CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2012 Fusion Hybrid Groans When Stopping

In August, I purchased a new 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Within a day of driving the car home, it started making a loud groaning noise as the vehicle reached a near full stop. It repeatedly makes this noise when I come to a full stop. Ford service managers at two delaers verified that the noise is abnormal, but don’t know how to remedy it. However, the dealer from which I purchase the car claims that the groan is a “nothing out of the ordinary.” I’ve test driven five other 2012 Fusion Hybrids in the past three weeks in various weather conditions (hot/cooler, rainy, sunny, etc.), and none of those cars made groaning noises. Do I have a lemon? And what should Ford be doing to make this awful noise go away? The service technicians speculated it is a problem with the brakes, suspension, or struts.

You need to be a little firmer in your request that they fix the problem, replace the car, or return your money if they can’t do either…In your owners manual there is a phone number to Fords Customer relations people who are pretty good at motivating dealers to cure problems…

+1 to Caddyman’s suggestion.

Personally, I have never been able to figure out why so many people continue to flail around with uncooperative dealerships when their Owner’s Manual contains the toll-free phone number for contacting the vehicle’s manufacturer.

In my experience, kicking things up to the corporate level makes a significant difference in getting problems resolved.

This is a new car, so this is a warranty repair item. If one dealer won’t do the work, take it to another Ford dealer. Either you, or the dealer’s service department, needs to contact Ford corporate if they are “stumped” by the problem. If it were me, I’d be on the phone to Ford before taking the car to another dealer. Explain the noise and be specific as to the dealer(s) you have contacted thus far and what they told you about the problem.

If this was a regular car I’d suspect a brake problem first, either a bad set of pads, or a bad caliper. Since you have a hybrid it could be more complex since you use both mechanical brakes and regeneration of electricity to slow and stop the car too. That means it could be a bad joint somewhere in the drive train making the noise at low speed under load.

Thanks for the quick feedback. I called Ford Customer Care very early in this saga and am deeply unimpressed. The reps have no technical knowledge and kick the case to similarly uninformed and unhelpful field reps who parrot the line offered by the dealer. I’ve escalated to supervisors who are only marginally more responsive. Is there a way to leap over the Ford call center and talk to somebody in Dearborne who actually cares about customer service and has enough common sense to conclude that a loud groaning noise is not within the normal operating parameters for a $34,000 new car? Based on my experience, Alan Mulally’s commitment to quality is not shared by the broader Ford organization…

Write a letter to the Pres. Alan Mulally. My wife had issues with Equifax putting soneone else’s credit info into her credit report. After no luck with online and phone customer care a letter to Mr. Smith (the President of Equifax) got one of his personal assistants assigned to the case and presto - problem solved.

Just tell Mr. Mulally what you said here, "Alan Mulally’s commitment to quality is not shared by the broader Ford organization… " Give him the VIN# of the car and brief history of the problems and efforts or lack of responsiveness in resolving it. You will get some action.

I’ve noticed when I install new brake pads I sometimes get a little groaning, right as the car finally stops. But at least for me this disappeared after a thousand miles or so. I’ve always thought it was just the pads take some time to properly seat with the rotor.

Since you purchased the car in August, let the dealership know about the problem, but beofre getting overly aggressive about forcing them to fix it, maybe give it a little more time. It might fix itself. And any time you have mechanics working on a car, there’s always a chance of them breaking something else in the process.

Is taking it to another dealer an option? I have about 5 different Ford dealers within a reasonable distance. Just because you bought it there doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get it serviced there. I bought my Ford from a dealer 2.5 hrs away (to get what i wanted). I took it to the one 10 minutes from work to take care of two recalls.