The Ford C-Max is a compact car that’s been rolling off the Ford production lines since 2003. Available as a standard five door model it has a simple front engine, front wheel drive system that’s great on the road and gives the car a good balance of fuel economy, space and handling.
Based on the Ford Focus, the C-Max is a great car that holds its value nicely within the second-hand market. There are tons of spare parts available and like many Fords, it doesn’t suffer from too many faults. However, there are a few danger signs you should be aware of when looking at buying a second-hand model.
During the test drive can you hear a bunch of groans and creaks coming from the front of the car? If these noises are plaguing your airwaves then the offending character in this story is likely to be the front suspension bushes. Confirm your suspicions with a quick push on the bonnet when the car is parked up. If it fails to return to position within a single bounce then you know the bushes have dried out and cracked.
There have been several recalls on the Ford C-Max. These have included known faults with engine failure in 2006. Issues with the brake systems caused a widespread recall in 2007 and 2009 and finally there was a reported problem with power steering that has reared its head on more than one occasion. Check that the remedial work has been completed.
No matter what time of year it might be make sure you dial down the temperature on the air conditioning when you’re taking any C-Max on the road for a test drive. You’re looking to experience a full cooling blast or the car may be suffering from a problem where the compressor pipe is known to fracture and snap.
This is possibly the big one. You don’t want to purchase a second-hand C-Max with a malfunctioning clutch, so do your due diligence during the test drive and make sure it’s not slipping by accelerating hard throughout the gear changes. Problems with the clutch will require a replacement part, which is likely to be a substantial chunk of change.
The top of the range C-Max models are known to have a headlight system that’s more than a little tricky to fix. These Xenon headlamps can burn out and it requires an expensive visit to the workshop to fix them. Make sure you take the time during the test drive to ensure that all is present and correct with both front facing lights.
Carefully reverse the car during one point in the test drive in a quiet area. Listen out for noises coming from the back end, which are likely to originate from the rear brake callipers, and will be caused by the mounting bracket. If this is the case then the remedy is to replace the brake pads, which isn’t too costly a repair if the rest of the numbers for the car add up to a good purchase.
The Ford C-Max is a great purchase if you have a small family and want a first or second car that isn’t going to break the bank. Whilst it might not have the space of large vehicles, it doesn’t require too much road tax or insurance and is perfect for the busy urban streets.