The Results Are In

Sorry for stealing a line from Maury Povich.

Let me get you up to speed quickly. Our latest problem with our Toyota Matrix with excessive oil consumption has led us to begin the process of at least looking for a new vehicle to replace it and we had deleted the Lexus NX200t from our list of contenders and added the Acura RDX, followed by my craptastic experience at a local Acura dealership when I went to see the RDX.

Today, I got a chance to take the car into the dealership to get the results of the oil consumption test that they ran. The Matrix consumed half a liter over the 2000 KM’s that I drove it which means it passed the test. What was interesting was the way that they delivered the news. First, they said and I quote:

“Your car does consume oil, but not enough that it warrants a warranty repair.”

Seeing as I train customer service people for a living, I have to critique this sentence. You have to deliver bad news in a way that keeps your customer on your side. This sentence didn’t do that as some people may interpret that sentence badly. In this case, it does not come across as “we care” but more along the lines of “we dodged a bullet.”

What else was interesting was that the manager of the service department, my service advisor and the mechanic who looked at the car were in front of me delivering the news. My guess is that they have had customers react badly when they hear the news that their car has passed this test even though it consumes oil which Consumers Reports among others say is not normal. Thus they clearly decided to go to the strength in numbers approach.

Finally, they suggested that I do the test over at my next oil change to see if the result is different. Though they also said “the result likely won’t be any different.” Thus I’ll pass on that. The net result is that this whole episode has left a bad taste in my mouth because Toyota Canada recognizes that the engine that’s used in my Matrix has an issue as they’ve implemented this “warranty enhancement” program. But they won’t address it unless the oil consumption issue is really bad. My view is that if you recognize that you have an issue, you should fix that issue regardless of how bad it is or isn’t as that encourages trust with the end customer. I guess they don’t see things that way.

Now some of you have e-mailed me with questions, and two questions were asked frequently. Let me try to answer them:

  • “How do you know that Toyota didn’t game the test?” In other words, did they slant the test in their favor by doing something like overfilling the crankcase, even though that can cause engine damage. The fact is that I don’t know if they did or didn’t “game” the test as they didn’t’ allow me to witness the filling of the crankcase with exactly 4L of oil due to “insurance regulations” which is the standard excuse that car dealerships give you when they don’t want you to see something.
  • “Why don’t you sue to get your engine fixed?” Despite what Consumers Reports says, it’s not worth my time as I may or may not get anywhere and it will consume a lot of cash. Though, if a class action lawsuit gets filed in Canada like the class action lawsuit in the US and I still have the car, I’ll join it in heartbeat.

So, what will my wife and I do next?

We’re going to focus on replacing the Toyota Matrix with something that is reliable and that we don’t have to keep topping it off with oil. We have a short list and we’ll see where that gets us and we’ll keep up updated. But I do know one thing. After this latest experience, Toyota will not be on the list.


One Response to “The Results Are In”

  1. […] 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 the record, I have had zero oil burning issues with the Tucson. As in zip, zero, nada. […]

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