UPDATE (LONG) & Questions:
Eight days ago I finally had the appointment to have the torque converter fixed and also to get the oil changed and tires rotated at the same time. I waited an hour, was told the car was ready only to discover nothing was done about the torque converter problem because the mechanic couldn’t duplicate the problem.
I politely reminded the service advisor they have on record I have been complaining about the exact symptoms Toyota detailed in the letter I received. And I reminded him I had specifically said when I arrived for the appointment that the previous evening when I had shifted from reverse to drive that the transmission did not engage, merely let the engine rev high, that I had checked to be certain the gear selector was properly seated, and finally had to shift out of drive to neutral and back into drive to get the transmission to engage.
The young man who was the service advisor I was dealing with told me that “many women have trouble properly shifting” and that extensive test driving by the mechanic did not duplicate the problem. I rather tartly replied I have been shifting cars for forty years without any problem. He never would say whether or not the recommended car computer software upgrade was performed. He then stated I could start writing down a log of all malfunction occurences and come back with that at the next oil change (which based on my low mileage driving would be six months.) I asked for the manager only to be told he wasn’t available.
I left quite ticked off only to discover when I checked the odometer that the so called “extensive” test drive was barely four miles. (And yes, I did check the oil dipstick right there in the dealership parking lot to verify the car had clean oil up to the proper full mark before I started the car to leave.)
Since then I had driven only three times for less than forty total miles until today when I had to make an almost forty mile round trip. Less than halfway outbound one of the hubcaps went flying off and clattered bouncing away. I was in heavy traffic and could not safely pull over to search for the lost hubcap.
So after I completed my business at my destination I used my cell phone to call the dealership service department. The young woman who answered was a sharp tongued unhelpful dingbat. I explained that after they rotated tires the hubcap came off and that I had NOT hit a pothole nor driven but very few miles. She said that rotating tires has no affect on hubcaps. I pointed out that accessing lugnuts and pulling and remounting wheels can easily affect a hubcap. She replied lugnuts have nothing to do with tires or wheels. (Really!?? Lugnuts have nothing to do with tires and wheels!?? Dingbat clearly did not know the difference between hubcaps and lugnuts.)
She put me on hold for six minutes only to then tell me the service advisor I had dealt with previously wasn’t there and I could call back another day. I said then please let me speak with the manager. She said that she didn’t have time to find him as she was leaving in ten minutes to which I replied then she had ten minutes in which to have the manager call me back or they could deal with me in person and it wouldn’t be another day. She said she was leaving. I said the manager had ten minutes, gave my phone number, and she hung up on me. I waited fifteen minutes, no call back received. I drove straight to the dealership.
I would have been less irate over the hubcap were I not already dissatisfied about the torque converter.
When I arrived I made a point of being courteous albeit rather concisely stiff about my belief there is apt to be a correlation between the tire rotation and subsequent flying hubcap. (Although I am quite aware it is also very possible it is an unfortunate coincidence.)
This time I dealt with a more mature, more pleasant service advisor. He looked at the wheel and suggested someone had perhaps tampered with the hubcap. No, the car stays in a locked garage. Perhaps at work. No, I am retired (sort of). Well then at the grocery store, you do drive to the grocery store don’t you? Wordless stare from me while I silently thought does he really want to stick with that line of theory. He then excused himself briefly and returned to say they would take care of it at no cost to me and likely it was a faulty clip to blame. No hubcap was available in stock in the parts department so he opened a work order.
Then he asked if there was anything else. I told him the transmission problem continues to occur intermittently but was told last week the mechanic could not duplicate. He asked if the computer was flashed. I said I did not know but was told nothing can be done unless they can duplicate the problem (which, by the way, I realize is reasonable). While I was answering he was looking at their computer record of my service. I also said I still haven’t pinpointed a pattern to the problem except for one thing. Before I could say what that is he asked if it is when I have eased off the accelerator momentarily then try to speed back up. Yes! That is exactly when it most occurs.
He said don’t worry they know how to make it occur on a test drive. I said but the mechanic couldn’t last week and the problem of the one instance of not shifting into drive was ignored. He replied that this time a journeyman will be check driving and working on it and not an “express man” like last week and when I come back I will be dealing with him as my service advisor and not someone else. If a computer software flash doesn’t fix it they will replace the torque converter.
He asked when I can leave the car for a day ot two. Answer is I will need a loaner as I have no other transportation. So between my schedule and their openings I am scheduled to return in six days prepared to wait at least two hours to find if they need the car longer. I assume that is time to test drive and diagnose, flash the software, retest drive. If that does not work then the replacement will require they keep the car and I get a loaner (at least I better get a loaner like the corporate letter says will be provided if necessary!)
So…a new hubcap is on order at their cost and, far more importantly, the transmission problem will be looked at again, this time by a journeyman rather than an express man. I assume that means last week an inexperienced cadet changed the oil, rotated the tires, and declared the transmission a non issue but that next week a more experienced mechanic will check the torque converter performance.
Sorry to be so long winded.
I do wish to ask you wonderful regulars a question, please:
Am I unreasonable to think there is apt to be a connection between the tire rotation and subsequent flying hubcap?
Okay, done venting now. But I would appreciate feedback if any of you have endured reading all the way through this epistle diatribe.
…still reading, still learning…