6:16 pm April 27, 2012, by Christopher Seward
Scores of Ford owners may be in for a costly surprise when they drop off their vehicle for a tune-up.
Channel 2 Action News reported Friday that owners of many 2004 to 2008 Ford models with a certain engine are being charged hundreds of dollars extra to remove spark plugs that break when mechanics try to replace them.
Ford, which alerted dealership mechanics to the problem in 2006, issued a special tool to remove the plugs but didn’t issue a recall to vehicle owners, according to Channel 2. The problem has triggered several lawsuits by angry Ford owners.
The affected vehicles include the popular F-150 pickup, Mustang, Expedition, Lincoln Mark LT and other models that have a Triton 5.4-liter engine. The spark plug problem generally isn’t noticed until after the vehicle goes in for its first tune-up at 100,000 miles.
Ford F-150 owner Roger Miller was shocked when what he thought would be a routine service turned into a $400 job. “I thought it would be a simple hour’s worth of changing the spark plugs,” Miller told Channel 2.
Miller has joined one of four class-action lawsuits targeting Ford in federal court.
Bill Rimmer of Cooperlake Automotive in Smyrna told Channel 2 that Ford owners can’t escape the extra costs. Rimmer said Ford didn’t realize that despite the high mileage before the first tune-up, carbon builds up and sticks to the spark plug chamber, causing the spark plug to seize.
“I’ve talked with a few mechanics that said it’s hard to tell people, ‘Look this tune-up is gonna run you probably $300 to $600 if everything goes smooth,’ ” Rimmer said. “But if a plug breaks, it’s going to be more for each plug that breaks.”
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