Fleet News

Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec auto 3dr - 6,513 miles



##forfoz.jpg --Right##A SMELL of burning oil during a trip up the M6 the other week alerted me to the fact that all was not well with our long term test Focus. After all those lovely things I said about the car last month, I was expecting better. But a quick glance under the bonnet confirmed my suspicions - oil was leaking liberally from under the cam cover and on to the exhaust manifold. And it didn't stop there. Everything else within spitting distance was covered in oil too, leaving the engine compartment looking a right old mess.

Regular readers will remember that the last Ford Focus I tested developed a major fault and had to be towed into local Ford dealer TC Harrison for repairs. They may also remember me complaining bitterly about the terrible service I received there and the general couldn't-care-less attitude among staff. Sadly I have to report that since January, very little has changed at Peterborough's main Ford dealer - in fact if anything, things have deteriorated even further.

The latest fault was reported on June 27, but it took until July 6 for us to get the car booked in for a check. It then took until July 11 for the garage to get back to us with a diagnosis, a leaking cam cover gasket. However, hopes of getting the car back promptly were dashed when the engineer told us spare parts (a gasket and new cover) would not arrive until at least July 27.

Us lads at Fleet Towers were left staggered by such a delay and infuriated too that time after time we telephoned TC Harrison and were left on hold until the line went dead. And at no time were we offered a helping hand such as the use of another vehicle while ours was off the road.

Most garages in our home town have given us splendid service over the years - Arriva Nissan and Cook's VW in particular stand out in my mind. So it is doubly frustrating that such a difference exists within such a small area. I really did believe that these shoddy set-ups went out with oily rags, tie-dye shirts and Red Robbo.

Unfortunately, I cannot bring this sorry tale to a satisfactory end as, thank goodness, the men from Ford's national fleet department stepped in and took the car back for repairs before any other mishaps befell it.

So was I just unluckly that two Focuses on the trot have developed faults while in my care within six months, or is build quality on Britain's best-selling car somewhat short of what we've come to expect? I'd be interested to hear any experiences readers have of the Focus, either good or bad, or indeed from any readers who have suffered at the hands of a local car dealer. E-mail me on trevorg@automotive.emap.co.uk and I'll report the results in a later issue.

Trevor Gelken

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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