Is Ford responsible for Mondeo transmission damage?

Servie history is a vital consideration when buying any used car - because even affordable cars have staggering repair costs.

Servie history is a vital consideration when buying any used car - because even affordable cars have staggering repair costs.


Hi John,

I purchased my Ford Mondeo Titanium 2011 model privately with a full log book history at 76,000kms. Around 85,000 the battery had to be replaced. At the 90,000km mark I took the car to a Ford dealership to have the service and for them to look over the car for me. Everything came back OK. It just needed tyres and brake pads.

I drove the car for around 14,500km and a message came up on the dash: 'transmission limited function'. I called the dealership and they didn't know what it meant and asked me to bring it in. They charged me to look at the car and tell me the error codes that came up.

Their finding was to repair the transmission (what repairs are yet to be determined until I pay $1000 for them to pull it apart and tell me what needs repairing). They suspect the transmission fluid was not changed at the 60,000km service, and this is what has caused the transmission to fail.


Who is responsible for the damage to the transmission?

  1. Ford, for not telling that the log book may not be reliable? They did the 90,000km service that included checking the fluid, however, they are now saying they only check the level, not the quality)
  2. The mechanic who completed the 60,000km service and stamped the book? After looking into this further, I found Ford didn't do the transmission service and told the owner to take it to a specialist to have it done.
  3. The previous owner who never got the service done and neglected to tell me before I made the purchase? I have since gone back to the owner who said, when he posted me the second car key, he wrote a note to tell me the service was required (a note I never received).
  4. Or am I responsible for the damage?

Your assistance would be much appreciated. I have a throughly researched binder that I have put together with a timeline of events that I'm able to send you if you need further more detailed information.

Thanks, Tanielle

Service is a cheap investment when weighed against the cost of catastrophic failures of major components

Service is a cheap investment when weighed against the cost of catastrophic failures of major components


Hello Tanielle,

I suspect this is your problem. If the car has not been serviced in accordance with Ford’s service schedule, then this is a complete free kick for them. It absolves Ford of liability. Obviously, the manufacturer specifies the work that is required to maintain the vehicle adequately.

More here: Ford Focus Transmission Problems >>

When you purchase a car - especially from a private seller, it’s usual that you purchase it ‘as is’ - ie. complete with faults, if any.


I urge you to talk to Consumer Affairs on this, but I really suspect it’s going to be an unhappy result for you. Whenever you buy a used car you should take it fairly quickly to a good mechanic and have them at least get the servicing up to date. (It's not a bad idea, at this point, to change all the fluids.) The fact that the failure relates specifically to an item that was not serviced when it should have been is pretty bad for you, I think.

Sorry - I was hoping for a better result until I read the latter half of your e-mail.

See more on servicing and warranty >> plus my special report on what's wrong with consumer law in Australia >>

John Cadogan

Ford Mondeo - decent car; shame about the parent car company. Ford's customer 'service' is a disgrace

Ford Mondeo - decent car; shame about the parent car company. Ford's customer 'service' is a disgrace


Hi John,

Just an update on my car. I have taken it to an automatic transmission specialist who has deemed the car to have a transmission control computer fault (the main computer module that runs the transmission). He has said that there is no physical damage to the module - it has just failed. They are telling me that the computer is located in the transmission and is not available as a replaceable part. Apparently I need to replace the whole transmission.

I called up Ford Australia and gave them the details and asked if they will come to the party and pay for the repairs as it clearly is a manufacturing fault. Ford Australia said that because I took it to a third party, I will need to take it to a Ford dealer to have it assessed. 

I explained to Ford Australia that I've already paid a Ford dealer to look at it and they said take it to a transmission place for repair. They said that they suspect the issue was service related. This has now been proven to be wrong. Ford Australia then tried to claim that they would not come to the party because there is no warranty to cover this as it is well outside any warranty periods.

They go from, no, you took it to a 3rd party to now no there no warranty to cover it. 

The car is a 2011 model, it has done 104,500kms and has a full service history. The transmission place have said that it has just simply failed. It is located in the sealed transmission and It has no physical damage to it.

Can I get your advice on if it would be worth heading back to Ford Australia and consumer affairs? I would have thought there would be some kind of consumer law to cover the expectation regarding lifespans of a main component of a car failing. 

Thanks, Tanielle



You need to talk to a lawyer - your own lawyer, not consumer affairs, etc. If the transmission computer has simply failed, and this is a non-service-related fault, Ford really cannot wriggle out of it.

You will need to prove, via expert opinion:

  1. Exactly what is wrong (ie - that the transmission computer control module is defective).
  2. That this defect was not caused by the failure to carry out the 60,000km transmission service
  3. That the failed module should last longer than five years and 100,000km


Under Australian consumer law, if you can prove that, Ford should be compelled look after you. (Having the car serviced by a third party does not void the warranty.) Spending an hour with your lawyer is a good investment at this time.

I should warn you, however, that Ford has a track record of being complete arseholes with its customers on matters like this, and this is why I do not recommend Ford to anyone - new or used. 

You're in for a fight - but one worth having because the cost of repairs is going to be staggeringly high ... and you might win. Stay positive.

Sincerely, JC

Thank you John!

I just want to take a minute to really thank you for your advice. It has helped keep me sane and positive.