If you purchased a new vehicle in 2016 or even in the last 2- 3 years, I think it will be an interesting exercise if you grab the owner’s manual and corresponding warranty information and follow along. And before you say it; No, I am not picking on Ford Motor Company here. I simply chose Ford’s F-series line of trucks as the subject of analysis because they are popular purchases among American motorist and retain the title of the best selling domestic truck for more than thirty years.
A record 17.55 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. during 2016, according to Autodata Corp., and with the sticker prices on today’s vehicles, I find the subject timely and relevant for owners concerned with maintaining the value of their new car or truck.
‘CHECK YOUR VEHICLE:
…occasionally something may slip past us, and a customer may find that a vehicle was damaged before he or she took delivery. If you see any damage when you receive your vehicle, notify your dealership within one week.’ (Ford’s 2017 New Model Year Warranty Guide – Page 7)
While I can understand limiting the reporting window for damage inflicted at the factory or during transportation to the local dealer, I have also witnessed the absolute atrocious condition some ‘new cars’ are delivered in.
Be sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicle in good lighting, preferably sunlight. Look for scratches, swirling, obvious texture differences, color differences, and dents because after the 7 days expire… it’s on your dime to remedy. Refusing dealer prep is a safer manner in which to proceed but pre-sale and post-sale inspections are still critical.
‘WHAT IS NOT COVERED UNDER THE NEW VEHICLE LIMITED WARRANTY?
Damage Caused by Use and/or the Environment. The New Vehicle Limited Warranty does not cover surface rust, deterioration and damage of paint, trim, upholstery, and other appearance items that result from use and/or exposure to the elements. You, as the owner, are responsible for these items.’ (Ford’s 2017 New Model Year Warranty Guide – Pages 12, 13.) A pretty clear cut and stark message.
Let’s assume you purchased a 2017 Ford F-350 Super Duty, Platinum, Powerstroke. The price of that new truck would likely be north of $70k and if you selected additional options, the 2nd mortgage loan final price would probably surpass $80k. (On a side note, am I the only one a bit flabbergasted by the whole notion of a well equipped, heavy-duty diesel truck easily surpassing the price of a mid-tier Corvette Grand Sport?)
Maybe among the added options was an extended warranty? To what extent, if any, does the extended warranty cover when it comes to the paint system of your new truck?
‘WHAT IS COVERED?
Extended warranty coverage periods are available for certain vehicle parts and conditions…
Specifically, (3) Your vehicle’s body sheet metal panels are covered for an extended Corrosion Coverage Period, which lasts for five years, regardless of miles drive. For damage caused by airborne material (environmental fallout) where there is no factory-related defect involved and therefore no warranty − our policy is to provide free repair of paint damage due to the airborne material for 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first.’ (Ford’s 2017 New Model Year Warranty Guide – Pages- 8, 10, 11.)
If I understand this correctly, Ford’s initial limited warranty contains ZERO consumer protections, except for manufacturer’s defects, concerning your truck’s paint system and premature failure. None! As extensive as the extended warranty is that you purchased for thousands of dollars, your new truck’s paint is now covered for 12 months or 12,000 miles. How generous!
Now that we have examined the limited and extended warranties, what does the F-350’s Owner Manual say?
For the mechanical aspects, the owner manual provides a maintenance schedule. The maintenance schedule includes many wear and tear items that a common man or woman should be able to replace or change- oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, cabin filter, etc. Routine maintenance may be included in the sale up to a certain milage negating the need to do your own. Some folks do their own routine maintenance when the complimentary maintenance period expires and some continue to go to the dealer. Both avenues are smart choices as long as the maintenance is successfully performed and within milage targets.
For the new vehicle owners who really geek out reading the manual from cover-to-cover, they will notice the ‘vehicle care’ sections dedicated to maintenance of the interior surfaces/ fabrics/ materials and the exterior paint, wheels, trim, etc. Clearly lacking in the instructions are neat and concise schedules as it is understood needed action will be performed on an as needed basis by the owner/ operator.
There are a few decent tips inside these sections such as- don’t wash in the direct sunlight, use a pH neutral shampoo, immediately remove fuel spills, bird droppings, sap, don’t use solvents on leather, don’t get wax on trim, etc. Granted, I didn’t expect much guidance from Ford in this area and had to hold my nose at some of the recommendations.
F-350 Owner’s Manual online, Vehicle Care section
As we can see, the ‘vehicle care’ portions of the manual are more or less guidelines to help the owner address appearance problems. But if we combine the legal text of the various warranties with instructions from the owner’s manual as it pertains to regular detailing of the interior/exterior … a clear picture begins to emerge.
That picture is- you, as an owner, who plunked down considerable resources to acquire the new Ford truck are on your own concerning the aesthetic upkeep with little, if any, recourse when a significant problem emerges with exterior or interior materials past 7 days of sale (limited warranty) or 12 months/ 12,000 miles (extended warranty.)
There’s always two sides to a coin and I can grasp why manufacturers fail to cover certain items outside of manufacturer’s defects but one would think the manufacturer’s warranties would hold a bit more confidence in the final product’s paint system when attached to a $70k price tag. Of course, I have only covered Ford’s take on warranties and manuals, surely there are those OEMs who are considered to be “better” or “worse.” However, it is probably communicated universally across all manufacturers that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure whether it concerns the mechanical operation or the interior/ exterior appearance and protection.
Hopefully, this post prompted some critical thinking on how new vehicle owners should proceed with proper maintenance. To that end, I am always available for advice on how to perform needed interior / exterior aesthetic maintenance of your new car or truck and my business, Dellinger’s Detailing, is happy to provide these services professionally.
Enjoy that new car or truck!
Find Ford manuals and corresponding warranty information for the F-350 below…