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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008

    No recall for a faulty vehicle part?

    What is the name of your state? VA

    I bought a used Ford Explorer (2004) from CarMax in November 2007.

    About a month ago, I went to put the vehicle in reverse to back out of my driveway when the gear shifter (on the steering column) broke off in my hand. It was dangling by some sort of cord. I could not put the car in park or take the key out of the ignition. I put the emergency brake on and had to get my boyfriend to turn the car off. We were never able to get the key out.

    I called my favorite neighborhood mechanic, who could not believe what I was telling him. He came over to have a look, since I could not drive the car anywhere. He couldn't believe it when he saw it...said in his 20+ years of working as a mechanic he has never seen anything like it. My neighbor is a retired mechanic, and he agreed. He has a friend who is a troubleshooter mechanic for Ford, so he took pictures of the gear shifter and emailed them to him. The Ford mechanic said that this is something that is more often seen in the F10 trucks, and that the metal that is used for the part that broke is very cheap. My mechanic could not fix it for me because he could not get the key out (apparently only a Ford dealership can do this, due to needing a Ford "key code").

    I had it towed to a Ford dealership. They had to order a whole new steering column. My cost for the repair? $1095.00. I did some research online and apparently this is a pretty common problem with Explorers (as well as the F10 trucks). I read at least 50 complaints online on various consumer forums for the exact same issue. Ford is aware of the problem and says they are not issuing a recall because they do not consider it a safety problem.

    I emailed Ford and told them what happened. At first, they were good about emailing me back and asking questions. Now I am being ignored (I have been very polite all along and have not demanded anything).

    I had Ford save the faulty part per advice from my neighbor's Ford mechanic friend.

    Is this even worth pursuing in small claims court? It's not so much about the money (although it was an expensive repair that I should not have to pay, IMO Ford should do a recall), but is about the principle of the issue.

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Like you said, it's not a safety issues so a recall isn't required by law. It's a quality issue that a stand-up company would fix for free if they knew there was a problem with a part of their product (of course, 50 isn't exactly a statistically significant portion of the population on Explorers and f150 trucks. Not saying you did anything wrong but I have to assume Ford knows how often this happens as a % of the number of cars better than we do).

    Subaru on the other hand warrantied a part on my wife's car to 8 years or 100k because there have been some issues. We have not had them but they sent us a letter telling us the warranty on that part has been extended. Nice to know they stand behind their product.

    The way you get them to deal with the situation is to let them know that because they make a bad product, you will never buy it again.

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