August 29, 2012
Yesterday we scheduled service for our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost online with Huntington Beach Ford. The system seemed like a slam dunk. Click here, click there, fill in some basic info and that's it. But as it turned out, HB Ford wasn't up to speed quite yet...
If you recall, our appointment was made for 7am, which was when the service department opened. The appointment page online failed to mention that mechanics arrive at 8am. Why would it allow us to schedule a 7am appointment? I don't have the answer. I could see this being a complete time-suck if I hadn't brought my laptop. There was another glitch.
I spent a few minutes entering the year/make/model, VIN, transmisison type, engine size and contact info on the scheduling page. I even entered my email and phone number, which I hope doesn't come back to telemarket me into madness later. After all of this, the advisor informed me,"You know what? We updated our computers about a month ago. I don't have access to the information you entered online. Sorry." So he entered it all again.
The service itself was the high point. Our advisor was polite and professional. He did not try to upsell us, and he was sympathetic to our failed online scheduling attempt. We were in and out before 8:30am with fresh oil, a tire rotation and a wash. We would come back. But we would avoid the online scheduling process, which at this point, appears to be a work in progress.
Total Cost: $52.76
Total Days Out of Service: None
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,811 miles
August 28, 2012
We decided to try something new for the 20,000-mile service on our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost. Rather than call by phone to schedule a service appointment, Huntington Beach Ford offers an online scheduling feature. We've seen this from other dealer websites but have yet to try it until now.
The process was simple enough. Fill in your vehicle information and available service slots appear on the calendar. Click one and it is done. Our appointment is for 7:00 am. A confirmation page follows the one above. This, we hope, will save the extra time spent waiting while the advisor enters the VIN and vehicle info prior to our visit.
We will let you know how it works out.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 19,811 miles
April 11, 2012
So yesterday I saw an "change oil soon" warning pop up on the way to work. Naturally, I did nothing in response. Later in the day, after completing nearly every possible task on my running 2012 to-do list, I got around to bringing our Explorer to the dealer to get the oil swapped out.
Since we did the oil change ourselves the first time out, I figured this time we would see how well the dealer would handle it. For the most part, Santa Monica Ford did just fine. I called in the morning, told them I needed to drop it off for an oil change and they said no problem. They, of course, had an oil change special that included a tire rotation and a brief inspection. For $40, I didn't feel the need to insist on anything less.
A couple hours later I returned to the dealer, paid my $47.91 and got this multi-colored report back just like the one on the Mike Rowe commercial. As you can see, our Explorer is all green at the moment. Whew.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,644 miles
April 10, 2012
You may recall that we did the first oil change ourselves at around 3,000 miles. That one was to clear out any unwanted residue from the initial break in of the engine. From there on out we decided to rely on the Explorer's on-board computer to determine when it needed new oil.
So, here we are, roughly 9,000 miles later and the warning popped up last night. This time, we just dropped it off at the local Ford dealer to see how quickly and efficiently they would handle it. We'll let you know how it goes.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,642 miles
November 04, 2011
Let's back up a week or so in the life of our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT, when it suffered a flat tire at the hands of a sharp and pointy screw.
A couple of curious readers wanted to know how it was repaired. Plug? Patch? I said both.
It's a two-in-one plug-patch, a "platch" if you will, and the folks at Stokes Tire Pros let me have a look at one. A plug-patch such as this is what the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) wants everyone to use when repairing punctures.
They come in at least two sizes that I could see, 1/8" and 1/4", selected to approximate the diameter of the offending nail, bolt or screw.
After dismounting the tire and removing the object, they use a carbide drill bit of appropriate diameter to clean up the hole from the inside. Next they buff up the area and apply a coating of special rubber cement like they do with any other internal patch.
The backing is then peeled off before the pointy end is inserted into the hole. That protruding bit of metal helps guide it through and makes a good handle to pull on once it reaches the outside, but after that it's pulled free and discarded. The inner face of the patch is then "stitched" in place with one of those pointy wheel thingys (called a stiching tool) in the usual way.
That's the gist of it, anyway.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
November 03, 2011
As promised, our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost had it's first oil change ahead of schedule. The manual says the first change could have waited until 7,500 to 10,000 miles showed on the clock. The actual number would depend on what the oil life monitor had to say about our collective driving habits.
We decided that maybe the oil life monitor doesn't know how to handle our track test procedure. We decided that maybe we should try out Blackstone Labs' advice, which suggests an early first (and maybe second) oil change to get the inevitable break-in residue out of there. They're fine with the extended oil change intervals and oil life monitors, but take a conservative approach when it comes to the break-in period.
So at 3,166 miles we withdrew an oil sample for analysis and changed the oil and filter.
This was a DIY job, and we photographed it for an upcoming how-to piece for the tips and advice section of Edmunds.com. More to come on that front later.
I used a Motorcraft filter bought from a dealer, because I still remember a couple of bad past experiences with aftermarket filters. I did pay a couple of bucks more for the privlege, though, as the factory filter set me back $8.98, tax included.
October 24, 2011
As promised, I recently changed the oil early in our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT EcoBoost. The procedure was very straightforward -- so straightforward, in fact, that the process will be documented in an upcoming Edmunds how-to oil change piece.
There was one wrinkle, but not a very challenging one. Our Explorer's engine, including its oil filter and oil pan, was hidden behind an aerodynamic undertray. It had to be removed in order to get the job started.
It couldn't have been easier.
October 20, 2011
Mischief Managed. Our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT is back in service after visiting Stokes Tire Pros to have its left front tire repaired. Good thing, too. Even though it wasn't leaking much air, the screw in question turned out to be a particularly sharp and pointy one that had made its way through.
The repair cost us $25 and about 25 minutes. We know that free tire repairs are out there, but have you priced Santa Monica real estate that sits a mile in from the beach? It's called overhead.
Besides, they did the job right. They installed a pro-level plug (not your typical caterpillar gas-station type) from the inside, ground that flush and applied a secondary internal patch before remounting and re-balancing the tire.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,104 miles
October 18, 2011
This morning I caught sight of a screw in the center rib of tread of our 2012 Ford Explorer's left front tire. The TMPS light hasn't come on because little or no air has leaked out.
Judging from the size of the screw head there's no way the pointy end hasn't poked through to the inside. But I'm not going to unscrew it to see what happens. It's holding air as things stand now.
I won't break out my Phillips screwdriver until I'm in the parking lot of our local tire shop so they can repair it on the spot when the inevitable stream of air starts jetting out.
At least it's in a repairable spot in the center rib of tread.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,166 miles
October 14, 2011
As you can plainly see here, there's an intelligent oil life monitor (IOLM) keeping tabs on things behind the scenes in our 2012 Ford Explorer XLT. All Explorers have one, whether it has the EcoBoost turbo four like ours or the V6.
The IOLM uses stuff the ECU is monitoring anyway -- things like temperature, rpm, engine load, throttle opening -- to determine how aggressively the vehicle was driven, how much time it spent idling and what sort of temperatures it endured along the way. From these it calculates how hard the oil was worked and adjusts the oil change interval accordingly.
October 03, 2011
There is almost nothing that is as irritating as Microsoft's automatic updates. "Do you want to restart now" No. "Do you want to restart now? We'll start it in fifteen minutes assuming you want to restart." No. "Do you want to restart? I've updated. You probably do. I'll just put this window in the background so you can't see it and then just shut down and waste 20 minutes of your day." No. "Restarting!" AHHHHHHH.
It's maddening. And apparently it's tricked into the MyFord Touch on our EcoBoost Explorer.
I was lost in Orange County and stopped off for a bite to eat before trying to figure out my way back to Los Angeles. When I was done I got to the car, started it up and got absolutely nothing from the stereo. The on/off button wouldn't work, there was nothing on the main screen and the additional screen next to the speedo just said "Audio off."
I was just about the cycle the car on and off (sometimes that resets stupid things like that) when this handy little progress bar popped up. Great! Scheduled maintenance at 1,800 miles at 10pm on a Saturday. Makes perfect sense.
No problem, though, it would go away and I could get some music and maybe a map. But it didn't. And then it didn't some more. My iPhone was dead -- yep, USB is dead during this delay, too -- and I wanted to program the nav so, thanks to Ford's "you can't do anything while driving" policy (voice control in this system works slightly less well than me just screaming the address I want to go to until the girlfriend gets tired of hearing it, steals my iPhone and gets them) I had to sit and wait. For six minutes.
Six minutes doesn't sound like very long (it's the increment of time most lawyers bill in) until you're sitting in a parking lot with virtually no idea where you are, no radio, no cell phone and no idea when this stupid system would fix itself.
Maybe my bright idea of always getting nav isn't so bright after all...
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com @ 1,950 miles