Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ford doesn't believe in preventative maintenance?

A couple of months ago we took our 2008 Ford Escape to the dealership to get some front end repairs done under the extended warranty. In that same visit, we reported another problem where it felt like either the brakes were slipping, or the automatic transmission wasn't dropping down a gear when braking. It's hard to describe unless you actually feel it happen.

Anyway, the front end work was done and the second problem could not be reproduced. Admittedly, it was somewhat intermittent. Our extended warranty repair cost us $100 deductible.

Over the last few weeks, the ABS light and traction control lights were coming on, and staying on for anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.

My wife made an appointment with our Ford Dealership for last Friday and brought it in. I did a little searching on the web and found that this is actually a fairly common problem with the Ford Escape. Nearly all of the posts that mentioned this problem said it was due to a cracked "tone ring". 58,500 hits when searching for "Ford Escape" and "tone ring".

Sure enough, one of the tone rings was cracked. They replaced the tone ring and the ABS sensor. This visit also cost us $100 (plus other charges for an oil change that we had done in the same visit)

During my internet search, I found one posting that said if you experience a slipping feeling while braking, it was likely due to a cracked tone ring.

That got me wondering if the tone ring replacement might also fix the other problem that we reported.

In the last two days of driving since it was replaced, we have not experienced any of the "slipping". I'm very confident in saying that the tone replacement did in fact fix it.

Now, I'm a little disappointed that this could have been fixed in the first visit, saving us the $100 deductible. But, seeing as how it was somewhat intermittent, I guess that could be excusible.

However, there are two tone rings and only one was replaced. It was explained to my wife, when she asked if both were replaced, that they could only replace one because they have to send the damaged part back to Ford. Since the other is not (yet?) cracked, they couldn't replace it.

That's a bit upsetting. The fact that this problem seems so common, it's probably safe to assume that the other will eventually crack. If it happens while our extended warranty is still valid (until August) it will cost us another $100 deductible. If we're not lucky and it cracks after the warranty is up, who knows what it'll cost us?

Some say that they were told the entire front axle needed replaced at the same time, costing them $500-$600 for the repair.

It would have been nice if Ford and/or the dealership were a little proactive in preventing a future visit and expense.

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