I take really good care of my Escort, oil changes, etc. I do have 150,000
miles on it. It wouldn't start and I was told by Ford I needed an
alternator ($400), so I did it. I got the car home and the next day it
wouldn't start again. I was told it needed a battery, which I got. This
was approximately 2 weeks ago. Last week I bought tires and had a
tune-up. Exactly 2 days later the car wouldn't start and made a noise.
Ford told me I had a "blown engine." It supposedly has to do with
"something falling." What I want to know is both times I had the car in
they did a diagnostic and shouldn't they have picked that up. This is not
the first time I have been "screwed" by a Ford dealership and this is the
That is entirely different and you know it.
I expect them to talk with me. I had to keep calling back to find out
what was wrong with my car. Once I found out the reason I knew why.
Because they knew I couldn't afford to fix it. If you'll notice I haven't
said which Ford dealership, instead am trying to get help and understand
You info is a wee bit sketchy.... Let's start at the end and work
backwards.... "something" failed.... what something would that be? How did
it fail?.... The root cause should be easy to identify. I can't recount how
many times I've heard "I take really good care of..." a car that is 3000
miles overdue for an oil change.
I can understand your frustration... at the same time, I can only look at so
many things.... Uf you come in for a tune up, I get paid for a finite number
of operations... Often, there are things I would like to look closer at... I
don't look at those because they aren't "in my mandate".... I wont get paid
for it without prior approval. More often than not, I can't get prior
approval because the customer can't be contacted.... The SA phones the
customer and I can tell... the cell phone on the front seat starts
We can only see those problems that are evident... we aren't mind-readers.
We can only do what we are authorized to do... anything else will alter our
I often run into customers that firmly believe they know more about auto
repair than I do... even though, after nearly 40 years of doing this, I can
say I haven't seen everything yet.... I often run into customers that become
belligerant when I point out conditions that need addressing ( "Your brake
pads are getting thin... plan on a brake job in the near future." - "What
are you trying to pull???? My brakes were OK this morning!!!").
Without more info, I can only give a really good shrug...
BTW... if you really do want help.... drop the attitude.
Sign me - "Ford Master Tech - Diesel Certified..."
I take my car in every 3,000 miles. I never run it if there is a light
stating needs service without getting it in right away. If I am told I
needs brakes, I get them. I can't afford to have my car fail. Why I am
so frustrated is I have to trust the mechanic telling me what is wrong. I
could show you every piece of paper that shows what I have done to my car.
So I have a car that I had to have towed back to my house since I don't
have $3700 to fix it and don't know what to do with it. I had all of this
work done and it was for nothing. I had to go back on chemotherapy this
Friday (yesterday) and I have no car and am left with taking the bus. I
know this isn't anyone's fault but mine but that is why I take such good
care of my car. When I talked to them at the Ford dealership I asked them
what was wrong. They first told me the cost and I said I couldn't afford
it and then "blown engine." I said what do you mean by "blown engine." I
was then told "seals have fallen in the engine, whatever that means. If I
seem like I have an attitude, I'm sorry. I even talked with the manager
and they just blew me off and said I could charge it to a credit card.
Except I am over $30,000 in debt due to doctor bills and can't afford to
continue charging them up. Again, I realize this is my problem but please
understand why I am so upset. I understood that whenever they do a
diagnostic $85.00 that they could find a problem. Well I have had two in
less than three weeks and when I asked them about it they said "it just
happens." No red warning light came on or anything. Anyway, if you have
a suggestion as to what I can do with my car please let me know. I can't
afford to have it fixed at this time. Thanks.
Let me ask a few questions. Did the car run when you parked it? Did it
make any odd noises when you last shut it off? Has it been running
differently than it used to? When it was running, has it been making a
different sound than it used to? What kind of noise did it make when you
tried to start it?
Let me use an analogy. You are evidentially very familiar with medicine and
medical concerns. A person usually has to help a doctor determine what is
wrong with them. For example, you go to the doctor, and you tell them what
your symptoms are. From there the doctor can analyze your symptoms, do some
tests, and develop a diagnosis. Even then, and especially when working with
multiple doctors, the patient must stay abreast of his medical treatment and
participate in it if he wants good results.
I've found the same to be true with cars. You need to have an idea about
what's going on with your car instead of tossing the keys to the mechanic
and asking him to fix it.
Listening to your first post. It almost appears that the mechanic didn't do
the proper tests to determine if the cause of the original complaint was due
to the battery or the alternator. It is possible that the two failed in
that order, but I kinda doubt it. At this point, no one really knows, nor
will we ever know.
I must then ask, why did you get a tune up? Was the car running poorly? If
that's the case, it may not have needed the tune up at all. It may have had
internal mechanical damage already. However, if you go to the mechanic and
say, give me a tune up (which is probably just replacing the plugs and
wires), that's what they're going to do. If, instead, you tell them that
the car is running poorly and you want them to diagnose it, they'll do that.
Lastly, do you know what tests were performed to determine that your engine
was "blown"? Do you know what parts have failed?
Knowing that will help you determine a course of action.
I drove to the drug store, went inside and when I came out it wouldn't
start. I tried starting it and it made weird noise so I turned it off and
called AAA to have me towed. The tow person said it sounded like the
engine was messed up. It had been hesitating even after the alternator
was put in but I was told it probably needed a battery. I am not that
stupid but I tried everything they stated. I do work for a doctor and
totally understand--they also make mistakes and they end up dead on the
road so to speak also. I think most of the time it's because I am not a
man and they think I don't know how my car is doing. I've even recorded
the noises before and they just laugh.
To answer your immediate question now that you gave some background,
don't even think of repairing this vehicle further. Buy alternate
transportation to get you by temporarily during your health emergency.
Perhaps you could find an Escort that needed a battery and tires. My
classified always has a bunch of vehicles in the under $2,000 range.
With the Internet you can search right in your immediate area. And of
course you have figured out that you could always take a cab if you had
I can appreciate your frustration.. especially if the dealer couldn't spend
the time to explain things a little better.... Sadly, we're still at the
point where it is hard to make an informed suggestion. You might consider a
second opinion if there is a decent independent shop in your area. At the
dealership, you only get to talk to the "little" guys... even with the
service manager. With an independent shop, you usually get to deal with the
man that makes the decisions.
While this doesn't guaranty that there is a reasonably priced repair in your
future, it is about the only way to be sure you're not being taken advantage
If you opt for the second opinion route, avoid mentioning the first shops
I wish you the best in your time of trouble...
Every 3000 miles is a joke!!! My dad bought a'79 Bobcat brand new and
changed the oil every 6000 miles. By the time he traded the car in, it had
225,000 miles on it and still ran like a top. Also, an engine that is about
to "blow" will give you warning--ever hear of a compression test? Mechanics
do this to test the quality of the motor.
I don't know if this applies to you, but it may. People buy a car and
all they think about is changing the oil every so often. To them, they
have maintained the vehicle well. Meanwhile they drive happily on
enjoying their maintenance-free automobile. They never go looking for
problems even though they are developing on several fronts. They wait
until the battery goes dead to replace it. The weak battery kills the
alternator. The unmaintained cooling system takes out the engine or at
least the cooler core and radiator. Perhaps they don't change the
timing belt on schedule and drop or bent valves when it breaks. At some
point they start pouring more money into the car than it's worth, more
than paying back for all the deferred maintenance they neglected.
The man who tries to save the most spends the most in the end.
You learn your car and if it isn't acting right you question it. That is
what I have always done. I knew when it needed to be aligned. Well I
would go in and tell the mechanic the noise or whatever it was making and
they would just look at me like I was stupid. BUT later on it would get
worse and then they heard it--by then it usually cost a lost more to fix.
I followed the instructions about when to do what, timing belt, etc. Thank
you anyway for writing. I appreciate it.
Can you describe the noise? (knock, tick, grind, squeal.....?)Did it make
the noise after it started, then you shut if off, then it would not start
again? Does it crank (starter turns engine) but it wont run? Does it make
any noise when you turn the key if it doesn't crank? Click, clunk,
anything?.....A car should start and run even if it has major mechanical
damage(there are exceptions).
Regardless of what happened to that engine and whether it was avoidable or
not, I think that maintaining an inexpensive older vehicle at a dealership
is a bad idea. The dealership's (high) hourly labor rate stays the same,
whether it's a 7 year old Escort or a brand new Town Car. They are also
restricted to selling only Ford-supplied parts, and unless you develop some
special relationship, will do so at the ridiculously high MSRP. Your $400
expenditure on an alternator is a good illustration. Even if it needed
replacement (of which I am not convinced), an independent mechanic would
have installed an aftermarket remanufactured unit and the total cost would
probably not exceed $200.
The other problem with dealerships is that you are dealing with a 'service
writer'. You are not only paying his salary; you are also isolated by this
front person from even seeing the mechanic who works on the car. These
people are hired for their selling and sweet-talking skills, not automotive
prudence. Even if he wants to help you, he often simply does not know what's
really going on.
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