Is Toyota Ripping Me Off on a Warranty Claim?
I'm writing to you in the hope you may be able to offer some advice in regard to a warranty claim with Toyota Australia.
Earlier this year I bought a 2005 Prado VX V6 auto, with 168,000kms. A few weeks ago I lifted the bonnet and noticed the engine listing to the left (passenger side). Closer inspection revealed that the engine mount bracket weld, had failed at the point where it welds to the chassis. The weld failure was quite uniform, resulting in the bracket dropping, very neatly, inside the chassis rail.
I took the vehicle to Bill Buckle Toyota Service at Brookvale. Straight up I have to say the service manager - Jimmy Calci has been very good. He did what he could, but of course can only do so much. He said he had never heard of such a failure, but contacted Toyota Australia, who promptly sent him a metal plate to modify the way the engine mount attaches to the bracket and strengthen it. This was supplied free by Toyota Australia.
My own google research revealed this to be a problem on a limited number of Prados. Basically a robot welder was having a bad day. Some failed quite early in their life and were repaired under warranty. Others a bit later, but Toyota Australia coughed up after some argy bargy.
In my case, even though Toyota Australia have supplied the new part for free, they refuse to warranty the labour or the cost of the new engine mounts that were damaged as a result of the engine dropping to one side.
Jimmy went ahead and repaired the vehicle, calling in a specialist welder. The engine had to come out to gain access. He showed me pictures of the repair process and the email discussion resulting in Toyota Australia denying a warranty claim, except for the supply of the new part.
The bill is just north of $2500.
I realise the vehicle is eight years old with reasonable mileage. However, this is a known problem. Also the fact that Toyota Australia supplied a new part for free, to specifically address this failure, results in an admission of this as a problem.
My apologies for the long winded email, but I felt it important to state all the facts.
It appears my only option is now via The Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. Before I go that way, any advice, including who I may contact at Toyota Australia and if thats a waste of time, is greatly appreciated.
Sorry to hear you got slugged with this significant bill - and right at Christmas time, too. Bugger (as Toyota would have said in a previous ad campaign).
I guess the question is: Is it a manufacturing defect? And also, what is the reasonable life of the vehicle? 168,000km is four laps of the earth. It's more than 10 years of average Australian driving (according to Ausstats). Components wear out. All machines have weak links. The vehicle's previous usage might have contributed to the failure.
Certainly Toyota should have done a better job with the quality control. But the part lasted 168,000km...
I would just cop the bill. I doubt you'll win via the tribunal, but to be sure I would gather all pertinent evidence, and consult a solicitor (it should take only an hour of their time, so a reasonable spend in the circumstances, to know with reasonable certainty whether fighting is worthwhile).
If this ever happens to you again, get the dealer to source the part, and quote you on fitting it. Get two other reputable mechanics to quote as well. If you still want the dealer to do the job, show him the competitor's quotes and tell him he'll have to match the lowest one if he wants the work.
You probably don't want to hear this, but why go ahead with the work if you're not happy with the situation? After the event, you lose (nearly) all leverage. They did the work, you're obliged to pay, case closed.
I think you could have had an independent mechanic do this for $1000 less. Dealers are specialists at bending you over when the chips are down. Why do you think they showed you all the photos? (To substantiate in your mind what an epic job it was.)
Short version: I think you got ripped off on the repair price, and only a solicitor can tell you whether a fight will be worthwhile. (And even then, it'll probably cost you a fair bit in solicitor's fees to fight. Also, you can write to Toyota, certainly, but they won't really care, because you're not a customer. (Toyota only sells new vehicles; you're not a new vehicle buyer. Your outrage is kind of insignificant to them. They will view it in terms of what they are required by law to do.)
Sorry to be a bearer of mostly bad tidings in this case.