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Just a story about have to figure out yourself. Many years in computers, networks fiber optics etc., but one AM I come in and the network was down. No obvious solution, many switches etc. So I ask the cleaning lady did you do anything with network cables? Yes I saw one unplugged so I plugged it back in. I asked which one, she showed me so I unplugged it and life was good as it was backfeeding and crashing the network. Show me that in a training class!

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Toyota set higher technician certification and training requirement standards more than 8 years ago in the wake of the financial penalties that resulted from their delayed reaction to vehicle recalls. Other manufactures raised the standards in the prior decade.

A technician must be “Certified” to be allowed to perform recall repairs. Some recalls require the technician to have completed certain courses, some recalls require that the technician be at the “Senior” or “Master” level.

Not sure it’s within the guidelines for a CPO vehicle to be delivered with an air filter from Carquest. I thought OEM parts were required. The litigation folder is growing in size. Never the best route but sometimes the only one. Toyota and the dealer are failing to step up across the board.

I’ll update the results from the independent certified shop today.

My gut feeling at this point is that everyone involved on the dealership/Toyota side is throwing any BS at the wall they can think of and hoping it sticks long enough to make @Brent89 shut up and go away.

This problem might well have been caused by Brent. But “gee I think there’s a possibility that the owner messed it up and therefore we’re going to refuse to perform our contractual obligations” isn’t good enough. The dealership needs to prove that Brent did it.

Somewhere up there is a statement from the dealership that claimed Brent might have ingested rain and that bent the rod. The point when the dealership claimed that driving the vehicle in a rain shower voids the warranty would have been the point where, were I Brent, I transitioned from being a customer to being a very annoyed and aggressive attorney.

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Keep us informed on this. I’m extremely interested in how this plays out. If push comes to shove I just don’t see any way that a judge would rule against you on this. And if a suit is filed I would not be surprised to see a sudden offer to resolve it and keep it out of court. The only resolution I would go for would be for them to buy that car back and be done with it. The stonewalling, wild guessing, and multiple water intrusion excuses they have been doing will certainly not look good.

With that Carquest air filter in place I tend to think even more about my past comment involving the prior owner being sold a premature and needless induction cleaning at low miles. That is not a rare event for any make and model.
Said induction cleaning being nothing more than some aerosol cleaner sprayed into the throttle body in many cases and blaming the stains on water.

I also have the gut feeling that this car suffered an event of some sort in the past and that possibly the prior owner was informed of and knew about it. At that point they figured Option A was to unload the car, move on, and let someone else deal with it.
This, like the premature and needless induction cleaning, is also a common event.

For Brent’s sake, it would be great if the Toyota dealer would just buy the Highlandcer back. However, then it might be six months before we know what the problem was.
I say six months because the vehicle will be resold with a CPO warranty and the next owner will be back on this board.
I did encounter an honest salesman in what might have been a similar situation. The AMC dealer had a 1966 Rambler Ambassador on the lot. I had looked at it on a Sunday, but by the time I was able to get down during the week it was gone. About four months later, it was back on the lot. I stopped in to look at it and the salesman told me that I might want to steer clear of the car as it was the second time it had been traded back in.

So, the Highlander got a preliminary clean bill of health from the independent certified mechanic. Like many of you, he questioned all, and demolished some, of the assumptions made by the Toyota techs and gave us a lot of technical feedback, much of it consistent with your comments. The CEL has not come back on since the field engineer cleared the codes last week, but there may just not have been enough drive cycles.

We’ve definitely soured on Toyota after the poor treatment we’ve received and would love to trade it, but I certainly can’t do that in good faith at this point; I’d never want to cause someone else to go through this and wonder what the previous owner was hiding. We’ll see how it goes in the next few days/weeks.

Many thanks for sticking with this very long thread and for all your great input and ideas. I’ll update again if anything significant happens.


The main problems you had is with the dealer - NOT TOYOTA. I owned a 90 Pathfinder years ago. And had an extremely bad experience with the local Nissan dealer. But that didn’t stop my from purchasing a new 98 Pathfinder. I drove 30 miles past them to another dealership for that purchase.

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I can certainly understand Brent89’s feeling about Toyota. We bought a new Toyota 4Runner in 2003. The local dealer handled Buicks and Toyotas and the salesman didn’t seem to know much about Toyota 4Runners. We bought the 4Runner from a dealer 25 miles away. There were problems almost right away. There was a terrible chirping noise when the engine was running. We took it back to the dealer and the serpentine belt was replaced. Two days later the problem returned. I took it back. The serpentine belt was again replaced. Two days later, the noise returned, and the engine was leaking oil. I took it back. The serpentine belt had been improperly installed and the crankshaft oil seal had been pulled out. The oil seal was fixed and another serpentine belt was installed. Two days later, the chirping sound returned. I went back to the dealer, read him the lemon law and said it was his last chance to make it right or he could buy it back. I also demanded a loaner car. The service department then figured out it was the belt tensioner that was defective. The 4Runner has been fine since that time and we still own it.
Since we bought the 4Runner, the Toyota dealership is now a separate agency and locally owned. I have purchased two Toyota Siennas from this dealer and have been satisfied with the service department. The local dealer that had handled the Toyotas as well as GM products now just sells Buicks and GMC trucks. I have used the body shop at this dealer and they do excellent work.
After my initial experience with the 4Runner, I was soured on Toyota. If I had to have forced the original dealer to take the Toyota back, I would have never bought another Toyota product. The Siennas I have owned have been satisfactory. However, I preferred the Chevrolet Uplander that I owned before the Siennas as the seat and driving position were more comfortable for me than the Sienna. I would have purchased another Uplander, but GM, in its infinite wisdom, discontinued the minivan.

That’s actually not the case. We have issues with the dealer and Toyota. We dealt with both entities during this time.


That’s why I said most of it. Also Toyota corporate is getting most of their input from the dealer and their mechanics.

That’s why I suggested to you weeks ago in the Highlander forum to get it looked at by an independent

Toyota’s field engineer inspected it last week after we appealed the initial warranty denial to Toyota’s area supervisor. We moved it to the independent shop as soon as possible after that inspection.

Actually, you can trade the Highlander in good faith. If you sell it to a dealer, then it is on them to find any problems since they are experts. Before they make an offer, they will give it a good look-over and make an offer. They should find most problems. If you sold it to someone that would use it themselves, then you must disclose the problems. The trade in value should be about 10 to 15% less than you paid for it, depending on what the CPO premium was.

You might push it up the food chain at Toyota and see what the zone representative’s supervisor has to say. Keep pushing after that, too. If you decide to keep the Highlander, continuing to press Toyota and the dealer might eventually yield whatever repairs you need at their cost.

I suppose that there is also the mass media route. That seems to work in many cases. There is a travel column in my Sunday newspaper where people are at wits end after being stonewalled by an airline or hotel, and the column writer seems to get a good outcome for the consumer. At least once every column anyway. Local TV news seems to likes handling consumer advocacy this way.

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The explanation from Toyota that driving the vehicle in the rain might cause the engine to ingest water, hydrolock, and bend a piston rod does explain why I see so many dirty Toyotas on the road. The Toyota can’t be run through a car wash. Mrs. Triedaq has been complaining that our Sienna is really dirty. I will send it out to the dry cleaners tomorrow morning.


Pardon my ignorance, but as this plays out, I have a question about pending codes. The HL has been driven about 65 miles since the codes were cleared at the dealer. No CEL so far. After 35 miles, there were no pending codes. Given the diagnostic history (a lot of various DTCs), should there be pending codes at this point?

That depends . . .

I’ll try to simplify this . . . a pending code means a test has failed, but not enough drive cycles with the fault present have yet occurred, meaning there is definitely a problem, but more drive cycles with the fault present will have to occur before the pcm commands the code matures and the check engine light is commanded to be illuminated

let’s try to be positive . . . if these various drive cycles have met the parameters for the test to run and there is no pending code for the issue, you not have any further problem(s)

Depending on the code, there may be mode 6 data to peruse. Even if no code has set or is pending, there’s often good information contained with that mode 6 data. A smart and experienced guy can peruse it and see if everything’s great, or if there’s a particular problem developing, which may soon result in a code and check engine light

It’s part of proper diagnosis and verifying a repair


I remember JC Whitney used to sell a brush type thing that they said you could clean a car without water with. Might be one available yet.

If the original issue was a check engine light, with all the messing around they did with the plugs etc., they might just have fixed the problem.

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Just by way of update, the HL has gone about 300 miles since the codes were cleared at the dealer. No CEL so far. Runs great.


That’s terrific. I looked back to see what might have been done to fix it, but there isn’t anything you wrote that looked like a fix. Deleting the codes only resets the OBD-II system. Was there anything else they did that you didn’t mention, or did it just magically go away? It it’s magic, that implies to me that they did something and didn’t tell you. As long as it runs well, that’s what counts, and if it stays this way, leave them alone. I’m sure you don’t ever want to see them again anyway

Nothing that I know of. Like I said before, the subsequent mechanic could find nothing wrong with it. If it’s going to throw codes again, I wish it would go ahead and do it.