On the edge

with Sharon Peters

Q: In almost 50 years of driving, I’ve never experienced as many problems with a vehicle as I have with my 2009 Ford Edge with all-wheel drive. I’ve only had the car for two and a half years, and the battery has already died. The dealer tried to convince me that the problem isn’t just with this car and that batteries don’t last very long in general. But the transmission has also been an issue since almost the first day of owning the vehicle. It was repaired and covered under a 60,000-mile warranty, but still: Did I get a lemon, or is this standard operating procedure for the Edge? A:

First, let’s talk about the battery. A car battery tends to have a shorter life span these days, compared to cars a while back, due largely to massive computerization and to newish energy demands like navigation systems and cell phone rechargers that nip away at the power source.

A general battery lifespan is two and a half to five years. Certain things can shorten that time even more, like leaving the lights on overnight.

It’s also worth noting that some experts say batteries tend to have a shorter life expectancy in the South and Southwest than in the North, since extreme heat is harder on batteries than the cold. Since your letter indicates that you live in Indiana, you’re in a midrange area, meaning you get plenty of hot and cold weather, but nothing as extreme as the deserts of Arizona or the Minnesota Northwoods.

As for the transmission, online chats and forums show many reports of screwy to failed transmissions in the Ford Edge, going as far back as 2007. There’s even one claim of a complete failure on a new Edge that was driven 500 miles. Safercar.gov, where you can check out recalls and service bulletins for specific makes and models for any year (type “service bulletin” into the search bar), shows several transmission related bulletins on the Edge in recent years for issues like “harsh engagement,” “harsh bump at stop” and “sluggish acceleration.”

Service bulletins aren’t recalls; they’re advisories to service departments, and frequently are intended to address recurring problems.

I’m glad your transmission issue has been resolved. Still, the drawn-out resolution for a problem like abnormal transmission is exasperating. I’m sure many can empathize.

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Email questions to sharon@ctwfeatures.com.