Crunch-Crunch, Drip-Drip - 2009 Ford Flex Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Long Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex: Crunch-Crunch, Drip-Drip

September 10, 2008

Flex Rear Wheel Scrape.jpg

Living with our 2009 Ford Flex long-term car for over a week confirmed what I'd already figured -- when it comes to carting people and things around, this crossover gets the job done with both style and grace. The Flex inspired multiple double-takes and a few questions from onlookers during the week, and its plush interior, car-like handling and multiple gadgets (my kids loved the idea of a rear-seat 'fridge) made it a pleasant family tote bag for the most part.

Only two issues arose during my drive time. The first related to the car's flashy, 19-inch chrome wheels. These certainly enhance the Flex's looks, but on a vehicle with this much wheelbase (117.9 inches) keeping them away from curbs can be difficult. I found this out while going through the local McDonald's drive-thru, a path I've travelled several dozen times without incident. This time, however, I scraped the driver's-side rear wheel as I made the turn between order and pick-up.

I couldn't believe it, and looking at the odometer I thought 'Well, at 1,850 miles I guess the wheels are broken in.' When I got home I went to inspect the damage and noticed that while the rear wheel had a couple scrapes (pictured above), the front wheel (which never got near a curb during my use of the Flex) had much larger and deeper scrapes (pictured below).

Flex Front Wheel Scrape.jpg

So, apparently I didn't break the car's wheels in after all. But this confirms what I felt after scraping the rear wheel -- this car can be tricky to steer though tight places. If anything, the car-like driving quality masks how truly big the Flex is. Normally that's a good thing, but it can also lull you into a false sense of manueverability.

Flex Fuel Leak.jpg

The other problem I encountered came during a gas fill up. I like the idea of Ford's capless fuel system, and it's always worked fine on my Ford GT. But this day, as the fuel pump hit its automatic shut-off point, I heard a dripping sound and looked down to see gas spilling onto the pavement -- from behind the Flex's rear quarter panel.

I'm not sure if the pump's shut-off sensor allowed for too much fuel to build up under the capless fuel cap, of if there's a leak at the top of the nozzel. Either way, it was a bit disturbing because the fuel came out from a location we don't have access to with this capless system. We'll keep an eye on the issue and see if it happens again.

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