Ford Motor Company / 2012 ford escape problems with sunroof repair warranty
Memo: Ford Motor Corporation, Ford Repair Service, Ford Customer Service
From: John Loftus, 4488 Elkcam Blvd SE, St. Pete FL, 33705
Subject: 2012 Ford Escape premium care warranty for Sunroof
Our 2012 Ford Escape repeatedly fills with so much moldy water that the seats have to be taken out and the carpets pulled up. The repair man has twice found clogs in the interior drainage columns connecting to the Sunroof rails, and now has discovered another set of leaks coming from an entire series of broken welds under the dashboard.
If you google “Ford Escape Sunroof leaks” on the internet, there are literally hundreds of documented complaints that the 2012 sunroof had a large variety of well-known factory defects: misaligned parts, broken clips, rigid foam insulation on the Sunroof and rails that repeatedly degrades and blocks the drains inside the interior roof columns.
The 2012 Ford Escape sunroof was one of the most complained about defects in Ford manufacturing history. The only customers with warranty coverage for sunroofs were those few (like us) who purchased Ford’s most expensive Premiumcare coverage. Ford’s 2012 comparison of warranty plans explicitly boasts that Premiumcare is “the only one that covers Sunroofs.”
Many Escape owners wanted Ford to issue a recall for all sunroofs, but Ford chose just to repair only those Sunroofs that were covered by the Premium warranties. In 2013, Ford discovered that their sunroof problems were so widespread that even fixing the few sunroofs with Premiumcare coverage was still too expensive, so Ford dropped all sunroof/vista roof coverage entirely from the [protected] versions of Premiumcare.
Apparently, Ford knew exactly what the Sunroof problem was but decided that the Sunroof was just too expensive for warranty repair. That is why no one can buy Ford warranties for Sunroofs anymore.
But happily, Sunroof coverage is still in force and effect for those fortunate few like me with [protected] premium care warranties. However, it has been hard to obtain service under the 2012 warranty.
For some reason, Ford’s warranty software has been re-set so the 2017 warranty is the only one that shows up on the Ford Dealer’s computer. As a result, most dealers simply cannot find the correct 2012 warranty, even when they plug in our Vin number: 1FMCUOEG4CKA44630. The repairmen honestly do not think we have Sunroof coverage. Some have never heard of such a thing.
But Kele in the “Ford & Lincoln Protect Department” at Ford corporate headquarters in Dearborn says you can call him at [protected] to confirm that sunroof/vista roof is indeed a covered component under our Premiumcare Warranty, and that it is still active.
Kele emailed me a screen shot of our coverage summary. In our case, we have only driven 40, 000 out of the 75, 000 miles covered but we only have until August 20, 2017 left for coverage. We thought we bought a six-year policy and were covered until 2020! To my shock, the six years coverage that we thought we bought had started in 2011, not in 2012 when the car was supposedly made, or in 2013 when we bought car, so we only got three years of coverage not six.
How could a six-year warranty period on a car made in 2012 begin in 2011? Is that even possible? Is it even legal to sell a six-year policy without telling the consumer that it was already half used up and will expire in three years? Was our car actually made in 2011 and Ford just relabeled it as a 2012? This would explain why our tires rotted out from sunshine exposure after just one year. They were actually 2011 tires. We had to pay cash to replace those too. That should have been covered as well.
If we really only have one month left on our warranty, then you have to make sure that component part causing the flooding gets fixed this time.
As the Ford Brochure boasts, Premiumcare is the only one that covers sunroofs. Of course, It is the terms of the warranty contract that are binding, not the brochure. You can Google “Ford Premiumcare 2012” to find the terms of the 2012 warranty contract. Under covered items, the “sunroof” (also called a “vista roof”) is indeed listed under Electrical “convenience feature” items as a covered component part under our warranty contract.
Here is a specific mention of exactly which electrical convenience features are considered “covered components” under the warranty:
“From BaseCARE up, Ford Protect Extended Service Plan cover parts like the alternator, voltage regulator, starter, fuel pump, and wiring harnesses. PremiumCARE adds coverage for convenience features like power windows, mirrors, door locks, and sunroof.” [emphasis added]
Now there may be some question as to exactly which Sunroof repairs are covered. As you can see from the excerpt below from this same warranty page, some of these covered “convenience features” have very specific exclusions from repair coverage.
But when it comes to the sunroof/vista roof, the entire roof accessory is covered without any limitations or exclusions of any kind. Note the clear difference between the Vista roof when compared to some of other powered accessories like mirrors, which are covered for electrical repairs only, or odometers, which are covered for electrical and mechanical repairs only. The Vista sunroof has no such restrictions listed and is therefore covered for all repairs without restriction.
The following extract shows examples of some of the differences between parts with excluded repairs (because of specific restrictions in parenthesis) and parts that are covered for repairs of all kinds (because there are no restrictions in parenthesis). Here are some of the covered parts with and without repair restrictions exactly as they are listed on the Ford Premiumcare warranty page for Electrical accessories:
• Mirrors (Electrical Only - Not Glass Damage or Breakage)
• Power Running Boards
• Radiator Fan Relay
• Rear Window Power Sunshade
• Speedometer/Odometer (Electrical and Mechanical)
• Starter Motor
• Starter Motor Solenoid
• Switches (Manually Operated Electrical)
• Temperature Gauge
• Vista Roof
No parenthetical restrictions or warranty exclusions of any kind are listed next to the Vista Roof entry on the list of covered parts. Ford cannot claim that they are only obligated to fix the electrical or mechanical parts on the vista roof because those restrictions were never specifically written into the contract as was the case with other electrical accessories like power mirrors, odometers, etc.
Even if there was glass damage or breakage or mechanical malfunctions or electrical issues on the vista roof, those would all be covered because they were not specifically excluded in writing on this warranty page like the others. Whether it is called a Sunroof or Vista Roof (the warranty does both), there can be no doubt that the moveable roof is indeed a “covered component part” under our active premium care policy and that it has no restrictions on the kinds of repairs that are under coverage.
Does this Sunroof repair coverage include labor or just parts? Here is an excerpt from the same Premiumcare warranty for our 2012 Ford Escape.
Download a Brochure
PremiumCARE Service Plan
It covers the parts and labor to repair thousands of key components-engine, transmission, steering, brakes, front suspension, electrical and more-for up to the earlier of 8 years or 150, 000 miles. Failure of covered components due to defects in materials and workmanship and normal wear and tear are included. With Ford Protect PremiumCARE, it’s covered. [emphasis added]
That means all parts and labor to repair a covered part are covered. Of course, under our policy, we have to pay a $100 deductible, but we have full warranty coverage for any and all defects in the Sunroof, whether from “materials and workmanship” or even from “normal wear and tear.”
We have already paid more than a $1000 a year ago to repair the damage caused by the sunroof leaks, but Ford did not fix the problem at all. Now they are asking for more than $2000 this year to attempt to repair the same sunroof problem and to repair the failure of all the welds attaching the dashboard, which is also causing leaks. I am not surprised that all the welds broke as the Ford repairman said these welds were made of plastic instead of steel. Talk about a defective part. No wonder they did not hold up. (complaints about dashboard leak problems are all over the internet too).
Jen at Ford Corporate wants the Ford repairman to call [protected] and give them authorization number 24054918 to bring up our file for preapproval. She said for, example, that defects in the Sunroof rails are included in the policy, but she needs to know exactly what caused the problem in order to give pre-approval for all repairs.
One repairmen said he honestly has no idea what causes the problem. I am not a mechanic, but the internet makes an overwhelming case that the cause is the exact same “defect of material and workmanship” in the same Ford accessory Sunroof that hundreds of Escape owners have been complaining about for years. (Which is probably why Ford dropped Sunroof coverage from its warranty back in 2014).
This sunroof defect is so well-known among Escape owners that the internet and You Tube are filled with video instructions for do-it-yourself repairs for these exact problems. Everybody has an opinion about what causes it. Some say the sunroof was poorly designed by Ford engineers, some say some of the sunroofs were improperly aligned when they were installed at the factory, some say it was the cheap but defective foam insulation that was used in and underneath the sunroof rails. As the foam crumbled and decayed, it clogged up the sunroof drains and flooded the car’s interior.
None of this is our fault. Nor is it the Ford Repairman’s fault.
The Ford Owner’s guide does not warn any of us to periodically check the sunroof rails and interior drains for clogs. Neither we nor the Ford repair man ever received notice from Ford that the Sunroof drain might get clogged from the decaying insulating foam that Ford installed at the factory or that some Sunroofs might have been installed improperly and would have to be carefully realigned to prevent interior flooding. Nor does the owners guide say that either we or the Ford Repairman are obligated to inspect welds, check the seals and alignment of sunroof rails, or clean out drainage tubes.
My wife has always followed the maintenance schedule rigorously, and then some. Even though the Owner’s Guide says nothing about how to prevent clogged Sunroofs, we take every precaution. We do not park under a tree and have not even dared to use the sunroof since the last $1000 repair.
Climbing on top of a car to clean out clogged Sunroof drains is not listed among the normal “maintenance and inspection” obligation for owners listed in the 2012 owner’s manual. Neither the 2012 Owner’s Manual nor the 2012 Owner’s Guide imposes any requirement for the owner to inspect and clean Sunroof drainage columns or dashboard welds.
In any event, I am a 100% disabled veteran and am physically incapable of climbing atop a car and cleaning the interior drain lines. I have no idea how to take apart a leaking dashboard to inspect broken plastic welds, let alone fix them. That is why I bought Premiumcare.
We have done everything we were supposed to do according to the Owner’s Guide and the Warranty. According to page 365 of the Owner’s Manual, here is what Ford is supposed to do when one of their accessories malfunctions:
Ford Motor Company will repair or replace any properly dealer-installed Ford Custom Accessories found to be defective in factory-supplied materials or workmanship during the warranty period, as well as any component damaged by the defective accessories. [emphasis added]
As the above excerpt makes clear, that means all parts and labor are covered under the warranty both for the sunroof itself any for any other component damaged by the defective sunroof accessory. The Ford Warranty contract is most emphatic that when a defective component is discovered, everything about it is covered by the policy, no matter what the cause:
“It covers the parts and labor to repair thousands of key components-engine, transmission, steering, brakes, front suspension, electrical and more-for up to the earlier of 8 years or 150, 000 miles. Failure of covered components due to defects in materials and workmanship and normal wear and tear are included. With Ford Protect PremiumCARE, it’s covered.”
Ordinary water leaks from a window seal are ordinarily not covered, as the contract says. But there is a written exception for leaks caused by Sunroofs: Ford has a written contractual duty to repair or replace each and every “component damaged by the defective accessories” specifically including the Sunroof accessory as a covered component in the contract. While flooding damage from a window or door may be excluded, all flooding damage or any other damage caused by a defective Sunroof accessory is completely covered under the Warranty contract unless there is some written restriction specific to Sunroofs listed on its warranty page.
Because the Sunroof has an unrestricted listing as a covered component on the Premiumcare inclusions page, all consequential damage must be covered as explicitly promised in writing. Ford must fix the defective Sunroof damage, “as well as any component damaged by the defective accessories.” That includes repairing components like the carpets and seats damaged by the defective Sunroof accessory.
In sum, when a defective Sunroof repeatedly ruins our car seats and carpets, then Ford has a legal obligation to fix everything inside the car that was damaged by water from the Sunroof, not just the rails inside the Sunroof that caused the leak.
If Ford cannot repair this sunroof, as seems to be the case after good faith effort, then please trade us another vehicle of the same value before our warranty expires on August 20. Preferably a vehicle with all the welds intact and without a sunroof. That would be the fair and equitable solution.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the many kind people at Ford who have honestly worked with us to solve this unusual problem. Their concern and professionalism does Ford credit.
John J. Loftus [protected])
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