Monday, January 21, 2008

Will My Dealer Fix My Toyota Camry?

First, let me give you some background information about my Camry. I purchased my 2007 Toyota Camry XLE 3.5 Liter, Automatic, fully loaded with Navigation in 03/2006 as one of the first ones delivered to Toyota of Temecula Valley. I went there to purchase a 2006, but the 2007’s were in and the new body style just sold me. I had some insurance money from my wreck and was looking at the Corolla, Matrix and the Honda Civics. I decided to step up and purchase the Camry thinking that this car will last forever, just like my 1994 Toyota pick-up with 314,993 miles; original everything but oil.

Everything was fine, as usual for the first couple of months, but soon my tires started to wear on the inside front at around 15,000 miles. I took my car to a local tire place and they could not align the car due to the new car specs were not in, as the car was too new. I was forced to take it to the dealer. At the dealer, Toyota of Temecula Valley, they informed me that the tire wear was my fault, due to me not rotating my tires ever 3,000 miles as instructed in my manual. I told them that I did rotate my tires once at around 10,000 miles, but never would have thought that I needed to do it every 3,000 miles? I asked to talk with the service manager, and he insisted that this is what was required and that they will not cover new tires, but asked if they could quote me for new front tires. I said sure.

The Service Manager comes back with a quote of $271 each. I decided to shop for tires elsewhere. I went to my local tire place again, and got two front tires for $66 each. Ok fine dealers are expensive and they jipped me (I felt) on the tires but it was a 120 bucks not the end of the world.

Then at around 20,000 miles, my brakes started squealing. I thought it would be my front discs, as those typically need replacing first. So I went to me my normal mechanic. I trust this guy completely. He has worked on our cars for years, always does a good job and has saved me thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs. He tells me the rear brakes are worn out. He stated that normally, one would replace 2-3 sets of front brakes for every 1 set of rears? He said this is odd, but replaced them for me and stated that I should keep my receipts; as this car is not acting normal and a class action suit might be brought up and I can get a settlement for my expenses.

I am a Real Estate Appraiser in southern California and drive an average of 25,000 to 30,000 miles per year. I try to replace my oil every 4,000-7,000 miles with the factory recommended oil, and sometimes synthetic. At around 57,000 miles I noticed a slight knocking in the engine when it was cold. Since it is winter and it is in the mid 30’s-40’s in the morning, I thought it was either cheap gas or the cars normal warming up noise. After several days, this noise got louder and then the check engine light came on. The very next day I went to my mechanic and he checked the codes and they stated it was a #2 cylinder misfire. He thought this was odd, and heard the noise, but reset the code and asked me to drive the car that afternoon and see if the check engine light came on again, and then he could confirm the problem. I drove the car home and the light never can on. I went out for my afternoon inspections and was driving home at around 4:30 PM and the check engine light came on again. I thought, OK, I can bring it back and see actually what is the problem? After about two miles the check engine light started FLASHING! I thought, I never seen a check engine light DO THAT?

I was already on the freeway and when the car started chugging and I knew something was wrong. I drove to my dealer (Toyota of Temecula Valley), which just happened to be close by, at around 5:00 PM and asked to put my car into service. They asked if I could bring it back in the morning?

I stated that I think the engine just blew and I could not make it home and back. They asked how do you know that? I stated that the check engine light just came on and I noticed it FLASHING! They asked if I could wait until tomorrow? I stated that my mechanic checked the check engine light code this morning and it stated a #2 cylinder misfire.

After several minutes of back and forth with the service rep, an Assistant Service Manager Mark Brownell asked someone to check out the car. I stated that I had the extended warranty and when could I pick up my rental car. He stated that they must look at the car in the morning and they will contact me. At around 4:00 PM the next day, Mark called and stated that the #2 cylinder was blown with a broken connecting rod and a melted piston and they noticed SLUDGE in the oil and think that it was my maintenance that was at fault. I stated that I would collect my maintenance records and get back with them.

Well, that brings you up to speed. I will continue to update you on the progress but as of today I still do not have a car, a rental car and the dealer (Toyota of Temecula Valley) is not returning my calls.


jamie said...

We have a 2003 Camry. It was purchased at Compatition Toyota Middle Island NY. They have also done all the required maintaince. We noticed a puddle of what we thought was coolant under the car the other night. The car was running fine. No sign of a problem. We took it in to the dealer the very next morning, 2 miles away. We expected a call later in the day that the car was ready and it would be a hose replacement. THE ENGINE IS BLOWN at 88,000 miles. The extended warranty was up at 75,000. These cars go on for over 200,000. USUALLY. We were told it was a defect. Toyota will pay for all the parts, but we had to pay the labor. $2500. If it is a defect, whay do we pay for anything? or if labor is $95.00 and hour, does it take 25 hours to replace an engine.
A problem that is a defect, they say it rare, but they know about it, no recalls, no notices about a maybe probem, not a engine blown because of no oil, an over heated engine, that melted a bolt! That showed no signs of a major problem until coolant was noticed. The engine gage did not show over heating until aprox 500 feet PULLING INTO the dealer. The gage was watched very carefully while driveing the aprox 3 miles to the dealer. Watch for recalls and class actions on this

Arlyne Nelms said...

I'm sorry to know that you had to go through such inconveniences regarding the after-sales service. All of the problems you had with your Camry should have been processed right away because it hampers your car to the extent that it's no longer functional. I hope you were able to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Arlyne Nelms @