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Car Review: 2003 Mercury Mountaineer
March 16, 2009, 01:04 PM
This vehicle has nice features and it is comfortable to drive. That's where the positive stops. In the five years that I have owned it, the air conditioner has stopped working 4 times, over 4 consecutive years (not a good thing in Arizona). The CD player has quit working 3 times. The rear hatch window became disengaged and shattered. Months later the rear hatch cracked down the middle. The gas mileage mysteriously decreased from a ridiculous 14 mpg to a disgusting 10.5 (This couldn't be "replicated" over several trips to the dealer, but was miraculously fixed on the 4th trip.). I had significant concerns about shuddering and erractic shifting. The brakes were replaced at 28,000 miles to supposedly fix the shuddering. That seemed to help for a few months, but then appeared again. The shuddering and erratic shifting, in addition to a weird droning continued, but just couldn't be replicated by the dealership. After researching it myself, I discovered numerous Technical Service Bulletins and many others have had similar issues, requiring replacement of transmission and problems with rear axle and differential. Even though I presented this information to the dealership numerous times, they were never able to replicate the symptoms... until my vehicle warranty had expired by one month. Then all of a sudden, the symptoms could be replicated and, after charging me to dig deeper into the transmission, they discovered that the transmission was in need of replacement. The vehicle only had 43,000 miles at time of diagnosis (symptoms were initially noted at 34,000 miles). Not only that, but I followed every maintenance requirement - including having the tranmission fluid flushed and "granitized." Unfortunately, without a warranty, the dealership reported that I would need to pay $4500 to replace the transmission. Additional effort to have the dealership (Camelback Ford Lincoln Mercury in Phoenix, AZ) take responsibility for ignoring the issue until the vehicle was out of warranty only resulted in them discounting the price of the transmission to $3600.00. Did I mention that they also indicated that there was also a perceived problem with the rear axle and/or front differential. They didn't even get into checking this out or quoting repair costs. DO NOT BUY THIS VEHICLE unless you are willing to take the risk of being one of many who have been forced to pay for extensive repairs. This vehicle actually had many additional issues (three windows required repair/motor replacement, paint peels, ABS issues, etc.)
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