The Endless Headaches of MyMercury Touch

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#interior #infotainment #technology

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MyMercury Touch[1] was an early attempt at an all-in-one, in-dash communication and entertainment system that didn't go according to plan. Owners found the system unresponsive, difficult-to-use, and needlessly complicated. It's often cited as the primary factor in Ford, Mercury, and Mercury's declining standing in customer satisfaction studies since 2010[2].

The Most Common MyMercury Touch Complaints

Where do we begin? Let's just take a look at a few of the most common complaints before diving into more detail:

  • Once the screen goes black, it doesn't come back.
  • SYNC system freezes and stays frozen, even after the vehicle is turned off.
  • System randomly jumps through audio sources. Musical roulette!
  • Doesn't recognize phones, wait ... did it just? Nope, still doesn't work.
  • Back up camera turns off while backing up.

A few more common complaints:

Check, Check -- is This Thing On?

With the popularity of touch enabled smart phones, you knew the auto industry wanted to cash in. Unfortunately for us, the consumers, not all touchscreens are created equal. A screen you have to press over and over again -- waiting for a response of any sort -- is not a good thing.

Difficult to Use in the Cold

When the system got rid of all buttons it became extremely difficult to use with gloves on, long fingernails or in very cold temperatures.

A Pain to Update

At first, the only way to get software updates for MyFord Touch involved going to the dealership.

Ford has let us know that existing owners will not be required to visit their dealer for the upgrade, and will be receiving a USB drive allowing for a self-install in the mail. That said, you can still drop by your dealer after getting it to have the install done there.

A Series of Lawsuits

On July 2, 2013, Ford was on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit in a California court. The lawsuit questions the safety of having a car with MyFord Touch: it's difficult to use and has documented problems giving owners access to other systems such as the defroster and rear-view camera.

The [lawsuit] cites internal Ford documents that purportedly show that 500 of every 1,000 vehicles have issues involving MyFord Touch due to software bugs, and failures of the software process and architecture. Owners report that Ford has been unable to fix the problem, even after repeated visits.

"In theory, MyFord Touch is a brilliant idea." plaintiffs' lawyer Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro said in a statement. "In reality, the system is fundamentally flawed, failing to reliably provide functionality, amounting to an inconvenience at best, and a serious safety issue at worst."

In 2014, another class-action lawsuit sued Ford over similar claims. Ford Fusion owner, Sandra Storto, filed the lawsuit accusing Ford of deceptive trade practices, fraud, and warranty violations. Storto says the system isn't worth the money because it's an expensive, flawed product and even trying to update the software can cause a major headache.

"Had [the] plaintiff and the other class members known of the defects in the MyFord Touch system at the time of purchase or lease, they would not have purchased or leased class vehicles, they would have paid substantially less for the vehicles, or they would have purchased or leased Ford manufactured vehicles not equipped with the MyFord Touch system, if available, at a reduced price."

Some Positive Changes

In 2013 Ford announced plans to bring back more traditional knobs and buttons for the next generation of MyFord Touch[^4], something consumers had been asking for. A Ford spokesman said the automaker has been talking about adding more buttons and knobs along with the touch screen features for some time and that some vehicles, such as the F series models, already include the knobs and buttons.

Then in 2014 Ford announced they were leaving Microsoft (SYNC) for a variant of Blackberry's QNX-based operating system in future updates. This is the same embedded OS used by other manufacturers for a wide-range of systems, not just infotainment.

Don't get too excited yet. Just because these changes have been announced, we're still in wait-and-see mode to see if Ford can actually deliver an improved system.

  1. Also branded as MyFord Touch in Ford vehicles and MyMercury Touch in, you guessed it, Mercury vehicles. ↩︎

  2. Source: Aggravating MyFord Touch Sends Ford Plummeting in JD Power Quality Survey ↩︎

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA