Another Ford Bites the Dust
I've always tried to buy American cars, both out of loyalty to American products and because I felt that I could get more features for the cost. After a series of breakdowns and expensive repairs, I decided to give something different a try this time.
Here's a list of the American Made cars I've owned and my experiences with them:
Used Chrysler LeBaron
Great car when it worked, but required a $1000 turbo charger replacement not long after I bought it. Had a drunk driver not hit it at 50mph, I would have definitely kept it long enough to recover the cost of that expensive and unexpected repair.
Used 1985 Ford Tempo
Would have been a pretty decent car, had I not had to replace the transmission shortly after buying it for about the same price I paid for the car. This was followed by a new starter, two distributors and a new ignition switch. I finally got tired of pushing it off the road and calling for tow trucks and got rid of it. A few days after I traded it in, I found it on the road dead near the dealership I sold it to.
Slightly Used 1993 Ford Thunderbird
The gentle ride, comfortable seats and interior, and numerous features combined with a "Made in
Used 1997 Ford Explorer XLT
Ok, I should have learned my lesson by now, but the rugged styling, great features, comfortable ride and reasonable price made me give Ford another chance. I bought it used with 45,000 miles. Immediately afterwards, Ford announced a recall on their timing chain tensioners, and fixed mine for free. At 80,000 miles (3 days after my extended warranty expired), the transmission failed. After a few doses of wrath from me and calls to the Ford regional rep, the dealer took 2/3 off the cost of the new transmission. Thinking the worst was over, I continued to drive it. At 96,500 miles and on Christmas night, my family wanted to take a ride around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights and decorations. While slowly coasting gently down a hill, my timing chain snapped, destroyed my engine and left us with a family ride in a tow truck and a quote for a $5,500 repair (new engine plus labor). When I had it towed to my home, a puddle of transmission fluid began to collect under it.
That was the last straw. I sold it for parts and bought a Honda Pilot. Let's hope it lives up to the Honda reputation for reliability and longevity.
I find it very disturbing that a company like Ford can make such great yet fatally flawed products. Most of the Ford owners I know have at best had a love hate relationship with their vehicles. My parents got tired of pushing their Ford Taurus and sold it. My friend bought a nearly new Mustang, got tired of pushing it and sold it. Another friend bought a brand new Focus and for months after buying it I was as likely to see her driving a loaner car as I was her own car.
Come on, Ford! Fix the bugs and make something that runs so people like me won't have to buy an import in order to get reliable transportation. If I hadn't found a bit of truth in the old adage "fix or repair daily", I probably would have been your customer for life.