Autonation Ford Scottsdale: The WORST Experience of my Life

Let me start this off by saying I don’t have a lot of experiences with dealerships. My current 2015 Ford Fiesta ST is the first financed car I have ever owned, so all my experiences revolve around that car. I know dealers are known for screwing people around, the term “stealership” didn’t just come from thin air, but the experience I had at AutoNation Ford Scottsdale, is by far the worst customer experience I have ever had in my life.

To save you time, let me summarize my experience before diving into detail. First, my car was having a shaking issue, took it to the dealer (AutoNation Ford Scottsdale), and they refused to look into it, claiming my aftermarket wheels were causing the problem. I made a fuss, got elevated to the Service Manager, and the car was looked at again. This time they claimed my brand new tires were bad and rotated them, but the problem came back. I went back again at a later date, and they again blamed it on my brand new tires, as well as lying about the condition of my brakes and sending me down the road with a brake pedal that could go to the floor!

It’s going to take a lot more than one paragraph to explain the situation properly, so let’s dive into the whole story. Keep in mind; I continue trying to have my car fixed at AutoNation Ford Scottsdale because I was sold an AutoNation extended warranty upon purchase of my preowned Fiesta ST, even though I was told I was buying a Ford extended warranty. This means I need to have it repaired at an Autonation dealer unless I want to pay a $100 fee per repair to have someone else fix it under warranty.

The Start of the Shaking Problem

One day I noticed my car was shaking on the highway around 75mph. Below that speed, it seemed to be fine, and pasted 90mph it wasn’t as bad, but there was still a noticeable shake. As time went on, this problem became progressively worse. I first initially thought the problem was the cheap aftermarket wheels I had on the car, so I upgraded to Fifteen52 Turbomacs which in a fitment specifically designed to be used on that car. The shaking was gone for about a day and then came back. I suspect it was gone due to the tires being swapped over to the new wheels.

With the wheels out of the question of what was causing the shaking, I looked to the tires. I had some all season tires on the car which I had thoroughly destroyed and melted from hard canyon driving, so I switched to my new favorite tire, Falken RT615k+. Again, this fixed the shaking for a few days, but the problem slowly came back. This had me frustrated because I knew my new and expensive tires would be worn down extra fast from the shaking. I noticed the shaking was slightly worse during braking, so I looked to the brake rotors.

I replaced the brake rotors with some cheap replacements, and the shaking was no longer worse during braking, but it was still there none-the-less. So, at this point, I knew the problem was not in the wheel/tire combo or the brakes. I figured the problem was in the suspension, and I figured it was best to let the Ford dealer evaluate the problem, so I scheduled an appointment with AutoNation Ford Scottsdale, and this is where the whole story begins.

Dealership Repair Visit #1

I called the dealership and explained over the phone what the problem was, what possible causes had been ruled out, and what I suspected the problem was. I drove to the dealer and was greeted by a Service Writer named Kevin. At this point, my tires (215/45 r17 Falken RT615k+, one size wider than stock), were about two weeks old. Kevin immediately claimed to problem must be from me using a 215/45 sized tire instead of the stock 205/45 size, which I knew was nonsense as thousands of Fiesta ST owners run one size wider than stock for better grip.

I explained to Kevin the problem happened on the previous set of tires AND the previous set of wheels, so the problem could not possibly be in the wheel/tire combo. He ignored me, and I let them look over the car. I got a called later that day claiming the problem was in the wider than stock tires, and because of my aftermarket wheels (which were designed to work specifically on that car), they wouldn’t diagnose the problem further. At this point I knew I hit a roadblock, as Kevin ignored everything I said to him and lied to me, so I posted up a bad review with a detailed explanation.

The next day after posting the review I received a call from the Service Manager, Mike. Mike apologized for my poor experience and asked me to take down the bad reviews, and he would make sure my car was properly fixed this time around. So, I took down the reviews (or changed them from 1-star on sites where the review couldn’t be deleted entirely) and scheduled to have the car look at again, this time with the assurance that Mike would have it done properly.

Dealership Repair Visit #2

The second visit I spoke with Mike and explained what parts I had already replaced, the symptoms, and what I think the problem could be. Luckily, Mike did listen a bit and didn’t immediately blame the problem on the tire size of my brand new tires like Kevin did. I left the car at the dealer. I heard back from Mike the next day saying the car was fixed, but my tires were bad some the shaking couldn’t be completely fixed. They rotated the rear tires to the front (keep in mind, the shaking was coming through the steering wheel, so it was front-end related).

I went to pick up the car and went on a test drive with Mike to verify the shaking had been eliminated. Sure enough, the shake was no longer present in the steering wheel, but it was noticeable in the rear end, although I didn’t mention. Mike said they did the best to balance all the tires, but some of them would not balance correctly, indicating that the tires themselves were bad and needed to be replaced. Keep in mind; the tires are only about a month old at this point. I was still frustrating at this point as the issue has just been moved to the rear axle instead of the front, but I took what I could get and went on my way.

In my head, I knew if the problem was truly in the suspension as I suspected, the wheel would eventually start shaking again as it begins to wear the tires improperly. Sure enough, a few days later the shaking was once again present in the steering wheel and continued to get worse. At this point I was pretty frustrated as I was wasting a lot of time (and money on Ubers to get back and forth from work while my car was at the dealer), so I just said screw it and let the steering wheel shake.

The Start of the Brake Problem

Fast forward a week or two from dealer repair visit #2 and my friends and I decide to do a spirited drive to Sedona, Arizona, through the 89A (best driving road in Arizona). On the report from my last dealer visit, there was mention of my brake fluid being low. I assumed if they noted it on the report that they topped the fluid off, but boy was I wrong! As we were driving through the 89A (keep in mind we are driving very spiritedly as I try to outrun my friend’s Porsche 997 Carrera S) I got a surprise just outside of Prescott, Arizona. My brake pedal suddenly became VERY soft.

Once I felt my brake pedal turn to mush, I immediately slowed down and stopped driving spiritedly. We kept on going to Prescott and stopped at the nearest Autozone possible. I popped the hood open and looked inside the brake reservoir, and there was NO FLUID. Sure, there was fluid in the lines and master cylinder still otherwise I would had no braking, but there was no fluid in the reservoir which meant air had gotten into the system. I topped it off with DOT4 fluid and kept on going up to Sedona. I knew at this point there was air in the brake lines, as even after it was topped off the brake pedal could still be pushed to the floor where it could not physically move any further.

Dealership Repair Visit #3

At this point, I was getting really angry that my car was still shaking AND the dealership failed to top off my brake fluid, one of the most important fluids of the car. I texted the Service Manager, Mike, directly explaining that the car was shaking yet again and the tech who worked on my car on the last visit failed to top off my brake fluid, and now there was air in my brake lines. Mike asked me to set up an appointment, and he would get it taken care of.

I drive to the dealer and speak with Mike directly again. This time we looked over the report of the last visit to confirm the tech noted the brake fluid being low. I explained to Mike what happened and how the brakes DID NOT go to the floor before and now they did since air was in the lines. I also explained how the shaking problem was back in the steering wheel for the third time. I asked for them to check over the alignment and every suspension component to find the steering wheel shake. Mike assured me the problem would be looked at.

I get a call from Mike the next day explaining that the technician looked over the car and that the shaking problem could not be replicated. The car was driven up 70mph, and no shake was felt, even though I explicitly stated the shaking started at 75mph or higher. I was also told my brake pads were “dangerously low,” and that’s what was allowing the pedal to reach the floor, even though I just inspected my brakes a week prior and knew they were not “dangerously low.” Mike offered to have my pads replaced for $300-$400 (I can’t remember the exact price), a price I was not willing to pay considering the OEM pads probably cost $50 and the brake job itself takes no more than two hours.

Mike did mention that he could put stock Fiesta ST wheels on my car to show me the problem was in my wheel/tire combo, but they did not have a spare Fiesta ST on hand at this point so he didn’t know how long it would take to put stock wheels on it and test it. I was spending around $50/day on Uber rides to get back and forth from work at this point, so I declined to wait for stock Fiesta ST wheels to be put on it and tested. At this point I was furious and told Mike none of what he said was correct and told him “f*ck it, I’ll take my car somewhere that can fix it.” I proceeded to pick my car up later that night and drive it home knowing nothing had been fixed.

Fixing the Problems Myself

At this point, I had been to the dealer three times for the same shaking issue with the dealership refusing to acknowledge there was anything wrong with my car. They continued to blame it on my tires being bad, even though the same issue happened on my last set of tires AND my last set of wheels. I ordered up some EBC Red Stuff pads and installed them myself, knowing the brakes would probably still go to the floor, but there was a possibility that Mike was right about the brakes, so I went ahead and replaced them. Sure enough, I replaced the “dangerously low” pads which were not dangerously low, and the brake pedal could still reach the floor.

As for the shaking problem, it still has not been solved, although I am pretty sure it is a tie-rod end or an alignment issue, which would explain why the shaking in the steering wheel temporarily stopped when the rear tires were put on the front. Unfortunately, the car is having even more problems now, so I will be taking it back to AutoNation Ford Scottsdale yet again for repairs. More than likely I will just be selling the car, as I don’t want to have a payment on something that is depreciating rapidly and is broken all the time.

Summary

Let me first say that I don’t want to put this written review up. Although I was lied to about the warranty I was buying while buying the car; the overall buying experience was decent. The staff was always friendly during every visit. I want to give every business a fair shot to give me a good experience. Unfortunately, failing to fix a simple issue three separate times and sending me down the road with extremely sketchy brakes is just not acceptable. The technicians diagnosed the same problem incorrectly multiple times, and I was lied to multiple times.

If anyone from AutoNation is currently reading this, feel free to reach out to me directly, and maybe we can work this out.

About Bryce Cleveland 267 Articles
Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. When he's not writing for Dust Runners he's writing for Power Automedia as a freelancer. He currently drives a 2015 Fiesta ST and absolutely loves it.

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