Piston Slap: Paint Your Wagon, Or In Ford We Rust?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Ben writes:

Hello Sajeev, my father owns a 2005 Ford Focus wagon. The car has 100,000 km’s on it (Canadian) and it has been well maintained. The car has never given him any issues and runs very well but the paint is in horrible condition. He purchased the vehicle after the lease was up and soon after the paint started peeling. He didn’t think too much of it, but recently it has gotten much worse… Ford did not apply primer on the car.

A couple of weeks ago we took the car into the dealership where he bought it. The salesmen there were absolutely shocked that a 4 year old vehicle could be peeling so badly and they said that if we contacted Ford that they would stand by us. My father contacted Ford of Canada and they said that they would arrange for a Ford representative to view the car. They took two weeks to call back and they basically said that it is his problem and they refused to do anything about it. My father has always been a Ford supporter; he has had 3 foci and 5 other Fords before them. He also has a 2006 Focus sedan which has perfect paint, but he is seriously reconsidering purchasing another Ford product.

I am just wondering what the next step should be. The paint is chipping off revealing steel, which is causing rust to form and spread. You can see in the pictures that around the inside of the doors are starting to rust. He has been quoted at $3000 to repaint the vehicle. I really think that Ford should take some responsibility. I am just curious what you think he should do at this point. I really enjoy piston slap on TTAC and would appreciate any advice.

Sajeev answers:

Wait, isn’t Ford’s corrosion warranty still in effect? Ford of Canada’s website says you’re covered for 5 years and unlimited mileage. Even if the time period has passed, I’d consider legal action. Go to the local courthouse and file for arbitration. That’ll get the right people involved in Dearborn, and they might get a little scared too.

Back to the car: I’ve never seen a somewhat recent factory paint job peel that badly. I mean…damn, that’s some seriously bad luck. Since any vehicle with the word “wagon” in its name is pretty cool, I’d get it repainted even if Ford tells you to go pound sand. If the car will be around for the next 5-10 years, avoid the cheaper places (like MAACO in the USA) and spend a little more for quality labor and decent paint products.

That said, $3000 CDN is a little high. If you got that quote from the dealership’s body shop, find an independent shop with good references. The price will be significantly less, and the quality might be better. Body shops at dealers are a hit or miss affair, and I’ve seen far more misses than hits. Which is another reason why dealerships deserve their (collectively) negative reputations.

(Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com)

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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