What Can I Do After the Warranty Runs Out?


Hi John,

My Wife and I have a 2008 Toyota RAV 4 Cruiser ACA33R, with currently 45000km on it and last year it started popping out of 4th when when it's under load. When I brought it in to Toyota to get it serviced and some recall work done on it, I asked for this to be looked at, the car didn't pop out of gear when the mechanic drove it.

So I went with one of the service managers on a test drive on some steep roads so the car would come under load, and it popped out of gear. The service manager said he had never seen this before and would call Toyota technical and get back to me.

A month went past and no call so I called the service center back and spoke to a different service manger and said that technical had been contacted and hadn't heard of it before either? The only solution that was offered was that they kept the car for a minimum of a week and took the gearbox out.

I then asked for a quote and they wouldn't give me one.

I have since contacted an Independent mechanic (still no luck even with a ballpark figure) who told me that this was unusual in a car with such low kilometers, so I contacted Toyota directly via email. They very promptly and said that they would get the dealership to contact me (still waiting) and I asked about warranty on it and was told as per their warranty it was 3 years/ 100,000km and they couldn't do anything.

I am just disappointed that even though the car has low kilometres has been well looked after has this reasonably major problem.

Sorry to whinge, but I listen to you on 2UE, on both your program and segments that you do and you seem to have some success with these matters. I was wondering if you could give me some help/ advice regarding this because I am a bit lost with it.




Hi Chris,

I'm sure this s very frustrating. The dealership sounds flat-out hopeless, and Toyota sounds like it's jumping on the old: 'that's the warranty, now you're paying for it' trick.

The fact is, it does not matter how long the warranty is. Your car is five or six years old, but has travelled only  as far as a typical three-year-old car in Australia. Gearboxes are not affected by age. They are affected by distance. Yours hasn't gone very far.

What matters in these cases is not when the warranty rant out. Under the law, what matters is: what's the reasonable life of a gearbox? Certainly the answer to this is: more than 45,000km of trouble-free operation.

Obviously, if you've abused it, then you are responsible for those consequences. If the thing wears out as a normal part of its age, again it's your problem. If you didn't get it maintained according to the manufacturer's schedule, again: your problem.

However, if the thing just becomes prematurely defective, then this is most certainly Toyota's problem - regardless of when the warranty runs out.

Subject to the caveats above about abuse, maintenance and wear and tear above, this seems pretty clear-cut to me.

However, it also sounds to me like you are presenting your car to them and accepting what they say. I think you need to get on the front foot. Tell them: This is not acceptable. The law is clear. One way or another - the easy way or the hard way - they need to take care of it. You are not copping it on the chin. Tell them if you don't get a speedy resolution, you will be taking the matter to consumer affairs, and I am certainly happy to discuss it on air with you. Be assertive rather than receptive.

You need to adopt this more aggressive attitude because - especially at dealership level - they are absolute experts at violating people's consumer rights. They do this simply because you will pay them more than Toyota will if it's a warranty claim. You can still be suitable assertive and also polite.

Don't hesitate to contact Consumer Affairs as well.

Bear in mind also that you are not locked into the one dealer. Any dealer can solve the problem if the one you're going to is also hopeless. Tell the new one you will never buy another car with the old dealer - so let's see if you'll be buying one from these new guys in the future, based on how you get treated here and now.

Be a bit more of a bastard, like me.

Let me know how you go.