Monday, March 22, 2010

Why I Love My Local Ford Dealer

I am the first to admit I love my Escape.  It's a vehicle I wanted and worked hard to get post BK.  My old car was a 1999 Saturn Station wagon that gave me many years of service and over 232,000 miles.  It started to die a very expensive death at the end of it's life and that slow decline corresponded to my BK filing.  In fact, my transmission blew up on my way back from my 341 hearing costing me the remaining $300 in my checking account and my next paycheck.  Was it fate or just the universe testing me?  I knew as soon as I could I needed to replace the Saturn that gave me many years of trouble free service.

Needless to say.  I decided on a new to me car from a dealer instead of temporary clunker since my past experience with clunkers was not good.  I've had the Escape for two years now and it's chugging along.  I take it in for oil changes approximately every 5,000 miles.  I've been taking it to one of the two local Ford dealerships for the past 10 months. I was going to a local oil change shop that was increasingly trying to sell you additional services and fluid changes.  The service department  at the new dealership has been great, does more than the 21 point inspection of the vehicle during the oil change and does it for less than $35.  The other Ford dealership seemed to be only interested in making a buck. Each time I would take the car in for an oil change (they offered a $25 oil change) I would get a laundry list of much needed repairs.  What drove me over the edge was taking the Escape in for an ABS sensor repair (Estimated cost $400 if new parts were needed) and getting an estimate for $1200 worth of "work".  Plus the snotty attitude of the mechanic and the patronizing attitude of the service manager when I said No was annoying. I guess they saw a female with a car and saw $$$$ signs.

The other Ford Dealership that I now go to is much more straight up and honest.  Instead of insisting on all these services, they check and re-check during the oil change and talk to you like a person and not a bank account. This oil change was no exception. I had the service and instead of insisting on the full 80,000  mile service, they told me that all looked good and would recommend a radiator flush and fill sometime in the next few months.  They said all looked good and probably would be fine, but it did not hurt to do the flush and fill later this spring. I'll plan and budget that for in the upcoming couple months.  When the Escape had some problems this past fall, I logged onto a Ford Escape Forum researched the site and found what looked like my problem with my Escape.  When I went to the dealership, I told them what I was feeling/hearing in the car, what I found on the forum and left the Escape for the diagnostic test.  The service manager listened to me and what I found.  He thought maybe the back end of the Escape was shot, but he also looked up on same forum my problem and low and behold, instead of a new back end, all I needed was a repair of a frozen joint of some sort.  He did not assume my Escape needed a new back end,  He did not dismiss my input, he thought it might a bad rear end on the Escape, but  he was open to looking at the forum and also looking at my Escape with my eyes. He told me my type repair was the first he had done on an Escape at his shop and he was glad I told him about the Forum.  The repair was under $200 (including the oil change) and this dealership now has my business as long as I have my Escape.  This dealership is in the business of repairing cars and maintaining good customer relationships no matter your age or gender.

I did treat the car to a spring cleaning on Saturday inside and out.  My car has been freshly serviced and freshly washed. Good way to start the spring!


Lillie said...

I am so excited to hear the positive feedback about your experience with the Ford dealership. It's good to learn that he was receptive to your views on the problem and even followed up with checking out the forum as well to learn even more about the problem. That’s the mark of great customer service and leadership skills. Did you also write a personal letter to the dealership? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

$35 for an oil change and the free 35 point inspection that should be done naturally? And you think that is a good deal? You must live in a high priced area, because that is ridiculously expensive. They aren't trying to take you when you come in, because they are already taking you with the $35.

Bouncing Back said...

I do live in a high price area and yes, after shopping around, $35 is a decent price. You can go a bit cheaper, but it's at one of those oil change chain stores that just want to sell you extra products and low and behold, add up to a lot more in fees and costs than the dealership.

Lillie, I called the dealership's GM and told him I was really happy with my experiences there as compared to the other dealership in the next town.


Ford is a perfect example of a great american company turnaround story. The company never took any money from uncle sam unlike general motors. Fords stock is still a great bargain.

Lauren jonczak said...

Great post. I was thinking about going to a south New Jersey ford dealer this weekend to trade in my car for a new ford focus. I have the worst luck with cars and I need something reliable. I just had to replace the engine for the second time in my car and I am tired of wasting my money on my clunker! I hope to get the same great service that you got. Thanks for sharing.

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