3,000 miles into our overland voyage through Mexico, the oil change light in our Ford Transit Connect came on.
We had just left the city of Coatzacoalcos, and were on our way to Palenque, when we noticed the service light flashing in the lower corner of the dash board. Of course, even the smallest towns in Mexico have some sort mechanic who could have probably changed the oil in the van. (There are many cars in Mexico that seem to be just barely functional – so it makes sense that there are lots of mechanics everywhere.) However, we wanted to take our vehicle to some place reputable, so we decided to find a Ford dealership and have the car examined at their service center.
The process was surprisingly familiar and straightforward.
We looked on our GPS, and noticed that there was a Ford dealership only a few miles away in the suburbs of the city of Villahermosa. Within a few minutes we saw the gleaming Ford sign rising above the highway and had pulled into the service lot. I would characterize my Spanish proficiency as intermediate – but I was able to explain that we wanted the car to be serviced. In addition to the oil change, we wanted the tires rotated, the air filters changed, and the brakes checked.
While our exact version of the Ford Transit Connect was not sold in Mexico, there is a model that is very similar, and the mechanics assured me that they would be able to do everything with a few hours…and they did. The service center had the exact look and feel of a Ford service center in the United States. We sat in the waiting room and watched as the mechanic went through and checked the van’s components.
The experience was remarkable for how unremarkable it was. Frankly, the most difficult part was working with the tech to input my information into their computer system – as their spreadsheet were not programmed to accept my U.S. contact information. When the car was ready, the mechanic showed me the used air filter and the bottle for the new oil which he had put in the car. (I guess to assure me that he had done everything we had asked him to do…) With that we drove away onto our next destination.
All in all, Ford seems to have a widespread network of distributors throughout Mexico, which can be located through their website. The individuals working at the Villahermosa location were all very professional, and the experience was very similar to the experiences I have had in the United States…the only difference was our interactions were in Spanish!