Dealership problems

I received a call from my local Toyota dealer informing me that the service they were doing on my car would be unwarrantable. I took my car in because it was performing a jerking motion and didn’t accelerate past 45 mph. Last Thursday they called and said that the fuel pump was bad. Today, I get a call and said they won’t cover it because it looks like there is sugar/flour inside. I claim bs since the only thing I have ever put in is this ethanol gasoline (not by choice). Is there any way to get them to fix this under warranty? I feel like I am being cheated. Plus repairs would run $1100+ for something that I did not do or had no hand in. The fuel door is even opened from inside the car and no one ever has my keys. I am the only one that drives the car. I honestly feel as if the dealership may have put said substance in the tank so I would have to pay out of pocket.

What Is The Vehicle’s Model-Year ?
How Many Miles On It ?
How Many Miles Do You Drive Per Year / Per Month ?

I believe we’re going to being see many more ethanol / gasoline problems. The feds are going to continue to play games with our gasoline.


If the problem truly is sugar or flour the dealer and manufacturer certainly can’t be held liable for the damage. It would be your problem to settle as best you can. Why would you think that it should be a warranty repair?

Popular Mechanics Just Ran A Story On Ethanol Problems.


If your car was vandalized, then call your insurance agent. You may need to make a police report in some cases/states. Get this in writing from the Toyota people. They are your friends and you sound like you are becoming a bit paranoid. A multi billion dollar company cares NOTHING about $1100 dollars and much about pleasing a (reasonable) customer. Good luck!

I had no clue as to what the problem was. It just developed so I suspected maybe something was wrong with the gears since it wouldn’t hit the next gear.

Why assume it is an ethanol / gasoline problem?

If the feds are going to play games, maybe we should start e-mailing our congressmen, congresswomen, and senators about it. Here are some links:

Your fuel door may be designed with the intention of being opened from inside the car, but those fuel doors are usually made of flimsy metal. They can be pried open and bent back into shape quite easily so they will close again.

I suggest you consider the possibility you might be wrong. Someone may have poured something into your fuel tank other than fuel. It might help you feel better if you get a second opinion, but it will cost you diagnostic fees (to the dealership) and for towing.

BTW, if someone vandalized your car, it might be covered by your auto insurance policy. Find out what you need to do. You might need to file a report with local law enforcement if you suspect your car has been vandalized.

Well, I would expect them to prove it. They’re making a claim that something’s voiding the warranty. The burden of proof is on them. Make it clear that you don’t believe them and that you will take it up with corporate unless they can conclusively prove that the substance is in there.

Is anyone even selling E15 yet? To me, this seems like a wild assumption that ethanol might have anything to do with this.

I Don’t Think You Read The Story. Go Back And Read It.

I don’t know for certain that this is the problem to this particular situation, but I do know from personal experience (E10) that ethanol in gasoline is bad news and the more that’s in there, the worse things will become.

Thanks for the information on cotacting elected officials, but I don’t need it. I am well aware of how to do this.

As I stated, “I believe we’re going to being see many more ethanol / gasoline problems.

Why are you so defensive of alcohol in gasoline ? Are you a corn farmer or Tree-Hugger ?


They should be able to provide pictures, a written statement of their findings, and a sample of the flour/sugar. I would use this to file a police report of vandalism, and then discuss repair coverage with my insurance agent. I assume you have comprehensive insurance coverage.

Call the 800 number in your owner’s manual for warranty appeals.
AND your insurance agent if it was vanalism.

I didn’t think I was defending anything, other than a methodical approach to solving the problem rather than making assumptions. No, I am not a corn farmer or a tree hugger.

I didn’t post those links for you alone. I posted them so we could enlist strength in numbers. Pardon me for trying to be helpful. Next time I won’t bother.

A fuel sample should be kept anytime fuel contamination is suspected. Ask for this sample and send if off for analysis.

Warranty will not and should not pay for a fuel related problem. It does not matter if someone sugared the tank, Ethanol is involved, or you simply got a bad batch of gasoline that was contaminated by other chemicals or solid particulants. My inclination is towards the latter.
Warranty is for factory defects in workmanship and materials only and fuel contamination problems do not fit into that category.

I’ve seen cars with only a 1000 miles on them having to be towed in because of fuel related problems and in one case this happened to the car owner 3 times over a 2 month period. Like a moth to the flame, they seemed to have had an attraction to a certain gas station.

Your emotions are getting the better of you with the conspiracy theory about sabotage on the dealer’s part so take a deep breath and calm down a bit.

They are telling you that your car was vandalized. You know where the car has been parked so you would know if that had anything to do with it. There are vandals everywhere and it takes only one disgruntled employee to dump a 5 pounder into the storage tank. The dealer isn’t at fault here and doesn’t want to be an insurer. Speaking of that, maybe insurance would pay if you get a statement from the service department. You can’t solve every problem with blame.

It think we are getting off on the wrong foot considering warranty denial and just who has to prove what when warranty is denied. I never saw a warranty denial case go to court, but I bet some have. What I do feel is more research needs to be done before we can claim who shoulders the burden of proof when warranty is denied.My inital feeling is that there is a clause where a manufacture can deny warranty and it would be up to the customer to prove his case,not the other way around. My feelings are based solely on how I have seen warranty denial handled before. I really have not seen too many cases of warranty denial.

When you finally get this resolved, get the old fuel pump returned to you and open it up to see what you can. If you are not mechanically inclined, you might want to enlist the help of someone who is. Meanwhile, ask your dealer to tell you exactly what is wrong with the fuel pump. Is the fuel pressure low or can’t the pump produce the volume of fuel needed or what? Bad fuel pump is not informative.

Right, ask for a sample of the sugar/flour. How did the dealer learn of the sugar/flour and how does he know that it is sugar/flour? What is it, sugar or flour or both?

Will the sugar/flour get past the filter sock in the tank and if so, why has your main fuel filter not plugged with sugar/flour? Could this be the problem?

Good question, how could the sugar/flour get into the tank if you have a locking fuel door?

These are not answers in reply to your question but not enough questions have been asked. I agree with your suspicions, your dealer’s diagnosis does not pass the smell test.