In 2018 my paid-for Ford Expedition with approximately a million miles died on me. Even though I know better, I financed a nearly new vehicle. I justified it because the 2017 Ford Fusion I bought almost covered the car payment in gas savings.
Until December, I loved the car. My wife even told me it was the most comfortable car she ever drove. If I were to have picked a brand new one off the lot, this would not have been my top choice, but I felt like I got a good enough deal to justify my purchase. I was satisfied, until December. December ruined this purchase for me.
On three different occasions, I could not get up the hills in my neighborhood because of the snow, and this vehicles inability to maneuver in it. I originally wanted a Subaru for this very reason – and all winter I wished I would have stuck to that plan.
Whatever, these things happen, and now that Spring has sprung, I’m over it. That was, until last weekend.
My son and I were leaving for church. I was parked in the garage because my wife was out of town. As I entered and sat in the vehicle, he opened his door and it made an awful and loud sound. Our eyes met, and you could see the fear. The poor kid just simply opened the door – but that sound was so loud and troubling I must have given him “the look” and made him scared.
He slipped in, and proceeded to shut the door only this time the sound was worse. It sounded like a rear-load garbage truck packing and scraping garbage into it’s back end. I was irate. I exited the vehicle, went to his side, opened the passenger door, and nothing. I shut the door. Nothing.
“Open your door!” I yelled. He opened it, and it happened again…that terrible noise. I could see now that the door trim was not even lining up, and the crease/curve in the exterior shape of the door was trashing the rear of the front fender. It looked like I had been hit – almost like someone took a large axe and hacked at my car a few times.
Only thing is, I was never hit. My door was never blown open by high winds. I drive my car to and from work everyday. I rarely have passengers, but when I do it’s normally my wife when we drive to the gym every morning. I can pretty much account for this car’s activity since I owned it.
About a week after that, I had to take off work and go to the armory for an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test). I was chatting with the guys about it, and SSG Miller (a knowledgeable mechanic) said it was probably bad hinge pins.
I wanted to puke. Now I had 4.5 more years to pay on this stupid piece of shit Ford that not only had a door falling off, but damage to the fender that looked like a minor accident had occurred. I stewed on it.
Then I called my dad. He’s about the smartest guy I know, and he actually used to sell cars for Ford at one point as a Commercial Account Manager. Prior to my phone call, I noticed that I had about 35K for miles…which is under 36K. Most cars, to my knowledge, have a 36 month, 36K mile warranty. I wasn’t sure if this followed the car owner to owner. My dad suspected it probably did, but was unsure whether or not Ford would cover the damage. After I sent pictures, he seemed to be more understanding of my explanation. Not that he though I was lying, but I think once he saw the pictures, he could visually identify the location of the damage, and he agreed it was probably a sagging door/hinge pin issue.
So the next day I took the car to Eau Claire Ford after work. I called them from work and said I would be stopping in and explained why. I was told that it wasn’t up to them, it was up to “Ford” whether or not they’d cover that. They took a million pictures, verified my mileage, and sent the info off to be examined. They apologized that it might take 24-48 hours to get a response.
Hell, that was music to my ears. First of all, the folks I talked to all seemed very “business as usual” about this. I expected a fight immediately; I expected them to say this was my fault, and make every excuse in the world to not take care of me. So far, I was wrong – they said the car was definitely still under warranty, and that if this was deemed a manufacturer defect, this would be easy to take care of.
As of right now, I haven’t heard back. I will update this piece once I know what the outcome is going to be. For now, the moral of the story is, always be familiar with any warranties that cover anything you own. When in doubt, ask questions before it’s too late. The picture they took at Ford (of my odometer) says I have 35, 560 miles…talk about cutting it close! Big-ticket items like houses, cars, and appliances and their warranties are critical. I won’t file an insurance claim on this, because nothing happened that insurance should know about or cover. They don’t owe me a repair because Ford’s cars have the doors just falling off them. I’m not trying to trash Ford, but my long-term opinion of their business rides on what happens next.