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Old 10-13-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
2kwik4u
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Small Rant about Service Departments....

As many here know I've had my '12 Focus SE 5spd for a shade over a year now. Overall, it's been a great car to me. Saving me a ton of cash on gas as compared to the Yukon I traded in on it, and it's modestly fun to drive as well. Overall I'm happy with the car.

The service department though, not so much.

I've taken the car in every 5k for an oil change. Each time it has been accompanied with a warranty issue. They are minor I'll admit, but still in my opinion, should be addressed. Rattling door panels, clunking front suspension, broken trim panels, and a single serious loss of power.

Each has been addressed, sort of. The service writer takes my info, and somewhat listens to my problem as he scribbles something that is barely legible on his notepad. Then I assume he transfers those notes to the computer system, and I'm guessing something is lost in translation, as the end result in over 75% of my "complaints" has been "Unable to duplicate problem".....perhaps if they had listened and recorded the issue a little better, the point might have been communicated a little better. This last time it required me typing a set of instructions to duplicate the door panel rattles, and literally tapeing it to the dash. The issue was then found and addressed.

The final straw for me, and the ultimate motivation for this somewhat long winded post.....The front "grinding" noise that I've been battling for 2 months. When the car went in for the front suspension clunk issue that seems to be all to common, it came back out with a grinding noise when I turned to the right at low speeds (sub 20mph). Well it's been 15k miles since then or so, and the car has been back in twice for both oil changes, and that same issue. Each time it was a "Cannot duplicate problem" on the service ticket, and this time I was personally reassured that "There's nothing wrong with the front end on your car". Well I had my fill of it this morning when my neighbor asked why my car had that terrible grinding noise every time I pulled into my parking spot at the condo. So I took the jack and lug wrench out of the back, and proceeded to check under the front left of the car. I found the front brake shield has ground a small groove into the front left brake rotor. It took me a total of 26 minutes from the time I walked out the door, until I completed a test drive to completely remedy the problem that was created by the service department. They never even took the tire off and looked at, which leads me to believe that they never test drove it either as it took less than 3 turns through the parking lot to duplicate the problem.

I'm also not pleased with the lack of rental/loaner. I would happily ride the shuttle if they offered it to my office (35miles away), but the idea that the warranty doesn't cover a loaner vehicle IMO kind of defeats the purpose. I paid extra up front, and will be taking a bigger hit on depreciation for what is supposed to be a reliable car. When it's not reliable, and it's not my fault, that is where the warranty, in my opinion, comes into play. I don't ask for one when getting an oil change, but when warranty work is being done I demand one.

My aggravation comes from the stark contrast I get when I take my wife's Audi to the dealership for an oil change, and other work. They go out of their way to greet me at the door, I can schedule a loaner car, and the prices are similar to that of the Ford dealership. Whats more is that we didn't have to buy the car at their dealership to get this level of service. We bought the Audi used, at a locally owned car lot. The dealership however knows that good service will drive sales, which I'm afraid the Ford dealership doesn't understand.

I should also note that I realize I bought a $17,000 economy car from Ford, and am taking a $35,000 luxury/sports sedan to the Audi dealership. I understand that the margins are lower on the lower priced car, and that the service accompanies that. I just feel as if Ford shouldn't offer the warranty if they can't back it up, and I feel really bad for the folks that are paying $45,000 for Lincolns that have to deal with the same sub-par level of service. I would be beyond "posting on the internet" upset had I spent that kind of money and was receiving this level of service.

I know my car will not be going back to this particular dealership. I'm going to be trying other dealerships around town to find one that actually listens, and will do the root cause analysis to actually determine the true problem, and resolve it accordingly.......I'm not holding my breath though.

I'm not sure how productive this post is or was, or will be to anyone else. I needed to vent a little after this mornings findings of a relatively quick fix that has been essentially denied by the service department twice. I really want to love my Focus, I really do. It's a great little car, and presents an excellent value. The service department is ruining me ever buying another new car from them.


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Old 10-13-2013, 07:45 PM   #2
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I feel ya, it's not about the Focus it's all about Ford as a car manufacturer.... I'm in the same boat, Ford Mx don't honor the warranty never ever!
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:48 PM   #3
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You have gotten better service than me
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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I feel like this is a dealer by dealer based issue. I've been around many different Ford dealers all over Michigan, and I've had poor experiences at some and very positive experiences at others. Also, see if you can talk to the technician yourself rather than just dealing with the service writers. It seems that the dealers that actually let you talk directly with the technicians about issues you're having tend to be the better ones.
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2kwik4u View Post
...The front "grinding" noise that I've been battling for 2 months. When the car went in for the front suspension clunk issue that seems to be all to common, it came back out with a grinding noise when I turned to the right at low speeds (sub 20mph). Well it's been 15k miles since then or so, and the car has been back in twice for both oil changes, and that same issue.

I know my car will not be going back to this particular dealership...
Hi 2kwik4u,

Are you still experiencing the grinding symptoms? Send me a PM with your full name, VIN, mileage, best daytime phone number, and the dealer who performed the most recent repairs; we'll go from there.

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Old 10-15-2013, 05:47 AM   #6
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Hi 2kwik4u,

Are you still experiencing the grinding symptoms? Send me a PM with your full name, VIN, mileage, best daytime phone number, and the dealer who performed the most recent repairs; we'll go from there.

Todd
Todd,

The grinding noise is gone now. It was a 5 minute fix (25 if you count the time to dismount, and remount the wheel with the provided scissor jack and lug wrench). The fix was a slight "bend" to the dust shield behind the brake rotor. It appears to be a very tight fit between the rotor and the lower ball joint, and I suspect that shield got "bonked" when changing the strut bearings under TSB on a previous visit. It's been doing fine for the last 200 or so miles I've put on the car since Sunday morning.

Can I send you guys a bill for my 1hr minimum at your shop rate? Plus diagnostic, and shop supply fees?

In reality I have a feeling that I simply have found a "volume" dealer, and not a "personal" dealer. Couple that with me being a car guy,a mechanical engineer, and a little bit picky about how my vehicles are treated...I can see why I'm frustrated, and will most likely be doing all my own work again as soon as the warranty is completed.

Todd, I appreciate you reaching out to help, but at this point it would be a waste of everyone's time to pursue any further action. If you could pass this post/message along to the guys at Bill Collins Ford in Louisville I think that might help. Charlie the service writer was very polite, and did his job as best he could. I think the technician's there most likely did their job as best they could as well. I really think the service department system is flawed, and until that is remedied both the service writers, and technicians will be living under a glass ceiling in terms of customer satisfaction. I have some thoughts on how to improve the process, and get better results, however my guess is they are slightly less efficient, and subsequently less profitable.

In other thoughts:
An additional aggravation came yesterday as I was filing away the paperwork from this last visit. When reading over the list of issues and their fixes, it occurred to me that I also had "The Works" service package performed. This includes a basic oil change, and tire rotation, a good value at $40 I think it was. This means that the service department already had the wheels off for the tire rotation portion of that service package. Seems like it would have been an excellent time to have checked that maybe something was rubbing up front there. It was VERY obvious to me as soon as I pulled the wheel off Sunday morning what the problem was. I'm almost a little uncertain how it was missed completely at this point.
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:44 AM   #7
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In reality I have a feeling that I simply have found a "volume" dealer, and not a "personal" dealer. Couple that with me being a car guy,a mechanical engineer, and a little bit picky about how my vehicles are treated...I can see why I'm frustrated, and will most likely be doing all my own work again as soon as the warranty is completed.
My exact plan. In fact, I'll be doing all of the cheap "repairs" myself while it's still under warranty - I fixed the headliner rattles, I will grease the bump stops, I might need a coolant flush already, etc.
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:42 AM   #8
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If you could pass this post/message along to the guys at Bill Collins Ford in Louisville I think that might help.
Hi 2kwik4u,

I'd like to document some feedback regarding your experience. If you're interested, please send me a PM with your full name and VIN, as well as any additional info you'd like me to record.

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Old 10-15-2013, 11:07 AM   #9
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Hi 2kwik4u,

I'd like to document some feedback regarding your experience. If you're interested, please send me a PM with your full name and VIN, as well as any additional info you'd like me to record.

Todd
PM headed your way sir.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:29 AM   #10
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PM headed your way sir.
Hello 2kwik4u,

Just wanted to thank you for sending that PM; I've responded.

Let me know if you have questions.

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