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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey members, newbie here, with a bit of an issue and potentially a warning for other members.

I'm not a massive car guy, but I love driving. I had chosen the ST having not known much about the earlier models because it was the most powerful, best-value, new car I could find for the dollar here in Australia. I bought it new because I work for myself and it's easier to lease it. When I test drove it, I had a great time, and loved the car. The dealer showed me the wheel nut lock key in the glove box and said to be careful about losing or breaking it because it might cost about $100 to replace.

I only ever needed to use it myself twice, but a tyre shop obviously needed to use it to replace two tyres. I didn't realise this would be a problem later on.

Tire Automotive tire Wheel Auto part Rim

(apologies for the carbon filth)

While changing a tyre (by hand mostly, and slight pressure from foot), the key snapped in half. It's highly likely that it was weakened by an air gun or something. Luckily that tyre was on, however, one of the front tyres had a slow leak, which I was afraid to try and deal with if it turned out I couldn't actually get it, or any of the other tyres off. I went to a tyre repair shop and they said they were afraid to touch it, in case they broke the lug and were liable to pay for it all.

So I called up the parts department at the dealership I bought it from. They revealed it would cost about $100-150 for a replacement key, however, they also then revealed (potentially accidentally) that the company that made the lock nut key had gone out of business, and wouldn't be able to replace the part.

As part of my morning ritual, I stood on my street foot pumping up my car like the battler in life that I am, and eventually took the car, which was still under warranty, to the dealership I bought it from. At first it sounded pretty straight forward, and they said they would get a master key or something in.

Then I got a call, saying that my car's locks were pretty complicated and it might cost a bit more than expected. I had thought that maybe it might be covered under warranty, but I was apparently mistaken. Being a video guy and not a car guy, I felt like they were feeding me false jargon each time I spoke to them. I also prefer to email with this sort of stuff (quotes and the like), where as they preferred the phone. In fact, they rarely responded to my emails with an email. The service manager eventually said over the phone that it would cost up to $1,000 to replace all four wheel nut locks with normal nuts, but that he'd do his best to keep the costs down. He did offer the opportunity to take my car elsewhere to get another quote, but it was there, I was already a few days without a car and needed to get back to work ASAP (no loan car offered or an ETA for how long it would be, so all in all, I and my small business was without a vehicle for 10 days).

I had just assumed the thread was normal on the lugs, and that the lock nut itself wasn't easy to screw off? I consulted my mechanic friend and he said they should just be able to drill off the remaining lock nuts and replace them with normal nuts pretty easily. Or weld on a new nut then take it off with it.

But I was apparently mistaken. I got the call that the fee was going to be almost $2,000, that it wouldn't be covered by warranty, at least in part. I called Ford Australia head office and they were not sympathetic because: "You broke the part" to which I replied "Then I should be able to replace the part." It was only around the time I used words like "liable" or "responsible" that they wouldn't admit their supplier had gone out of business. They didn't seem to care that perhaps this might be partly their responsibility to their customers to provide easy solutions for parts on their cars which could easily be broken via wear and tear.

I needed my car back, I needed to stop putting off jobs and get back to work. So, I returned to the dealer to pick it up and took my mechanic translator friend. He thought the entire thing was ridiculous, and was getting more frustrated than I was. Eventually, I paid it because I wasn't able to leave without paying. They gave me another number for the customer care manager from Ford Australia, and she wasn't willing to accept responsibility. Apparently dealers are generally franchises, and for some faults they can be compensated by Ford Australia. This was not one of those situations.

I tried to appeal it, nothing. I then contacted Fair Trading. They were given the same spiel I was, that Ford wasn't accepting responsibility for the costs because I'd "agreed to the work." Well gosh darn it, I guess I'll drive around on flat tyres then? In hindsight, it would've been better to arrive to see my car on bricks because I could easily claim that for insurance. A broken part on a car done by hand is harder to make a claim for, especially when Ford made it out to Fair Trading as if it was elective work!

Had I known this would have happened, I'd have requested for no wheel nut locks on the car in the first place, or had them replaced straight away.

I apologise for making my first post a rant, but I felt a responsibility to warn other owners of this potentially expensive process. I'm sure many of you have worked out cheaper ways of sorting it out, and perhaps that demonstrates my ignorance, but here is my ordeal. I'll possibly make a video on it, because well, I'm already $2k down, yolo right?

Anyone else have this issue?

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this is why I don't use keyed locking lug nuts on my wheels, they aren't gold, no one is going to steal them, and if they do, insurance WILL cover it.

so the lock nut was installed by the dealer and you bought it that way?

What a scam.

What is sublet?
 
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this is why I don't use keyed locking lug nuts on my wheels, they aren't gold, no one is going to steal them, and if they do, insurance WILL cover it.

so the lock nut was installed by the dealer and you bought it that way?

What a scam.

What is sublet?
Same here. If the car comes with locking lugs, I make sure they provide an equal number of standard lugs and I swap them out when I get home.

When I bought my RX-8 used, it came with locking lugs, but the key had been lost by the previous owner. Took it to the dealership and they removed the locking lugs and GAVE(!?) me the standard ones. Good customer service does exist in a few places!
 

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Something is way wrong in this situation I can't even make sense of it. A set of wheel locks runs about 60 bucks, dealers should have a master set to remove them. If one is broken you would have a small amount of labor to remove ($50-100) .

Also for the people asking what a sublet is on a repair order it means there was a bill for repairs to a 3rd party company/Person that has an account with the dealer. We give them a purchase order number for them to bill the dealer later and a sublet is added to the repair order for the amount.
 

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I can't fathom how this escalated to a $2000 charge.

I read the whole post and I still don't understand any way they thought they could do that.
 

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Same here. If the car comes with locking lugs, I make sure they provide an equal number of standard lugs and I swap them out when I get home.

When I bought my RX-8 used, it came with locking lugs, but the key had been lost by the previous owner. Took it to the dealership and they removed the locking lugs and GAVE(!?) me the standard ones. Good customer service does exist in a few places!
Well, that may be because the standard lugs on the ST cost AUD $16 (In Australia) ! Good luck getting 4 of those for free here !

Good service right there from Mazda !
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It came with the brand new car, yeah. It was sold to me as a positive feature, but I've never had issues with stolen wheels.

I really don't know what sublet means :\

Your link didn't load, but I've got another photo from one of the non-damaged ones:
Alloy wheel Wheel Rim Auto part Tire

@crashmw - The garages and tyre shops were hesitant to try for some reason, I went to three different places.
@Dardock - Haha, maybe the service manager rented a room for the weekend and charged it onto me? I still don't know what sublet means... they did say they brought in "the drill guy" to drill out the sockets. Perhaps that's what they were referring to?
 

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One time pep boys tried to charge me $50 to cut off a tire chain from my explorer's spare tire (the lock had corroded and couldn't be used)

$50 for 2 seconds of work. Even after I protested, they stuck to it. It was insulting.

It took me walking into their store, finding a set of bolt cutters for sale ($20) and telling them I could buy the bolt cutters and cut the chain myself and save $30 off their ridiculous $50 fee.

After that, they agreed the charge was bull**** and they cut it for free.

Services places and especially dealers, will try ANYTHING to get $ from you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
At least the dealer gave you the Misc. discount. Would’ve cost you even more without that
Haha, yeah I thought the same. Thank goodness!

They did tell their head office that they'd discounted it significantly... so what was the original fee for this ridiculous job? $3k? Might as well leave the handbrake off and claim the entire car!
 

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Sh!t, before I paid a $2k bill for sometime like that, I'd roll the dice on just breaking the studs with the locks on them...

Once I was with a buddy when he got a flat, some how his locking lug was damaged and the key would fit on all the way. We just took off the other 4 lugs, and then just kept yanking on the wheel from the side farthest away from the locking lug, took a few mins and some effort but it eventually snapped the stud and lug off. Then we babbled the car back to the garage with the spair and 4/5ths of the lugs on, knocked the broke stud out and replaced it. Cost a lug and a stud at the parts store for like $15. Even if something else got broke(which is extremely unlikely), it would take a lot of damage to equal $2k.

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That is a huge price for parts. Good luck getting any thing from Ford Australia let alone a response. They will not even recognize a TSB for 1-2 bang and wiring harness issues.
I hope you have some success and document all attempts to communicate. Talk to the ACCC and fair trading to point you in the right direction for financial retribution.

Spending 4-5 hours drilling out wheel nuts is excessive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That is a huge price for parts. Good luck getting any thing from Ford Australia let alone a response. They will not even recognize a TSB for 1-2 bang and wiring harness issues.
I hope you have some success and document all attempts to communicate. Talk to the ACCC and fair trading to point you in the right direction for financial retribution.

Spending 4-5 hours drilling out wheel nuts is excessive.
They are pretty ridiculous. I had the airbag light on since I bought the car... it took 5 visits before they could fix it. I kept booking it in with the regular services as part of a warranty issue and they kept neglecting it, or saying it was more complicated and I'd need to bring it back.

I got a response from Fair Trading saying that Ford refuse to cover the costs, so that my next option is local court. Maybe a parody of their BS loan car ad might be a better way to hit them where it hurts?
 
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