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Who do I complain to?


John Marriott
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I have a 2016 Prius which I bought new. The car has done about 54000m miles. There is white steam coming from the exhaust and my dealer informs me that I need a new head gasket. This will cost in excess of £3000. I am a senior citizen and a bill of that size is frightening. I drive carefully and look after my cars. This is the 2nd Prius I have bought new from the dealer.

I wish to raise this with Toyota hoping that they will pay all or at least some of the bill. I would like to send them an email. Who should I send it to and what email address?

 

Any advice would be gratefully received.

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Go to toyota.co.uk, and visit their he!p centre. You can raise your issue with Customer Services by completing their online form. 

When was the car last serviced and was this by a Toyota dealer?

Does the car have a full Toyota service history? If so this will help Toyota decide whether or not to provide assistance.

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Many thanks for the prompt reply. The situation is complex. I live in a rural area a fair drive away from my Toyota dealer. Thanks to Covid and my age I am in the vulnerable group. If I drive to the dealer I am then faced with journeys on public transport to get home. This is a risk I am not prepared to take. The last two services were done by my local garage which is within easy walking distance. The service book has been stamped by them. Other than the services during Covid I have always had my cars serviced by Toyota.

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OK, you may find that as the car hasn't got a full Toyota,service history, that this may adversely affect any goodwill Toyota are prepared to offer, as they have no detail on whether the car has been correctly serviced, etc.

Aside from that if it was your local garage who have diagnosed the fault, Toyota would probably want the issue investigated within their dealer network before considering a response.

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Thanks again for the advice. I understand the situation from Toyota's perspective. When I saw the white steam I went directly to my Toyota dealer and they diagnosed the faulty head gasket.

I'll try emailing cr@toyota.co.uk and keep my fingers crossed.

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John, don't labour the point but set out briefly why you used a local garage when you would normally have used your main dealer.  They may take a more sympathetic approach based on your need to shield. 

For this to work you must only have used your local dealer after Covid pandemic. 

Quite different situation but I had difficulty getting a statory refund.  I contacted the CEOs office and they rang back.  I explained my medical problem and they immediately authorised a 100% refund. They are now my preferred short haul carrier. 

 

 

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Hi, 

That’s almost impossible the car needs a head gasket at that mileage and age. Steam coming from exhaust is normal especially on cold days and hybrids do steam as twice as much in comparison with other non hybrid cars. Have the car been thoroughly checked for head gasket problem, like coolant, oil, pressure in the coolant, engine compression? Have you had any other issues like thermostat problems, no heating, any warning lights? Have the car been serviced in main dealer and is it the same dealer who diagnose the head gasket problem? 

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I was under the impression that if my Prius was serviced & maintained by a Toyota garage, even though my car is out of the 5 year warranty, it is extended to up to 10 years provided all services are carried out by a Toyota garage. I wonder whether Frosty could tell me if that is still correct & if for some reason the head gasket should suddenly go on my car would it be covered? I’m very confused about this new extension of the Toyota warranty!

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7 minutes ago, Catlover said:

Your right what you say Trevor, but you need to read the Relax T’s and C’s (and so do I).

Cheers Joe. I was beginning to get very concerned. I don’t anticipate any particular problems but I’m a great believer in taking out the appropriate cover just in case. I will certainly have to read the Relax T’s & C’s just in case the cover is not sufficient & I need to pay up front for a warranty. Have you by some chance, got a link to the Relax T & C’s so that I can look them up?

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Top right in the Search box type Relax, go down about a dozen, FB’s started a thread 21 June 2021

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The terms & conditions of the Relax warranty do state under the coverage section for the engine that the cylinder head gasket is covered - see the attachment. 

Trevor - the car that this topic refers to had it's last two services done outside the Toyota dealer network, so if the last service was done after the 5 year new car warranty expired (which would have 2021), it wouldn't be covered by Relax. 

Toyota Relax TCs - 25.05.21_tcm-3060-2286757.pdf

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1 minute ago, FROSTYBALLS said:

The terms & conditions of the Relax warranty do state under the coverage section for the engine that the cylinder head gasket is covered - see the attachment. 

Trevor - the car that this topic refers to had it's last two services done outside the Toyota dealer network, so if the last service was done after the 5 year new car warranty expired (which would have 2021), it wouldn't be covered by Relax. 

Toyota Relax TCs - 25.05.21_tcm-3060-2286757.pdf 103.62 kB · 0 downloads

Hi Frosty, many thanks for that reply, that was very reassuring. I wouldn’t dream of taking my car to anywhere other than a Toyota garage, even though my nearest Toyota garage is now about 20miles away. Nothing against local garages, but as far as my car is concerned, if I want something done then I know even if it costs me a few quid more, I have the satisfaction that the correct tools will be used by a Toyota technician & the job will be done properly. Thanks also for the link, yet again I find your help & advice invaluable

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Hi Roy. How did you contact the CEO? Is there a phone number?

Yes - my car is not covered by Relax as I had 2 services done by my local garage due to Covid.

The car was diagnosed by my Toyota dealer. I took it there as soon as I saw the steam from the exhaust.

Have always taken my cars to a Toyota dealer but, for the last 2 services, I was unwilling to take the risk (I am 73 years old and vulnerable).

Thanks for all the info from all of you. Much appreciated.

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36 minutes ago, Catlover said:

Top right in the Search box type Relax, go down about a dozen, FB’s started a thread 21 June 2021

Hi Joe, thanks again for your reply. As you know Frosty has replied to my comment & as ever he has given me good advice. The link he’s given me for the Relax conditions takes me directly to the relevant conditions. I’ve saved a copy for future reference but quickly reading those conditions, they seem to be quite comprehensive & I doubt even if I purchased a warranty policy, it probably wouldn’t be any where near as good! At least my mind’s at rest, though after my past experience I’m not anticipating any problems with my car. 

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Head gasket failure is extremely rare in latest Gen 2016> Prius but not impossible and it is difficult to say what the issue is I would however point out that there could be another more plausible explanation:

EG-00190T-TME

 

Subject: Coolant water leak from Front exhaust pipe heat recovery machine.
 
All Markets: Models – Model Codes: Prius - ZVW50, ZVW55 ;Prius Plug-in Hybrid - ZVW52 ;
 
Description of the phenomenon: Some customers may experience and report the following symptoms
  • Coolant water leak from Front exhaust pipe heat recovery machine
  • Overheat due to no coolant water in reservoir tank

both these issues will include excess steam from the exhaust especially when up to normal operating temperature.

Production change: The following has been changed: Improve against thermal stress by adding the reinforcement at heat exchanger

Repair procedure: Replace "PIPE ASSY, EXHAUST, FR" according to repair manual.

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11 hours ago, John Marriott said:

Thanks again for the advice. I understand the situation from Toyota's perspective. When I saw the white steam I went directly to my Toyota dealer and they diagnosed the faulty head gasket.

I'll try emailing cr@toyota.co.uk and keep my fingers crossed.

Hi John, has the water level in the engine coolant tank been checked? If you getting steam then water must be being used. The system might need topping up.         
I am following this thread as I have a 2016 Prius.  If the head gasket has gone it would be the first I have heard of. As Lee - Devon Aygo said it is possible but rare.

John, as for the two services outside of Toyota, under the initial 5 year warranty you are allowed by law to take the car for service to any vat registered establishment. However, if there is a serious fault you, the customer, would have to prove to Toyota that the car was serviced in accord with Toyota standard and parts used were equivalent to Toyota parts. So you would need invoices showing detail.  However, once you go on Relax, after the 5 year warranty expires, you have to have the vehicle serviced at a Toyota dealer.

Forget about phoning the CEO of Toyota uk. He has staff looking after day to day situation….. including customer service. Email customer service, out line as briefly as possible what you problem and situation is and why you took the action (service elsewhere). Keep it short, one liners will be better than and essay. Let us all know how you get on.

Hope it goes well.

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1 hour ago, Catlover said:

Hi John, has the water level in the engine coolant tank been checked? If you getting steam then water must be being used. The system might need topping up.         
I am following this thread as I have a 2016 Prius.  If the head gasket has gone it would be the first I have heard of. As Lee - Devon Aygo said it is possible but rare.

John, as for the two services outside of Toyota, under the initial 5 year warranty you are allowed by law to take the car for service to any vat registered establishment. However, if there is a serious fault you, the customer, would have to prove to Toyota that the car was serviced in accord with Toyota standard and parts used were equivalent to Toyota parts. So you would need invoices showing detail.  However, once you go on Relax, after the 5 year warranty expires, you have to have the vehicle serviced at a Toyota dealer.

Forget about phoning the CEO of Toyota uk. He has staff looking after day to day situation….. including customer service. Email customer service, out line as briefly as possible what you problem and situation is and why you took the action (service elsewhere). Keep it short, one liners will be better than and essay. Let us all know how you get on.

Hope it goes well.

Hi John, I would also like to know how you get on, so would like to repeat what Joe has posted, since like him I also have a 2016 Prius. I hope sincerely Toyota are sympathetic, especially in these extraordinary circumstances with this covid pandemic, which has affected all of us in many ways.

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13 hours ago, John Marriott said:

Many thanks for the prompt reply. The situation is complex. I live in a rural area a fair drive away from my Toyota dealer. Thanks to Covid and my age I am in the vulnerable group. If I drive to the dealer I am then faced with journeys on public transport to get home. This is a risk I am not prepared to take. The last two services were done by my local garage which is within easy walking distance. The service book has been stamped by them. Other than the services during Covid I have always had my cars serviced by Toyota.

John, it could well have been the situation where if you had contacted your dealer and explained the situation during lockdown they may have either

1) lent you a car for the duration of the service

2) arranged for someone to pick your car up and return it.

my regular Toyota dealer is about 15 miles away, one time a few years ago, it was shortly after having a cancerous prostate removed and couldn’t put drive, a chap picked my car up on the way to his office and brought it back couple days later.        
since then on a few occasions I have asked for a loan car and they did that too, no charge as well.       
Signs of a good dealer.

Reading what Devon Aygo said… may be not a head gasket failure.

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John, any CEO - look online for CEO email addresses.  They all have contact details.  Most will get their staff to respond.  Some will tell you they will get their staff to respond, and some will respond directly. 

I used to get emails from Dido Harding and as late as 10 at night. 

Try:

agustin.martin@tgb.toyota.co.uk

John, only go this route if you reach an impasse and not as an opening gambit. Possibly do it in two parts, a long and detailed history as an attachment and a brief summary in the main message, problem what it is, when it was, why you did what you did, why you need to write. Most importantly what result you want. 

Be realistic. You might like a freebie, you might be happy with a contribution, but you don't want to close down the options.  Perhaps just a 'can you offer held with the cost'. 

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I have never heard of head gasket issues on a Prius. From previous posts it could be the fault of something other than the head gasket. I do hope Toyota cover the cost or partial cost at least. With regard to service, I have my car collected and returned to my home at service times. There is a £12.50 charge for this service but for me it is well worth it. 

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12 minutes ago, Catlover said:

John, it could well have been the situation where if you had contacted your dealer and explained the situation during lockdown they may have either

1) lent you a car for the duration of the service

2) arranged for someone to pick your car up and return it.

my regular Toyota dealer is about 15 miles away, one time a few years ago, it was shortly after having a cancerous prostate removed and couldn’t put drive, a chap picked my car up on the way to his office and brought it back couple days later.        
since then on a few occasions I have asked for a loan car and they did that too, no charge as well.       
Signs of a good dealer.

Reading what Devon Aygo said… may be not a head gasket failure.

Hi Joe, I also wondered whether this was a leaking head gasket. I remember years ago, if a leaking head gasket was suspected, there would be a white milky oil & water emulsion deposit on the underside of the engine oil filler cap. I guess with the Prius the oil even after thousands of miles, remains relatively clean & therefore this effect isn’t so obvious. Nevertheless, I do think that after reading Devon Aygo’s comments that there a good chance, especially with the low relative mileage that John’s car has done, that the steam is a result of some other problem. By the way Joe I also had prostate cancer & had keyhole surgery to remove it back in 2007. A yearly PSA blood test, has since proved its never come back. I think I was lucky because I found I had the cancer in it’s early stages, even though I had no symptoms. I hope you also remain free of this dreadful disease. 

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Trevor, yes I had robotic surgery too, April 8th 2015, there are certain dates one remember well. Mine was at the point of breaking out of the prostate, that means it could have spread to pelvic bones and also lymph nodes, which you probably know go throughout the body. That would not have been a good ending I am sure. I too have annual PSA test and it’s very low.

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