Ford Authority

Canadian Ford Fusion Hybrid Owner Feels Burned, Wants A Buyback

A woman in the city of St. John’s in Newfoundland, Canada is vowing to never again buy a hybrid – nor a Ford product – after feeling burned by her Ford Fusion Hybrid and its apparent propensity for developing sludge in the crankcase.

There’s only one problem: given the brevity of her daily commute, plus the climate in which she lives, few hybrids could hope to fare better.

The Truth About Cars reports that the Ford Fusion Hybrid owner in-question bought the car around two years ago to save money on fuel during her daily commute to work – a distance of about 8 miles. After five trips to the dealer to root out the cause of a recurring “Check Engine Light,” she was told that the warning was related to her motor oil developing a light-brown sludge, which in this case is thought to be the result of moisture in the crankcase not being boiled thoroughly enough by the heat of the engine.

Simply driving the Fusion Hybrid 15 to 30 minutes on the highway regularly ought to ensure that the problem goes away, she was reportedly told. That’s when she decided to take her story to CBC News, and it found its way around the web.

On the one hand, this woman bought the Ford Fusion Hybrid specifically to save on fuel during her commute; driving extra miles needlessly rather defeats the purpose of owning a fuel-sipping car. On the other, her commute is too short to really get the engine oil up to temp, especially as the electric motor keeps the engine’s workload to a minimum, and she lives in a cold climate. It’s a rather perfect recipe for sludge to form from the oil mixing with condensation in the crankcase.

This St. John’s woman is asking Ford to kindly buy back the vehicle so that she can take her business elsewhere. What do you think? Is it an unreasonable request, or does Ford (or any automaker) indeed bear some blame for inadequately preparing owners for the sludge condition?

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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  1. David Pickford

    This woman would also be the driver that takes off so slowly only one or two cars get through the intersection, hogs the “fast” lane at 10mph less than everyone else and takes a mile to slowly build up speed all in an effort to save a dollars worth of fuel a week whilst the rest of us have to suffer the consequences of her holding us up.

  2. Terrence Bell

    As an automotive analyst / editor for 3 decades (including NAIAS), Ford bears responsibility through its dealers for ensuring dealerships have properly ‘educated’ personnel to match vehicle to customers needs. This was absolutely the wrong vehicle for this person. Gord (and any marque) at that time had ‘eco-boxes’ better suited. But a refund absolutely not. Give her a really good value for trade-in (as Service Dept can get rid of sludge easily), against an EV, sure, it makes for good PR. Not even a PHEV would work in this case. FYI, although Newfoundland is cold in winter, it is no worse than many parts of Maine or NE U.S.


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