Toyota USA refuses to fix manufacturing defects

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Apr 23, 2018
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My first new car was a 2008 Scion tC, which I still own. It was purchased in early 2008 and I have taken immaculate care of it.

Here is the issue: the vehicle consumes oil at the rate of almost 1 quart per thousand miles. Basic math says that if I get an oil change every 5,000 miles, I will need to put an additional 4.5 to 5 quarts of oil into the engine BETWEEN OIL CHANGES. I have had several oil consumption tests done by local Toyota dealerships (one in 2016 and one in April of 2018) and they claim that having to put 5 quarts of oil into your vehicle between oil changes is "within spec" for the vehicle. This is a well documented manufacturing problem and Toyota even released a Technical Service Bulletin about it, yet they still refuse to fix the vehicle. For more information, see Toyota Technical Service Bulletin TSB-0158-14. This issue also affects several other Toyota vehicles produced between 2006 and 2009, all with the 2AZ engine. This TSB extended the warranty for this specific issue to 10 years from first use or 150,000 miles... Obviously, even though my car is still well under 150,000 miles, I am now beyond the upper limit of 10 years from first use. I suspect this was simply a ploy by Toyota's engineers to appear as if they are willing to fix the issue without actually having to fix anything.

I have sent Toyota USA's top management team numerous emails and eventually I was put in contact with Sothorn Kok (work phone number (972)-324-7530) at Toyota USA Headquarters. Although he took time to look into the issue, he gave me the same answer: putting 5 quarts of oil into the vehicle between oil changes is normal. I asked him how much oil he has to put into his Toyota between oil changes and he replied, "I let the dealership worry about that," which can be simply translated to, "I don't have to put any oil into my vehicle between oil changes because my engine's pistons and rings are not defective." Additionally, even though Toyota is saying this is normal, I am left asking why Toyota would put out a Technical Service Bulletin if this wasn't an issue caused by either a manufacturing error or a set of defective parts somewhere in the piston assembly.

Basically, there are one of two potential causes for this situation: one, Toyota knew that the 2AZ engine would consume oil like this when it was produced and engaged in VERY deceptive sales practices by not disclosing this at the time of sale (honestly, who would buy a new vehicle if the dealer said the engine would consume oil at this rate?!), or two, there is a manufacturing defect somewhere and Toyota realized its mistake but doesn't want to pay to rectify it for all of us poor people who are stuck with these vehicles. Based on the fact that the TSB was released over 6 years after my vehicle was produced, I would bet on the latter.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford a nicer/newer car at this point, nor can I afford the $5,000+ it would cost for me out-of-pocket to fix the issue; the car itself isn't even worth that much anymore! Eventually, the engine is going to consume so much oil that it seizes, leaving me with a $20,000 paperweight, and Toyota will probably continue to be extremely unhelpful.

I am not looking for money and I don't particularly relish the idea of joining a class action lawsuit against Toyota. I simply want the vehicle that I purchased to work as it was advertised. I will continue my email campaign to Toyota's top managers, but at this point I don't expect very much to happen. Most people buy Toyotas because of their renowned reliability and customer service... I unfortunately have had the exact opposite experience. My hopes are that someone from Toyota reads this and decides to do the right thing by getting Toyota's manufacturing defect fixed in my vehicle.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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It looks as if Toyota will repair pistons if the car eats enough oil -- does yours qualify?
Toyota has received some reports where vehicles may exhibit excessive engine oil consumption. This Warranty Enhancement Program will be launched in two phases due to current production limitations.

Initially, Toyota will inform Owners that they may seek reimbursement consideration for previous repairs top address excessive oil consumption. Additionally, Owners will be advised that if they believe their vehicle has excessive oil consumption, they can contact an authorized Toyota Dealer to have the engine oil consumption test performed to determine if they will be eligible for future part replacement once sufficient parts are available. Once sufficient parts are produced, Toyota will send a second Owner notification letter informing them that they may seek part replacement if their vehicle has excessive engine oil consumption.


Limited Service Campaign (LSC) Remedy
Authorized Toyota dealerships are requested to replace the Engine Pistons at NO CHARGE to the
vehicle’s owner.

The Primary Coverage offers warranty enhancement until October 31, 2016 regardless of mileage.

The Secondary Coverage is applicable for 10 years from the (DOFU) Date Of First Use or 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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Hi Christina,

Thank you for the response. As my initial post said, I have been through everything the TSB requires and had Toyota's oil consumption test performed twice. They claim that my oil consumption is within spec and refuse to fix the problem. My vehicle is now out of range for the Limited Service Campaign because it has been more than 10 years frome date of first use so the remedies specified within the TSB are now a moot point.

The details of the Technical Service Bulletin mention that the engine must consume a very large amount of oil in order to qualify. My vehicle consumes ALMOST that much, but not quite. The heart of the issue is that Toyota claims my vehicle's oil consumption is "normal", but having to put almost 5 quarts of oil into an engine just to keep it running is FAR from normal. No company would design an engine that behaves in this manner; I believe Toyota is trying to avoid fixing their defect.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#4
If you change the oil twice a year, then you would have to buy an extra~10 qts/year for $4-6/qt. This is a lot more cost-effective for a 10+ yr old car than an engine rebuild. The book value of the car appears to be $2500-3500 for a trade. An engine rebuild does not make economic sense for a car this old.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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If you change the oil twice a year, then you would have to buy an extra~10 qts/year for $4-6/qt. This is a lot more cost-effective for a 10+ yr old car than an engine rebuild. The book value of the car appears to be $2500-3500 for a trade. An engine rebuild does not make economic sense for a car this old.
Yes, this is obvious. The issue is that I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO put this much oil in it, nor should I have to rebuild it. Toyota manufactured a defective engine and they should be required to rectify the problem. This wasn't caused by abuse or lack of maintenance. If it was Toyota would not have released a TSB for every 2AZ engine.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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TCunningham, did you use the company contacts from this site? How far up the executive chain did you go?

It sounds like your car has been eating oil, but not enough oil as per their standards.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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TCunningham, did you use the company contacts from this site? How far up the executive chain did you go?

It sounds like your car has been eating oil, but not enough oil as per their standards.
Yes ma'am, I did use the contacts on this site. That is how I was connected to Sothorn Kok. And yes, I realize that my car is not consuming enough oil per Toyota's spec for them to fix it. I said this in my initial post. My complaint is that their "spec" is designed to make this amount of oil consumption appear as if it is normal, but it is not normal at all compared to any other standard in the modern Auto industry. The fact remains that they produced thousands of defective engines, then almost a decade after production began, they released a TSB addressing the issue with deceptive standards.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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If Toyota does decide that they will accept any responsibility for this, I would not expect them to pay to rebuild the engine. At best...at the very best...I would imagine they would offer to buy the car from you.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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If Toyota does decide that they will accept any responsibility for this, I would not expect them to pay to rebuild the engine. At best...at the very best...I would imagine they would offer to buy the car from you.
You and I are on the exact same page. At this point, I would be more than willing to accept a bigger amount for a trade-in to buy another vehicle, but at the same time, I'm not sure I will ever be willing to do business with Toyota again. I understand the position they are in, but they have truly wronged thousands of consumers. The tough part of it is that 99.9% of the people that Toyota has victimized with shoddy manufacturing are willing to just take no for an answer and not get their vehicles fixed.

On another note, I received a call today from the same rep I dealt with previously, Sothorn Kok, who was calling me after yesterday when I emailed Toyota USA's CEO, Jim Lentz; here I would like to note that Toyota's executives refuse to call me back personally and insist on referring me to the same polite yet unhelpful person. There is still nothing they are willing to do for me, however. I am in absolute shock that this company is ready and willing to say they don't care about problems they created for people that have spent millions of dollars on their vehicles.
 
#10
I find it hard to believe that a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is within anyone's specifications. It probably used less than that when they tested your car because it had fresh oil that would be less likely to disappear than oil that had been driven a couple of thousand miles.

That being said, if you get no satisfaction from Toyota you can try using a different grade of oil or throwing in a can of additive for "mature" cars. I'm thinking that instead of a 5w-30 grade at your next oil change, use a 10w-50, 20w-50, or some other grade that doesn't thin out or lose viscosity at high temperatures. Castrol makes a 20w-50 and there are several others around, too. There are also synthetic oils made for older cars. I got an extra couple of years out of my very worn out 1964 MGB and 1980 Volvo engines using the Castrol GTX with a liberal dose of STP.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#11
I find it hard to believe that a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is within anyone's specifications. It probably used less than that when they tested your car because it had fresh oil that would be less likely to disappear than oil that had been driven a couple of thousand miles.

That being said, if you get no satisfaction from Toyota you can try using a different grade of oil or throwing in a can of additive for "mature" cars. I'm thinking that instead of a 5w-30 grade at your next oil change, use a 10w-50, 20w-50, or some other grade that doesn't thin out or lose viscosity at high temperatures. Castrol makes a 20w-50 and there are several others around, too. There are also synthetic oils made for older cars. I got an extra couple of years out of my very worn out 1964 MGB and 1980 Volvo engines using the Castrol GTX with a liberal dose of STP.
Excellent advice, sir! I actually had to do exactly this with an '87 Volvo 240 I had. It helped the problem but certainly didn't fix it. I've never played with any of the additives... Do you know which ones might work better than others, or if they work at all?
 
#12
Excellent advice, sir! I actually had to do exactly this with an '87 Volvo 240 I had. It helped the problem but certainly didn't fix it. I've never played with any of the additives... Do you know which ones might work better than others, or if they work at all?
There are a couple of schools of thought on this but first, have you cleaned your PCV valve and any crankcase ventilation screens or valves? This is the simplest fix for an oil guzzler if pressure is building up in your crankcase and forcing the oil into the combustion chamber.

My father used to swear by Marvel Mystery Oil. It's not an oil thickener. In fact it thins the oil but it would help to loosen stuck oil control and compression piston rings if that happens to be your engine's problem. Have you had the engine compression checked?

I've used STP, Motor Honey, and several other oil thickeners that were produced "back in the day." I've heard of a newer product called Poly Gold that purportedly works. Keep in mind that no one here is endorsing any particular product.

You should Google "oil additives for older engines" and you'll find all sorts of advice.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#13
I find it hard to believe that a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is within anyone's specifications. It probably used less than that when they tested your car because it had fresh oil that would be less likely to disappear than oil that had been driven a couple of thousand miles.

That being said, if you get no satisfaction from Toyota you can try using a different grade of oil or throwing in a can of additive for "mature" cars. I'm thinking that instead of a 5w-30 grade at your next oil change, use a 10w-50, 20w-50, or some other grade that doesn't thin out or lose viscosity at high temperatures. Castrol makes a 20w-50 and there are several others around, too. There are also synthetic oils made for older cars. I got an extra couple of years out of my very worn out 1964 MGB and 1980 Volvo engines using the Castrol GTX with a liberal dose of STP.
Some BMWs spec 1 qt/750 miles: “Oil consumption is normal on all engines,” BMWspokesman Hector Arellano-Belloc said in an e-mailed statement. “BMW vehicles have long intervals between oil changes (10,000 miles). BMW engines (excluding the BMW M) may consume up to one quart of engine oil per 750 miles under certain driving conditions.”
 
#14
Some BMWs spec 1 qt/750 miles: “Oil consumption is normal on all engines,” BMWspokesman Hector Arellano-Belloc said in an e-mailed statement. “BMW vehicles have long intervals between oil changes (10,000 miles). BMW engines (excluding the BMW M) may consume up to one quart of engine oil per 750 miles under certain driving conditions.”
I'm sure that some turbo BMWs, Audis and others could use that much oil. My own anecdotal evidence is that my naturally aspirated BMW 528xi has 152K miles and still doesn't burn oil between 7,500 mile changes. Heck, it doesn't even have a dipstick!
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#15
I'm sure that some turbo BMWs, Audis and others could use that much oil. My own anecdotal evidence is that my naturally aspirated BMW 528xi has 152K miles and still doesn't burn oil between 7,500 mile changes. Heck, it doesn't even have a dipstick!
"I find it hard to believe that a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is within anyone's specifications." Believe it.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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"I find it hard to believe that a quart of oil every 1,000 miles is within anyone's specifications." Believe it.
I do believe it, but I don't drive a BMW or other high-performance car with a high-compression engine where a certain amount of oil blowing by the piston rings is expected. Toyota's other engines don't spec this much consumption, nor was this much oil consumption considered proper spec until the TSB was released about a decade after production on this specific engine started. It frustrates me that a company can just change their collective mind about what's normal based on unintended problems that arise from normal operation.
 
Dec 14, 2019
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#17
Have you had any luck at all with Toyota? I also have a 2007 Tc and it has 145,000 on it and In the last 5000 miles it started using oil like mad about 2 quarts every 1000-1200 miles. Please let me know