Bent axle? Replaced tire? Fishy dealership?

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I think I'm being royally screwed by the dealership that I purchased my car from in January. I bought a new Mustang Mach 1 and it had problems/issues
almost immediately:
1 ) Passenger side rear wheel made a intermittent "rubbing" noise (as if the pad was hitting the disc on part of the revolution) 2 ) The paint (which I hadn't notice until I first washed it) had stranged "caked-on" chips in the seams between the rear/forward bumper where it meets the rest of the case - as if the car had been repainted. 3 ) On my first trip with the car from Houston to Dallas the ABS dummy light would come on intermittently (related to the rear wheel issue? 4 ) Passenger side door has is dropped by about 1/8 to 1/2 an inch. 5 ) Missing mud guard from the inside of the front bumper... 6 ) A/C is not working (clutch would cut off just as soon as it started) 7 ) and, various other issues that may not be related to my question...
Even though these problems were noticed all within the first week due to a very, very busy work schedule I havn't had time until this week to take the car back to have it looked at (okay...I had some free time but I was having too much fun driving it despite the problems to put it in immediately - besides nothing appeared to be urgent). The next day, the service department calls me and asks if I had replaced the passenger-side rear tire since it did not come from the same lot as the other three tires which, of course, I hadn't replaced. Two days after that I call them to get an update and am told that:
1 ) The right rear axle is bent (not covered by the warranty since it's "damaged" and will cost over $500 to fix) 2 ) The strut is leaking severely 3) They've ordered a new rear bumper for the car - they said they had ordered a Mach 1 rear bumper but when they got it in it was the wrong one and they discovered that the Mach 1 took the GT rear bumper instead (I thought this was weird since they make a Mach 1 bumper and it doesn't fit a Mach 1) 3 ) and, various other fixes/etc. (AC compressor has a leak, no history in chip about the ABS light)
Obviously, what stuck out most to me was the bent axle. Seems strange to me that this car has only 4200 miles (with about 3500 of them shuttling between Houston and Dallas along I45 which is very smooth) and is babied on the road would have a bent axle - and is bent on the right which apparently had the tire replaced at some point.
So, now I'm in a disagreement with this dealership - they are claiming that I most likely bent the axle in some sort of accident, replaced the tire that was damaged, and am trying to pass the car back to try to get it fixed for free. My claim is that something happened to the car on the lot prior to my purchasing it and someone (or the dealership in general) covered it up/didn't keep the records. Regardless, I'm apparently just out of luck since they can't see in there records of any work or damge on the car and since their records don't show anything - then it couldn't of been them.
I'm hoping that someone can clear up some of my questions and maybe offer me some guidance:
1) I know pot holes, curbs, off-roading could cause a bent-axle. But, wouldn't any incident that results in a bent-axle be a pretty memorable experience? It's not possible that I could of hit an innocuous looking pot-hole that caused it? From the research I've done just tonight almost every case of a bent axle was from an accident...could I be wrong?
2) The dealership keeps saying that the tire came from a different lot than the other three tires. This tells me that there is a number or other identification on the tire itself that shows what lot it came from. Is this true? If so, then couldn't the dealership just check that number and find out where it came from and, more importantly, who put the tire on (such as another dealership, the factory, etc...). I don't know enough about tires and the "lot" information to make a guess on this subject. Can someone enlighten me, please?
3) Besides the dealership, who else could of have done work on the car and how could I retrieve this information? If the car is damaged in-route to the dealership does the transport company repair the vehicle and just transport the car at a later date or is the car just scrapped when that occurs? Do dealerships swap cars in/out periodically (the dealership in question is Champion Ford HWY 6 in Houston, TX which is a part of Auto Nation) with other dealerships? If they are swapped, then would work/damage on the car at one dealership show up on the records at the other dealership? Again, I don't know how all that works - I'm curious about how I can trace the car's history (I've already done a Carfax report and it showed nothing)...
4) My biggest concern is that it's starting to look like I bought a car that was damaged and wasn't informed as I am assuming I should have been. How do I go about getting this car inspected for damage that was covered up (or is it possible)? Do I just hunt down some ASE certified mechanic, tell him/her the story, and see what they dig up? Or, is it better to take it to a body-repair shop since I would think they know about covering up wrecks and have them inspect it?
5) Any other information that anyone can provide me would be extremely helpful. Similiar experiences, dealership/factory/transport processes and how they keep records on service/damage/tires, how do dealerships loan out cars to their dealers, etc... *Anything* would be be appreciated as I'm a little out of league in dealing with all this....
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Was this car brand new, as in <100 miles? If all you say is true, it was obviously wrecked or dropped from the trailer to get this kind of damage. I would press hard for a new replacement car, since they sold you a new, undamaged car and did not deliver one. It is their responsibility. They charged you a destination charge, so you paid to have a car in good shape delivered. I would deal with the highest up manager I could get and ask him how he would feel if he bought a brand new car that was wrecked. Would he want to pay 4 years on a loan for a car that had hidden defects? Is that how they wants to be known for treating customers? You signed a contract for a NEW car and it was damaged. If they don't believe your story, they are calling a customer a liar. You need to stand up for yourself and make them deal with their car. This is what you need to be thinking. You worked hard to have a car like this. If they did not respond, I would let them know that I would be contacting the BBB, Ford's corporate office, the local news station's investigative reporter and a lawyer just for starters. It did not help you at all to wait around on this. I would have taken the car strait back, but I still think you have some ammo. I can't help you on the parts tracking, but any info you could collect would help treamendously and make a good case in court, if need be. I hope to hear updates. It sure cements the fact that even brand new items need to be closely inspected before singing the contracts. Best of Luck.

car
the
meets
light
the
having
tire
update
a
me
between
road
that
that
for
my
me
than
this
and
work/damage
dealership?
that
do
is
him/her
and
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Thanks for your response MC...
Yeah...it was brand new...only 17 miles on it when I bought it. I'm currently taking up-the-ladder but, as expected, I'm being told that it wasn't them and therefore I am the one that caused the damage. The next step will be to contact BBB and Attorney General's office. I'll be sure to post an update when something major happens....
Thanks again...

problems/issues
stranged
a
of
one
fit
in
to
the
to
and
offer
almost
find
as
tires
to
trace
How
and
out
a
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I would suggest you READ your warranty and follow the procedures specified within, before going to outside sources for support. You will find the most help in the warranty settlement process listed in the warranty booklet.
mike hunt
MrD wrote:

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Dealer trades are done all the time!
They bought it or traded it from another dealer, for another car, and the other dealer didn't give the info on the repair, and it's not in the Ford warranty database, because it was most likely done by someone at the other dealership. Covered by either the dealership or the driver that did it.
Refinish King

my
if
started)
question...
to
take
immediately -

which,
it's
history
the
tire
fixed
luck
them.
But,
memorable
looking
Is
(such
someone
car
that
in
car
(or
wrecks
I'm
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Damage to a new vehicle of more than $250 must be disclosed, by federal law. The 245/4517Z tire alone cost more than that.
mike hunt
Refinish King wrote:

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Very nice info! I knew there was a good reason I read spammy NGs.
purchased

(as
where it

dummy
inch.
due
was
rear
an
had
wrong
instead (I

doesn't
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shuttling
on
had
claiming
prior
it
car
maybe
lot
other
from.
and
about
the
in-route
just
dealership
Auto
can
a
been.
up
tell
to a

extremely
processes
loan
as
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It was defiantly wrecked. You should see if you can find a record of it, starting with the dealers body shop. Keep the VIN number handy and think of ways to ask questions about the car. Ask the body shop if they have a record of it. Cruise into the service dept with the VIN # (not the car) find a service writer that wont recognize you and ask them to look it up. Tell them something like "I think I'm due for service, can you see in the computer using the Vin number? and "I remember you doing some work on the rear of the car, will the computer show that?, I forgot what it was and want to write it down in my book" -----you get the idea.---- Remember, *someone* was paid to fix that car. Try to think of creative ways to find out who did. Ask a used car salesman at your dealer where they send used cars to get body work. Tell them you are looking for a cheap alternative to their body shop for some work you need done. It is common for dealers to use someone elses body shop for repairs cause its usually cheaper. GL

my
if
started)
question...
to
take
immediately -

which,
it's
history
the
tire
fixed
luck
them.
But,
memorable
looking
Is
(such
someone
car
that
in
car
(or
wrecks
I'm
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The VIN# is on the bumper cover, take a look to see if it is missing.
mike hunt
Scott M wrote:

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I would say the same thing, all evidence points to this car having been hit and then patched up.
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How many miles on the car when you first got your hands on it? I believe you indicated that it had about 4200 miles on it when you experienced these problems. Then you mentioned that the dealer put 3500 miles on it shuttling the car. I sure as heck hope you bought this as a "used" car and not NEW! Regardless of who put the 3500 miles on it and where those miles were done, obviously someone beat the daylights out of this car and wrecked it as well. 3500 miles is a LOT of miles... plenty of opportunity for someone to really abuse and wreck the car. Gee, a car can be severely damaged in just 35 miles, let alone 3500. What model year is it? How much did yo pay for it? I hope you got a really amazing deal on it as a "used" car. If so, then while you can still complain, but can't complain too much. The only way to be free from such headaches is to buy a brand spankin' new car and pay the price. In this world, you CANNOT get something for nothing... you get what you pay for or worse very time. Some people think I'm a fool for buying a car brand new and eating the depreciation and all that, but it's worth it to me to not have any type of nightmare headaches like this. Best of luck with the situation! I hope you ultimately wind up with a car that is worth at least what you paid (and not less).
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The car was bought brand new with only 17 miles on it...and, yeah - I got a pretty good deal on it still. With a 4000 incentive I only paid 22600 for the car which is pretty good considering it's 29000 price tag. The 3500 miles was put on by me but it was not rough driving. I drive it up from Houston to Dallas where my office is at and it's babied. It has never even fired it's engine in anger ;)
Thanks....

these
shuttling
done,
well.
really
it?
to
what
to
with
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You need a good lawyer.
I think you are likely screwed because of your delay taking it back to them.
If it was in an impact bad enough to bend an axle and wreck a tire and bumper, then the frame/unibody is also bent as the door not fitting shows.
I sure wouldn't want the car. It was written off by the sounds of things.
Mike 86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00 88 Cherokee 235 BFG AT's
MrD wrote:

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the
umm did you not test drive this car?

meets
did you not do a pre-delivery inspection on the lot before pick-up?

that
that
for
my
i think you may be screwed, how can you prove that you didn't wreck the car? you accepted the vehicle the day you picked it up in good order.
this is what I think happened, someone did a major burnout, fishtailed, hit a curb with the rear wheel, bent the axle, damaged the bumber, and blew the tire.
Punch
p.s. good luck
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Hey Punch...thanks for your reply..

Yeah...it was test driven. Problem is you can't here the rubbing unless it's quiet. The rubbling noise isn't that loud but you can here it on a quiet night. When I test drove it it was during the day around a lot of traffic so you couldn't hear the noise. But, alas, it's still my fault for not catching all this before I left the dealership - I just assumed that a car with only 17 miles on it was in good shape and wouldn't have so many problems. And the rubbing noise was heard within the first week which I screwed up again by not taking it back immediately.

stranged
I test drove, bought, and picked up the car all on the same day. Again, my fault - I should've inspected it pretty hard before I left...but again, I was thinking since it was new, etc....

to
and
car?
I agree...apparently, I am screwed. :(

hit
the
That's what I think happened as well...or something similiar. The Mach 1 can be incredible fun to drive and I can just picture someone really ragging on it, damaging it, and then covering their ass by a quicky repair. Unfortunately, I'm not able to prove it :(

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hey something similar happened to me, I picked up my brand new car, and it still had some water on it from the wash/wax they gave it, well the next day it rains, and also the 3rd day its rains, so by the 4th day, when the car is finally dry, I find a scratch on it. the dealer said I inspected the car when I picked it up and didn't report any problems with the paint.
Punch
p.s. you got all excited about driving the thing and didn't do the fine check, I've been there!
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day
is
Hey...it's a Mach 1...what Mustang enthusiast wouldn't get excited about driving it off the lot ;) Now I know though and actually feel sorry for the next dealership I buy a new car from...I'm going have to walk in ala Resorvoir Dogs style with experts before I purchase my next car :)
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I had the same kind of thing happen about 15 to 20 years ago at a dealer in austin named Landmark Ford (part of the Mark Johnson family) I almost got screwed over with a truck that had a bad transmission with only 5000 miles on it. I went through the hoops of them telling me that I did something wrong to the truck and that I caused the rust and sludge to build up and they tried to make me keep the truck. I just called the loan company I got the loan through (I think it was Ford Credit but not sure) and told them what was going on. They got the matter cleared up within 24 - 48 hours and I recieved an apoligy from Landmark. I am not too sure if this helps but it wouldnt hurt to let them know what is going on. The bank or loan company will want you happy so that you will pay for the car
IceMan

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This is a very interesting angle to take. They want you happy and to pay the loan as well as the fact that the loan is secured by the vehicle itself if you don't pay it. Great tip!

it
day
is
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what color is the car? There was a post on the corral a few months ago about a Mach driven off the display ramp. The guy took photos and listed the dealership.
I'll try to dig up the link
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