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Ford Freestyle Maintenance and Repair

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
Discuss Freestyle problems and share solutions with other owners here.


  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    If anyone comes up with a way to cut down the glare from the windshield, please share it with the rest of us. Thanks! Otherwise very happy with the vehicle.
  • dgulinodgulino Member Posts: 38
    I notice this, too. When it's sunny and bright, the top of the dash reflects in the windshield. I'm hoping to get used to it!
  • cap4cap4 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my Freestyle SEL fwd in March at about 3,500 I noticed that after steady driving for over an hour the car would not accelerate when trying to take off from a stoplight or any complete stop. I have had it into the dealership 3 times, just picked it up again today. They replaced the EGR valve. Hope this solves it because I was very happy with the car until I became afraid of it. Anyone else had that problem? :( I have no problem with the windshield glare. :shades: any the gas mileage is better than expected, as much as 30 mpg on the highway and 24-25 in town.
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    Since you have the FWD, I believe you have an auto transmission, not the CVT. Mine is AWD and has 1,400 miles on it but I have not had the problem. Did you have any error codes show up? At first I thought it might be a transmission problem, but I guess it could actually be engine or electrical. If it was an EGR problem I think the "Check Engine" light would have come on. As you can tell, I don't have a clue but am interested in the outcome. Pls keep us posted and good luck.

    I, too, am happy with the Freestyle and am getting good mileage for a brand new car. 24 mpg on trips and 21 around town.
  • lenwlenw Member Posts: 14
    All Freestyle's (aka Freebie's) have the CVT. It is only the 500 that has the CVT or the 5 speed auto trans.
  • lillybemelillybeme Member Posts: 2
    Yes...but mine completely dies
  • batjambatjam Member Posts: 2
    ">I have approximately 1000 miles on my freestyle. i purchased it on may 28, 2005 and it has been to the dealership twice and i haven't even had it for 30 days. first, the drivers side airbag light continued to stay on. the second time, the wrench light came on. this means a throttle/transmission problem. it is at the dealership right now so i don't know what the outcome will be.....
  • netgrousenetgrouse Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone had vibration in the front end when stepping on the brake firmly, not slamming them on, when you are going around 45-55 MPH? Feels like a brake or or something, dealer says they might have to just get broken in. I got my Freestyle on 6/3/05 with 18 miles on, it now has 720 and it is still doing it? Any ideas? How about gas mileage so far for everyone?
  • pnewbypnewby Member Posts: 277
    Could be a warped rotor, have had this in other vehicles. Usually caused by uneven/excess tightening of lug nuts. Many disc brake vehicles should have nuts tightened in the correct pattern, and to a specific torgue which is different for different vehicles.
  • ht_ronht_ron Member Posts: 1
    Hi - we've had ours for a week now, very happy with it so far, except for 2 things...

    1. is there any way to program it to unlock the doors after you stop the engine? We have the limited, with the dealer-installed autostart, and the radio keeps playing after you remove the key, until you open a door...but is there a way to set it to unlock all the doors either when you remove the key or when you open one of the front doors?

    2. I don't expect a solution to this, but I noticed that the sun visor doesn't move nearly far enough back when it's swung off to the side...I'm tall and have the seat back all the way, and there's about a foot of clear space between the visor and the column in the front window, when it's on the side!

  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    Can't help you with the first question - I find that a nuisance, too.

    The sun visor will slide back on the bar that holds it to the car. Swing it to the side window and then slide it back along the top bar. Not sure it will slide a foot, but at least some.
  • nitromaxnitromax Member Posts: 640
    1. is there any way to program it to unlock the doors after you stop the engine? We have the limited, with the dealer-installed autostart, and the radio keeps playing after you remove the key, until you open a door...but is there a way to set it to unlock all the doors either when you remove the key or when you open one of the front doors?

    Probably not. I can't understand why you would want all the doors to unluck anyways. It seems to me it was designed to be somewhat of a safety feature. In fact, I have never heard of any car that unlocks all of the doors as you say.

    I would think that if someone needs to exit the vehicle, they could always try pulling on the door handle. :-)

    speaking of door handles...very nice....they appear to be real metal.....none of that cheap plastic plated to look like metal stuff
  • dgulinodgulino Member Posts: 38
    I have to disagree with this. We had two GM minivans over the years, and both unlocked all four doors when you put the car in park and shut off the engine. We greatly appreciated this. We find it very annoying that only the front doors unlock on the Freestyle. It was the same way with our '03 Sable, and, no we could find no way to reprogram the system. (The two GM vans could also be re-programmed eight ways from Sunday!)

    It's aggravating when, for example, you've got some packages in the back seat and want to open the rear door as soon as you step out. You've got to either pull out the key fob or re-open the front door and push the lock switch to unlock the rear doors.

    Also, it isn't a simple matter to just pull on the door handle because the door still won't open from the inside unless the door lock button is actually pulled up. This was also true of our Sable and seems to be a regular feature in Ford vehicles. The position of the child safety lock switch on the door edge doesn't affect this. If there's a back-seat passenger, he/she has to pull up on the button by hand.
  • salty_insalty_in Member Posts: 3
    There is a way to make the car not lock all of the doors when you put it into drive (the driver's manual gives instructions on doing this). However there doesn't appear to be a way to make it lock the doors while the car is running and automatically unlock them when it stops.
  • elcondeelconde Member Posts: 2
    I rented a 2005 Malibu and the radio keeps playing until you open the door.
  • ericksonsericksons Member Posts: 11
    This will be a bit long, but hopefully, it'll save someone else a little time. On the CVT, there is indeed a dipstick... you just have to take some stuff off to get to it. It's located just about directly below the charcoal canister & the air intake tube. Basically, you have two options.

    First (recommended), you can remove the battery and the battery carriage. There's one 5/16th "hold-down" screw you need to remove to pull out the battery (after you've disconnected the battery terminals, obviously). Then the battery carriage has four 10mm mounting screws you'll need to remove. There are a couple wire bundles attached to the carriage, just push the tabs out and remove the carriage. You should then be able to see the dipstick on the top of the transmission clearly. It will look like the charcoal canister is in the way, but it moves freely if you push it aside.

    The second option would be to remove the air intake tube from the air cleaner housing to the throttle body... Taking this route would involve several clamps, electrical connections, etc... Nothing that can't be done easily... Just more work than taking out the battery, in my humble opinion... so take out the battery!

    My CVT didn't have a "fill plug" anywhere near the dip stick... I went to the dealership and had a tech pull up the schematics for the CVT on their computer. They too found no fill plug and the mechanic said that his training indicated that the fluid should be added via the dip stick tube. There's a site glass near the dip stick, but of course, I forgot to ask exactly what I should be looking for... but it's there nonetheless...

    Easy enough... well, so I thought... the dip stick tube is VERY narrow... more narrow than those on any of the transmissions I've ever worked with before... the standard transmission funnel won't fit... I used a turkey baster with the bulb pulled off and it worked perfectly (put another funnel into the top of the baster and added it that way). 10 quarts is the capacity and it's very slow going due to the very narrow tube. Ford says that anything else will damage the CVT and void the warranty... But, of course, none of the auto supply stores are carrying it yet (if ever), so you have to get it from the dealership... Funny thing though, my dealership had to actually order it from the plant (luckily located here in town)... so call ahead to be sure they have it if you're ever looking for it...

    Hope this helps!
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    Thanks for the info and I hope it all works out OK in the end.
  • gearhead46gearhead46 Member Posts: 1
    Thank you for the very insightful and helpful information. Let me describe the problem I had recently and see if you think that fluid level is my problem.

    We were taking a 200 mile trip this weekend in our new Freestyle. Stopped for gas and found the "Check Transmission" light on when I restarted it. The car would drive OK, but was in a very low drive ratio. Sort of like driving a regular car in low gear. It was on a Sunday out in the middle of the boonies, so I did an instant panic.

    Stopped the car for a few minutes and shut off the engine. When it restarted, the light went off and the car drove as normal. Now I'm nervous!!

    Reading the manual, it would imply that such a thing might occur when the transaxle fluid is low. I suppose I could take it into the dealer to check out, but it is not very convenient for me to do that.

    Would appreciate any suggestions.
  • dblegldblegl Member Posts: 3
    The glare from my windshield on a bright day is significant enough to be dangerous. I believe it is due to the rake of the glass and the lighter the color of the dash, the worse it is. The only solution is to always drive with a very good pair of POLARIZED sunglasses. It really helps. But I would never get this vehicle again if this condition still exists.
    In reading the owners forum I am amazed at the reported gas mileage. I feel that a lot of it is gross exageration. Since the car has an on-board mileage computer all you have to do is read it. There is no way this undersized engine with the vehicle gross weight is getting 25 to 27 MPG. After 5000 miles I am getting 18.5 locally and 21.4 hiway(interstate) I would be interested in what others are really getting.
  • speedsk8speedsk8 Member Posts: 2
    I have the shale colored dash and I the glare does not bother be a bit.

    I got 18.5, 19.2 and then 21.5 of all city driving with the air on.
    Have not taken a long trip yet, but will in a few weeks....
  • ericksonsericksons Member Posts: 11
    I have the pebble interior and I haven't noticed the glare issue... but I have seen a couple other posts related to it...

    I've only got 1250 miles, but I'm averaging about 22.5 mpg (combined)...

    Sorry you're not thrilled with the new toy.

    Best of luck!
  • ericksonsericksons Member Posts: 11
    I'll start with the disclaimer... I'm a hobbyist and I don't trust my own advice half the time... AND, I'm the guy that mistakenly drained the CVT in the first place! ha! So take it with a grain of salt...

    My fist suggestion is that you should get into the dealer at your earliest convenience to at least get the issue on record with them... This is not only the first model year for the Freestyle, but also the fist year with an untested transmission (other than the Volvo stuff)... so get it in and at least make them aware of it...

    Doesn't really sound like a low fluid condition to me... If it was, it would be more like the transmission was slipping (revving high but not going), or taking too long to actually engage... and it would be persistent, not something that would just go away...

    Could have been a mechanical issue with the linkage (that connects the gear shift to the transmission)... but again, that's not something that would be intermittent... it would simply not shift/engage as you moved the gearshift through its range...

    Could have been an issue with a sensor or the ECM (computer)... but I'd be throwing darts at a board at this point to try to ascertain what was going on... but that leads me to another reason to take it in to the dealer... if your "check" light came on, it's likely that the ECM recorded the event and the dealer could pull the fault code to see exactly what happened. You could probably go to Autozone (big parts store chain here) and they could pull the code for you... but, whatever the problem is, it should be under warranty at this point so just let the dealer figure it out.

    Worst case, you could have something wrong with the CVT... better to get it in and get it looked at then to be in the middle of your next trip and have it go out...

    Sorry this was probably of no help at all... Best of luck!
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    I agree with you on the windshield glare. I have the pebble dash and it is bothersome and potentially dangerous. I plan to "fix" it somehow, but haven't decided on a solution, yet. I am thinking about tinting a strip at the top of the windshield, if it's legal. That won't solve it, but it will help. I'm open to other suggestions.

    On the MPG issue, I am very satisfied with my mileage - better than the 2002 Highlander I traded in. Right now in mixed driving on mountain roads I'm getting 21.6 according to the message center. On a highway trip I got around 24 mpg according to the computer and I've only got 1,850 miles on the odometer so it should get better than that with time.
  • upset3upset3 Member Posts: 2
    I am desperate re windshield reflections from dashboard. Vertical lines very disconcerting, and so is strobe effect fronm traffic lights at night. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • lostlost Member Posts: 64
    There are dashboard covers available,just search the web for them.
  • dblegldblegl Member Posts: 3
    I believe the major reflection on the windshield is due to a combination of things. One would be the angle of the glass, of which nothing can be done. The second could be the type of safety glass used by Ford. Since some owners do not seem to have the problem I,m wondering whether different suppliers were used at differing points in the assembly stage. If the type of glass is the problem we have a "fat" chance of getting Ford to admit it. The third factor is the color of the dash. I have "Pebble" which seems to generate the most reflection. There is one Freestyle that has an all black interior but I have not been in it. I am curious if it has the problem.

    As for a solution, first of all use good polarized sunglasses for daytime driving. I bought a pair and they really help. I would estimate an 80% reduction. I am presently looking for some product that I can affix to the top of the dash that will eliminate or(reduce) the reflection. I am thinking of something along the lines of kitchen cabinet contact paper in a black (or dark brown) matte finish. It could then be cut neatly to fit and still allow use of the dash top storage compartment. The contact paper might have a bonding problem.

    Thats all I can suggest right now. If I hit on something I will post it. Good Luck.
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    I have the pebble interior and glare is a problem, so interior color may be a factor. I'm thinking of tinting about a 4" strip at the top of the windshiled with window tint material used for windows. Haven't gotten around to researching yet to see if it is even legal to do that, but I have seen it on Mustangs, etc. Using the sun visor seems to decrease the glare so I'm thinking tinting might help. I'm also going to bring up the problem with ther dealer when I take it in for the first oil change so see what they suggest, but I'm not optimistic. I'm interested in what others are doing if they consider it a problem.
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    My regular sunglasses are not polarized. They do reduce glare a little, but not that much. I tried a pair of polarized sunglasses and they really work well. Much better than the other sunglasses so I agree that seems to be the best and cheapest solution right now for those that have a glare problem.
  • upset3upset3 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you ,to all for your suggestions.
  • vrmvrm Member Posts: 310
    I purchased my Freestyle SEL fwd in March at about 3,500 I noticed that after steady driving for over an hour the car would not accelerate when trying to take off from a stoplight or any complete stop. I have had it into the dealership 3 times, just picked it up again today. They replaced the EGR valve. Hope this solves it

    I am eager to know if your problem has been resolved. Please let us know the status. Thanks!
  • saramsaram Member Posts: 34
    Last week my FreeStyle wouldn't start on three tries. Today the same thing happened. The first attempt it would try to kick over twice and then nothing. The next two times absolutely nothing. Finally sitting for a little bit it started. It doesn't seem to me like a battery problem, it didn't sound that way when it was trying to turn over. Both times it was a quick trip inside to get something and come back to leave. Both times it has been extremely hot outside. Mid 90's with high humidity. I use the A/C, but having lived in Las Vegas for several years, I always turn the a/c off before shutting the vehicle off. I just don't know what to think. I have to drop it off with the dealer Friday morning for them to look at it.
    We have had it since mid March 05. It has 6,900 or so miles on it. This is the only problem we have had with it. I hope that it isn't nothing major. Has anyone else had this type of problem? Mine is a SEL FWD.
  • pnewbypnewby Member Posts: 277
    Did you have anything else on your keychain that might intefere with the Secure Lock key? I know of problems with another key with an embeded chip, a Mobile Pass or Sonitrol system key fobs. One of these could confuse the signal you key emits and cause it not to start. The weather can affect the signal strength generated by the other object.
  • awdrivenawdriven Member Posts: 1
    Try a dashboard cover in a dark color. Some research was done and it found the darker the dash, the less the glare. I have 2005 Freestyle with the tan interior and I have the same problem with glare. My 95 Windstar had a grey dash and the glare from it is less, I covered it in a black dash cover and now it has hardly any glare at all... So my sugestion try a dash cover..
  • saramsaram Member Posts: 34
    Hi Pnewby,

    nothing else on the keychain at all. Just the key and the the control for the car.
    I am dropping it at the dealer tonight and they will look at it tomorrow. With any luck they can duplicate the problem and repair it in one day! I will post once I get it back and let everyone know what the problem was.
  • doublebarreldoublebarrel Member Posts: 2
    My wife and I just purchased a FWD Limited 05 Freestyle. While making our first road trip we noticed that the cruise control didn't function properly. While going uphill the engine would rev up, but there would be not a resulting increase in speed. This was not the case when we disengaged the cruise control and used the accelerator to manually keep up our speed when we went uphill. We took the vehicle in and the service department was able to reproduce our problem. They tried to reprogram the computer, but it would only get so far and then stop. As a result Ford is sending a new computer for installation.

    My concern is that this may be a band-aid for bigger electrical problems in the car. Is this a reasonable concern? To my way of thinking two things could have happened to cause the computer to malfunction: 1) the computer was bad to begin with, 2) the computer was good but other electrical problems (surges or shorts for example) caused it to malfunction and could cause other problems in the car down the road. I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions you might have. I don't want to get rid of the car, but I know electrical problems are sort of a black hole and something that I don't want to deal with over the life of the car.

    Thanks for any advice.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    More than likely, the computer was simply bad to begin with.
  • doublebarreldoublebarrel Member Posts: 2
    Thanks barnstormer64, I hope you're right.
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    Doublebarrel - I live in hilly terrain and have noticed the same thing you are talking about, but I don't think it's a problem if I am reading your message correctly. When I set the cruise to 70 mph and the car starts going up or down a hill the engine will rev to maintain that speed. That is because the engine and cvt are working together to keep the Freestyle at "optimum" power range. So my guess is that the engine revs up while the cvt "gears down" to maintain the same speed because the computer finds that combination a better option. In the case of uphill to make sure it has enough power to continue at the set speed and on the downhill to use the engine as a brake so that it doesn't speed up. Since there are NO gears you don't sense any transmission change like you would in a conventional vehicle. Having said that, if the dealer thinks there is a problem I yield to them. In my case that is one of the feature I like best about my new AWD Limited Merlot Freestyle.
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    Since I wear glasses, yesterday I bought a pair of $18 clip-on, polarized sunglasses and they work great. My prescription sunglasses are not polarized so they didn' eliminate glare, just reduced it. With the clip-ons I see much better out the windshield.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    It's possible the windshield glare on some cars is due to the detailing work done at the dealer. Maybe they used a high gloss cleaner to detail the interior before selling the car and that's what really makes your glare so much worse. That said, maybe there's some cleaner out there to strip off the high gloss application? Just a thought...
  • cmunizcmuniz Member Posts: 604
    Thanks.........it could be. If that's the case, it should be gone after a while when cleaner wears off. Let's hope so.
  • lightslights Member Posts: 4
    wondering if anyones been able to turn off the interior lights while still leaving the rear hatch open. Every vehicle I've ever owned has had a dome override switch..I couldn't find one or any info in the owners manual.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    Sounds like your dealer's service department needs to go back to school. They clearly don't seem to understand how a CVT operates. Simply put, in order to maintain a constant speed when climbing a hill, an engine has to deliver more torque. All engines do this by increasing RPM. Your CVT transmission allows this to happen seamlessly and you experience a smooth increase in engine RPM. A conventional automatic transmission would allow the engine to "labor" a bit until it would suddenly "downshift" with a resulting similar increase of RPM's. When you are hill climbing without the cruise control on, you're probably subconsciously allowing your speed to drop off, hence you're not experiencing a similar increase in RPM that you receive with the cruise control on.

    Aside from all that, your Freestyle's electrical system is completely independent from whatever problems you might have with a transmission "computer". Rest easy. Your baby's OK.
  • nitromaxnitromax Member Posts: 640
    Ok, it's hardly a serious problem but I would appreciate any input.

    I just got done washing my Freestyle and there was some grease splattered along the lower gray plastic cladding. It was in front of the right rear tire so it must have been thrown up from the right front tire. I'm sure the grease was on the road and it was just driven over. It's on the section where the wheel flare starts to bulge out for the tire.
    The problem is that when I washed the grease off with standard car wash soap, the gray had been dis-colored to a blue color....most likely the actual color of the plastic. (theres a rectangular section of molded plastic that almost looks like it doesn't belong there..kind of weird actually) The strange thing is that the grease is on the other parts of the plastic cladding but it didn't discolor any other areas...only the rectangular section.

    Any suggestions on what my options might be?
    1. live with it
    2. ask dealer if there is any way of getting this fixed. I have never seen a car exterior react to anything thrown up from the road as easily as this did and I've been driving for 22 years with 8 different cars/trucks under my belt (6 of those being Fords)
    3. Put a Sponge Bob Square Pants sticker over it. :-)
  • lightslights Member Posts: 4
    I called The ford motor company and they don't have an answer for me re the interior lights. Anyone else been able to figure this out? I was hoping to be able to let the kids use the tailgate seats (which I noticed in the owners manual shouldn't be used in the position ugh!)at the drive in but couldn't get the interior lights to turn off.
  • mkyoungmkyoung Member Posts: 5
    After a period of time (i think 10 to 15 minutes it should be in the manual), the lights will just go out. They will stay off until you close/open a door (or the rear hatch).
  • cdndriver2cdndriver2 Member Posts: 36
    Take option #2. Up here in Canada I bet the dealer would replace that cladding instantly. They send defective parts like that back to the supplier and let them take the loss.
    I had an '02 Explorer and the roof rails started to flake after 1 year. I asked the dealer to recommend a way to paint/fix and I picked it up with brand new rails that never flaked right up to trade-in time.
    Option #3 is second choice but I'd buy 4 to match up all sides :D
  • cdndriver2cdndriver2 Member Posts: 36
    You're correct. The interior lights will go out after a period of time to prevent killing the battery. This is pretty much standard on Ford and other vehicles. Just this last weekend one of my riders left a door ajar. When I returned a while later the lights were out, but the door still ajar. Whew !
  • nitromaxnitromax Member Posts: 640
    I have an update on my dis-colored plastic cladding issue. Follow the link above for a more detailed description.
    The area in question appears to be a rectangular area in front of the rear tires on the side moulding. It looks to be a stone guard and maybe even a stick-on stone guard.
    I had the service guys look at it today and they were perplexed as to why it discolored. They also said that they didn't think that it could be removed and have a new sticker (or whatever it is) installed.
    According to them, since it was caused by something flinging up from the road, it wouldn't be covered by warranty. I bit my tongue when he told me that.

    What amazes me the most is that these Ford dealers/service people STILL know nothing about the vehicle. They couldn't tell me what that area was or how to fix it. Their suggestion was to hit it with some paint. I'll get some pictures of the area in question soon so everyone can understand what I'm talking about.
  • cdndriver2cdndriver2 Member Posts: 36
    The dealer response is unacceptable, Nitromax. They can't prove that it was road debris that caused the problem. You could maybe take this further and call a regional Ford office or something like that.
    If I encounter a similar problem I'll let you know what the dealer says up here.
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