Friday, August 28, 2015

Less Than Total Recall

In the past two years we've had a complete turnover of our vehicle fleet. First my mother-in-law's 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee was replaced with a 2013 Chrysler minivan -- for which we traded in my 1996 Ford Bronco, with the intention that I would drive the Jeep.

When the Jeep turned out to be too costly to repair, I got my 2012 Ford Escape. And earlier this year Mrs. McG got a 2014 Honda hybrid and sold off her 1998 Civic.

So far only the Honda hasn't been the subject of a recall.

The minivan needs a window motor replaced due to a potential failure that could lead to a fire. The mother-in-law took it to a dealer a few months back and they didn't have the part -- so they disabled the switch that activates the motor as a stopgap, with the understanding that she'd bring the car back in for the final repair. For reasons I won't go into right now, that has become a low priority.

A few days ago I was trying out the Ford Owner app for Android, and before I discovered that it logs me out for any interruption at all, no matter how slight, I found a recall notice dated just a week before, resulting from complaints about sudden power loss while driving. I deleted the app but investigated the recall, but wasn't sure whether I needed to do anything about it.

Now, I've driven a lot of cars, many old enough to have carburetors. I've driven cars with carburetors that got out of adjustment or were prone to trouble just on general principles. I learned to deal with such trouble just by reflex. On an out-of-town errand my 2012 Ford behaved like it had an out-of-adjustment carburetor. Just for a few seconds. No one else in traffic around me would have noticed anything. The missus in the front passenger seat didn't notice anything. And if it hadn't been for the recall notice I wouldn't have given the incident a moment's thought.

But it reminded me that I'd had something similar happen before, and that three-year-old cars with fuel injectors aren't supposed to act like poorly maintained, 25-year-old, carbureted jalopies. So at the first opportunity I called the local Ford dealership to see when I could bring it in. The next morning, I was on my way home by 10:00 with a completed repair.

Advantage: Ford.

The Chrysler repair will get done, though we never used that window motor, and until we learned of the recall we didn't even know that window could open. It's the principle of the thing, at least in (ahem) part.


  1. Recalls make some people nervous. Then again, I've had to deal with only one: my '00 Mazda 626 was recalled because some cars apparently escaped Flat Rock with the wrong cap for the brake-fluid reservoir. (I did take it in; I had the correct cap.)

  2. Having a 2012 Escape act like a 1971 Vega would make anybody nervous.