Into every driver's lap, a lot of rain must fall....
September 6, 2011 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2009 Ford Focus SE, 4-door, manual transmission. The driver's side door leaks in the rain and three trips to the dealer have not resolved the problem. I have little faith that yet another trip to the dealer will help. Do you have a specific suggestion to instruct the dealer with? Or how should I go about going over their heads to someone higher in the Ford hierarchy, if that seems to be in order? Details inside to describe my lack of confidence and puzzlement about what to do...

Last fall, around 30,000 miles, I took the car in because the driver's door was leaking when I drove in rain. I've taken it back to the dealer twice since that first time. Before and after every visit, I have exactly the same thing happen -- water drips from the top of the door onto me, and the metal frame (the piece of metal that surrounds the window) is wet inside. I don't see water on that part of any of the other four doors.

Each time, the dealership is enthusiastic and friendly about dealing with the problem (no charge because I brought it in first under warranty) and at least, superficially, urges me to keep bringing it back until I am satisfied. With a huge and repeated caveat that "no car is waterproof! heh heh!" Yeah, but water doesn't drip on me when I'm driving other cars. So I am actually feeling a little sheepish to keep complaining. But this shouldn't happen, right??

The same dealer service fixed some other issues while under warranty, with success (the computer controlling the idle needed replacement and a dysfunctional spring on the clutch pedal was interfering with cruise control). But the leaking door thing seems to flummox them. The first time I took it in, they said they couldn't replicate the problem, but they replaced the seals anyway (the second visit was the replacement). This third time I've gone back, they say that they were able to replicate some leaking, and then were able to prevent it by adjusting the seals.

Am I asking too much for them to figure it out? How best should I proceed? I guess I could try another dealership but I'm now wary of doing that too. Can I just complain to someone higher up in Ford? What should I ask for? A new door?
posted by Tandem Affinity to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
I have a Ford Focus, which a year ago was doing the same thing. My husband replaced the weather strip (that black gummy thing that goes from the front door all the way to the back across the top between the door and the frame) and after that I was able to go through car washes without getting water all over me.

Have them replace this part and see if that stops the leaks.
posted by zamdaba at 8:22 PM on September 6, 2011

Response by poster: sorry to threadsit - things are slow this evening. but just to be clear, the weather strip that zamdaba describes, PLUS the denser rubber strip that lies above the door when it is shut, were both replaced. do you think there is a trick to installing it correctly, zamdaba? (and if nothing else, i guess i feel better that i'm not the only one with a leaky Focus...)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:33 PM on September 6, 2011

I do know that Ford has been doing some direct customer service outreach to model-centric forums and via the Twitters, and I've read a number of threads where members of that team have directly intervened in situations where the dealership is foxed, to the owners' satisfaction. Perhaps sign up and start a thread, or give them a tweet?
posted by holgate at 8:53 PM on September 6, 2011

It sounds like the actual cause of the problem is a misalignment of the door with the door frame. Does the door look like it doesn't quite fit properly in the surrounding bodywork? If so, there may be a tiny gap between the seal and the bodywork where water gets in (you may not even be able to see the gap - water can leak through amazingly small gaps).

Can you replicate the leak with a hose? If so, try doing so while someone pushes the top of the door inward a bit and see if it still leaks. It may be that you need a panel-beater rather than a mechanic.
posted by dg at 9:43 PM on September 6, 2011

I was going to suggest tweaking the door just a little, grabbing hold of the top and pulling in while pushing out on the lower section
posted by hortense at 1:38 AM on September 7, 2011

After three trips to the dealer for the same issue, it's probably time to get the District Manager involved. This is Ford's Contact page. I'd start by calling the 800 number.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:19 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing the District Rep.
posted by vitabellosi at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2011

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