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Monday, August 08, 2005 

Anger: Ford Motor Company

Just to vent, as well as torque off certain emailers, I will get into my recent misadventures with the Ford Motor Company.

I have been running E85 for quite a few tanks now, with the exception of the driving trip I recently took. When I got back from that trip, I topped off my tank with E85 which is kosher based on my reading of the owners manual (Page 204: "FFV tanks may contain between 0% and 85% ethanol"). It was soon after that the "Check Engine" light came on. I took it to the local Ford Dealer (A "Blue Oval" service center), I needed an oil change anyway so it was no big deal. After having the car all day, they could find nothing wrong, so they turned out the lamp and send me on my way. Inconvenient? Sure. Can I live with it? I guess so.

I am not a "motorhead", so the codes that they gave me might as well been secret rocket plans, I wouldn’t know the difference. I was told that the codes meant something like “Lean Mixture” (or some such). I suspect that mechanics sense my lack of aptitude in this arena and treat me like a complete moron (I know, more than I deserve) and feel they can get away with just about anything. I would be none the wiser. I hate it when they are right, curses!

Anyway, I drove off the lot. The light waited until the shop closed and then re-lit. I called and made a new appointment the next day. After another full day, the shop could not find anything wrong, but this time asked me what fuel I was using. When I said E85, they figured that they found the perfect scapegoat. I was quickly told that they would consult with the “Ford Engineers” and get back to me. A few minutes later they called and told me that I was doing the whole “E85 thing” wrong. What I needed to do was to choose a fuel and only use that fuel forever. Of course, this is complete bullflop and I told them so. The service manager was clearly humoring me when he patted me on the head and sent me on my way with an 800 number to call for more information.

I didn’t need the intense heat to get “feisty”.

I called the 800 number, which was for something called the “Ford Relationship Center” and talked to a nice young lady that spoke in soothing tones. After about an hour of repeating my point to a number of “supervisors” I finally got someone to acknowledge that the owners manual was right and the dealer and their so-called experts were wrong.


This leaves me with a car that clearly is having some sort of problem, a dealer that refuses to fix it and a warranty that is not worth the paper it is printed on. The suggestion was to take the car to a “bigger dealer” where they have “better equipment” in order to fix my problem. I asked the nice lady where I might find such a dealer and she came up with one 75 miles from my home.

They expect me to go without a car for at least another day as well as drive a few hours each way and hang out in a showroom waiting area while they try to figure out how to lie to me again? I really admire the skill of the young lady on the phone. I was in customer service in my youth and I would never have been able to tell a customer this with a straight voice.

I thought I just hated this car, now I am really sad that I have driven Ford cars for almost 15 years.

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