Hi There, I have recently bought a Toyota Landcruiser 79. It has been seond-stage manufactured to increase weight limits including associated mechanical modifications (all engineered and certified).
There is an issue with the gear box that I have requested warranty service for. The dealer has advised that because the vehicle has been modified it is not covered under warranty despite no work on the gear box was ever carried out.
Recently they advised they had a “tech specialist” from Toyota out to look at the car and the issue presented as I described. They have now asked me to drive the car with cameras inside to observe me driving (no reason given as to what they intend to use the footage for) also they want me to fill in a questionnaire to assess my driving.
This seems unreasonable and invasive. I’m not sure of next steps - do I get a lawyer or do I go to consumer affairs.
I assume with what you have posted is that the vehicle was not modified by Toyota but a third party, and the engineering and modification certification was done by the third party.
I feel for you as Toyota are pointing to their warranty terms and conditions which state a claim under a warranty is excluded in the cases where there is…
This poses you with challenges. There are effectively three different parties which may be responsible for the issue with the gear box you are having, these could be:
the vehicle’s modifier
the certifying engineer
Without knowing what has caused the issue, it will be very difficult to provide any advice on who may be ultimately responsible. It could be one, two or all three of the above depending on what caused the issue.
All I can recommend is to see if you can take it to an independent transmission mechanic. This independent mechanic needs to be one all parties agree is suitable for an independent assessment of what caused the fault.
Once the cause of the fault is known, then you might be in a better position to determine who is responsible for its rectification.
To progress any further, you will need to ascertain what caused the fault otherwise you may face a situation where each party points the finger at others. A office of fair trading may not be willing to make a determination in cases where there are multiple parties and responsibilities for a fault are unknown.
The videoing also seems a little odd. It could be to determine what you are doing when the issue arises or to gather evidence that they are or are not responsible. It might also be worth asking what the purpose of the videoing is as well.
Privacy issue aside does the issue relate to a problem with operation of the gear selection or something else?
An open question is what undertakings and warranties were provided with the “engineered and certified” upgrade? My basic understanding is similar upgrades consider details such as suspension design and braking capacity. Whether any change in demands on the engine performance and drive line (gearbox etc) were also assessed would be a good question if not addressed previously.
That Toyota have not summarily dismissed the claim could be a positive.
It would be more usual in my experience for a technical specialist to take the vehicle for a test drive or accompany you while you demonstrate the problem in the first instance. If they intend to to demonstrate the problem and refer it back to Japan could it be one of the local staff who is filmed demonstrating the problem?
I would suggest that you contact a legal expert in regards to your rights. You have stated that mechanical modifications were made due to the changes, this could mean that the current gear box is unsuited to the changes made. As we are not legal experts and are unaware of the exact changes made, getting professional advice would serve your needs best. Legal advice is available for free from a number of Community legal centres that would be best able to advise you on all your legal concerns including those of privacy. We list some on this site that may be a good place to start.
Thanks @grahroll. The modifications are performed by a well known second stage manufacturer (not sure if I can/should use names here) and could be considered be a “kit” they manufacture and fit rather than a one off mod (ie there are hundreds of similar vehicles on the road). The modifications have been designed to ensure no shifts in final drive ratios etc so limited impact from a gearbox "load perspective. The gearbox is not modified.
I called the dealer again yesterday and asked why the video and questionnaire and was advised that they didn’t know but thats what they were asked for by the Toyota tech. When I suggested I could drive the car rather than my son (I figured that could stop any inference it was a driver issue) the service manager started to get more agitated (I think just frustrated).
Where we left it they are going to relay this to Toyota and see what they come back with.
I believe the dealer is genuinely trying to help, so I will take your advice and seek legal advice.
Be wary about that. From the importer’s perspective a dealer is supposed to make every effort to make problems go away if they are not easily resolved at the local level.
I have a relatively minor issue with my car brought to attention by a dealer tech during an annual service. The service writer and managers got involved in an ‘assessment’ with many caring and helpful words mouthed, but possibly because rectification would have required a very expensive part they concluded no worries all normal, and admittedly it could be within spec even if on/just over the margin.
I trust the tech’s comment more than the management when the overall context is considered. Management did a fine job of gracefully fobbing me off while addressing me as if I just fell off the turnip truck to explain ‘why it was as it was’ and that the tech should not have made any comment to me - I do not think that dealership retaliates against whistleblowers but I am equally sure the tech got a stern lecture about not causing problems if the customer doesn’t notice them.
I chose not to pursue the problem because it is a he said they said I said type issue that at the end of the day might have gotten nowhere or might have gotten rectification that would not have been worth a personal toll to achieve and my accepting the overall impact on my vehicle is relatively minor.