Toyota Highlander Dead Screen100 miles after purchased (pursue lemon)

toyota

#1

So long story short. Bought a 2018 new toyota highlander and the radio unit goes completely dead (black screen). Won’t reboot. Send it back to the dealership and still hasn’t been fixed because they don’t have the unit since they said it’s on back order. It’s been 1 month since I bought it and they still haven’t repaired it.

I guess my question is has anyone else experienced this? Would this classify as a lemon even though the vehicle is still operable but in my opinion has significantly depreciated in value. Should I pursue legal counsel for a course of a lemon or have the dealership try and repair it even though it has already been a month.

Thanks!


#2

Lemon laws vary by jurisdiction, but they generally require the vehicle to be substantially unusable. I doubt this qualifies.


#3

You can check the lemon law in your state but most of them only apply to things relating to the safe operation of the vehicle. I think retaining an attorney would be a waste of money, forcefully complain to the dealer and contact the zone rep if you like. The dealership is not going to attempt an internal repair of a modern car radio. They will replace it when the part come in.


#4

There’s another poster here today who’s complaining their dashboard is acting weird too. I think their car is a Jeep Liberty. This sort of problem is a pretty common report here on most makes and models, especially on newer model years with all the complicated electronics they install. The customers seem to want that stuff by their product selections, so the manufacturers deliver what the customers want I guess. In your case, I expect Toyota would fix this for you if they could. But if no parts are available, they can’t just yet. Are you still able to drive the vehicle? If so, just bring along a battery operated radio for now. That’s about the best you’ll be able to do. No harm to ask if they’ll let you drive another of their cars while you wait though. I wouldn’t stress too much over this, they’ll fix it eventually. Your objective is to secure access to a reliable vehicle of some sort in the meantime, at their expense preferably.


#5

Generally as the others have said, lemon laws come into effect after a particular number of repair attempts for the same thing and they can’t fix it. In this case there is just one event and waiting for parts. Its not uncommon on a new car that parts would not be available-just plain old inventory management and anticipation of the parts needed. While its not fun, nothing has depreciated since they will fix it, but you just have to be a little patient. Maybe they could do a swap of the part from another car in inventory but I don’t know what is involved.


#6

Lemon laws come into effect when from a manufacturer when a component that has failed in three different attempts to fix is a safety issue.

So if the stereo doesn’t work, or the dome light doesn’t work, or if even the display doesn’t work, it’s not a safety issue.

Tester


#7

If the part is on back order then there isn’t much else the dealer can do at this point to fix the car.

Lemon laws vary from state to state but I’m pretty certain that one visit/repair attempt to the dealer for a radio won’t qualify for a lemon law case.


#8

I think you can ask for a loaner car and then drive it a lot.
But the for the lemon law as mentioned, the car should have major safety issues and the dealer should have failed multiple attempts at fixing it.
In your case, even though it is taking long, so far they are at attempt # 1.


#9

They could take a radio from another new car on their lot. Obviously they won’t do that unless under a lot of pressure.


#10

The vehicle hasn’t “lost” any value because of the radio. Well, at least no more than after you drove it off the lot. :wink:

Have some patience. It will get you far in more ways than one.


#11

+1 for pulling a unit from a Highlander on the lot. If nothing else, it puts pressure on the dealer and eventually Toyota America to fix your SUV. The loaner is another good thought. Try one, and if it doesn’t get action, try the other.


#12

I assumed the OP got a loaner. Right, @wnkuhn_143180 ?


#13

When I bought my Mazda6 in 2014 the GPS unit lost its mind about a month later. The dealer yanked a gps unit from another vehicle on the lot to fix my car since the unit they ordered was on back order and would not arrive for a month due to the fact that my car was a brand new model and parts were scarce. It was a great customer service move that helped cement my loyalty to the dealer. It is foolish of your Toyota dealer not to do the same thing for you or offer you a loaner that is substantially similar to your vehicle.


#14

The Lemon Laws with which I am familiar all state that the defect in question has to be one that “materially affects the safety or drivability” of the vehicle. While a defective radio screen is surely annoying and unacceptable in a brand-new vehicle, it affects neither the safety nor the drivability of this vehicle. Hence, a Lemon Law complaint will be to no avail. And, then there is that pesky “three failed attempts at repair” detail in most of these laws.

The OP needs to elevate his complaint to Toyota at the corporate level, but if he threatens them with a Lemon Law complaint, they will likely just laugh at him. He has every right to politely demand that the defect be fixed, but… a replacement vehicle? That is not going to happen, as I see it.
:thinking:


#15

As for taking a unit from a vehicle on the lot , I just can’t see that happening. Why would the dealer make an unsold vehicle unsaleable for a situation that is out of his control. I know BD had that happen but trying for customer loyalty might apply to fleet customers but for an individual might not be a major point.


#16

I am also assuming OP got a loaner, because if he didn’t, he should.

I never minded when a warranty repair took a long time. Now I’m putting miles on their car, not mine, which is always a good thing. And, they know I’m putting miles on their car which gives them excellent motivation not to screw around and prioritize my repair behind others. :wink:


#17

Since folks were asking about the loaner, I opted not to get one since I actually like the car and it’s a new car. They did offer it but I chose not to since I have kids and need this car to tot them around and all they were offering is a RAV4 which wouldn’t be able to handle it.

It’s not just the radio, it’s the receiver which powers NAV, Radio, toyota sense, etc. Basically the brain of the car.

I did make a stink with corporate and at first they were saying it could have been my fault. I got pretty pissed since who would screw up their own new car with 100 miles on it.

Corporate came around now that the dealership mentioned that the screen died and it had nothing to do with me. They are willing to offer the Toyota gold standard at no cost from anywhere to 2-6 years.

California Lemon Law:

The manufacturer or its agents have made two or more
attempts to repair a warranty problem that results in a
condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily
injury if the vehicle is driven;
• The manufacturer or its agents have made four or more
attempts to repair the same warranty problem; or
• The vehicle has been out of service for more than 30
days (not necessarily all at the same time) while being
repaired for any number of warranty problems; or
• The problems are covered by the warranty, substantially
reduce the vehicle’s use, value, or safety to the consumer
and are not caused by abuse of the vehicle;
• If required by the warranty materials or by the owner’s
manual, the consumer has to directly notify the
manufacturer about the problem(s), preferably in writing.
The notice must be sent to the address shown in the
warranty or owner’s manual (for bullets 1 and 2).

I highlighted above the parts that are lemon law applicable. I could argue that I could have left it out of service for 30 days above by taking the loaner.

Having a dead receiver means that if anyone yanks the record for the auto can see that it had problems from the start; hence, can argue that it materially lowered the value (of course I know that it would depreciate very fast once driven off the lot.


#18

The way I read it, you can’t cherry pick out one or two criteria from the conditions. Look at the full description, cut and pasted below:

Lemon Law Presumption*
Within the Song-Beverly Act, there is a presumption guideline
wherein it is presumed that a vehicle is a “lemon” if the following
criteria are met within 18 months of delivery to the buyer or
lessee or 18,000 miles on the vehicle’s odometer, whichever
comes first:
• The manufacturer or its agents have made two or more
attempts to repair a warranty problem that results in a
condition that is likely to cause death or serious bodily
injury if the vehicle is driven;
• The manufacturer or its agents have made four or more
attempts to repair the same warranty problem; or
• The vehicle has been out of service for more than 30
days (not necessarily all at the same time) while being
repaired for any number of warranty problems; or
• The problems are covered by the warranty, substantially
reduce the vehicle’s use, value, or safety to the consumer
and are not caused by abuse of the vehicle;
• If required by the warranty materials or by the owner’s
manual, the consumer has to directly notify the
manufacturer about the problem(s), preferably in writing.
The notice must be sent to the address shown in the
warranty or owner’s manual (for bullets 1 and 2).
If these criteria are met, the Lemon Law presumes that the buyer
or lessee is entitled to a replacement vehicle or a refund of the
purchase price. However, this presumption is rebuttable. The
manufacturer may show that the criteria has not been met (for
example, because the problems are minor) and therefore, the
buyer or lessee is not entitled to a replacement vehicle or refund.
*Source: California Civil Code Section 1793.22(b).

It says “if the following criteria are met” not if one or two conditions exist. All lemon laws I have ever seen allow for multiple repair attempts…


#19

But those criteria are separated by the word or, which means you can and are intended to cherrypick it. :wink:

Frankly with less than 100 miles on it the dealership should just swap cars with you. If they don’t, you’ll need to consult a lemon law attorney but this layman thinks you have a case.


#20

Not the way I read it, that is one sub-condition with an OR
The other problem is that it is technically not “out of service” for this issue as evidenced by the owner continuing to drive it around in the meantime while they await the replacement part.