Q: I saw your article about the gas tank problem. I own a 2004 Ford Escape with 43,000 miles. My tank just about fell off (thought it was my muffler), and I took it to a muffler shop for repairs. Total cost: $240, parts and labor. Do I have any recourse with Ford?
A: Ford has had a recall on gas tank straps, but not on your vehicle. The Ford recall is for F series pickup trucks. The Escape has recall for other fire hazards, but not for the gas tank straps. I do have a suggestion for you, however. I would report the problem to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration. Next, I would try to get the rotted straps back from the repair shop, then I would appeal to the Ford dealer where the car vehicle was purchased for reimbursement consideration. If the dealer won’t help out, ask to set up a meeting with a Ford corporate executive. I am fairly confident that if you follow the above steps, you will get partial, if not full, consideration. Further, if other Ford Escape owners are experiencing the same problem and report it to NHTSA, this could indeed start a recall for similar Escapes experiencing the same problems. I suggest you have your dealer or a shop with access to corporate recalls do a check on your car for any outstanding recalls. It is my feeling that no vehicle is perfect. However, many manufacturers have stepped up to the plate and made the safety problem corrections.
Q: Due to my recent medical situation, I have a car that won’t be driven for six months. I intend to start the engine a couple of times a week during that period. Is there anything else I should do? I put Sta-Bil in the gas tank, which is three-quarters full.