Recalls and Rush Hour in a Focus ST

Here’s the thing:

Last week, Jeremy wrote about the latest automotive recall, this time starring the Ford Focus ST and Ford Escape.  I have firsthand experience with the culprit of this recall. What I first thought was that I needed to work on my heel toe shifting a bit more. What I quickly learned was my car had been infected with bad wiring harness splicing. Oh the humanity!

Not on Recall List

I have a 2013 Focus ST. I’ve mentioned this before. Every ST owner has mentioned this before.  Look at me! I bought a $29K FocusbutIcallitaFoSTandIputablow-offvalveonitanditgoespsssshhhhheverytimeIshift andithascoolseatsandexhaustcomingoutthemiddleandafakeenginesoundinside! Sorry. By the way, no, I didn’t pay $29K for it. No one does. If someone comes in and tries to pay MSRP on that car, I believe the dealer is legally obligated to talk the consumer into a V-6 Mustang convertible with an automatic transmission.

About a month after I bought my Performance Blue beauty, I was driving on a Monday morning and screaming at my dash, as one does in Houston rush hour.  All of a sudden, my tach dropped to No thousand RPM and I could hear my own screaming rather than the fake engine noise Ford pumps into the cockpit. Side note: Ford calls this noisemaker a symposer or something stupid like that so that buyers at least have the vocabulary to tell their friends what the hell that stupid noise was.  Me? I own that noise. I act like I love it. It’s a symposer! It’s not fake. It just amplifies the sound that’s already there. That’s what I say out loud while I’m silently reminding myself to unhook that damn hose next time I’m in my garage. I keep forgetting to do that.

My car had died in the fast lane about 30 yards from the next exit on my route and luckily, only 3 exits past my local dealership.  So, with my hazards on shouting, “Slow down! Stare at me! Make traffic worse!,” I sat on the side of the road. I sat waiting like a defensive lineman watching for the snap of the football, waiting for a lull in the traffic so I could start the car and floor it across 4 lanes to get off the highway.  There isn’t a top fuel drag car driver alive with the reaction time of a Houston driver attempting to jump on the highway from a stop in rush hour. Unfortunately, most drivers in this town lack the skills and talent to use a turn signal, maintain a constant speed, drive in the correct lane to exit a highway, or drive faster than 50 mph in the left lane.

The Focus managed to keep running all the way to the dealership, which was nice because I once again couldn’t hear myself screaming. Looking back on that morning, I’m glad I got there an hour before the dealer opened so I could sit in the dark and remember the good old days with my C5 Corvette and all its check engine lights and warnings going off. At least it never died on me.

When the service dudes showed up and I told them what had happened they said they knew exactly what the problem was. I was told a couple other STs had been in for the same thing and they had the part in stock. I was pretty stoked that I might get out of there soon and get to work so I wouldn’t have to use a vacation day. Then I remembered that I was at a dealership and there was no way this would be a quick turnaround. After I got a ride home from the porter, I called my boss to tell him I might be in around lunch. I settled in for a full day of watching TV and staring at my phone wondering why it was taking SO DAMN LONG TO FIX MY CAR. When the service guy called around 5 or so to tell me my car was fixed, I settled into a chair by the window to wait another 45 minutes for the driver to journey the 4 miles or so back to my house to pick me up.

Here’s the rub.

After this recall was issued last week, I jumped online to see if my car known to have this issue. The website told me it….wait for it….was NOT. What? Of course it was. I was there when it died. Did the website lie to me? How could this happen? I was there when the dealer told me what had killed it in the middle of rush hour. I immediately jumped in the car and drove to the same dealer for some answers. I didn’t really care about it that much personally; I just wanted something to write about.

They told me that the part they had replaced in my car was the same as the ones that had been failing according to the recall. Was my VIN not on that website because I’d already had it fixed? I don’t know. Maybe that’s why. Maybe someone missed something and that 160,000 number is about to get bigger. I hope not. I think people are tired of hearing about recalls. I’ve had recalls on three cars and two motorcycles. I only considered one to be potentially life endangering. I had lug nuts recalled once and was told my wheels could have just fallen off at any moment. They didn’t.DSC_0389003 copy

I went back to work the next day and listened to all my coworkers hem and haw about how my new car had already broken and wasn’t I mad and blah blah blah they all drive Highlanders so this would never happen to them. Whatever.  I’ve got a blow-off valve. Psssshhhhhh.