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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm in a bit of a weird spot. I honestly hope this is the right place to post this and if it's not, please direct me to where I might be able to.

There's some clarifications we have to make with the Ford dealer but here's all the info I have and the confusion that arises:

  • My wife's 2015 Ford Escape has been acting up lately. While driving, she'd take a turn and all of a sudden the car just wouldn't shift for a good 5-10s. A bit scary when you really have to speed up getting onto the highway.
  • She took it to the ford dealer to have diagnosed and they came to the conclusion that the transmission has to be replaced. Their words were that there's an internal part to it that needs to be replaced that cannot be without replacing the entire thing. Okay cool.
  • She has a powertrain warranty with a 3rd party (CostGuard) that specifically covers the transmission and its parts. Specifically, it calls out all internally lubricated pieces, clutch packs, and others.
  • The dealer says specifically that the clutch needs to be replaced. I honestly didn't know automatic transmissions had clutches until today.
  • The dealer says ford won't cover the work but contacts the 3rd party company. They tell them Ford that they won't cover it because it's the clutch that's gone bad.
  • Ford is telling us it's going to cost 5200 bucks to replace the transmission.
  • The car was bought at a dealer about 2 years back and that's when the warranty was bought as well. The car is at ~80k miles and since being bought has regularly had oil changes, no accidents, and has been generally taken care of. A fair mix of city and highway driving, mostly to and from work.
So after all of that, my wife called the warranty folks to get clarification on why the claim would be denied. The warranty specifically calls out the clutch packs but CostGuard says they won't cover it because they would need a new "clutch assembly." In all of my searching, I cannot for the life of me find anything called a clutch assembly when referring to an automatic transmission. I would assume it meant the collection of pieces that make a clutch work which would include things like the clutch packs which they mention covering. I know these 3rd party insurance companies are kind of shady when it comes to trying to deny coverage but this seems next-level.

Does anyone have any advice or insight into how to tackle this? Any idea what they could possibly be referring to? Does it sound like it should be covered for the reasons mentioned? I can halfway fiddle around with a car and can do minor maintenance but I'm by no means a mechanic so this bit is a little beyond me.

Thanks!
 

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First and foremost check the fluid level. Low fluid will do things like that. Also get a copy of the invoice Ford made and send one to the warranty company. Its probably a breakdown of communication. And to be clear yes autos have clutch packs like you say but they usually don’t go bad unless the fluid gets too hot, high line pressure or old, broken down fluid.


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Would be amazed if any Ford dealership had not checked the auto trans fluid condition and level . Carrying out a diagnostic scan of trans for fault codes would be a normal procedure also to see if anything shows .

" The dealer says ford won't cover the work but contacts the 3rd party company. They tell them Ford that they won't cover it because it's the clutch that's gone bad. "

This is normal practice with warranty companies to contact the garage so pointless sending copies of invoice as Ford have already rejected the claim and will disclose the reason for doing so to the warranty company .

Burnt out / worn clutch packs , brake bands etc . are common , having done quite a few over the years without any other faults other than the packs worn out and nothing else . Unless uneconomically not worth doing due other subsequent faults . Ford , and any other manufacturer and warranty companies will usually class burnt / slipping clutch packs as wear and tear items unless there was a underlying cause and will generally dismiss any claims . Totally up to the warranty company if they will make a goodwill claim on this , but dont hold your breath as they will take the report from Ford as their basis for rejection .
Any garage will not carry out the work under warranty if they dont get authorisation and clearance from either manufacturer or warranty company ..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I guess my big issue with this whole thing is that they mention a "clutch assembly" as the cause, not the clutch pack. Clutch packs should be covered as they're called out by name in the warranty. I can't really find any information on what a clutch assembly actually is with regards to an automatic transmission except for this specific part on the ford site: Clutch Assembly | FordUS . I've also seen it referenced with regards to the torque converter (which is another covered piece as a part of the warranty) but that was a random diagram I found online.
 

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From experience , some of those warranty companies are horrendous for the customer to get them to honour the cover . They use every angle they can to reject claims , even as simple as not having proof of servicing as per manufacturers schedule is a common one . Without knowing all the facts it's hard to really judge but it would seem from what you say you should have a valid claim . Ford powertrain warranty is for five years or 60,000 miles ( unless they have changed it ) so that would be a reason for them to reject any claim also .
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah. At this point, at least it sounds like assembly is actually a thing so if it isn't covered...there might be a reason even if it's a bad one. We also don't have the manufacturer warranty. We brought it to Ford just to see if there was anything they had that they could do. Our plan of attack right now is talking to the dealer again to get a straight answer and to see if they can contact the 3rd party guys to clarify anything. If they can't, we'll shop around for quotes and maybe a different shop even had a more favorable answer. I feel like as far as a mechanic is concerned, they get paid either way. If a warranty can guarantee our business.... But maybe that's not entirely true.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So after calling back, the dealer was able to convince them to cover it. Idk what was said between them but it took it from a $5200 to a $200 deductible. That is so much nicer.

If I could hazard a guess, it's because it'd be considered an "internally lubricated part" in some sense and the warranty covers that. But who knows really?
 

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I’ll chime in. I haven’t been in the forums in a while but these transmissions is what I do at a ford dealer. It sounds like it may be taken care of but I would have found another dealer. I’m not sure how they can give a diagnosis of a clutch is bad without tear down and inspection. Here is how we handle an aftermarket warranty.
First is to verify concern: test drive, check for codes, fluid level and condition check to start.
second is any pinpoint tests for any electrical type codes and pressure checks on trans if applicable.
third would be disassembly to find cause of concern( that could be pan removal to remove trans and take apart. This is where it gets tricky. If it’s an aftermarket warranty the customer needs to give us authorization. If the warranty denies coverage for whatever reason we need to get compensated for our time. It sucks but that’s the car world with those warranties.
After tear down I put together an estimate. Can be of a fairly simple repair without rebuild, full rebuild or entire trans depending on failure type.

I’m not sure how or why they would give such a generic diagnosis as a clutch is bad. There are several inside a trans. And to be perfectly honest I can do a quality rebuild with ford parts and come in way under the price to replace the entire unit. I hope for your sake they install a unit and the warranty pays the bill and life is easier for you. But maybe if a next time occurs a different dealer with a more competent diagnosis would have made the claim easier for your warranty.
 
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