Don’t Call It A Recall: Toyota Canada

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’ve had issues with my 2009 Toyota Matrix. I had a weird electrical issue followed by several recalls. For details, check out my customer service nightmares page. Now, here’s the latest thing I am dealing with when it comes to this car. Oil consumption. In other words the engine consumes more oil than it should. Now all cars consume some degree or another, but I’ve never owned a car that consumes the amount of oil that I documented here:

Toyota clams that 1 litre per 1000 KM’s is “normal.” In my Matrix, I am consuming just under half that per 1000 KM’s. Anything over 1 litre per 1000 KM’s may require a very expensive engine repair that is documented in technical service bulletin T-SB-0094-11. 

If left unchecked (meaning that you check your engine oil every couple of weeks or so), you could kill your engine due to it being low on engine oil. In my case, I check it every couple of weeks and top it off almost every time I check it. I go through at least two liters of oil between oil changes. Sometimes three if I do a lot of highway driving. When I first raised the issue with my dealer four years ago, they first claimed it was “normal” and then when I called them on it, they then said that I would have to pay four digits to have it fixed.

It now turns out that it is not normal. I got a letter from Toyota Canada recently stating that there is a “Warranty Enhancement Program” related to the engine that I have. Here’s a quote from the letter that I got:

Toyota has received some reports where vehicles equipped with the 2AZ engine may exhibit excessive engine oil consumption. 

And

At this time, Toyota is currently preparing the necessary parts to implement this Warranty Enhancement Program (Ref 812), and anticipates that it will take several months to build the necessary parts. 

Finally:

  • The Primary Coverage offers warranty enhancement until August 25, 2016
  • After the Primary Coverage period ends, the Secondary Coverage is applicable for 10 years from he date of first use or 240,000 km, whichever occurs first. 

The fix that Toyota Canada is going to perform if the engine in question meets their filter is to basically rebuild the engine. Likely implementing this Technical Service Bulletin [Warning: PDF].

Now, I have a friend who has an Audi A4 which required a similar repair for a similar issue that Audi did at no charge after he threatened to sue them. He was without his car for a week and a half because they pretty much have to disassemble most of the engine to replace the pistons. But they did give him a loaner while they did it. Potentially being without my car for that long does not thrill me and I seriously doubt that Toyota is going to serve up a loaner. Though they are free to surprise me.

But the fact that Toyota calls this a “Warranty Enhancement Program” is Toyota’s way of saying to don’t call it a recall. Though I am not sure what else you could possibly call it. That may be due to a class action lawsuit that Toyota is facing in the US. I’m guessing that a lawyer told Toyota that admitting that this is a defect of some sort openly will open them up to a similar lawsuit in Canada. But I’m a computer nerd, not a lawyer. It could also be that Toyota doesn’t want to open itself up to having to repair every single engine of this type seeing that this engine was used in lots and lots of vehicles ranging from my Matrix to the RAV4, Camry, and Corolla among other models going back to 2006. That I am guessing would be very expensive. But I’m a computer nerd, not an accountant.

Now I’ve just had my oil changed and I asked for the engine consumption test to be done. Here’s what they do as part of the test:

IMG_1421 IMG_1422

As you can see, they added tamper resistant tape to the oil cap and the oil dipstick. That way you can’t top off the oil or cheat the test. I am to then drive it 2000 KM’s and come back in so that they can check the oil consumption. If it is more than 1 liter in 2000 KM’s, then I am eligible for the fix.

My thoughts? I have to admit that my faith in Toyota was questionable before this latest episode. Now this latest episode has my wife and I certain that our next car is not going to be from Toyota. Now you could argue that at least Toyota is trying to do something about it. But if you do a Google search on this issue, one thing is clear and another is subject to interpretation. The thing that is clear that this is a widespread issue that has been going on for years. The part that is subject to interpretation is that it Toyota Canada might have sat on this issue until they were forced to do something. I say that because the US had had a similar “Warranty Enhancement Program” for some time now. That doesn’t exactly inspire trust when it comes to Toyota Canada.

So, what happens if my engine fails the test? We’ll likely be trading in the vehicle for something more reliable, but after getting Toyota to fix it on their dime. I review enough cars so it gives my wife and I a good place to start looking at what we like and don’t like. Once we have a short list, we’ll see if we can get reliability data to firm up the likely suspects and take it from there.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this issue. This should be “interesting” and not in a good way.

44 Responses to “Don’t Call It A Recall: Toyota Canada”

  1. I have same problem with my pontiac vibe 2009 GM refuse to fix the engine I don’t know what to do any advice?

  2. Do you know when this recall expires in Canada?

    • I trashed the letter that I got as I no longer have a Toyota product. But I believe it is next August that this “warranty enhancement” ends. Remember, that Toyota says that this is not a recall. 🙂

      • Kevin in Taxoronto Says:

        My wife’s Matrix intermittently drinks oil. The letter as I recall stated that the warranty enhancement would be 10 years or 240,000kms (probably whichever comes first). They also stated that outside of normal warranty, the customer would have to pay for certain items related to the rebuild. I don’t know exactly what that means. In any event, I’m not pleased with Toyota Canada either. Purchased this vehicle as a certified pre-owned and one of the wheel speed sensors acts up in inclement weather. Despite a TSB, they refused to offer any significant goodwill towards the repair.

  3. Thank you very much i was about to ask you to upload the paper work, i also did the same thing i shredded the paper work, did you think i would need it? Or can i just call them and point an appointment? thank you for your answer

  4. The paperwork helps, but it had your VIN number on it as well as your contact info, so they should have it on record. Besides, when I went to the dealer, they clearly knew about it.

  5. Yea hey thank you very much i was worried that might try to pull a sneaky one on me. So i’m guessing you don’t have your toyota matrix anymore? and btw your very helpful thank you again

  6. Ok sweet thanks for the info 🙂

  7. So i went for my appointment to toyota to them saying that i need too have records of my oil changes which i have none of the receipts from two year ago and now they will do the test but if i pass the test they will not change my engine because i have no proof i was taking care of my vehicle

    • Somehow I am not surprised. I’ve heard that they will accuse you of not maintaining your car to avoid having to do anything. In my case, the Matrix that my wife and I were driving was always dealer maintained so they couldn’t pull that stunt. If it was maintained by a Toyota dealer, they have records for that and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. If you got your service done elsewhere, then I would suggest that you try to get them if you can to support your claim.

      • The funny part is that my friend worked at toyota and did it for me under the table and I dont really want him to get in trouble but im like you i believe i will try and get rid of my vehicle, was such a headache for now i have to just dump in oil it.

      • I truly wonder if Toyota has considered how its stance on this oil consumption issue affects future buying habits. I think they think it doesn’t matter. But if a ton of people like you and I get fed up with their Toyota vehicles and dump them, and those vehicles flood used car lots, they will have a major perception problem on their hands. Plus stories like this one don’t help either. I easily get several hundred views on this article a day. That’s not going to help Toyota’s public image either.

  8. Good thing i hope people keep reading your forums to see the truth be hide what toyota is doing plus the service person was really rude too, i know in the future i will never get a toyota again after this stunt, she told me that i can do the test and if it pass they wont fix it cause of having no proof? like really my car would of blew up a long time ago if i didnt do oil changes, but thats for them to decide i guess but im hoping people will use this a future reference to not buy toyotas.

    • Thanks. I don’t have an anti-Toyota agenda as such, but they handled this poorly. They should stand behind their products by fixing them and not trying to weasel out of doing so. The fact that they would not fix my Matrix is why I now drive a Hyundai.

  9. Yea it just makes me so angry they even looked up on their computer and told me that there was a campaign for my car, but then again i would need paperwork of my oil changes in the past 2 years , i asked them how about doing it now and it will be on the record but no go doesn’t work like that i guess so remember you need receipts of your pass oil changes if your looking too do the test. Thanks alot for your help on the forums again, and hopefully it will help other toyota drivers out there

  10. Yep first the air bags then oil consumption and power windows twice? o my goodness

  11. I have had my 2007 Camry in for the oil consumption test and it failed! No surprise. It’s a pig on oil. That was in June 2015. Still having to take it to toyota every two weeks (or when Oil light comes on) for a top up and there is absolutely NO word on when a fix will occur. I am frustrated beyond belief. Now my catalytic convertor is clogged (as a result) and I need a whole new muffler system. UGH! The car I loved has become an anchor around my neck (and pocket book). I called Toyota Canada and then advise me to call back in December.

    • Wow. I feel for you. That’s the sort of situation that my wife and I were afraid of. Which in turn prompted us to dump our Toyota Matrix and get our Hyundai Tucson. I hope that you get your Camry repaired fully on Toyota’s nickel and that you can put this behind you.

      • goaliemom Says:

        Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, we handed down this car to my 19 yr old son figuring it would be a reliable car for college and I bought a Venza this past January. This all happened BEFORE I knew about the consumption problem (although I did suspect something wasn’t right) otherwise I would have rethought buying another Toyota. We have owned a Tacoma, Tercel, Echo, Corolla, Camry and now the Venza. I am SO disappointed with Toyota dragging their feet on this. I constantly worry about the engine seizing. Shame on Toyota as this is not only a safety issue (if the engine blows while driving), but also a environmental issue (“burning” excessive oil). I wish someone would nail Toyota like VW experienced! Then maybe they would fix their cars.

      • Toyota’s handling of this issue has been a #fail as the kids say. My feeling is that due to a class action lawsuit (there’s one in the US over this issue) or some sort of negative press, this will really blow up in Toyota’s face. I say that because Google searches illustrate that this is a widespread issue. Plus this post gets a few hundred page views per day from Canadians and Americans. Thus I don’t think that this will end well for Toyota. It may just take a while.

  12. I am pissed form the way Toyota is handling the issue. Last time they gave me a pass for oil consumption but today when I took it to the dealership, there was less than an inch of oil on the oil stick. Toyota is not only being unhelpful, they are also acting sneaky and lying about the issue.
    When are we going to have a Canadian lawsuit action?

    • It was frustration like what you described that led my wife and I to get rid of the Matrix and buy a Hyundai. Toyota Canada doesn’t stand behind their products as they won’t fix what’s clearly a widespread issue. Thus they really need a class action lawsuit like the one in the US to really get them to focus on their customers. Hopefully one gets filed so that owners of these clearly defective cars get their issues addressed.

  13. ihatetoyotanow Says:

    Hey itnerd,
    thanks for putting up this blog. I have same issue on my 2007 camry for last one year. I got first letter from toyota in June 2015 asking to get oil consumption test done and potential warranty enhancement coverage so I got oil consumption test done in June 2015 and it failed, so I got some hope that this will be fixed…I waited and waited and then in Dec. 2015 received second letter asking me to set up an appointment with the dealership to get it fixed. I got very relieved and was happy that toyota is addresing this, So I booked an appointment for Feb. 2016.
    And now, yesterday I got a call from the dealership that Toyota postponed or suspended this repair program and asked all dealership to return parts, so no repair work will be performed..no communication from toyota canada, they just asked dealers to convey the message to customers and absolutely no reasons why repair program is suspended and the dealer doesn’t know (or not telling me) the reason behind it.
    My camry is ~185K and oil consumption has gotten so worse that now i am loosing oil pretty much a litre per 200km..yest it is that bad..I constantly get oil burning/fume smell in my cabin, I am breathing probably CO while inside car. This has absolutely gotten so horrible now and I just don’t know what to do!
    Calling toyota canada will likely result in talking to some customer rep. lowest in organizational hierarchy without any power won’t yield result!
    Saying I am outraged, frustrated is an understatement! can you suggest any direction?

  14. I feel for you. This is why we dumped our Matrix and went Hyundai. In terms what to do next, maybe this will help:

    https://itnerd.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/so-its-been-over-90-days-since-my-nightmare-with-my-toyota-matrix/

    I wrote that after dealing with another issue with Toyota that required going to Toyota Canada to get it addressed. That’s another reason why my wife and I don’t own their product anymore.

    Having said that, I suspect the only way this gets addressed is if a class action lawsuit gets filed. Sad but true.

  15. William Shek Says:

    Toyota know the oil burning problem at least 7 years ago. With the complaint mounting, they put up a fake extended warranty program, through this, they disqualify each and everyone by telling us that the car has passed the warranty years. If they are honest and recall the vechicle 7 years ago, then none of the vechicles would have pass the warranty period.

    I wish we have a class action suite against them like the U.S., I wish we have a better Ministry of transportation that can help to protect consumers. Its sad that we Canadian pays really high taxes to the govt, but they actually do not do anything.

    I also own a Toyota Highland, I am selling both cars because I do not want to deal with unethical cheaters. I am also looking to file a claim against Toyota beacsue the car was manufactured with defects, they know about it, but did not initiate a recall.

  16. Ingrid Dion Says:

    My Rav now drinks oil and have had oil light on. Reg oil changed always done on time, Toyota service manager at Tony Graham in Ottawa said it was “normal” to have to regularly top up the oil! NOT!! maybe normal for him..but not normal for most cars!! Liar. In the process of doing the consumption test with the tape…shall see what they say. I am all for a class action suit in Canada if this problem continues and they charge me $1 to fix it. Not cool, as I would need to rethink buying a Toyota again…will find out tomorrow when I bring the car in to check out the consumption. But if I get the royal run around I will doggedly turn over every stone to get justice.

    • Also, I NEVER was contacted by Toyota about this problem. Yet I always go to the dealership I bought if brand new from for every oil change, service etc… this is really really in poor form.

  17. […] Don’t Call It A Recall: Toyota Canada […]

  18. I am having this problem now and I am apparently out of the service time frame for a program I wasn’t even informed of – this is terrible, any suggestions?

    • My first suggestion would be to call Toyota Corporate and see what they can do for you. But I have heard that people have had mixed results with that. It however can’t hurt to try. If you do try that, let me know how it goes please.

  19. Just found out about this “warranty enhancement program”. I have been adding 1 to 2 liters of oil for every 1000 km for the past 4 years!! I bought the car (2007 Camry) used and never addressed this since I thought it was normal to burn some oil at the beginning. But now this is ridicules! I just called Toyota Canada and they informed me that I am passed the last date to make a claim. My car was put in service June 13, 2007 so according to the warranty extension (10 years or 240,000 km) I had until June 13, 2017. I missed it by 22 days!! They told me there is nothing I can do to escalate this further.

    Question: Did Toyota send out letters to owners to advise them of this extension? For someone like me who does his own oil changes and rarely goes to the dealer how was I supposed to know? Oh, and they really didn’t like it when I would refer it as a “recall”. They kept correcting me to say it wasn’t a recall but rather an extension of warranty. Was there ever a class action suit for this in CANADA? Maybe someone should launch one.

    I’m going to go to the dealer this week to see what they tell me and Ill post here the results.

    • I got a letter that spoke to this. I am also not aware of any class action lawsuit in Canada like there was in the US. Good luck with your dealer. Though from personal experience you might not get anywhere. Which is why my wife and I never bothered escalating to Toyota Canada and instead dumped the car.

      • Thanks. Just spoke to my dealer and he told me that no letter was sent out. He also mentioned that they also looked at the history of the car serviced at Toyota. Basically if you always go to the dealer to repair your car they were more inclined to help. I told him this is not a criteria for the warranty extension and although I don’t go often to dealer, I do have 3 Toyota’s in my driveway. he was going to send my request to Toyota and I should have an answer within a week. Keep you posted.

      • The dealer is wrong about the letter. I got one and I think I still have it. I know others who got one as well.

      • I double checked, I trashed the letter. But I know that I got one as I quoted sections of it in the original article.

    • I also quoted parts of the letter that I got in this article.

  20. […] quiet and mechanically sound. That’s important because what brought us to the Tucson was the oil burning problems that our previous vehicle that was made by Toyota had. And the fact that the company would not address because it wasn’t burning enough oil. For […]

  21. Dave Dhillon Says:

    How do I join the class action suit for Toyota engine oil consumption in Canada?

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