On 5-20-2009 my Escort went in for service at Family Ford for some brake work. A few days later I got a call saying that it was ready to be picked up. They stated that they machined the front rotors and rear drums, and replaced the front brake pads as well.
When I got my car keys, I went out to the car and got in it. I didn't even make it out of the parking lot before I turned around and walked back into the service department. I went to the service adviser named Doug and told him that the brakes were not right. He seemed kind of nerved by that and told me "I've driven that car, the brakes are fine." After going back and forth with him for a few minutes, he finally came out to drive the car. While still in the parking lot, the front brakes locked down and it felt as if you were holding down the brake while driving. Needless to say, I couldn't take my car home since it was not drivable.
Later on that day I got a call saying that it was ready again. When I got there, the service adviser took us out on a test drive. He assured my wife and I that the brakes were perfectly fine and there was nothing to worry about. They still didn't feel as they should to me, but I was told that "They are not going to get much better then that."
Fast forward 3 weeks later, and my wife is telling me that the car doesn't stop. I take it to a good friend of mine who is a mechanic and tell him what the issue is. I told him that it felt like I didn't have any back brakes. He takes a look at the back brakes and notices that the drums were not machined correctly and the shoes were not even making contact with the drum as they should....basically giving me no braking power from the back two wheels. My friend advised me to take it back to the dealer since they didn't do it correctly.
My mechanic friend went back to the dealer with me so he could help explain what the problem was with the brakes. We talked to the same service adviser that I had originally dealt with. When we came in, we told him "These brakes are really screwed up, they need to be looked at." The service adviser (Doug is his name) raised his voice at the both of us and said "Don't come in here saying the work we did is screwed up!". After arguing with him for a few minutes he finally agreed to take the car back and get it looked at.
While the car was in the service bay, I was told by the mechanic that one of the back drums was past the "discard at" measurement and the other was right on the "discard at" measurement. For those of you who don't know about this, there is a "machine to" and "discard at" measurement on rotors and drums. You're not suppose to machine it past the "machine at" and once it gets past the "discard at" you're suppose to replace it due to safety issues.
Anyways, I went back inside and then was told that they both measured up just fine and they were within specs (the opposite of what I was told before). I mentioned that I had already been told that they were previously machined past specifications and needed to be replaced. I told them that since they are the ones who ground off too much metal from them, that they would need to replace them for me. Of course I got the run around about this and eventually requested to see their service manager. The service manager told me "Its not our fault its like that. The brakes had problems before they came in here and we just tried to fix it.".
I sat in the service managers office going back and forth with him a little while, explaining that going past specs on the drums is not only bad practice and dangerous, but its also illegal. I told him that I didn't want any problems with it, I just wanted them to fix the damage that they had done to my brakes by replacing the parts that they destroyed. He told me that "It's not good if I have to buy customers parts for their cars. I'll cover the labor cost for you, but you need to buy the part."
Does this sound right? They screw something up on my car and then make me pay to replace the part that they messed up?
I eventually just left with nothing done to my car. I immediately took it to another brake shot to have an inspection done on it. I informed them that the dealer had just done the brakes 3 weeks ago and I was still having issues with them. I said I wanted a detailed diagnosis of the brake system noting everything that is wrong with them on paper.
Here is whats wrong with my brakes :
- The front pads and rotors are excessivly worn and scored (but brand new) due to them being the only thing stopping the car. The excessive force and heat on them from being the only two working brakes on the car has already damaged them.
- The back drums were machined on a "fast cut" instead of a "slow cut" like they should have been.
- There is damage on the back drums from using a bud bit when machining them.
- The back pads are not making contact with the back drums, leaving me with NO back brakes
- The back drums were machined past the "discard to" specs
- The front rotors were machined PAST the "machine to" specs but just above the discard at specs
- The brake fluid was extremely low (but a leak could be found nowhere in the system meaning Ford simply didn't fill up the brake fluid when they did the brakes)
I was advised from this brake shop that I should go back to the Ford dealer with the diagnosis sheet that I had been given. This time, I avoided the service department and went straight to the general manager of the dealer named Ken. Ken was a very nice guy, but was not helpful in the least bit. He told me the same garbage that the service department told me (but he at least didn't raise his voice at me). During our conversation, I mentioned that his service department machined my drums past specs causing my brakes not to work correctly and he told me, "They were just trying to make it work.". After trying to explain to him that his service department is performing questionable and illegal work that is going to wind up costing someone their life (I had almost been impaled from a dump truck cause I wasn't able to stop the car) I got fed up and left.
I called Fords corporate office and they were really nice to me, but said that they have no authority over the dealers service department and couldn't "make" them fix the problem. They advised me to talk to the dealers manager (what I had already done) and that was about all I could do.
I'm at the point now where I have to fork out even more money to fix the brakes that Ford screwed up. I'm not happy about it, but unfortunately thats the way things work out sometimes. What really concerns me though is the fact that these people are sending people out the door assuring them that their brakes are working correctly when their not. Fords poor work on my brakes almost cost me my life. Yes, I can do the brake myself or could have had a number of other places to do it....but I took it to Ford to be sure that it was done RIGHT and my car would be as safe as it could possibly be....Now I can't stop my car.
I advise keeping as much distance from Family Ford in Dallas, GA as possible. I don't know if they simply don't know what they are doing, or if they are afraid to admit to their mistake....but either way its not acceptable. They are playing with the lives of people doing this. Their poor work very well may cost someone their life.
I'm at a loss of what I can do with this. If anyone has any advise, please pass it on.