Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cars Confidential - Twit­ter: @JoshuaDowl­ing

FORD should be com­mended for its re­cently an­nounced free loan car pro­gram for ser­vice cus­tomers. We’re hop­ing other brands fol­low suit. But sev­eral read­ers have con­tacted us to point out in some cases the cars are handed over with barely a quar­ter of a tank of petrol.

Cus­tomers are only ex­pected to re­turn them with the same amount of fuel but in many cases it means added in­con­ve­nience be­cause the first stop af­ter pick­ing up your free loan car is to a petrol sta­tion.

Why, as many read­ers have pointed out, don’t Ford deal­ers sim­ply do what rental car com­pa­nies do: send the cars out full of fuel and ask cus­tomers to re­turn them full? At least then cus­tomers can re­fuel at a more con­ve­nient time rather than hav­ing a panic attack that they might not make it to work. Some deal­ers tell us they don’t ex­pect the car to be topped up if driven only a short dis­tance.

And there is an­other sting in the tail, which ap­plies to many ser­vice cen­tre loan cars, not just Ford: in­sur­ance ex­cess.

Prang your free Ford loan car and you’re up for a $2000 in­sur­ance ex­cess (the go­ing rate for pri­vate cars is typ­i­cally be­tween $500 and $800).

Next time you pick up a loan car — re­gard­less of which brand’s ser­vice cen­tre you’re us­ing — be sure to read the fine print.

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