We had a choice: if it was deemed not serious, he could schedule us in for tomorrow morning and we could take our truck home and back tomorrow. If it was a serious problem, they'd need to keep it.
- The good: Because we have an ESP (Extended Service Plan), they'd cover a loaner/rental!
- The bad: they had no loaner cars available, and the liklihood of getting us a rental was slim to none because of the never-ending OC Transpo strike in Ottawa. On top of that, Ford would only approve of FORD rentals -- they won't supply non-Ford rental cars to their customers. That would make it more difficult for Jim to find us a rental. WTF, Ford?
- Jim told us about some nasty stories he had heard from the other dealerships in the area -- customers irate that they couldn't get loaners or rentals while their vehicles were being serviced. Apparently the cops had to be called to get one customer leave.
- My wife said that she was told they could take a quick look and maybe take it for a spin if we brought it in first thing this morning. Jim seemed a little surprised, but went to talk with the transmission guy. He agreed to take a quick look.
- The first thing the mechanic asked was to start the engine and pop the hood. He checked the transmission fluid. It was dry. O_o He put his hand under the bumper and something dripped on his hand. We had a coolant leak. He asked me if I had noticed any puddles under the truck when parked. I said I hadn't. Had it been summer, I surely would have noticed, but with all the snow lately, I hadn't seen anything.
- The good: a coolant leak is a quicker repair, if the parts are available. The mechanic left and came back to tell us that they had the parts, and a guy who can do the repair immediately.
- More good: the entire repair would be covered by the ESP.
- Jim told us it would be a 2-3hr job, if the parts they had matched the truck. We could wait, or they could give us a shuttle ride to work or home. We decided to wait until they could do a more thorough check with the truck on the hoist.
- A ½ hour or so later, Jim came to the waiting area to give us an update. Parts are confirmed in stock, they match, and the problem was as suspected.
- An hour passed and Jim again gave us an update: repairs almost done. The mechanic would then take it for a spin to make sure the problem was fixed.
- Another ½ later Jim came to tell us our truck was ready. The paper work would take another 20 minutes, but we could leave and they would mail them to us.
Needless to say, we were very pleased with the service we received this morning. Granted a little luck was involved that the repair wasn't as serious, but we left feeling that Jim -- the Service Advisor -- and the first mechanic put in additional effort to get us on our way quickly. I don't know what we would have done otherwise. Hopefully that's how they treat all of their customers.
Thanks, and kudos to the guys at Jim Keay Ford Lincoln!