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2015 Ford Focus - Dealer lost my cover

I take my 2015 Ford Focus to the Ford dealer to have a recall done. That would be the one about a stuck canister purge valve problem and possible damage to the plastic fuel tank. I get it back the next day, and right away I notice the sound from the engine compartment area is a tiny bit louder than what I’m used to.
Three days later I take it to my local mom and pop repair shop for its annual NY State inspection. I like this shop because they allow me to look over the car when its up on the lift. As soon as I walked under the car, I see the “under engine cover” is gone including the bolts and fasteners that hold it on. I think…that explains the noise difference I noticed when I got it back from the dealer and I’m getting really bad thoughts about why the cover is missing. I know it was on there about a month previous when the oil was last changed and I saw the guy latching it back up.
I call the dealer immediately and NO they don’t have the cover and they tell me it is unreasonable for me to expect their mechanic to notice and report it because the gas tank he inspected is at the rear of the car and my missing cover is at the front of the car. Of course, they are correct, but what does it take for someone (who won’t let me in their shop) to spend 2 extra moments to look around on behalf of good car care? Obviously, not this dealer.
So they tell me that it will cost between $300 and $400 to replace the missing cover, but they know of several customers that had broken covers that they just removed and left them off completely. Keep in mind I drive in snow and such, this is not Florida or Southern California.
My question is, should I believe this dealer and leave the cover off or should I replace it?

I would replace it. Ford put it there for a reason.

I would suggest your oil change place forgot to put it on. Common issue.

Thanks, Mustangman…
If you read all my blurb, I state that I saw the oil change guy fastening the cover back up when I last got the oil changed. When they change oil, they only unhook the front part of the cover and let it hang down while they pull the drainplug and change the filter. So, the cover is never entirely removed like it is now. So, what else would cause this cover to be missing?

I’d replace it. Not only might it protect certain parts from water spray or kicked-up debris, but also it might help to direct airflow through the engine in a certain way for the best cooling.

I suspect it’s there mostly for aerodynamics. Smoother air flow under the car lowers rolling resistance and helps with better fuel mileage. Every little thing counts.

I’m not sure you’re going to be able to prove the dealership lost it, or even removed it. They were working on the other end of the car.
with that, I’d probably replace it- but the dealership does not have to do it, and it doesn’t have to be a brand new piece. Call around and see if there are some junkyards nearby that may have one, or even search ebay for it.

All I can say is it would be better to actually go there and explain the shield is missing and ask them to take a look in the bay the car was in. It’s too easy to say no on the phone.

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The fuel tank is at the rear of the car, but the purge valve is often more toward the front. Don’t know where the purge valve is located on a 2015 Focus though. The canister seems to be in the fuel tank area. If OP can figure out where the purge valve is located, front or rear, that might provide a further clue to the mystery.

My guess is the best path forward is to just replace the under-engine shield with a new one and otherwise forget about it. Those shields tend to get hit with road debris and deteriorate. And removing and replacing them for routine servicing and repairs can also damage the fasteners which makes the part eventually fall off along side the road. So even is a shop forgot to put it back on – which is as best speculation – it probably needed to be replaced anyway.

I wouldn’t bother to replace it at that cost.

Just some food for thought, but maybe the oil change place failed to properly attach the fasteners (one or all) and at some point the cover came off.

Maybe the thing to have done would been to have turned right around and gone back to the dealer when you say you noticed the sound was a bit louder. Not sayiing that would have proved anything one way or the other.

My youngest son hit a small raccoon in his Camaro while on the way home during the holidays and thought nothing of it until he noticed the car overheating. When I checked I discovered the front air deflector has broken off. If it was me I’d want the cover back on there.
With auto makers constant penny pinching they won’t install that cover unless they felt it was needed.

Wouldn’t be the first time. About 100 miles into my 200 mile trip back from South Dakota once, I saw my splash shield on my Olds go flying in the breeze. Lucky I saw it and put it in the trunk till I got home. Yeah it was a couple hundred dollar part and of course the only one that had messed with the retainers was me. A 70 mph wind can cause some issues.

I’ve had this happen several times. Got my ranger back once and the engine cover was missing. Had a few repairs on my s10 and found bolts/screws missing, splash shields missing…You had a slob mechanic work on your car. He was too lazy to screw your $400 cover back on so he just chucked it, saved him a few minutes of labor.

Thanks for all the input, guys, and I have 2 things to say…

  1. I found a used cover and my local independent shop put it on…total cost $150.

  2. I have found out that some dealers have video recordings of each bay in there shop. If I ever have to take my car to a dealer again, then I’m going to a shop that video records.

[quote=“KINGSLEY, post:13, topic:151305”]
ave found out that some dealers have video recordings of each bay in there shop. If I ever have to take my car to a dealer again, then I’m going to a shop that video records.
[/quote] .
Makes me glad I’m no longer working at a dealership . . . and I’d like to think I’m one of the “good guys”