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Ford: “Fix Or Repair Daily”? “Found On Road Dead”?

June 28, 2008, 7:24 PM

The Sable’s not feeling well right now.

The little check engine light came on when I took it out on Tuesday, and now today, I had such a time trying to get it going today that I determined that if I ended up taking it out, I couldn’t guarantee that the car would be able to make it back under its own power. So that scraps my weekend plans. I had to run a bunch of errands, and they’re not getting done now. I was also going to go to a coworker’s housewarming party in Shaw today, and sadly, that’s not happening now, either.

So here’s what happened. I went down to fire up the car to go out, and it started up. I put it in reverse. I move a few inches, and the car stalls. Start up again. Reverse. A few inches, and dead. I eventually did manage to start the car and get it moving, so I ran it once around the parking lot to test. As soon as I got to the exit of my complex, which is up a slight incline, the car died again. I had to wave someone around me there, since the Sable was “Found On Road Dead”. Well, almost on the road. So I managed to get it back into a parking space, and raised the hood to take a look. Here’s what I saw:

Battery on the Sable

What is this red junk all over my battery? That’s just disturbing looking. So I called Dad, since he’s quite the car guy, and really knows his stuff. I also sent him that photo via Email, since that’s the only obvious thing I noticed that was wrong. We went through so much – looked at this and that and the other, discussed the extent of the red stuff (only on the battery and nowhere else), and so on and so forth.

On the first call, Dad suggested I clean up the red stuff on the top of the battery, start the car, and let it sit for ten minutes, but be there to monitor it and see if more red stuff showed up. So I went in, cleaned everything up, opened up all the windows and the driver’s side door, sat down in there, and fired it up. The car ran fine until I turned the steering wheel slightly. And then it stalled. Greeeeeeat. Started it up again, and finished out the ten minutes. No red stuff. Good, I guess?

So I got back on the phone with Dad. He guided me through a few belts, and a few different fluid reservoirs and dipsticks. Everything looked okay. Dad said that it looked like I would need to take the car in for repairs. Lovely. And since it was the engine light, and since I don’t have any mechanic that I trust (the Firestone guys were kind of incompetent on the fog lights during the inspection), we both determined that it would probably be best to take it to a Ford dealership to get it fixed.

Now on taking it to Ford, there are pluses and minuses to these things. On one hand, they can almost definitely fix it, since a Mercury Sable is of course a Ford product. Plus while it’s in, I can get them to reprogram my remote and fix that little hinge problem. On the downside, while they will use genuine Ford parts to fix it, I will have to pay genuine Ford money to get that. That’s money that the “cheap bastard” in me doesn’t want to have to spend, but I still need a car out here, since the Y is not reliable enough to totally depend on, and the 51 only runs during weekday rush periods.

So now I have to find a Ford dealer and take the car there.

Web site: Q&A on other people's Sable problems

Song: Theme to The Randi Rhodes Show, which I'm listening to right now.

Quote: Lovely... I didn't want to have to pay for all this.

Categories: Mercury Sable