Toyota Prius V burning excessive oil

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Feb 5, 2019
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#1
Last summer, our AAA-approved independent mechanic to whom my husband and I have taken our cars for servicing the past 25 years determined that our 2012 Prius V was burning an excessive amount of oil due to faulty pistons. He advised us to contact Toyota headquarters as this is a widespread problem with our make and model.

My husband called customer service and explained the problem along with the car’s mileage and service record. The representative gave him a case number and instructed him to take the car to a Toyota dealer for an oil consumption test. Following the test, however, another Toyota rep said the company will not do anything on our behalf because the car is out of warranty and has been serviced by an independent mechanic. My husband asked then why were we told to do the consumption test to which she replied there was no reason for us to have done it.

We, therefore, wrote a letter to Senior VP Automotive Operations William D. Fay requesting that we be reimbursed for this unnecessary test which Toyota told us to do. The matter was forwarded to Franky DeLatorre (don’t know his title). After several phone conversations where we had to repeatedly restate our situation and correct him on various points, he reported to us that the dealer to which we took the car for the test couldn’t determine whether our car needed an oil change so we couldn’t be reimbursed. Instead, he said if we spend an additional $75 at a dealership, Toyota will refund that money.

That didn’t make any sense to us so we e-mailed the invoice showing the car’s last oil change which had just been done by our auto mechanic. We also requested that Mr. DeLatorre put the terms of his $75 offer in writing. We sent two emails both to which he did not respond. We, then, sent faxes.

Three weeks passed and we received no reimbursement for the oil consumption test and nothing in writing detailing the $75 offer. Consequently, we sent a letter FedEx to Executive VP Sales Robert S. Carter. To our chagrin, the matter was referred back to Mr. DeLatorre. It’s been over 2 months since his last call and we still have no terms in writing for the $75 offer nor a refund for the oil consumption test.

We are concerned that if we go to a Toyota dealer and spend $75 on whatever parts or services we select, Mr. DeLatorre will not honor the offer, particularly since he has been unresponsive to our multiple requests to put the terms in writing.

For the past 3 decades, I have owned nothing but Toyota vehicles -- first a Celica, then a RAV 4 and now the Prius V. This is the first time I've encountered what clearly is a manufacturing defect. It would be great to have Toyota assist with the piston issue. But, if that truly is not possible, then at the very least, reimburse us for the unwarranted oil consumption test which the company representative said needed to be done plus our FedEx mailing costs. Any ideas of how to proceed would be much appreciated.
 

Neil Maley

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Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Our process is to have you write to each executive at a company one by one weekly starting at the bottom.

If you have written to Mr. Carter and not received a response after we have one more contact shown- James Lentz, CEO. I would write to him and name names- Robert Carter referred you to a Mr. Delatotre (who we don’t even show as a contact) and he hasn’t replied to you.

That’s the highest contact we have.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#3
Just my (very negative) opinion of automotive dealerships ... you can't win. To ask you, the party with the problem with one of their vehicles, to PAY for a test to see if it's defective or not, pretty much backs up this opinion. I have never had a dealership touch a vehicle that I own after a horrible experience when I was very young. I would definitely keep the pressure on for them to refund the cost of the test. Other than that, I don't think you can win with Toyota. A sad commentary but it's valid.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#4
If it's not a recall, then unfortunately I don't think you have much recourse. Toyota isn't under any obligation to provide free testing if the car is out of warranty and not under a recall. The car is seven years old.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#6
@Kalina I think you're fighting an unwinnable battle on this one... Your vehicle is out of warranty and you've had it repeatably repeatedly serviced by an independent mechanic. Between the two, there's no real reason for Toyota to do anything for you especially since a 6 + year old vehicle will have things break and its almost impossible to say that its a manufacturing issue instead of wear...

Having said that, you really have a choice. Spend $75 for the chance that Toyota will cover part of your several thousand dollar repair or don't and they won't. From their perspective, you haven't even proven that the vehicle is burning excessive oil. Just a non-toyota trained mechanics opinion. Their test will definitively show if your car is burning excess oil given it age / mileage and, for them, that's the start.

Good luck.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Neil Maley
Feb 5, 2019
6
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#7
Our process is to have you write to each executive at a company one by one weekly starting at the bottom.

If you have written to Mr. Carter and not received a response after we have one more contact shown- James Lentz, CEO. I would write to him and name names- Robert Carter referred you to a Mr. Delatotre (who we don’t even show as a contact) and he hasn’t replied to you.

That’s the highest contact we have.
What is the mileage on the car and how much oil is it using?
Our process is to have you write to each executive at a company one by one weekly starting at the bottom.

If you have written to Mr. Carter and not received a response after we have one more contact shown- James Lentz, CEO. I would write to him and name names- Robert Carter referred you to a Mr. Delatotre (who we don’t even show as a contact) and he hasn’t replied to you.

That’s the highest contact we have.
What is the mileage on the car and how much oil is it using?
What is the mileage on the car and how much oil is it using?

Neil: Thanks very much for your suggestion. We did see Mr. Lentz as a contact on your website along with Mr. Carter and Mr. Fay. That is how we ended up writing to the both of them. We were quite dismayed when we sent our letter to Mr. Carter FedEx and the matter got handed back to Mr. DeLatorre who we repeatedly corrected and made clarifications plus he's unresponsive to putting his offer in writing. Do you have any suggestions as to sending a letter to Mr. Lentz and making sure the matter is not kicked back to Mr. DeLatorre (we're guessing he works in customer service for the executive offices)? We very much appreciate your help.
 
Feb 5, 2019
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#8
What is the mileage on the car and how much oil is it using?
At approximately 130,000 miles, the car started burning more oil than usual. Until this point, we didn't need to add oil in between servicing appointments. The car was at 154, 243 when our mechanic advised us to contact Toyota. This information was passed on to Toyota customer service when my husband called yet the rep gave him a case number and told him to take the car to a dealer for an oil consumption test. It is now burning almost 2 quarts of oil every 1000 miles. The problem is so widespread that Toyota has 2 technical service bulletins (0168-16 and 0169-16) addressing the issue.
 
Feb 5, 2019
6
0
1
53
#9
Just my (very negative) opinion of automotive dealerships ... you can't win. To ask you, the party with the problem with one of their vehicles, to PAY for a test to see if it's defective or not, pretty much backs up this opinion. I have never had a dealership touch a vehicle that I own after a horrible experience when I was very young. I would definitely keep the pressure on for them to refund the cost of the test. Other than that, I don't think you can win with Toyota. A sad commentary but it's valid.
We, too, have had horrible experiences with the service department at almost all dealerships. That's why we go to an independent mechanic which, in California, you're legally entitled to do without penalty by the manufacturer -- even for warranty work.
 
Feb 5, 2019
6
0
1
53
#10
@Kalina I think you're fighting an unwinnable battle on this one... Your vehicle is out of warranty and you've had it repeatably repeatedly serviced by an independent mechanic. Between the two, there's no real reason for Toyota to do anything for you especially since a 6 + year old vehicle will have things break and its almost impossible to say that its a manufacturing issue instead of wear...

Having said that, you really have a choice. Spend $75 for the chance that Toyota will cover part of your several thousand dollar repair or don't and they won't. From their perspective, you haven't even proven that the vehicle is burning excessive oil. Just a non-toyota trained mechanics opinion. Their test will definitively show if your car is burning excess oil given it age / mileage and, for them, that's the start.

Good luck.
Per Toyota's instructions, we took the car to one of their dealerships for an oil consumption test which did indeed show that the car was burning an excessive amount of oil. That was the proof.
 
Feb 5, 2019
6
0
1
53
#11
If it's not a recall, then unfortunately I don't think you have much recourse. Toyota isn't under any obligation to provide free testing if the car is out of warranty and not under a recall. The car is seven years old.
We didn't expect Toyota to provide free testing. But we didn't expect for one person at Toyota to give us a case number and tell us to go to a dealership and have the test done then the Toyota rep who got the results tell us there was no need for us to do the test.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,169
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Maui Hawaii
#12
At approximately 130,000 miles, the car started burning more oil than usual. Until this point, we didn't need to add oil in between servicing appointments. The car was at 154, 243 when our mechanic advised us to contact Toyota. This information was passed on to Toyota customer service when my husband called yet the rep gave him a case number and told him to take the car to a dealer for an oil consumption test. It is now burning almost 2 quarts of oil every 1000 miles. The problem is so widespread that Toyota has 2 technical service bulletins (0168-16 and 0169-16) addressing the issue.
With this mileage, it is not cost effective for Toyota or you to repair the problem. If you drive 20,000 miles /year you would have to add 40 qts of oil at a cost of ~$100/year. There is no reason to fix or replace the engine. At 150+ K miles your car is reaching end of service and will need to be replaced in the next few years. Just replace the oil.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,115
14,712
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#13
With this mileage, it is not cost effective for Toyota or you to repair the problem. If you drive 20,000 miles /year you would have to add 40 qts of oil at a cost of ~$100/year. There is no reason to fix or replace the engine. At 150+ K miles your car is reaching end of service and will need to be replaced in the next few years. Just replace the oil.
I agree with weihlac- that’s high mileage and cars do start using more oil as they age.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
1,036
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#14
150,000 isn't reallly "high mileage" for a Toyota. Our Highlander has 400,000 on it and was running fine until the alternator finally died. Maybe Prius models don't last as long as their traditional cars. I read a statistic that something like 80% of all the ORIGINAL Priuses are still on the road. It might be worth it to the OP to get the problem fixed, if it's under $800 or so.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,169
1,108
113
Maui Hawaii
#15
150,000 isn't reallly "high mileage" for a Toyota. Our Highlander has 400,000 on it and was running fine until the alternator finally died. Maybe Prius models don't last as long as their traditional cars. I read a statistic that something like 80% of all the ORIGINAL Priuses are still on the road. It might be worth it to the OP to get the problem fixed, if it's under $800 or so.
An engine tear down and piston ring replacement (and possible piston replacement) will cost thousands. KBB value of the car ~$4000-7000.
 
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