Fix by non-Ford shop rules out a refund

This disqualified him for a refund, an explanation that both his dealership and the Ford Customer Relationship Centre have provided him.

  • Detail of an automatic gear shifter in a new, modern car. Modern car interior with close-up of automatic transmission and cockpit background

Q I bought a 2002 Focus from a Ford dealer in 2005.

Last March, a suspension spring fractured while I was driving.

A nearby garage did the repair for $468.

An Oct. 7 AutoKnow item, Vital for second owner to register and get recalls, about a Focus spring recall made me aware that other Focuses had this problem.

The dealer told me to call head office for reimbursement, which I did. I was turned down flat because I hadn’t taken my Focus to a Ford store for the fix.

Having no knowledge at the time of any recalls, I’m at a loss as to what they expect.

Can you help?

Alex Adams, Brampton

AKerri Stoakley, public affairs manager for Ford of Canada, replies:

It is always a tough situation when vehicle difficulty occurs, and we regret any upset that Mr. Adams may have experienced.

Unfortunately, he had the spring repaired at a non-Ford facility.

This disqualified him for a refund, an explanation that both his dealership and the Ford Customer Relationship Centre have provided him.

This situation is a good example of why it is key to have repairs done at your primary Ford dealership or, if need be, at the closest Ford dealership to where you are experiencing difficulty.

It is also important to note that any parts repaired on your Ford vehicle at a non-Ford facility that require future replacement are not warranted by Ford.

If such parts subsequently cause damage to some other part of the vehicle normally under warranty, the Ford warranty coverage would be voided in that case as well.

Ford of Canada continually monitors the field performance of its vehicles and may initiate remedial action where the situation warrants.

We will continue to monitor reports to determine if further action is required.


Q Does Canadian Tire’s new Counter Act electronic rustproofing system work?

Felix Lau, Scarborough


A Maeve Burke, spokesperson for Canadian Tire Corp. in Toronto, replies:

This product has been validated through a number of independent test labs worldwide, in the U.S., Australia and Brazil, as well as Canadian Tire’s own lab.

Electronic rust protection is being sold by a growing number of new-car dealerships, replacing the chemical treatment traditionally offered with new vehicles.

Chemical agents can only treat the areas that the spray can reach — one side of the body panel — and must be reapplied annually at additional cost.

The Counter Act unit protects both sides of panels and all commonly grounded metal components of the vehicle with a one-time installation and cost.

Counter Act is backed by a five-year product warranty, with an additional (concurrent) five-year limited rust perforation warranty when installed by Canadian Tire.

Eric Lai adds:

According to media materials, Counter Act purports to work by creating a harmless, negative surface charge on all metal surfaces of the vehicle to help repel water.

This, in turn, “causes a reduction in the rate at which the corrosion process may occur.”

To read the lab test results and judge for yourself, visit

Canadian Tire says this device is not an electronic rustproofer of the type banned in Quebec in the past by the federal Competition Bureau.

The bureau polices the marketplace and acts when advertised claims cannot be independently substantiated.

At the time of writing, the bureau states there were no consent orders issued against Counter Act. In other words, it has a clean record so far.

Q I’m considering buying a new Saturn Vue with the 3500-series 3.5-litre V6.

Have the old intake manifold gasket problems associated with some GM 3400-series V6 engines been resolved or can we expect more of the same?

Albert Masiowski, Wasaga Beach

A GM of Canada spokesperson Stew Low says that previous gasket problems were addressed either by regular warranty coverage or on a case-by-case basis.

Each model year sees continuous improvements, he adds.

“The Saturn Vue is an outstanding vehicle, and your reader will not be disappointed by its long term performance.”

Mohamed Bouchama, executive director of Car Help Canada (, a non-profit consumer group, says Vue buyers need not worry about the problem cited and that the 3.5 V6 is reliable.

Email non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at Include your full name, address and telephone number.

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