Escape owner wants Ford to fix flaking paint problems

A western Newfoundland woman is unhappy with Ford's response to an issue also reported by other vehicle owners across the country.

Western Newfoundland woman expresses concerns after CBC News story about scope of issue

Western Newfoundland woman wants Ford to recall vehicles affected by flaking paint issue 3:29

Lorrie Pittman was washing her Ford Escape in May when she noticed the paint starting to flake off a rear tire well.

She says the problem soon started to spread to the hood, the hatchback door and the other rear tire wells.

"I've only had my vehicle three years and it's starting to look like this now," Pittman said, pointing out the affected areas on her vehicle.

"So by the time I'm finished with her, maybe five years time, nobody is going to be interested."

Pittman says she called the Ford dealership in Corner Brook looking for help, but was told she was over the 60,000-kilometre limit and her warranty had expired.

According to Pittman, the dealership told her at the time there was nothing they could do for her.  

She started to think the rocks and rough driving conditions on Route 430, the Northern Peninsula highway, must have been part of the reason why the paint had begun to peel and rust.

But then Pittman saw a CBC News story from Winnipeg in September featuring a number of concerned customers in Manitoba with the exact same problem.

To date, nearly 100 Ford owners across the country have contacted the CBC News I-Team in Winnipeg about flaking paint on their vehicles.

Lorrie Pittman says she began to notice paint flaking off her 2012 Ford Escape in May. (CBC)

Pain too thin, chemical engineer says

Chemical engineer Stephen Gaiski wrote a book on Ford's paint problems.

He claims the Ford paint is too thin and the flaking and peeling has nothing to do with the environment.

Gaiski says the paint defect originates at the factory.

He notes that he has told the company and its board about his concerns.

"They said they would address the issue," Gaiski, who works with the Zestar Corporation in Detroit, told CBC News last month.

"Well, here we are years later, and it still hasn't been done," he said.

Drove to nearest dealership 200 km away

Once Pittman realized she wasn't the only one with the problem, she drove nearly 200 kilometers to the nearest Ford dealership, in Corner Brook.

She says the dealership took pictures of the peeling paint and sent them off to Ford Canada.

After weeks of emails and requests for answers, Pittman went to CBC News with her story.

Finally, on Tuesday night — following inquiries from the CBC — Ford Canada provided her with a response.

The paint is peeling off Lorrie Pittman's 2012 Ford Escape — and, a CBC News investigation has found, dozens of other Ford vehicles across Canada. Pittman says she wants the car manufacturer to issue a recall. (CBC)
Pittman says the company offered to pay $500 towards a new paint job — roughly half the cost.

But she doesn't think a re-do of the same paint is sufficient.

Pittman wants Ford to recall all vehicles with peeling paint issues.

And she thinks that should happen before winter sets in, and more rust builds up on her Ford Escape.

"Once salt gets on the road, it's going to be a lot worse by the time the spring comes," she said.

Ford did not respond to CBC News interview requests, but spokesperson Matt Drennan-Scace sent this emailed statement: "We're currently working directly with our customer regarding their vehicle."

About the Author

Colleen Connors

CBC News

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.