I am writing as a follow up to an article published in the StarTribune in 2014 that I found among the many search results regarding a rear differential assembly issue on Toyota RAV4’s.
In February 2016 I was notified by Toyota of a known issue with the rear differential assembly on my Toyota 2008 RAV4, and that it was being covered by an extended warranty to “assure customer satisfaction” until April 30, 2017. (Warranty Enhancement Notification – ZF4). In December of 2016 I took the vehicle to the local Toyota dealer for unrelated service, and while there, asked them to also inspect for the rear differential issue so that, if necessary, it could be addressed prior to the extended warranty expiring. I was told that even though the part is known to have an unacceptable failure rate, there isn’t a way to inspect it to determine whether it was failing. I was told I had to just wait to see if it failed. Naturally, it did fail, 10 months after the extended warranty expiration date. Now I’m facing a costly repair for a part that is known by Toyota to not have an acceptable failure rate. If Toyota knows a part is not up to its reliability standards, but doesn’t want to do a recall, shouldn’t they repair all vehicle’s that it fails on if they truly want to “assure customer satisfaction”? I can understand not wanting to do a recall, after all, why replace the parts that don’t fail; but saying they will replace the defective part for owners that have theirs fail before a certain date, but for those of us that have it fail after that date it’s tough luck, is the exact opposite of assuring customer satisfaction. I contacted the Customer Experience Center as well as the executive offices at Toyota to discuss my concern, and requested that they at least cover a portion of the cost. I was told they “decline to offer assistance.” Nothing assures customer satisfaction quite like that. It feels like Toyota chose this extended warranty option, instead of a issuing recall, under the guise of doing something beneficial for their customers, when in reality they appear to be avoiding the cost of doing a recall on a faulty part. Maybe I’m just bitter. What are your thoughts regarding this practice by Toyota?