Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge

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    Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution
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We, the undersigned petitioners, including former and current Toyota owners, do hereby give notice to Toyota Motor Corporation, that we are dissatisfied with the current customer service initiatives for owner complaints of engine oil sludge and associated secondary problems. This includes the former "SPA" or "Special Policy Adjustment" (Feb. 2002) as well as the current "CSP" or "Customer Support Program" (April 2002) for "engine oil gelation." These initiatives do not restore the original warranty rights of the affected consumers who continue to be blamed for the problem by this company. In addition, these initiatives do nothing to help those who had to trade in their vehicles due to an inability to pay for exorbitant repairs within the warranty period. While model year vehicles prior to 1997 have had the same sludge problem, these owners are not helped by the current program.

Pointing the finger at the owners is unconscionable given that untold numbers of owners properly maintained their vehicles according to your recommended maintenance schedule. We, the "Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution" consumer group are not willing to accept blame for this very serious engine problem any longer! We would like a formal retraction of blame immediately. A public statement by Toyota Motor Corporation is appropriate. We would also like a recall of the affected engines. If these engines cannot be fixed permanently, we would like this company to repurchase the affected vehicles once the problem is formally acknowledged. The owners must be compensated for the loss of resale value of their vehicles due to this condition. In addition, all incidental and collateral expenses must be covered. Nothing less would be fair to the affected owners!

Engine oil sludge development is unacceptable, especially in these late model vehicles. These engines are not the same after repair. Some owners with engine replacement have experienced a recurrent sludge condition. Lack of owner maintenance is not the cause of either the slow or sudden demise of these engines. Toyota owner engine analyses reveal adverse changes in the engine's oil condition even with less than 3,000 miles on the engine's oil. We, the owners, believe there is a mechanical problem which is contributing to premature wear of these engines.

Owners are very concerned about the safety of these vehicles. Some engines are seizing at highway speeds. There are owner reports of engine compartment fires after the engine throws a rod through the engine block. Engine failure is unpredictable. Some owners have lost all traces of engine oil suddenly. Some owners have noted excessive fuel in the engine's oil and/or glycol-contaminated engine oil. Owners have lost faith in their vehicles based on these occurrences.

Owners are also very concerned about the emissions control in these vehicles. Some owners' vehicles are not passing state emissions testing. Other owners note large volumes of smoke production on cold startup, while idling, and with acceleration. Oil analyses of some owners' engine oil reveal low viscosity and high nitration and oxidation within the manufacturer's recommended oil change interval. There are also high levels of silicon noted on engine oil analysis. Owners report oxygen sensor replacements. Others note replacement of catalytic converters, PCV valves, EGR valves, and other emissions control components. Some owners have had fuel injection problems prior to engine oil sludge development.

Here is what the networking owners have discovered to date:

1) Toyota has NOT notified all the affected owners about the "Customer Support Program" based on a random sample survey of "Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution" members and associates.

2) Toyota is not honoring the current "Customer Support Program" for all owners who present with engine oil sludge at Toyota dealerships. Some dealerships are not providing any information about the program until asked directly. Even then, owners report vague information.

3) Toyota is charging some owners for sludge inspections or labor when repairs are made for engine oil sludge. It is denying "Customer Support Program" coverage for repairs for other owners despite legitimate qualification for the program.

4) Some owners who purchased "Certified Used Toyotas" from dealerships have discovered engine oil sludge within one month of ownership. Some of these owners have been told that they do not qualify for repair coverage under the
"Customer Support Program" because the owners cannot produce the oil change receipts.

5) Before the introduction of the SPA or CSP, Toyota asked untold numbers of owners to pay over $5,000 for new engines. Since the introduction of the programs, engine replacements are not routinely done when Toyota pays for the repairs. Repeat sludge problems have been reported by owners.

6) The NHTSA and the EPA are not formally investigating the affected vehicles based in part on Toyota's promises to remedy the "engine oil gelation" situation via the CSP.

7) Toyota technicians/employees have refuted many of the complaint claims made by Toyota owners on the Internet over a two year+ period.

8) A computer virus originated from a Milwaukee Toyota dealership and spread throughout an owner list comprised of several hundred dissatisfied Toyota owners. The most vocal Toyota owners have experienced a myriad of computer problems since speaking out about this problem.

9) Toyota executives and/or spokespersons have continued to publicly claim that there are only a "few vocal owners" in this matter. These executives state that they are "not aware of engine sludge in cases where owners have properly maintained their vehicles." These same representatives say that there are very few cases of engine oil sludge in the affected engines. They base their claim on another claim that only 3,200 owners have formally written to the company to notify it about their problem.

We, the undersigned are shocked and appalled by the actions of Toyota Motor Corporation. We expected more from our Toyota vehicles given the daily advertisements describing these vehicles as the "platinum standard" in quality and reliability. We want what we paid for...a safe, reliable vehicle that holds its value over time. We don't think this is asking too much! We want Toyota to do the right thing!