In the latest Warranty Action Notice (WAN #04-2006), Ford takes aim at what they believe to be a current rash of unnecessary rotor replacements. According to Ford, 45 percent of rotors returned to the Warranty Parts Analysis Center (WPAC) could have been machined and returned to service.
When entering rotor replacement claims you should realize that you need the pre-turn thickness to support the necessity for replacement (i.e., it is below or too close to the minimum thickness). Those measurements are then entered in the "CHASSIS" comments field of claim submission. You might even take the additional precaution of making sure there is the required service management signature, authorizing the replacement. Measurement - check; signature - check. So why is Ford finding that nearly half of the rotors are in serviceable condition?
Based on the result of Ford reviews and DealersEdge examinations, the root cause seems to be bad habits resulting in the taking of shortcuts with the repair process. Instead of taking the measurements, the technicians are "eye-balling" the rotor to determine if replacement is necessary. In most cases, the minimum thickness measurement is stamped right on the side of the rotor. Because the base number is so readily available it appears that the technician is just marking down the measurement that would justify the replacement.
Let's not be too hard on the technicians however. In most cases they are highly trained and experienced. It could be that their professional judgment calls for a replacement even if the measurement does not, or was not even taken. However, Ford obviously does not share that judgment.
Not adhering to this policy is compounded by managers who are not pressing the proper controls on rotor replacements. Ford absolutely expects that the manager inspect and verify the need for replacement - then sign approval. If the signature is entered after the fact on a completed repair, you are not doing what is required. That signature may get by on a casual glance from Ford, but the lack of control becomes more obvious when stacks of claims are examined.
Recently I had the occasion to review a similar situation in which a technician routinely wrote down the same measurement for every rotor replacement he performed. All it took to prove a point was to grab a few rotors tagged in the scrapped parts bin to verify the true measurements. Again, this occurred in part because the service manager never actually verified the need when signing for the replacements.
Improve your level of control
It is not very hard to voice support for factory mandated controls, but aside from quoting the Warranty & Policy manual, it would serve your dealership and dealer a lot better to personally verify the measurements.
First, have someone occasionally mic the replaced rotors and examine them to see if the measurement matches the claim documentation. This will tell you if you are having a problem with the control in your shop.
For shops that seem to really be abusing replacements, I have even had the shop foreman or a lead technician help me out by machining some of the rotors to a serviceable condition. When having a shop meeting there is nothing more powerful than setting down a box of freshly turned, useable rotors for the techs to examine.
Also, service management must take an active role in the replacement evaluation. Using the Warranty Action Notice (WAN) as a good lead-in, explain the problem and that for the next several weeks management wants to actually see the micrometer on the rotor before they will sign for the replacement.
Obviously, Ford believes they are seeing evidence of unnecessary warranty costs. If things don't change, history tells us Ford will just turn up the heat. By taking a proactive position and occasionally double-checking your work, you will protect your claims before Ford comes knocking.
Processing hint on rotor measurements
Because you are entering the measurements on the warranty claim, they need to be in a specific format. The technician can note either millimeters (MM) or inches (IN) for the measurement and must designate the rotor location (left front, right front, etc.). Transfer those designations into the chassis comments entry field.
For example, right front rotor is noted as 1.045 inches the entry would be RF1045IN. Similarly, for 22.3 millimeters, the entry should be RF223MM
For inches, Ford likes to see three decimal places, for millimeters just one decimal place is fine.
Enter a space between measurements, and if you run out of room on the chassis field, just continue the measurements in the UNDEFINED field.