Watchdog: Ford gets in gear after auto clutch dispute

Dealer twice failed to spot auto box judder, but technician test drive proves owner right

Clutch problems are always a tricky subject between manufacturers and drivers, and often lead to warranty disputes. This is because clutch failure can be down to aggressive and improper driving as much as manufacturing faults.

What made for an unusual case between Ford and David Burgess, of Chesham, Bucks, was that his 2014 Ford Fiesta had an automatic transmission. David had bought the car for his daughter to use for commuting, but soon after they took delivery the clutch started to judder. David returned the Fiesta to supplying dealer Priests Ford, which found no faults with it, but still remapped the transmission twice.

However, the judder persisted, and David was adamant the problem wasn’t just down to gearbox mapping. He called Ford once more and asked for a replacement clutch, but was told that, as no fault had been found, there’d be no replacement.

“The judder has ruined the driving experience for me and my daughter, made worse by Ford being unable to replicate or find the fault,” a frustrated David told our sister magazine, Auto Express.

Auto Express took the issue up with Ford directly. The company reopened David’s customer case to investigate the problem again. “Ford agreed to send a technician to meet me and drive the car to see if the clutch juddered,” David explained.

The pair took the car for a 26-mile test drive. David said: “I drove the car, and the fault replicated itself several times during the journey. The technician had his laptop connected to the car, and he recorded the whole event.” Shortly after, the dealership asked David if it could inspect the clutch once more. “After a few days, I received a call from Ford to say the clutch pack had been replaced and I could collect the car,” David continued. “I then drove the Fiesta home without a single issue.”

He handed the car back to his daughter, who was delighted with the fix. A Ford spokeswoman told us: “After Auto Express got in contact, it was suggested that a drive appraisal with a Ford technician be carried out to determine if clutch judder existed. After a drive with Mr Burgess, the technician advised that the clutch pack be replaced.”

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