Three Ford customers from Bexhill and Hastings have expressed their dissatisfaction after problems with the motor company’s EcoBoost engines left them facing repair bills of up to £2,000.
The Ecoboost engines were first produced in 2009 to deliver power with roughly 30 per cent more efficiency than that of a larger engine.
However, the three customers who spoke to the Observer each reported a coolant leak which Ford dealers said was damaging the engine and would need to be replaced.
Richard Rogers, 33, of Brittany Road, St Leonards, was quoted £5,000 for the replacement of his Ford EcoBoost engine, in April 2018, after noticing a ‘catastrophic loss of coolant’ in the months before.
Mr Rogers – who purchased his vehicle from Birchwood Ford in August 2015 – was told Ford UK would make a 45 per cent contribution to the repair but that was its final offer.
After writing to Hastings MP Amber Rudd, Ford UK upped its contribution to 65 per cent meaning Mr Rogers’ repair cost dropped to £1,900 – a cost he paid at the start of May.
He said: “After 24 hours, I noticed that the car wasn’t running ‘right’, took photos of a leak in the coolant reservoir and notified Ford immediately. (They) brushed it off saying that I just needed a top up of coolant, in spite of a picture which clearly showed coolant leaking onto the engine mountings.
“I took the car in and a technician confirmed the reservoir tank was cracked. Within a day or so, the tank was fixed and I took the car back.
“This week, I noticed the car’s fan was coming on a lot and so I brought it up with Ford (Birchwood) again who stated I was panicking over nothing and brushed it off.
“My wife dumped the car at the garage and told them to investigate it. They have and we’ve received the car back, with apparently no fault.
“We’ve asked them for a refund of our repair considering the issues we’ve been through and the service we’ve received. I have been a loyal Ford customer for 12 years and never experienced a single problem.
“I will never buy another car from them again after this.”
Colin Sheppard, 50, of Kinver Lane, Bexhill, was also offered a 65 per cent contribution to the cost of fixing his car.
He bought his vehicle 18 months ago after having it on a lease plan for three years previously.
As he was out of warranty, he was presented with a bill of £1,950 to have his engine replaced – a price he refused to pay as he believed it to be a ‘manufacturing fault’.
He said: “The car is registered in my wife’s name but I have been the one chasing it up with Ford.
“She was driving the vehicle one day and the car broke down and it wouldn’t start again. Ford started quoting me all these various figures before they said it will cost me £1,950 to have the engine replaced and they would not budge on that.
“The car has now been sat in the garage for two months and I am not authorising them to start work on it as this is a manufacturing fault.”
Mr Sheppard referred to a Facebook group with 1,400 members which was set up for people who have experienced problems with Ford’s EcoBoost engines.
Responding to customer concerns, Ford said 400 out of 440,000 cars sold with this engine have had to be replaced in a 12-month period.
A spokesman for Ford added: “In March 2015 Ford Focus 1.0-litre petrol owners were notified of a service action caused by the coolant hose potentially failing at high temperatures on cars built between October 2011 and October 2013. As a result of the service action, 86 per cent of affected vehicles have been reworked.
“Owners not covered by this notification experiencing a problem should visit a Ford dealer. If the cause is the same, Ford will contribute to costs on the basis of normal vehicle use, service record and any repair being carried out by Ford.”
Gary Clark, of Battle Road, St Leonards, purchased a used Ford C-Max in August last year through a part exchange.
Two months later, in October 2017, he was driving to work when he was notified to stop the engine and noticed the temperature was at the top end of the red.
He filled the car with three litres of coolant but it would not start before the AA towed his vehicle to Birchwood Ford Hastings.
Due to being under warranty, Mr Clark was given a new engine free of charge, in December 2017, before the problems continued.
He said: “Low and behold, two weeks later and two days before Christmas 2017 we had another coolant leak – this time I was informed by Birchwood Ford Eastbourne it was the heating Matrix so a completely different fault and we couldn’t reject the car under the consumer rights act.
“We were once again told it was now fixed and all done under warranty, in January 2018. We collected the car but before driving off we checked the coolant level to find the tank empty.
“We went back into the Hastings dealership as it was taken back to them so we could collect and they confirmed it would not have been driven back from Eastbourne empty.
“After a few days we rejected the car.”
Mr Clark reluctantly took up Ford’s offer, in February, to finance off his car and replace it with a C-Max one litre EcoBoost under the consumer rights act. However, three months later, Mr Clark was without heating after the coolant had leaked over the engine bay.
His car was fixed on May 24 but Mr Clark now fears it is a matter of time before it goes again.