By on May 25, 2018

2006 Ford Fusion Interior, Image: Ford

Mike writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have a 2008 Ford Fusion V6 AWD with about 101,000 miles. Like many cars, it is one of the vehicles recalled under the massive Takata airbag recall/fiasco. The first recall letter I got from Ford said the car was subject to the recall and that they were still sourcing parts with no timetable for repair. The second letter advised that no one ride in the front passenger seat until repairs were made, but they still didn’t have a timetable for parts and/or repair.

After a few months I got sick of waiting for Ford to contact me, so I contacted them – through chat – and asked what Ford was doing to help/compensate owners of recalled cars. Initially they had nothing to offer. After a few tries Ford agreed to give me a free loaner until my car was fixed. After about a month of back and forth with the dealer, they finally arranged a loaner. I dropped my car off and picked up the loaner – super easy.

My concern is that now my car is just sitting at the dealership, they have no estimate when the airbag parts will come in. Should I be concerned that my car is just sitting there?

I have had the loaner for almost a month now. I had to go back to the dealership last week to re-sign the car loaner forms (the service manager said he has to fill forms out every month and send them to Ford, or he doesn’t get reimbursed for the cost) and my car was blocked in by two rows of cars. I know that it hasn’t been moved or even started since I dropped it off.

  • Should I ask the dealership to periodically start it/drive it?
  • Is it their responsibility to do this? Even if they say they will run it – I can’t verify it.
  • Should I go up to the dealership and do it myself?

I don’t want to have the airbag finally fixed six months from now to also find out I have a dead battery and four flat-spotted tires. Any thoughts on this?

Sajeev answers:

I’m in a similar situation with my 2011 Ranger, only less concerning since it’s only the passenger unit: others must be parked, giving me pause months before your query.

These recalls are an operational/logistical mess for everyone handling your recall (no picnic for you either, huh?) so I applaud your efforts in securing a loaner car through Ford’s customer support channels. I’d treat the Fusion as if this was long term storage, and get yourself involved in the process:

  • Inflate tires to the maximum pressure (on the sidewalls) to minimize the chance of flat spotting, obviously deflating to the correct pressure before leaving the lot.
    • But this isn’t a big deal: if they flat spot, I reckon they’ll right themselves after a few minutes on the highway. But whatever…
  • Disconnect the battery yourself.
    • If the battery is several years old/weakened, don’t bother and instead snag a discount on a new one from the dealer.
  • Put up a thick, reflective windshield visor so the interior doesn’t get baked.
    • Avoid car covers: that’s asking for someone to hop the fence, grab a stone and well…you know.
  • You can start (driving isn’t needed) the vehicle yourself and add fuel stabilizer, but neither is necessary during a six month window.
  • Depending on the service center’s capacity (lot size, staffing, workload, morale, etc.), don’t expect them to periodically start/run your Fusion, the person tasked with that duty will not be thrilled to partake, as they won’t be incentivized to do so. I wouldn’t even open that door, literally.

What say you, Best and Brightest?

[Image: Ford]

Send your queries to [email protected] Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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25 Comments on “Piston Slap: Takata’s in-Fusion of Customer Involvement?...”


  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’d ask the dealer how much they’d give you for your Fusion on a trade-in. The air bag replacement is liable to take longer than anyone expects. Who knows? You might get a great deal. Ford claims they can’t make money selling sedans. Offer to take a new one off the lot for them.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Good advice, except that locks him into buying a new Ford. That’s not necessarily a tenable situation, especially since a 2008 Fusion (less the deadly airbags) is arguably a better vehicle than the current one.

      If the OP goes the trade-in route, I suggest the following caveats, in order:

      1) Do your research to determine a realistic and fair value for your current Fusion.

      2) Negotiate the selling price on the new car, whatever it might be.

      3) Only after that number is agreed upon should you casually mention your trade gathering dust in the service department’s back lot while waiting to be defused.

      4) Add $1500 to the realistic value for your trade and TELL the dealer that’s what you’ll take for it.

      See how desperate they actually are to unload a new one. Worst case scenario is that they refuse the deal, and you flip off the sales manager as you drive off in his loaner car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      My guess is $3K tops. My advice to OP is to seek an attorney and let Ford know they will be simply buying the vehicle back for what it would now sell at retail ($7-8K). You cannot replace the equivalent to that car for the $3K it is actually worth. They may offer more on trade, for another Ford of course, but after they way you were treated I’d say nuts to that. VAG was forced to pay big time to buy back, where was Ford initially? I applaud them for the loaner but you had to fight for it over a long period of time.

      Btw Manheim agrees for an MY08 SEL V6:

      2008 FORD FUSION AWD V6 4D SEDAN SEL
      BASE MMR
      $3,300
      Avg Odo (mi)
      120,321
      Avg Cond
      3.1
      Typical Range
      $2,050 -$4,525

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      I can’t imagine any dealer wanting to purchase a car they cannot resell. Dead money.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I wonder what factors impact how quickly a manufacturer deals with this issue.

    I had both driver and passenger front airbags taken care of on my 2005 RX-8 over a year ago after over a year of procrastinating (local Mazda dealer service department is awful).

  • avatar

    I’m amazed. I got two notices for my 2003 BMW. They replaced the Driver’s bag quickly in 2015 or so, even giving me a loaner car, so at the BMW price point it got fixed. I then got notices for the passenger bag, but the car had gone away by then.

    I’m still getting notices for the 2012 TDI, which also is gone….but not that they have parts yet, just that it is recalled.

    Amazing.

  • avatar
    mikey

    In 2011 I bought a used 2008 Mustang from a non franchise dealer . I registered as an owner with Ford Canada. I did receive a recall notice for the Air Bag (parts not available ) I traded the 08 in at a Ford dealer in late 2015.

    I received at least two more notices ,long after the vehicle was traded ( still no parts) In February 2018 I bought a 2005 Mustang from a Ford dealer. A month ago a letter from Ford to tell me “parts are available ” A closer examination of the letter reveals that this particular recall is for the 05 not the long since traded 08..Go figure ??

    I call the Ford dealer to make an appointment for the 05 AirBag replacement. The Ford dealer tells me “We don’t have the parts in, and we don’t know when we will get them” ..They go on to say ” We have you, and your 05 Mustang on our list , and will call when parts are available .

  • avatar
    volvo

    I feel lucky that none of my cars have the Takata airbags. But the shift in liability that probably occurs when you acknowledge that letter is interesting.

    One wonders what the various insurers would say if you were involved in an injury accident while driving a car with the faulty airbags after receiving that notice.

  • avatar
    ItsBob

    I find it kind of extreme to be suggesting “lawyer up” and sue Ford for the way poster was treated? To me he was not treated any worse than many others going through this airbag issue.
    Millions of cars of many brands needed these bags supplied by outside contractor.
    Wonder how many sued their car brand successfully for a buy out?
    My guess—not very many if any.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Disagree. My girl is being suspended from pharmacy school because she had a panic attack during a final and didn’t finish on time. I told her to find an attorney, which is not easy because this is so specialized, but she did and the school is in violation of ADA and the Rehab Act as I read his letter to them. She doesn’t want damages just to finish because she’s only got a semester to go, but look at how this school acted. F*** them. Counsel is not that expensive, esp if there are no court dates. Seek it when you are being wronged.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @28cars: don’t know how it works in your jurisdiction but here in Ontario, schools work very hard to accommodate students who require it.

        The preference is for the student to present a note prior to the term stating that they require accommodation and the type of accommodation that they require. These may include but are not limited to, extra time to submit assignments or to write exams, writing an exam in a quiet room, having someone else type/enter their exam answers which the student dictates, and even having an oral exam (think Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School but with less pressure).

        There are counselors on staff to assist the students and dedicated accommodation offices/departments.

        Hope that things work out.

  • avatar
    volvoguyincanada

    Had a 2007 Ford Fusion involved in this recall. Called dealership, was given this exact same bullshit response.

    “It’ll be fixed as soon as we have the parts available” blah blah. A few months went by and I decided to trade it in. Used the cash towards a Volvo S80. Never realized how uncomfortable the Fusion seats were.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Ugggh, I’ve still got to address the Takata recall on my car, such a pain. How many metal shards can possibly fly through my passenger compartment?

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Impossible situation. But why not remove or simply disconnect the affected airbags as an interim measure pending proper replacements? Rely on your seatbelt. Use your seatbelt.

  • avatar
    MatadorX

    I am dealing with the same thing for our 08 Milan.

    Ford is one of a VERY small group that rather then get right on the redesign of the airbag, decided to repeatedly appeal to the NHTSA again and again to NOT fix this issue. This has ran the clock into mid 2018 against an initial 2015 notification. They are on their THIRD appeal right now. They have done nothing to redesign the part, no progress has been made. Apparently they are stalling as long as they can, hoping as many cars as possible fall off the road. Unlucky for them, ours is a 2.3 Mazda equipped car, it’s not blowing up anytime soon unlike the Duratech V6 models. 350k is not uncommon on the n/a 2.3.

    Every other automaker is at the part waiting stage. They fully intend to replace the airbags, they just can’t get parts. Ford is actively trying NOT to replace the airbags on the Fusion/Milan/MKZ. How is this not criminal?

    My friend with a 2006 SAAB had no issue getting his inflator replaced…in 2017…I have a Ford, a company still in business and they still make this car and can’t get the part. It’s NOT a Takata parts issue, its a FORD issue.

    Mike, PLEASE detail how you convinced Ford to pay for a loaner? I can be very convincing, have free time to keep at FORD, and want to follow your exact play book to convince them to do the same. We have 2 people in the car 90% of the time, my significant other sitting shotgun, and I am done risking her life thanks to Ford’s decision to play cheap and not actually spend the money to fix this issue.

    • 0 avatar
      MatadorX

      Needless to say, not ever going to let someone I know buy a Ford product without telling them they are actively trying to not fix 1 million plus cars they know will kill people, and the entirety of the rest of the auto industry knows the same. I’m a hardcore Toyota guy anyway, “gtem level,” tracked down a 2000 v6/MT Camry level. Ford’s whole, discontinue basic needed parts at the 6 year mark is a huge turnoff for me even outside the airbag thing. I needed a motor mount for said 08 Milan in 2014, DISCONTINUED. Toyota just sold me mounts for not only the 18 year old Camry, but the special manual only mounts. In stock ready to go, for a car they made maybe 10k of. Toyota and most others have the parts to replace the majority of their affected Takata inflators, and those they don’t, they are not attempting to not replace them like FORD, they just can’t get the parts.

      Would love to take them to the cleaners on a free loaner for a few months just to show them that its NOT OK to ignore a deadly defect that the US Govt has repeatedly told them to fix.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Mike, you are living the dream! You’re driving a new-ish car almost for free! Follow Sajeev’s advice for the sunvisor and tires, and then just keep doing what you are doing. Show up at the dealer every month and re-authorize your FREE CAR.

  • avatar
    schen72

    I had the Takata airbags replaced for two of my Acuras (which I still own). The dealer arranged for an Enterprise rental because the wait was estimated 2-3 months. They gave me a base model BMW X3. I was able to keep my Acuras at home in the garage and every few weeks I’d drive around the block just to keep everything moving. I was very satisfied.

  • avatar
    Giltibo

    Had the Takata passenger airbag fixed on my ’08 Accord without a hitch (The driver airbag is made by Autoliv). Had a loaner for the day it took to do it – parts were available within days of my calling the dealership.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Original poster here.
    I thought I would give a quick update – and thank Sajeev and everyone for their comments.

    I went to the dealer yesterday to check on my car.

    It had been moved from its previous spot. I unlocked it and tried to start it – dead battery.

    I talked to my service manager and she said they now have about 12 cars sitting on their lot – all waiting for the airbag to be fixed and all the owners are in rental cars.

    I mentioned the dead battery and she said they do drive them around the dealership. She told me they can’t legally take them out on the highway (true/false?) so they just drive them around the lot.

    She said they would give the battery a jump.

    At this point they have no idea when the parts are coming in to replace the airbag – she said “maybe” September.

    So – I will continue to drive the free loaner – a 2016 Escape with about 38000 miles on it.

    • 0 avatar
      MatadorX

      Mike,

      Any chance you can give me a brief run down of how you got Ford to pay for the rental? Dealer level says no, and the first point of contact at Ford also no. How did you press the issue up the chain? Any help you can offer would be much appreciated, as my significant other is sitting in the passenger seat daily, I really don’t want to keep putting her life at risk.

      • 0 avatar
        CaptainObvious

        Hi!

        Not sure what magic I have – but I did all of it through the on-line chat feature on Ford’s website.

        Here is the chat transcript:
        Ebonee says:
        Hello Mike. My name is Ebonee. How can I help you?
        Mike says:
        I’m trying to find out when the airbag on my car will be fixed.
        Mike says:
        VIN: xxxxxxxxxxxx
        Ebonee says:
        I certainly understand your concern. Please give me a few moments to review my resources.
        Mike says:
        I received a letter from Ford saying no one can ride in the passenger front seat – yet on the website it says my car is safe to drive and makes no mention of keeping passengers our of the front seat.
        Ebonee says:
        Thank you for your patience, Mike. Upon my research, there isn’t a timeline listed to when the parts are available. Once they do become available, you will receive a notice via the postal mail.
        Mike says:
        So – is the front passenger seat safe or not?
        Ebonee says:
        We recommend that no passengers ride in the front seat which will not deploy the airbag and eliminates the risk.
        Mike says:
        So it could be months before this issue is fixed?
        Ebonee says:
        We cannot confirm if it will be months since we do have the timeline of the availability of the parts yet.
        Mike says:
        Is Ford offering anything to owners to make up for loss of use of the vehicle?
        Mike says:
        I bought the car to carry four people.
        Mike says:
        Now I can’t.
        Ebonee says:
        I do understand your position. Please give me a few moments to review the recall for any compensation details.
        Ebonee says:
        Thank you for your patience. At this time, Ford is offering a loaner vehicle until parts are available for the repair. Would you like to pursue this option?
        Mike says:
        Would there be any cost to me?
        Ebonee says:
        No, the loaner is free of charge.
        Mike says:
        Sure – I would be interested in that.
        Mike says:
        What do I need to do?
        Ebonee says:
        First, I will need to collect some information from you. Let me start off by collecting your full mailing address and phone number please.
        Mike says:
        xxxxxx
        Mike says:
        xxxxxx
        Mike says:
        xxxxxxx
        Mike says:
        xxxxxx
        Mike says:
        xxxxxxx

        Ebonee says:
        Thank you. May I also have the current approximate mileage for your vehicle please?
        Mike says:
        98500
        Ebonee says:
        Thanks for those details. Please write down this case number and provide it to any Ford dealership of your choice so they may assist you further with completing the rental process. The case number is xxxxxxxxxxxx. Is there anything else I can assist with today?
        Mike says:
        So – I just call up a dealer and give them this number?
        Ebonee says:
        Yes, that is correct.
        Mike says:
        Any specific department should I ask for at the dealer?
        Ebonee says:
        You can ask for the Service Department.
        Mike says:
        And will I leave my car at the dealership until its fixed?
        Ebonee says:
        The dealership will confirm the next steps for you. We only submit the requests here in the Customer Relationship Center. Can I find one in your local area to further assist you?

        That was it – it took awhile for the service manager to figure everything out – but it eventually worked.

        I hope this info helps!

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    One more bit of info/follow-up.

    Service Manager at Ford dealership now says parts “might” be in fourth quarter of this year.

    And:

    If I want to take my car back I need to sign a waiver that I won’t let anyone sit in the front passenger seat.

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