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Ford dealership took a 100 mile joyride in my 2003 Cobra


Well-Known Member
Soutar Ford in Barstow, CA...

So I brought my 2003 Cobra in to their service department for 30,000 mile service 2 weeks ago. It was also time for new brakes. They did a coolant flush, oil change, tranny fluid change, etc. Well, it somehow took them 4 days to complete this. I picked my car up Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning drove to Las Vegas to catch a flight for a business trip. Well, that morning I noticed a ticking noise from where the cooling fan is located. I wasn't 100% sure but I went on my business trip. I got back a week later and noticed the ticking was still there. 2 days later my car is spilling coolant. I have the car towed to Soutar Ford and continue my day at work. This was first thing in the morning. I call at around 3:30pm to see if they have looked at it. I get told they are waiting for the mechanic to get back from lunch. Ummm at 3:30pm? Okay. Anyways, I don't hear from them again until 9:45am on Day 2. I was told a fan blade broke and punctured my radiator (plastic punctured metal? ummm ok.) and I would need a new electric cooling fan, radiator and thermostat. Well, okay...whatever, just do the work and get it back up and running. I was told they don't have the parts in stock but should be done tomorrow. Tomorrow comes around (Day 3) and I hear nothing from them all day. The morning of Day 4 comes around and I call them at 7:45am to see if it was ready and I am told it won't be ready for another half hour. This sounded odd...they open at 8:00am and what takes 15 minutes that they wouldn't have done last night? Anyways, I get a call at 8:20am saying my car is ready. Cool, I just wanna get back in to my baby. I pick it up and pay the $1700. I dropped $3000 in the past 2 weeks with this place. I get in my car and immediately notice it is dirty, BOTH seats were adjusted and on top of that a whopping 100 miles were put on it!!! I go back in and speak to the service advisor who immediately gets in 100% defensive mode. He tells me that they had to drive it 50 miles because there was air in the cooling system then another 50 mile road test and he would rather put 100 miles on somebodies car and it be fixed than have it break again. I then tell him that I would appreciate him calling me in advance if this sort of excessive mileage is going to be put on my cars. He pulls out a service agreement signed by another customer saying (and pointing to the section) that I authorize them to drive my car on the road. I, however, never signed this as my vehicle was towed there. I end up walking out and getting on the phone with Ford and when they called he was conveniently not there. I filed a complaint with the BBB which they are not a member of either. Ford sent a complaint to their GM as well. I believe there is some shady business going on at this place. I may not be a master mechanic but I'm sure it is to even necessary to take my car on the road for air in the cooling system. I mean, shouldn't they have a bleeder and a vacuuming system to fill it? I took my vehicle to Ford because I live in a very poverty stricken small city and don't trust the local mechanics with my car. I was more than willing to overpay Ford to sleep well at night. I feel I may have been targeted based on my car in this area. I dunno. Just don't go there.


Well-Known Member
Believe me, I am. I try to hold my composure while speaking to these people but being a veteran Marine my blood is boiling at the same time to I have to remove myself from the situation. I called Ford and they are looking in to it. I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau which they are not members of. I'll contact SVT as my next step if nothing comes of this.


Oak Harbor, Wa chapter
lets see if I got this right I've priced those parts on-line at 3 different places so a radiator is about 240 depending on the style and if you want aluminium or the regular, a fan assembly (not just the motor but the hole thing) is about 85 thermastat runs about 10 to 15 oh and I almost for got the anti-freeze @ 5 a galon so lets say 4 galons (yes I know thats alot but why buy 1 when you can buy 4 and make someone else pay for it) plus the normal oh say 35% mark up comes to about 486 or so. Then you gotta have labor... say at 90 hr (this is just a guess not sure what your dealers shop rate is). to replace a radiator you have to take the fan off any way so there shouldnt be any extra for that but lets say he charged for it anyway (these times are also just a guess as I dont have the books in front of me but I have replaced a few of these in my time and I'll go high) Fan assembly 1 hr, radiator 2, hrs thermastat 1 hr, for a total of 4 hrs then you gotta bleed the air out I wouldnt have driven it to do this but ok). another say 1-2 hrsso outside you got 6 hrs at $90. Hmmm still dosnt come to $1700. Yup I'd be talking to someone about it.


Chula Vista, CA
Staff member
where are you located? Here in california they have a team that will go out and investigate situations like this (FOR FREE).. We have two members use this already and got back all there money..


BAR's Enforcement team investigates general auto repair complaints and ensures that shops comply with Smog Check statutes. Each year BAR handles more than 14,800 complaints relating to auto repair and/or Smog Check inspections. BAR staff checks out every complaint and negotiates with the shop on the consumer's behalf to achieve a mutual agreeable resolution. The bulk of complaints are resolved by mediation. Each year BAR returns over $6.3 million to California consumers in the form of direct refunds, rework, or adjustments.


Well-Known Member
You don't have to drive a bunch of miles to burp a covra,yes tgere a pita but can be burned without even driving the car.


Spring Valley, CA
Sorry this happened to you. Keep us updated on what happened and what Ford says. Defiinitely sound shady and this is bad business for Ford to have a dealer pull crap like this. Never heard of a 100 miles road test.


Crew Chief
Staff member
Board Member
Sounds like a WickedStangs road trip to Barstow would be FUN!!!! We could picket the dealership all weekend and ruin the service department as well as sales!!!!


Well-Known Member
Well, I submitted complaints through the BBB, B.A.R., Ford, and through Ford to the GM. After speaking to the Service Adviser I realized this is commonplace for them and I will get nowhere with face-to-face interaction. I don't expect anything out of this but I'm hoping they leave this with a black eye either from Ford or from the state. They already have a C rating with the BBB which they are not a member of.


Well-Known Member
So far, Soutar Ford in Barstow has done absolutely nothing. Not even so much as an apology letter. The B.A.R. are looking into it but basically told me that there really isn't anything they can do. They also told me that Soutar Ford must not care about losing customers as well seeing as though the GM was even contacted by Ford directly and didn't give a s*** and I agree. They have ignored the BBB as well. Pretty s***ty business IMO. Oh well, that's Barstow for ya. Pretty much the definition of classy.