Ford's $5698.37 Pinging Noise

Jeff has a long story to tell but he believes in keeping his promises. He promised Ford Motor Co that he would tell his entire story if they didn’t take care of his warranty repair to his satisfaction. They didn’t, so here it is. Jeff writes:

Below I detail a problem I encountered with my 2005 F-150 pickup and what I thought were covered damages and repairs under the initial warranty or the ExtraCARE extended coverage.

Basically, my truck was making a pinging noise pretty much from the outset of purchase, the original dealer said it was normal, only to find out later that it was not and was going to be a very expensive repair.

Here is the letter Jeff sent to Ford:

This documents the events surrounding the engine noise problem experienced with our 2005 Ford F-150. We purchased the truck in April 2005. The truck was new and only had 5 miles on it. I purchased the ExtraCARE for four years/100,000 miles.

I also received free routine maintenance for the first 30,000 miles from the dealer, Koons Sterling Ford in Sterling, VA. I brought the vehicle in every 5,000 miles approximately for this service. Early on, the engine developed a pinging noise. I asked the mechanic and service manager at Koons about this and they said this was the normal sound of the fuel injectors. Since the truck ran fine otherwise, I took them at their word as this truck was more up to date than my previous 1993 Ford F-150. I never experienced any other mechanical problems with the truck and it ran fine, albeit with the pinging noise.

After the 30,000 mile free maintenance was up, I started taking the truck to Jiffy Lube – first the one in Leesburg, VA then the one in Ashburn, VA. I started going to the one in Ashburn because they had the newer equipment which could service the automatic transmission fluid. All during this approximately 28,000 miles nothing changed in how the truck performed or in how it sounded. The “fuel injector” ping was still there.

This changed when I drove my truck near a friend one day and he mentioned that we probably had a lifter problem. I said the noise was attributable to the fuel injectors. He advised that if that was so, why didn’t all fuel injected Ford trucks make this sound? I realized he was right as I have never heard another vehicle make this sound, truck or otherwise. I made an appointment at Jerry’s Ford in Leesburg to have them look into the noise. If the noise was truly fuel injectors, they would know about it and tell me so. I advised that no other performance problem was being experienced, just the noise.

They advised that the problem stemmed from the camshaft position sensor. The said it would have to be replaced. They did so, but the problem persisted. They continued to work on the truck, and we (the dealership and I) agreed that the extended warranty covered us. This was the last week of February/first week of March 2007. A week later they still had not found the actual cause of the problem, but had continued to tear the engine down looking for it. In the meantime, since this was covered by the ExtraCARE and Jerry’s had agreed, I had rented a rental car, and Jerry’s even called Enterprise car rental to alert them to me having ExtraCARE maintenance plan work being performed and that the plan would pick up a portion of the rental car. They said it would pay for 10 days at approximately $28 per day.

On March 7 2007, the service employee at Jerry’s called me to alert me to the problem stemming from the use of an aftermarket oil filter. I reiterated that the problem predated the use of aftermarket filters, and that the true problem had to be caused by something else. They pointed me to a service bulletin (attachment bm3.jpg) which stated that the use of low quality aftermarket oil filters can cause pinging and would result in damage not covered by a warranty. This bulletin did not state what brand or which service, such as Jiffy Lube, might be suspect. This service bulletin also does NOT cover the actual engine installed in my truck. Please see attachment bo3.jpg, my buyer’s order, for detail of my vehicle. At this point they stated that the maintenance plan probably would not cover this repair. I once again alerted them to the fact that this noise predated the use of aftermarket oil filters. They checked their Ford records from our maintenance visits to Koons, but nothing of this detail was recorded on our records from that time period.

I started investigating my rights under the warranty, consumer protection services, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and what the proper procedure would be if a dispute continued. Jerry’s said a Ford inspector would visit on Thursday, 08 March 2007 to see the truck and make a determination of my case. Initially, Jerry’s said there was not enough debris from the filter in the oil to have caused the pinging. I again reiterated that the pinging predated the use of aftermarket oil filters. At this point, their tact with me changed and they pretty much ignored anything further I had to say concerning the condition which predated the use of aftermarket oil filters.

I received word late on Thursday, 08 March 2007, that my warranty claim was denied and that there would be a hefty bill for the repairs. The engine could be put back together for $2800, the cylinder head could be replaced for $6200, or an entire new engine could be installed for $7800. I chose the second option, giving them the benefit of the doubt that something had to be done to rectify the problem. I authorized Jerry’s to perform the work and they stated that the truck could probably be finished on Monday, 12 March 2007.

I then started to gather information on how to best challenge this maintenance plan denial. I called Ford ESP (Extended Service Plan) after talking to Jerry’s service manager. The service manager advised this was going to be the best route to challenge the denial. I gave them all of the pertinent information, having to spell out in great detail where I purchased the truck and where I was getting it serviced. The representative of Ford ESP I spoke with was quite unfamiliar with the concept of going to different dealers. She did recommend that in order to get a favorable decision I should go to different Ford dealers in the area. I advised that the maintenance plan does not require that, since I had been dealing with an authorized Ford dealership and maintenance shop. She also did not know or understand what a “Jiffy Lube” was. I did not explain this to her further, but asked to speak to someone else who might be able to change the warranty denial for me.

I was connected to the technical manager, “Bill”. I gave him the full history and waited to find out what Ford ESP could do for me. He advised that they had not seen the inspection report yet, but that the failure of an oil filter which caused the damage would not be covered under the warranty. I reiterated to him that the noise was preexisting, explaining again about how I alerted the original dealership’s service department to it. Bill advised that he had no evidence or documentation to back this up. He also stated that even Ford Motorcraft oil filters, had they been used and failed, would also invalidate any warranty claim for repair of damage. He said there was nothing else he could do for me. He gave me the phone number of an arbitration service. I continued to have to rent a rental car, but now completely out of pocket for the entire expense, until the truck is done. Ford ESP also stated that the inspection records and photos were the property of Ford and I would not be receiving a copy of it.

I called the Ford Customer Center in Dearborn, MI on Friday, 16 March 2007. After a lot of pleasant conversation, questions, answers, and being on hold, Ford informed me their guideline was to support the dealership and side with them. They stick behind the idea that an aftermarket oil filter was the culprit. They said if I wanted to get the inspection report I would have to talk to the dealership; the dealership said I would have to talk to Ford ESP. The answer from Ford ESP is stated above.

I also submitted my information to the Dispute Settlement Board to no avail. Based on this information, Ford is blaming an aftermarket oil filter even when the problem predated the use of aftermarket (i.e., Jiffy Lube) filters. Ford is not standing behind even the products they recommend and use. The failure of these replaceable parts could possibly damage warranty covered parts, which would invalidate the warranty. This could mean one of several things: this is a convenient excuse for voiding customer’s maintenance plans; Ford has no faith in even their own filters; Ford maintenance itself uses aftermarket filters of a questionable brand.

This also begs the question of whether or not Ford officially applied for a waiver to the tie-in sales prohibition of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Invalidating a warranty based on a claim such as this should create evidence which could be used against the aftermarket manufacturer or the service company (Jiffy Lube). Ford’s unwillingness to part with this information tends to make me think there is something wrong with even their filters, or they have simply found an easy scapegoat for invalidating customer’s warranties.

My intention all along has been to maintain the truck so it will last as long as possible, performing the service for which it was designed. I believe I have done everything practically possible to this end. I availed myself of the maintenance offered by Koons for the first 30,000 miles. While I notified them of the noise, they informed me it was “normal” and just the “fuel injectors”. Since they were being held up by Ford as the local experts, I believed them and took them at their word. Obviously, now I know they were wrong, lying, or incompetent. If they were improperly trained or too inexperienced to diagnose problems, shame on them. If they were lying to me, that is fraud. My vehicle was brand new, under warranty and they were choosing to not address a concern brought to them by a customer.

I respectfully request repayment of $5698.37 to cover that amount of the attached work order (wo10f3, wo2of3, wo3of3 jpgs) and remaining portion of the rental car expense. I have also provided a copy of the rental receipt (rental.jpg) and a copy of my title (title.jpg) and registration of the vehicle to show I own it (registration2.jpg).

Should you not consider this request deserving of a refund, I will be posting all of this information online (e.g., for others use in consideration of your products. A positive response can also be posted to show how well you take care of your long-term and repeat customers.

I have been a Ford truck owner since 1993 and truly enjoy the vehicles. I want to stay with the Ford brand for future truck needs. Your positive response to this request will go a long way to ensuring just that. Thank you in advance for your prompt and professional attention to my request.


John Y.
[contact info redacted]

I worked through Ford’s Customer Relationship center, their Dispute Settlement Board and the BBB. Getting no satisfaction, I am now writing Consumerist. The above information was sent via EECB (Thank you Consumerist for this information!) to several high level managers and members of the board of directors for which I could come up with names. I ferreted out the most probable names of the e-mail addresses and sent the above letter. I starting getting a few delivery failures right away and kept track of those. I also received immediate responses from a few people at Ford who have since moved on to other duties within the company and do not handle these areas. I also started to get phone calls from a local Ford rep who wanted to quickly offer me a one time Goodwill payment of ½ of the repair costs. I stated that was not good enough and told her to check with her superiors over the weekend for a better offer. I reiterated that this would not go away and I would definitely make a stink of this on the Internet.

The next week I also started to receive phonecalls from Detroit from Ford’s headquarters and executive offices. I thought this was directly related to the other phonecalls. Apparently, when you send an EECB to a large company and to several people, you might get independent responses that do not know about each other. Detroit called to say they were standing behind their inspectors and were going to offer me nothing. I do not know why they felt compelled to call me to say this. I again reiterated that this was unacceptable and I and the issue were not going away quietly. I thought that was over then. I started receiving calls again while I was out of the office with several voicemails being left by Detroit. I thought they had changed their mind when they said they had an “exciting offer” for me. The offer was for the X-Plan to purchase a new vehicle at a low cost. This just goes to show how out of touch Ford is with their truck buying customers.

I have since received a check for half of the repair costs from the original Ford rep. It came through one of the local dealers with no stipulations about keeping quiet if I cashed it. I cashed it and am now making good on my promise to write this up for all to read on your site.

I feel Ford still owes me for the other half of the repair work and the cost of the rental car. This totals $3567. The rental car alone was almost $900.

At this point I think it is fair to say I will not be doing business with any of the Koons dealerships or the Jerry’s dealerships in the Washington, DC area, nor buying any more Ford products. They are dead to me. However, if they choose to respond to this posting in a positive fashion (e.g., money) I would be willing to write you with a positive update.

As an aside, it was very interesting to find out what the Better Business Bureau can, and cannot, do for you. Their response to my complaint letter said that since the mileage on my truck at the time was outside the initial warranty, they could not help me at all. Good to know what the scope of your interest is, BBB.

Thanks a lot for all you do for all of us consumers. It really helps.

Also, here are the email addresses of Ford executives which did NOT receive a delivery error:


Edit Your Comment

  1. ViperBorg says:

    Reason # 54325473345342543325432 of why not to buy a Ford.

  2. ironchef says:

    it’s exactly what I expect from Ford. This story only validates it.

  3. Yep, I worked for Ford for a year, getting laid off in Feb. ’08, trust me, they’re Idiots, the management at least. After working in NYC for nearly a decade, coming to Michigan and seeing these fools, it’s no wonder at All why the company is going down the tubes.

  4. I forgot to add, Amateur Hour!

  5. DrJimmy says:

    Jeff, my family’s business runs a small fleet of company cars: all Chevrolet, after a couple of bad experiences with 2006 Pontiacs.

    One of the `08 Chevys developed an oil leak last spring. Chevrolet, through our local dealer, replaced the motor under warranty without hesitation…and offered a free loaner.

    I’m sorry you’ve had such an awful experience with Ford. There are millions of F-150s on the road, so they can’t all be bad. That said, you might look into a Chevy Silverado; millions of those are still rolling, too.

  6. Farquar says:

    I have a vaguely similar story with Ford. After a hailstorm I go out to check my truck for damage and see small cracks in the paint all over the hood. Assuming it is hail damage I call my insurance company. Upon inspection they tell me its not hail, its just bad paint. I took the truck to a Ford dealership and they agreed. I did not, at that time apparently, get put into the computer system. At that time the mileage was at 35,800. 200 miles still left on the warranty.

    When I returned to schedule repairs I had 36,300 miles on the truck. I was told the truck was no longer under warranty and I would have to pay for the repairs myself. 2 months of arguing with the dealer, Ford, the dealer I purchased the car from.. No amount of reason was going to get me anywhere. This pre-dates Consumerist.

    Up to that point I had never purchased anything but a Ford. Since that time I’ve purchased two Hondas, and my next truck will by a Toyota.

  7. zero_o says:

    Maybe when they get that $25,000,000,000.00 “Loan” that they want to update facilities, then they will get it resolved …..

    • zero_o says:

      @zero_o: As a side note I believe that we should start expressing billions and trillions as zeros as opposed to just writing ‘billion’ or ‘trillion’ because you lose sight of just how much money a billion or trillion is when you don’t put the zeros

    • Hawkins says:

      @zero_o: You’re right that we should start expressing these numbers as numbers.

      I thought that $25,000,000,000.00 was a joke (like Mr. ViperBorg’s reason # 54325473345342543325432 of why not to buy a Ford).

      But it’s not.

  8. secretoftheeast says:

    My suggestion to reader John is to try and involve your local media and raise a stink to the dealers (first the one that told you it was “normal” and second to the one that was blaming the oil filter — after tearing apart your engine). Not to bash the consumerist, but you can definitely attract a broad local audience which would put a lot of pressure on the local Ford folks to cover your repairs. I hope this ends well for you.

    • Sarcasmo48 says:

      @secretoftheeast: Completely agree. If one of your local outlets has an “On your Side” or “I-team”, they’d likely be interested. You have a very well documented case and the local dealership *definitely* does not want the bad local publicity. That could certainly get you a check mighty fast. Good luck.

  9. Mfalconieri says:

    American cars are really terrible. I never would buy a Ford…unless it was the GTO and I was rich.

  10. starrion says:

    “As Tough As You Want”*

    *vehicle may fall to bits if you use anyone else’s parts on it.

  11. SkokieGuy says:


    I am so sorry for your problems.

    During all that service work, there was not a single notation about the noise? Typically the service advisor lists all the customer ‘issues’ to be investigated. If this is listed even once, you potentially have a legal case for fraud, when they indicated this is normal.

    Ford also states that even their own fuel filters can void their own warranty? I can’t see how that’s even possible.

    Although I believe your service contract requires binding arbitration, have you consulted with a lawyer anyhow? There may be cases where the actions of the company may be outside the normal arbitration provisions.

    Have you contacted your local media? A story on the evening news would sure cost a lot more than doing the right thing and covering the repair.

    Has anyone noticed Ford’s new ads where people test drive (and love) the new Ford Edge? They typically say “I would never have considered a Ford, but I was so suprised, I love it”. It’s almost as if Ford has made a decision to acknowledge their bad reputation and try to win people over. Well you can change your marketing, but if you don’t change your crappy products AND the crappy care you extend to your customers, your crappy reputation will remain.

    I drive a Nissan that just turned 100K miles this weekend and runs flawlessly. My service experiences have all been good.

    • bonjourmiette says:

      @SkokieGuy: I have a 1996 Ford Escort with 138,000+ miles on it and I’ve never experienced anything that could give Ford a bad name for quality. In the 10 years I’ve had it (bought it used with 25K miles) The only repairs I’ve had to take it in for have been when the timing belt broke (car was 5-6 years old at the time) and to replace the battery leads because they corroded when I left it sit dormant for more than 6 months because I had a company vehicle for a time. Other than that the only annoying issue I’ve had with it is that the automatic seatbelt broke and I had to cut the cable on it off so now the little motor whizzes around all the time trying to retract what’s not there. Something which happened only last year. Everyone in my family has owned Ford vehicles with similar lack of disaster. Hardly a record of horrible crafstmanship. Whether you end up with a great car or one that’s a bit of a lemon seems to be the luck of the draw and good attention paid before buying/right after purchase.

      That said, Jeff’s experience with Ford and their refusal to even look into the possibility the troubles with his car are the responsibility of unscrupulous dealers, is certainly making me rethink my decision to purchase another Ford when mine finally dies.

  12. Murph1908 says:

    I think I would try the stand-outside-on-public-property-with-sandwich-board-warning-sign technique here.

    • nullrout says:

      @Murph1908: @bonjourmiette:

      I too have a 1996 Escort…173k miles here.

      Words of advice:

      take the panel off at the bottom just behind the door opening. You’ll find a small electic motor. Disconnect the power connector (wires) going to to…no more motor sounds. My seat belts failed/stuck halfway down the track…not very safe. There is also an allen head in the center of the motor if you need to crank the seat belt home (with the power disconnected of course).

      Two: I’m on my second engine…the 1.9 liter ford is known for dropping valve seats…I had one drop then the same valve seat on the same cylinder drop on the replacement head = destroyed engine. If your car starts running really rough with the “check engine” light flashing rapidily get it checked you most likely have a valve seat getting ready to go.

  13. deadandy says:

    Totally unsurprised.

    Ford’s customer service problems extend throughout the company, even to their finance arm:

    I used to finance a 2003 Mazda, which goes through Ford Financing since Ford owns a controlling interest in Mazda North America. I had everything set up electronically, including a “saved” checking account as my payment method. I didn’t have AutoPay set up because frankly, I don’t trust them that much. They ended up giving me good reason not to!

    One month I logged in to make my payment and noted that the label I had given to my saved account (“CHECKING”) was different. It read “DENNIS” (name changed to protect the innocent). I immediately called Ford Finance and explained that somehow, someone else’s checking account information had gotten into my account – indicating that there must be a serious database mixup and therefore security issue. I also expressed the concern that since someone else’s info was in my account, my info could therefore be in someone else’s account.

    Guess what their explanation was? That I must have let a friend or family member log into their Ford Finance account on my computer and they forgot to log off. “Seriously?” I asked. Serious as a heart attack. Never mind that I don’t know anyone named Dennis that happens to own the exact same car as me with the exact same payment amount, and that I remembered entering my credentials to log in.

    Nay, they stuck by their story. Refused to look into it, refused to admit that some technical error occurred. Needless to say, I watched my checking account like a hawk for weeks afterward for car payment charges that weren’t mine. The next day when I logged back into my Ford Finance account, my correct info was mysteriously back in place.

  14. Preyfar says:

    I took my car into the Koons Chrysler in Tyson’s Corner, VA a little over a month ago to get my air conditioner fixed. It was making an odd clanking sound. Needless to say, they fixed the clanking sound, but now the air conditioner spews out a horrific, awful smell when the AC first kicks on. I have to roll down my windows for about five minutes until the smell goes away. And of course, I’m going to have to pay to get the smell “fixed” that didn’t exist before they “fixed” it.

    So yeah. I can definitely relate to the OP.

    • Orv says:

      @Preyfar: You have crap growing in your A/C system due to trapped water. It’s likely the condensate drain is plugged, especially if you’re getting water dripping into the footwells. They’ll need to unplug the drain line, then spray some kind of fungicide into the A/C intake to kill the critters in there.

  15. Coder4Life says:

    I think this can happen with any auto company though, but I hate FORD so I will not be buyinga FORD product EVER!! and after listening to this b.s, I will forward this on to people making sure they know how FORD treats it’s customers especially in times they are losing customers at a level of a waterfall…

  16. mariospants says:

    About the only Ford I owned that I ever liked was a ’66 Mustang Fastback – and that’s only because I replaced pretty much 3/4 of the car with aftermarket parts.

    Unless you count my recent Volvo, my experiences with late-model Fords (a Windstar, Ford Bronco) have been hateful and wasteful. Too bad, because the new lineup is starting to look interesting.

  17. kidnextdoor says:

    please make your letter shorter. srsly.

    • cerbie says:

      @kidnextdoor: why make it shorter? Horror stories aren’t suspenseful because they tell you the mother gets slashed up, the boyfriend will hilariously die in a car wreck, and the braless girl will bouncily run upstairs, while the dark loner will save the day (OK, so this basically just covering Wes Craven ones, but still…). Every little bit helps get you that much more tense…and shows that much more how poor the companies involved are doing their customer service jobs.

  18. usaevo8 says:

    This is the sole reason why I dont by American made cars, which Im not proud of but Im not willing to gamble my second largest ownership investment to a bunch of low quality, no service, ilogical yokals (I made my mistake with a 1993 Ford Range). Im somewhat of a gear head, more into imports and the modding scene but ANY car/truck that cant use any old generic off the shelf oil filter (the most basic part of todays cars along with floor mats) shouldnt be on the road. It means that engineering tolerances that went into making the car are impractical.

    Did they at all explain why a non-OEM filter would cause this? To me ping sounds more like “knock” or a mechanical failure in a moving part. Possibly one supplied oil to keep lubricated and cooled but still that points to a MANUFACTURES DEFECT. I would research their filter supplier to find the aftermarket copy thats sold for 1/3rd the price but exactly the same minus the Ford name.

    I do think you should have requested a quote before any work was billed and told them to put it back together if they were going to fix it, then take it for a second opinion at a competent mechanic.

  19. moeman1024 says:

    They call themselves an “American” car company. I remember when they used to advertise “Made in the USA”. They cannot do that legally now since their products are built in Canada or Mexico.
    I will stick will buying cars built in the USA. Support your local economy and workers. Sad part the companies making vehicles in the USA are all foreign.

    • balthisar says:

      @moeman1024: That F150 was made in the United States. As is the Focus, the Mustang, the Ranger, the Escape, the Super Duty, the Expedition, the Taurus, the MKS.

      • kbrook says:

        @balthisar: Also, a lot of parts are made in the US. I’ve done temp work for three or four companies in Western MI that do some sort of contract work – mostly plastics – for car components. ADAC makes many, many handle assemblies and other door parts for lots of companies.

        As a side note, my brother works in the metal fabrication end of these kinds of contracts. He says that American companies have huge fault tolerances on their parts – that is, the range of difference there can be on a part compared to a model before it is scrapped – compared to Asian and European companies. If the parts don’t fit together right… I would think that this would come out in the assembly process, but I don’t know. Random trivia is FUN!

        • donovanr says:

          I was negotiating to buy a ford this week. Price was OK. But Toyota here I come. Worth an extra buck or two to avoid the above nightmare. I especially like the comment on tolerances. @kbrook:

      • smythe says:

        @balthisar: Wow you named off 8 vehicles… How many vehicles in fords line up??? 25 if your including Lincoln and you are with the MKS.

    • raskolnik says:

      @moeman1024: This has never been a particularly compelling argument. I thought the American economy was based on capitalism, whereby the best-made, lowest-cost products are bought. A Honda or Toyota is better made and often cheaper. As a consumer, why on Earth would I buy something different? Every year Japanese cars are the most reliable of them all, with American ones frequently the worst.

      Why does someone in another country somehow deserves a job less than someone in the U.S.? Second, want to know why so few car companies make their cars in the U.S.? How about that Toyota plant that was built in Ontario instead of Alabama because the education level in Alabama was so low it was hard to find literate employees and because health insurance would be too expensive?

      And don’t talk about foreign subsidies making it so American auto makers can’t compete. The states trying to court the above Toyota plant offered hundreds of millions of dollars in subsi…I’m sorry, “tax incentives” for Toyota to build the plant there. To say nothing of the huge bail-out American auto makers are crying for (and will likely get).

  20. nataku8_e30 says:

    Just curious, was there ever an actual problem found, or did this ~6k worth of work simply stem from a noise that didn’t really seem to be affecting performance. I certainly understand you wanting to fix any potentially major issues before your warranty expires, but I personally would not have let a shop tear apart my engine based on a noise alone, even if it sounded like pre-detonation.

    I can commiserate with you though – my g/f’s 2001 Escape had it’s rear latch actuator start failing intermittently while it was still under warranty. The Ford dealership service department claimed it was working fine every time she brought it in and would not replace the actuator. It then failed completely after the warranty expired and the dealership refused to fix it for anything less than full cost. After a few minutes of research online I found that this is a common problem on Escapes. I also found a generic actuator for $5.50 that required a little bit of custom mounting, but fixed the problem after about an hour of work on my part. In addition, the same dealership convinced her to get an automatic transmission flush / fill, even though it is not part of the factory recommended maintenance on that particular model transmission (this required a surprising amount of cross referencing due to the poorly written “maintenance guide” that came with the vehicle). The dealership overfilled the transmission, which, several months later, began to jerk when the vehicle was stopped in drive. The service manager refused to accept responsibility for the issue, and claimed that the relief valve would keep the transmission from being damaged. After draining and refilling the transmission fluid a few times, and making sure the level was set correctly the jerking mostly went away. When I initially drained the fluid from the dealership, it appeared to have been burnt. I personally wouldn’t trust any dealership, regardless of make, to perform any maintenance or repair task correctly. It’s best to find an honest mechanic, but ultimately I prefer knowing that if a repair was done incorrectly, it was my own fault.

    • spazztastic says:

      @nataku83: If you have an issue that is documented during the warranty period, and the manufacturer doesn’t do anything to repair the issue while in warranty, they are still liable for the repair of the problem when the warranty is up. At least, this is the case in NY. I had issues with my old car’s front wheel bearings. They kept telling me nothing was wrong; of course I felt the thing vibrate all the time. At 38k miles, the bearing was FINALLY diagnosed as the problem, and was replaced gratis even though the warranty had expired, because of the service history. (GM Vehicle)

      I was told all GM dealerships are connected to a database with the full service history of every car they work on. 10 years from now, if my old car is still on the road, punching the VIN into GM’s service book system will bring up all the wheel bearing replacement issues.

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @spazztastic: I don’t believe that my g/f was actually able to get the dealership to document that she complained about the latch actuator – they at least claimed they had no record of it. Also, I’m guessing TX has less consumer protection than NY and for $5.50, it wasn’t worth fighting the dealership about.

  21. P41 says:

    letter may be long but at least clear what it’s about. Some letters here you get past the first screenfull without even finding out what they’re asking for.

    Consider filing in small claims court for the remainder. (If you really want to cover your bases you could get JiffyLube’s story.) Your case is essentially, it was defective from the start, and even if Judge doesn’t believe you reported it from the beginning, you still have fallback case that the JiffyLube story is just an excuse and they have to repair it anyway. They may not even show up to court, be surprised if they even contact you to work things out prior to the court date. If you sue the warranty dept first for breech and lose, you may still be able to sue the original dealer for selling you a defective product.

  22. linlu says:

    Typical Ford, which is why I would never buy one. Also if I ever ‘win’ one I will quickly turn around and sell it. Actually, I don’t buy raffle tix for various local clubs/local causes if they show a Ford as the prize.

    Riddle me this, why can’t most Ford drivers read traffic signs or obey traffic laws?

  23. John- Thank you for reminding me never to buy a Ford. Sometimes they come out with cool looking cars, like the new Mustang, but then I remember the potential hell I would have to deal with if anything went wrong. Ford is like the Paypal of cars, except worse in that the problems start before ANYTHING begins, ie: trying to buy the car.

  24. balthisar says:

    We’ve not heard Ford’s side.

    My Continental is still perfect at 117,000 miles. My Expedition is still perfect at almost 85,000 miles.

    Yes, there was a time when I wouldn’t buy a Ford (I bought two Honda’s in a row, instead). But this story’s a fluke. I’m not unsympathetic — the situation sucks, but all of the hatred that I see above is just stupid.

    • NitrousO says:

      @balthisar: Our families Expedition ran great till 100,000 miles and then it was one thing after the next. Same with our Taurus before that. These were the mid 90s models so maybe they got better in the bast decade but as little as a decade ago, they were terrible for reliability.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @balthisar: Well, it seems that John Y’s problem is more with the service and warranty failures rather than the actual engine problem. His mistake is in not having the “pinging noise” recorded on a work order. Even if the tech incorrectly diagnosed it (or lied to him about “they all do that”) it would have been recorded in Ford’s system and on his work order and they couldn’t just deny that he ever mentioned it before. The “pinging” issue seems to be “a fluke” as you say, and John Y points out that he hasn’t heard another Ford truck make this noise (a lifter, perhaps? He doesn’t say what the dealer who repaired it said was actually wrong.)

      I saw no hatred. I saw justifiable anger at his treatment by the dealership who denied that the noise was a problem at all, and at the 2nd dealership that wants to blame this on an aftermarket oil filter (even when the oil filter TSB apparently relates to a different engine.)

  25. wickedpixel says:

    I have since received a check for half of the repair costs from the original Ford rep. It came through one of the local dealers with no stipulations about keeping quiet if I cashed it. I cashed it and am now making good on my promise to write this up for all to read on your site.

    Having cashed the check, you may now be out of luck trying to get the other half from them. You should check your state law, but in most states cashing that check would be considered acceptance of the settlement as payment in full.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @wickedpixel: How would cashing a check with no terms attached be considered acceptance of a settlement? You could just as easily say that by them sending half payment they admitted to half responsibility. Now he can fight over who owns the other half. Such as the local dealer, or still ford corporate.

  26. Go4EVA says:

    1) People who are saying that this story validates their opinions of poor American car quality should stop using a sample size I can count on one hand and instead start looking at the real facts. This isn’t the 1980s anymore.

    2) John Y., you had me with your story until the very end. IANAL, but despite the fact that the check you cashed didn’t have any expressed requirements about furthering your cause on this issue, your action of cashing the check very well may have been an implicit acceptance of reasonable compensation for your issue. In court, Ford’s lawyers would have a field day with the fact that they sent you a check and you cashed it. If you really did not feel that the 1/2 payment was adequate, you should have NOT CASHED IT.

  27. SuperiorInky says:

    Ford = Fix Or Repair Daily

    My family used to have a Ford van. It ran good until it had a problem. Then another, and another, and another… Pretty soon it was a monthly repair thing.

    Ford seriously needs to handle the quality of their vehicles. That, or get ready to find new customers on Mars.

  28. Geekybiker says:

    Wow, what a novel. Well, its time to stop playing nice and sue for damages in court. Hopefully you can file in small claims in your state, but you’re near or past the limit alot of places. Cashing a check for a unsettled dispute is a very bad move. I hope it doesn’t cost you the other half.

  29. Currahee says:

    I hate to play Monday Morning quarterback – but if you buy a brand new vehicle and it makes an odd noise, please go back to the dealership right away and demand that they give you a different vehicle. It is also useful to document everything as soon as you notice a problem, both in writing and with video/photography.

    As for Ford, their treatment of you speaks for itself. Americans should remember what kind of behavior they are rewarding if they vote in politicians who then bail out incompetent companies.

  30. verafides says:

    Setting aside the craziness of the dealership and all the slippery mechanic talk, the issue they’re pointing to is possibly correct, although, since the pinging was there when the dealer was servicing it, it applies equally to their own oil filters as it does to the evil evil “Aftermarket” ones.

    Assuming that it is noise in the camshaft region, they’re technically right that a bad oil filter can cause the sound. An undersized oil filter, or an oil filter that doesn’t allow sufficient flow can screw with oil pressure, and starve part of the engine of oil, particularly the top. That’s the last place oil goes (oil is pumped up from way down at the bottom). So the top of the engine gets starved for oil, and things start to wear really fast.

    Usually, if the oil filter is that bad, the car’s oil pressure readings will be wacky. You’ll get an oil light for too long when you start the car, or it will come on and off, or it will always stay on. Unless the oil pressure was just weak in one area, but if it was weak just at the cam, it would probably be blocked oil journals, and not the filter, that’s the problem.

    Things to check for oil pressure-related problems:

    (1) Oil light comes on too long at startup (more than a tiny second). (Probably a worn oil pump.)

    (2) Oil light flickers on and off when changing engine speed. (I would think this is more likely the case with an undersized oil filter that is restricting oil flow.)

    (3) Engine runs rough, with knocking sounds that match engine speed (Pressure was too low: failed oil pump, clogged filter, low on oil, or some such. At this point, it’s time to give up and replace the engine).

    Overall, pay very close attention to that oil light. It’s one of the most important indicators that a non-mechanic has.

    To check for knocking, take a piece of rubber hose and put one end in your ear and the other end on the engine, moving it around until you find the loudest pinging sound. If its a fuel injector, the fuel injector will be making the noise (Duh!). If it’s the engine, it will be somewhere on the valve cover or engine body.

    If they ever tell any of you it’s a fuel injector, there’s a very easy way to check. UNPLUG THE FUEL INJECTOR. If it’s still pinging, IT IS NOT THE FUEL INJECTOR. :)

  31. EricLecarde says:

    I saw something like this one time on Judge Judy or The Peoples Court. The guy complained of a knocking noise and mentioned it to the dealer who said it was nothing and to not worry about it. When the engine went kaput, the warranty guys didn’t cover it stating that it was something a quick lube place did and that he was outta luck. Guy ended up loosing the case because he didn’t have the proper documentation (I.E. the burden of proof).

  32. elgringoguapo says:

    I have a 99 Taurus. So many problems. I hate how every year it needs something fixed.

    I will never buy a ford. This was my mothers car. I know why she gave it up.

  33. Xerloq says:

    Since we’re all sharing our Ford horror stories:

    My ’98 Escort’s AC failed a few years ago. Understanding the dangers of the dealership, I went to a local shop, who diagnosed the issue as a computer module (the CCRM) that wasn’t in production anymore and tightly controlled by Ford. Research indicated that the modules were prone to fail, and no rip-n-repair junkyards had them for me. My only option – dealership.

    They asked a $90 diagnostic to be applied to my repair. Three weeks and a $2000 estimate later they told me it would be 6 weeks to get the part. They offered to put my car back together (for $2K) and call me when the part was in, at which point I could pay an additional $500 for the part, and $300 for the labor.

    I called Ford, who actually helped.

    Long story short – I got out on the diagnostic fee with a repaired AC mostly due to the dealer gaffing on a conference call with Ford. The CCRM simply needed reprogramming (step 1 of the troubleshooting that the tech skipped). I said (and Ford agreed) that it wasn’t my fault that the tech skipped the procedure that would have fixed my car in 15 minutes. The Labor, shop rate, storage rate, etc. would be eaten by the dealer.

    That dealership went out of business a month later.

  34. Tedicles says:

    I honestly don’t think this is a Ford, or domestic vs import issue, rather just another unscrupulous dealership trying to fleece you to cover their own costs when they misdiagnosed your vehicle. They pretty much know that most consumers do not know enough about their vehicle to properly discuss the nature of said problems.
    In my humble opinion, a pinging noise (if that is accurate, ie not another noise mistaken for pinging) can only be attributed to 2 things:
    1. Fuel – either delivery, mixture or grade (octane) can easily cause pinging. Could be related to car’s computer mixing air/fuel lean.
    2. Timing – incorrent timing (or distributor, sparkplug, etc. problems) can also lead to this

    In NO way can I imagine that an oil filter can ever lead to any king of pinging or knocking, if that is their claim, ask them to explain the logic, and then verify with an independant mechanic.

    In short…never believe what they tell you at the dealership or Jiffy Lube or any other place without verifying with a trusted mechanic.

  35. Tedicles says:

    In addition to previous long response, thought I would share this story (quickly) of a friend who bought a new truck:
    Bought new truck, believe it was a Chevy. Immediately began experiencing problems (within 48 hours). Took truck back to dealership, they promised to look at it. Unbeknownst to the dealership, my friend put a chalk mark by the rear tire.
    Upon returning a few days later to pick up the truck, was told that “our technicians inspected the truck, the engine and suspension and found no faults or problems.”
    That’s when my friend went and checked behind the rear tire, sure enough…the chalk mark was still there. They had not even so much as moved the truck into the service center.
    He left the dealership about 1 hour later, after much screaming, with a full refund!

  36. Leyte says:

    I would venture to say that once you cashed the check for 1/2 of the amount you were seeking, you effectly ruined your chance for any further payments. Cashing the check impies that you accept payment in full, even though you did not mean to.

    You did good up until that point though…

  37. Ubermunch says:

    Well.. I’ve owned 3 Fords in 8 years… Currently I have a Toyota and a 2001 Ford Taurus Wagon. The wagon is tops! I’ve had it since it was new and at 82,000+ miles it’s doing wonderfully. Just the regular oxygen sensor and brake maintenance. Fit and finish are very good and there’s almost no rattles. I’d buy it again in an instant.

    Ford dealerships OTOH… suck huge. Almost criminal suckitude.

    Can anybody tell me about ONE Ford dealership that was even semi-competent? I, for one, take the wagon to a local guy who is very skilled and very honest (not cheap, though). But during the warranty period you’re essentially stuck with a dealer (unless you want to try to recover your expense post-repair under warranty). In the DC area I tried four different places and all were sleazy morons.

    Just bought a new car in March… and no… Ford did not have anything that interested me. Even if it had, chances are I’d have skipped them due to the dealers.

  38. RickScarf says:

    I have a Taurus and while it has needed a few repairs, it has been a good car.
    The one repair that really got under my skin though was related to a technical bulletin, i.e. known fault, that has been around for YEARS. Apparently there is a huge hole under the hood that lets water through so when it rains, your passenger floorboard turns into a swimming pool. After researching this, it is fairly common and a known issue that they will fix under the new car warranty. My car was a few years old and no longer under any warranties, so I took it in for a price quote – $400-500. For their known issue. I said “no thanks” and researched it in depth on the internet and was able to order my own parts and do the repair for about $50 and an hours worth of my time. I don’t know why they kept making cars for a couple years after the issue was known without adding on the part that diverts water correctly.

  39. daveistrad says:

    I’m really concerned that by cashing the check for half you may have forfeited your right to the other half. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually a pretty well established tenet in common law that’s been around for hundreds of years, called “accord and satisfaction.” I’m not entirely sure it’s applicable here, but in general, you NEVER want to accept partial payment for a contested debt, even if there were no terms on the check itself. Ford will claim that their representative orally conveyed the terms to you, and you tacitly consented by cashing the check. In fact, Ford may present as evidence the language from your post above in which you state that she did, in fact, convey this to you. This is why people never comment on pending litigation – you never know what can be used against you.

    I’m sorry, and I really hope I’m wrong about everything I just wrote, but I’ve got a sinking feeling my analysis is correct. Any contract lawyers agree or disagree with me?

  40. jpdanzig says:

    I heard a story that would explain why Japanese cars hold up so much better than American cars.

    Perhaps another reader can tell us if it’s true…

    I heard that the American car companies come up with a whole new set of parts for each “new” model generation.

    Instead the Japanese car companies use the same parts from one generation to another, refining and improving ONLY the parts that fail.

    In other words, Japanese parts don’t fail as frequently, because they are the product of continual testing and refinement, whereas American parts are designed and built from scratch every time there’s a new model.

    Can anyone confirm this? It would explain a LOT!!!

    • @jpdanzig: My 89 Nissan Stanza could only get parts for a 89. If the window motor went, a 88 or a 90 would not fit. The same was true for some of the other parts I needed fixed on it. I will say, it was the best car I ever owned. Hit a 88 Mustang once, and even leaking fluid, headligts pointed at the side, it drove home. The Mustang, OTOH, could only go forward and reverse. I could run the thing 8,000 miles on one oil change, and she didn’t care.

      • failurate says:

        @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: That is the weirdest use of anecdotal evidence I have ever seen.

        You would be shocked to find out that essentially all auto makers are pulling parts from the same bins, or at least the same suppliers. Think of all the parts of a car… you think they make those at the factory that assembles the car?
        The parts that are usually manufactured by the “manufacturer” are frames and engine blocks. Transmissions, axles, anything electronic, anything that carries a fluid, gears, glass, plastic, and even body panels, are made by some other company.

        So it comes down to failure of design and purchasing poor quality parts.

      • Tankueray says:

        @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I don’t get it, was the mustang supposed to go sideways? Anyway, American car companies have been using the same parts for a long time. Usually it has to do with the generation of body style and/or engine/tranny. My ’89 GTA and ’95 Tahoe use many of the same engine parts. Although I find that they’re cheaper if I ask for a ’95 silverado part instead of saying that they’re for a Tahoe or Trans Am. Same exact part, different price depending on the application. My Yukon will use parts off of any pickup or SUV from the same platform within that generation, assuming the same engine/tranny/rear-end combo. Generally, when they change body styles, it’s a new generation with a different engine/tranny combo, although the F-bodies from ’93-’02 are considered the fourth generation, they switched engines when they changed body styles and the parts aren’t interchangeable. (Well, sort of, they changed the V6 in ’96 and the V8 around ’98, and they changed the body style in the ’98 model year I believe)
        Anyway, post 60’s models Fords suck (pickups up to around ’83, then they suck)

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:


      It’s a misnomer that only the Japanese manufacturers do this, and/or in such large scale. All manufacturers try to use parts from other vehicles and sometimes other generations, but there is a limit. EPA, NHTSA and their global counterparts’ requirements are a constantly moving target, not to mention the engineering required.

      Believe me, all manufacturers try to reuse/refine existing designs for parts because of the #1 reason – cost. It’s much cheaper to review and update a design, rather than start from scratch.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @jpdanzig: i don’t think so – american car cos. do this also. i believe the largest reason they are touted as more reliable is due to their embrace of the teachings of w. edwards deming – specifically, his focus on minimizing deviation in manufacturing. their focus on reducing tolerance levels has resulted in more reliable machines.

      read some of his writings – the man was a genius.

    • chrisexv6 says:


      There is definitely some truth to this. Case and point: my wifes 2003 Acura uses some of the same parts as her 1986 Acura Legend. Little stuff, like the cruise control buttons, etc. havent changed in that whole time. In fact the same controls were on my 2000 Honda Accord.

      Also interesting is that Accords didnt go to distributorless ignition until 2000. Seems the foreign car makers will stick with what works as long as possible……….I remember early DIS systems in American cars were known for issues that were not cheap to resolve.

  41. humphrmi says:

    My take-aways:

    1. If I ever buy a new car again (not likely) and immediately notice a problem, I’m going to have it documented by the dealership right away, even if they say it’s “normal”.

    2. This is just reaffirmed my conviction that Ford makes crap product. I’ve owned three Fords in my life, and not one of them has ever ended well. I see no evidence here that I ever need to give them a fourth chance to earn back my business.

  42. Triborough says:

    This reminds me of the old joke about Ford.
    Q: What does Ford stand for?
    A: Fix Or Repair Daily.

  43. I agree with everyone else… cashing that check = WRONG MOVE. I feel the OP’s pain, got a Saturn with a shitty design flaw in the engine, the oil nozzle that lubes the timing chain. Blew a motor while driving 55-60MPH. In 2003, the TSB that Saturn put out basically said the oil nozzle deprived the timing chain, and how they fixed it.

    Too bad they f*cked over all the customers whose engines were blown, because they never TOLD THEM.

  44. wcnghj says:

    It is not legal for anyone in the US to void a warranty because of the use of aftermarket products. []

    It’s called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975.

  45. rysar says:

    The thing to remember about Koons is that it’s a holding company for dozens of other dealerships. Basically any large dealership in the area avoid like the plague. If you have service records and receipts from the first dealer, this should be a no-brainer, take them to court and lawyer up.

  46. haoshufu says:

    I had a similar symptoms with a MB E-class years ago. MB dealer did not want to acknowledge the problem initially but the head mechanic confirmed it. Never question about me using third party service. Repair was over $7k + rental car (they gave me a choice of BMW, Volvo or Jag) for over 1 week. The car was 1 month and less than 200 miles away from out of warranty.

    Absolutely need to have them document anything you are complaining about and written proof of what they have acknowledged/denied. Check all the prior receipts/work orders from the dealers to see if they had hand written anything on them that may not have gotten to the computer.

  47. calchip says:

    I agree that the stand-on-public-property method is likely to be very effective. Make some flyers and hand them out to anyone coming in or going out of the dealership.

    I grew up in the DC area. Koons had a shady reputation even back then. I can only imagine they’ve gotten far worse since.

  48. chwebb1 says:

    That’s truly awful. I hope that you can get something worked out with Ford, but I seriously doubt it, especially because you cashed the check.

    In the future, definitely buy a different brand of car. I don’t care for American engineered cars because they are laden with issues. European or Japanese cars are much better, but I just prefer the driving experience to European automobiles.

  49. Nahnsense says:

    Two comments: Although I’m certainly don’t doubt John Y.’s account, you can see the position of Ford to follow the term’s of it warranty. There was no documentation of the problem pre-existing the expiration of the routine maintenance period. The Koons’ dealership may have been guilty of fraud, ineptness or both, but Ford Corporate had no way of knowing that. You can criticize their response to an apparently long-term or loyal customer, but I’d say they were withing their rights.

    All that said, the fact that any replacement oil filter would have validated the warranty for this particular problem is unexplainable. I’m not sure any sane person would condone voiding a warranty for routing required maintenance. That, to me, is the far more shameful part of this story.

    • @Nahnsense: I have to agree with your assessment. It’s an expensive and difficult lesson to learn, but it’s also why I tend to buy from smaller dealerships who aren’t part of some giant holding company that expresses customer satisfaction in terms of inventory moved.

      Unfortunately, my family has had a couple of problems like this. I now religiously document and follow-up on ANY and ALL dealer-manufacturer discussions and service writer verbiage.

      The service writer is the person who holds they keys if you should have problems out of warranty related to an in-warranty issue. The software used at most dealership usually has boilerplate for each customer complaint; typically it reads:

      CUSTOMER STATES: (service writer fills this in)

      When you bring a car in for service – in warranty or not – always make a list beforehand of any issues you want to bring up. Had this pinging noise been documented even once by the service writer at Koon’s, one single line from a years-old service report could possibly have resulted in a happy result:

      “CUSTOMER STATES: pinging noise from valve head.
      Informed customer that this was normal fuel injector operation.”*

      That’s all he would have needed to resolve this more easily. Documentation is always the key.

      The dealership knows that once it is documented, they’d better damned well follow up – Ford would have had them at least partially on the hook for this if it had been reported, but not followed up on during the new car warranty.

      Incidentally, the world of car sounds is highly malleable and open to interpretation. One person’s “ping” may be another person’s “clack” – the difference between bad gas and a connecting rod which is about to ruin your engine. Get the service writer to ask a mechanic – not the manager or another service advisor.

  50. jhurley03 says:

    Just another reason not to buy from Ford or any other American car company.

  51. jhurley03 says:

    I’ve had a 1996 Honda Civic LX for 2 years and haven’t had to fix one thing on the car.

    • @jhurley03: My 1996 Infiniti G20 has lasted almost 325,000 miles so far with two repairs not part of regular maintenance:

      -Vehicle Speed Sensor

      Had I not spent $400.00-500.00 a year in regular maintenance, you can be assured that the number of failed items would be far higher.

      However, that does not mean every Infiniti is bulletproof. I’ve driven very reliable Fords and craptacular Audis – the point of this article is not that Fords are bad or anything else is good, but that getting the proper documentation when you have an unresolved problem of any kind is paramount in getting the best customer service.

  52. pat_trick says:

    Shouldn’t have cashed the check; that’s going to hurt you down the road. :(

    • Pylon83 says:

      Yeah, very bad move. Then to post all over the internet the exact details, including the fact that the OP knew that the check was offered as a full settlement based on the phone conversation. Nail in the coffin.

  53. jerros says:

    This is the problem with american cars. Ford could build the best car in the universe and price it $10,000 under their competitors and it still wouldn’t sell as long as their customer relations/service still sucks.

    Back in the 80’s-90’s my brother and grandfather bought a couple of fords with some of those metallic paint jobs, you know the metallic blues & grays which began to peel after a year of standard use. Ford spent 2 years blameing my brother/grandfather for ruining the paint job and claiming it wasn’t under warentee, before they issued a recall because of the peeling paint.

    Compare that to companies like Nissan who issued a recall on a van we used to own (fire hazzard), nissan purchased the van back at the current blue book price, Gave us a rental car for a month, and sent my parents another $500.00 check to purchase another vehicle from them.

    American companies used to take pride & stand behind their product. These days it looks like they simply can’t afford to do the “right thing” as it’s too expensive so they hide behind the consumer and place the blame there.

    It’s really a shame Ford hasn’t learned their lesson.

  54. Bubbasan says:


    A good site to see if there are technical service bulletind (tsb) that may be relevant to your situation. You may also leave a complaint there of your own.

    Also, have someone run an Oasis on your VIN. (Try asking at one of the Ford truck web sites, a lot of parts guys or techs are on there who will accomodate you). Oasis is the record system of all dealer work done on your truck, including warrantee claims, maintencance work, and “concerns” which are complaints you have about your vehicle that are recorded as a diagnosed problem or NPF, or no problem found.

    Cheap aftermarket filters can damage your engine (there’s one brand in particular that has a really bad reputation), but if Ford says that one installed by Jiffylube is the culprit (which apparently is not true), then they should provide you with that documentation so you can file a claim with Jiffylube. JMO.

  55. FrankReality says:

    I’m sitting here trying to figure out how an aftermarket oil filter could even remotely cause a problem requiring a new cylinder head – it defies all logic. Of course the OP knows this the filters didn’t do it. It potentially could result in a valve train issue e.g. noisy lifter if the filter failed and allowed dirty oil to circulate, but that wouldn’t require a new head. In short, they’re giving the OP a bunch of bull.

    Judging from the description of the problem and from the camshaft sensor the shop tried first, it is clear the original symptom was pinging due to pre-ignition. The camshaft sensor communicates the mechanical position of the valves and pistons to the powertrain control module (a.k.a. the computer) which regulates timing. Most engines also have a knock sensor which tells the computer the engine is pinging and that the computer should adjust timing of the spark to avoid the ping/knock. So, most likely the original cause was either the cam sensor, knock sensor, the computer, the wiring between the sensors and the computer or too low of octane fuel for the engine. I think your pickup should run fine on 87 octane fuel, but check the manual to make sure.

    Preignition/ping over an extended amount of time can do very nasty things to the pistons, the head and sparkplugs. Severe cases over time can burn metal pits, even holes in the pistons and/or heads and burn away spark plug electrodes very quickly.

    I don’t have anything else to add – I’m not part of the “blame the OP crowd”, so my suggestion is to go to your state’s attorney general’s office and see what they can do.

    There are two problems here, the first is how liable is the first dealership for their incompetence in not diagnosing the problem AND for failing to record the customer’s complaint in the service records – they are supposed to do that.

    The second is failing to honor either warranty under the bogus excuse about the oil filter. I’d like to see them try to defend that bull in court.

    Unfortunately, the OP will probably have to go to civil court on this.

    One thing I would have considered once they declined the warranty, I would have them put all the parts in the back of the truck and had it towed to a good independent mechanic to look things over and validate what the dealer had claimed. In short, get a second opinion. I tend to be very frugal and very suspicious of dealerships. If your independent mechanic doubts the story you got from Ford, you have the parts available to prove any legal claim vs. Ford.

    The independent could probably fix the head, reasemble and reinstall the engine for much less than the dealer shop could. It is very possible that they could find a used, low-mileage replacement engine at a automotive recycler, save the money it would cost to fix and reassemble the old one and install the used one for far less than the $6200.

  56. frankthefink says:

    My 2002 Ford Ranger was supposed to be a super simple, super cheap vehicle to operate. And it has been, for me. But it wasn’t such a great investment for Ford. The truck only cost me $13,000, and in it’s measly 36,000 mi warranty period I ran up $5700 in repair bills. It’s run like a top since then, but it took 2 transmissions, 2 clutches, an additional 3rd gear, a near seatbelt harness(SCARY), two new rear view mirror pods, a new fuel pump, a new fan clutch, etc.
    If I had not had that work done, this thing would be in the junk yard with the 100k it has on it now.

  57. redkamel says:

    sorry John… I vowed never to buy American as I watched Mom’s Suburban go in for repair after repair, transmission, an axle thing, random shut down of electrical system and car while driving…meanwhile, Dad’s 93 lexus had nary a complaint, and is in fact still driving this day, with 178,000 miles on it. Repairs: replaced power window regulators, 150 dollars each (did labor myself), replaced hood and trunk struts (200 dollars, again a DIY). And oil changes. Things change, but my sweet baby never will.

  58. boxjockey68 says:

    GO GERMAN! They do it better.

  59. MrEvil says:

    I want clarification if the guy is hearing a literal ping sound from the engine or if he’s hearing the sound of pre-detonation. When my old man was first teaching me about the finer points of auto repair he kept referring to predetonation as pinging, it confused me because it doesn’t sound like a ping. Knock is a much better term.

    However, I really don’t see how a defective oil filter can cause either problem unless unfiltered oil left deposits in the combustion chamber that increased the compression ratio. The second the dealer said “we wouldn’t even cover this if a Motorcraft filter failed” you know he’s full of crap. Motorcraft is FoMoCo’s parts brand covering everything from oil filters to windshield wiper blades. If they won’t even cover a Motorcraft filter then tell me, what the heck else am I supposed to use? Engines kinda require an oil filter. That being said I absolutely HATE the Motorcraft filters I buy for my F250 Diesel. They have no means to grip them other than a strap wrench when you change the oil.

    However, I do have to say, be a man, buy a drain pan and do your own oil changes. If you have a 4.6L V8 you just need a 16mm wrench, 5 qts of oil and a new Oil filter. That is for truck owners only. I’ll let car owners slide since nobody wants to work on a vehicle supported only by jackstands.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @MrEvil: I wouldn’t mind changing my own oil if I had an easy way of disposing the old oil.

      • chrisexv6 says:


        AutoZone (if you have one nearby) will take used oil.

        Once I found that out, I stopped taking my cars to dealers and started changing my own oil again. Luckily I have an AZ nearby.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @MrEvil: i do the oil on my toyota solara w/o even jacking it – the casing bolt is only about 12″ in from the right front tire. easy peasy. ok, actually it’s a bit of a pain in the ass, but it saves me $20 (& i know it’s being done right).

      only thing about dyi oil jobs – i know people who have had their warranties voided b/c of this. receipts proving purchase of supplies are supposed to cya, but if they’re giving you a hassle about the brand of filter you’re using, expect the same hassle (or worse) when they find out you did the work yourself.

  60. Have had a FORD in my familys’ garage, for as far back as i can remember:

    – dad had a ’56 or 57 Ford when i was a young kid.
    – he bought a new Mustang fastback in ’67.
    – Mom had a ’66 powder-blue Mustang power convertible
    w/ Pony seats, a 289 V-8 and a ‘Cruise-O-Matic’
    transmission (boy was i disappointed when i came
    back from vacation one summer to find that it had
    been traded for a piss-green ’73 Lincoln Marquis
    Brougham [Brougham: apparently a british word for
    – Dad bought a new ’69 Mach I Mustang – that he drove
    off the showroom floor – and still has.
    – in high school, i bought a ’59 Ranchero.
    – Later, bought a beat-up ’66 Mustang that, after i
    fixed it up, got hit and totaled after having it
    on the road for less than 3 months.
    – the end of my junior year in high school, bought a
    red ’69 Mach I and drove the wheels off it through
    college (over 265-thousand + miles).
    – later, bought an ’82 Mustang from the California
    Highway Patrol, which i drove for over
    225-thousand miles.
    – then i went off-the-reservation…and bought an ’86
    Chevy S-10 pickup. Good truck till it hit
    125-thousand. Then it aged like a asian hooker.
    – a coworker offered to sell me his ’83 BMW 320i.
    It is arguably the best car i’ve ever had (next to
    my CHP Mustang). A JOY to drive, good sound
    system, and though it had low horsepower compared
    to my other cars, it had good torque, a
    bullet-proof transmission, limited-slip
    differential, and just hummed down the road – all
    while getting 30 MPG.

    3 years ago, purchased a new ’05 Toyota online and for some odd reason i can’t quite quantify, i don’t think i would go back to buying a new American-made car again.

    The odometer on my ’91 Honda just turned to 213-thousand miles over the weekend.
    Although it now needs new struts, it’s still getting me to work and back – while getting 38-42 MPG (depending on how i’m driving).

    So sad to hear that Ford is NOT standing behind it’s “quality is job 1” moniker that – now we realize is seemingly just another empty marketing slogan to sell people a product it doesn’t care to be proud of.

    It’s odd – yet slightly funny to hear the word “Toyota” being mentioned in comparison, in the Ford commercials nowadays.

    Bet ol’ Henry is busy turning over in his grave.

  61. SidusNare says:

    Not making any statement about Ford’s after market claims at all, but as a consumerist reader, why would you use Jiffy Lube?


    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @SidusNare: If we all followed everything Consumerist posted, we wouldn’t be using almost any major national corporation.

      It’s good to be knowledgable on the areas of bad customer service so that you can deal with it when it happens to you. However, banning certain chains will only lead to limiting your own options.

  62. yzerman says:

    Save yourself some time and heartache. Contact a lawyer.

    The only thing I can see you screwed up on is not keeping the inital pinging issue well documented. However even I would have probably done the same thing so I can’t fault you to much for doing that. We are all busy people and can’t document every little issue we have to deal with in our lives.

  63. gibbergabber says:

    I own a Ford truck. I no longer deal with any of the Koons dealerships in MD. Here’s why. I’ve been meticulous about maintaining it and the truck has been good to me. I bout it used and have had it for almost 5 years now. It still runs great. I took it into Koons for regular servicing about 3 years ago. At the time, I mentioned a strange noise that seemed to be coming from under the truck. I was told I had an exhaust leak. I gave them the go-ahed to fix it. When I picked truck up, it sounded fine for about a day and then the noise started again. To make a long story short, Koons would never admit that they never fixed the problem and I had no way to prove it. Sadly, it’s not just Koons. I detest dealing with car dealerships in general. A mechanic friend used to work at one of the dealerships and he says that overbilling and misdiagonosing is rampant. It’s all about the bottom line.

  64. Ninjanice says:

    My family always had Fords when I was growing up, but I knew I would never buy one. I used to work at a gas station that was next to a party store and when I was ion college. The Ford plant was less than a mile away and all the workers used to come in on their breaks or on their way home. I’d watch a good portion of them go to the party store and buy their booze, then come to my gas station and buy cigarettes and rolling papers. Plenty of them were drunk or high a good portion of the day. That’s when I decided I wouldn’t buy a Ford. I know that most of the workers were hard working and sober, but it only takes one idiot on the line to screw up an entire car. Along with that, I had a lot of friends whose parents worked at Ford (I grew up outside of Detroit). They used to always say how buying American isn’t really buying American because as they would watch the parts come down the line, they’d see that most of them were made elsewhere in the world. So you were really buying a non-American made car that was assembled in the U.S.

  65. Echodork says:

    And to think, I was actually considering stopping by that dealership this weekend in my search for a new car. Good to know, I’ll steer clear.

    • Jeangenie says:

      @Echodork: I had two really horrible experiences with Koons in Falls Church–one in sales, one in service.

      Anywhere else has to be better. I got great service (both sales and service) at the Sheehy Nissan in Manassas and Malloy Mazda in Woodbridge.

  66. tbonekatz says:

    I have a 2005 Ford Explorer. It has less than 20000 miles on because I only drive it to work and a little shopping. For everything else we use my husband’s truck.
    In the time I’ve had it we’ve had the transmission repaired twice, the AC once, the door lock system once. We took it on a trip this weekend and when we accelerated to pass the check engine light would come on. So looks like it’s going in again.
    It’s still under warranty and I got the top of the line extended warranty so hopefully that will keep me covered until I pay it off and can get rid of it.
    I sent a letter to the CEO regarding the extensive repairs I’d had done. It got passed down to a CSR who basically told me, “You got it fixed, didn’t you? What more do you want?”

  67. jimnor says:

    as soon as i got that amount of flack i would have sold/traded in the truck at another ford dealer. after all, that is a “normal” engine noise is it not?

    maybe they would have a nice chevy, or a tundra on the used side.

  68. jimmydeweasel says:

    When Congress “lends” Ford, GM, and Chrysler billions of taxpayer dollars, your sphincter will tighten, your blood pressure will skyrocket. At this point say your mantra and
    thank God you weren’t driving a Pinto when it was rear ended and burst into flames. Consuming that Ford driver in a ball of flame.

  69. ARPRINCE says:

    2 words….TOYOTA TUNDRA! ;)

  70. kpetree10 says:

    I at first had some kind of reservation about buying a foreign car, but now that American car companies make shit products then when they break down tell you that you are SOL.

    I now own a Lexus… much better service all the way around.

  71. Avrus says:

    It would be interesting to know ultimately what resolve the issue and what the actual issue was.

  72. friedduck says:

    Sue them! You seem to have more than enough support for your story. Your car is under warranty and nothing, repeat nothing, in their story supports their story of why they claim the oil filter caused a pinging sound.

    If it truly is pinging or detonation an oil filter wouldn’t cause this. Unless they’re somehow saying that the oil filter wasn’t passing oil (became blocked and the bypass failed) there’s very little an oil filter could do wrong. (Yes, it could allow dirty oil back into the engine but it wouldn’t cause the symptoms you describe.

    I’d seriously talk to an attorney on this one. It sounds like it would be an easy case to win. (And I’d second the motion to get the local media involved.)

  73. friedduck says:

    One more thing: Ford–I’ve taken you off my shopping list for my next car.

  74. HurfDurf says:

    By the way, cashing the check usually means acceptance of resolution.

  75. fomocona says:

    I monitor several webpages on behalf of Ford and I hope you don’t mind me posting a comment here. I do not expect to change anyone’s mind but it is interesting that the complainant was denied further assistance by both the Dispute Settlement Board and the BBB. Is it possible there is more to this story than what was presented?”

  76. boxoman says:

    Updates, since I tried emailing these people.

    Went Through:

    Failed: – 550 Invalid recipient – 550 Invalid recipient – 550 Invalid recipient