Toyota Denied a Warranty Repair on GR86 Engine Because It Found a Photo of the Car Drifting
Copyright: Cory Stuart
If you've seen marketing material for the new GR86, you know that Toyota is promoting it as a car you can take to the track. The company even gives every new 86 buyer a free NASA membership and free trackday coupon with their purchase. So you would think Toyota would cover the warranty if there was a mechanical failure due to performance driving, right? Well, that was not the case with one owner. And his claims have set the internet on fire.
Blake Alvarado published an extensive post on Facebook documenting the saga of his GR86, which suffered a spin at just 13,770 miles. According to the post, the engine was starved of oil due to excess sealant falling into the oil pan and eventually blocking the oil pickup tube. According to Alvarado, this is a common, documented occurrence with these engines. Forum posts and breakdown videos seem to support this claim.
Here's what happened next, according to Alvarado:
A Field Technician Specialist (FTS) was assigned to the case, but instead of personally inspecting the engine, as is normally the case, he did not inspect the engine. Instead, either he or someone at the retailer found me on social media. They showed me a photo of me [drifting] taken at a local Test & Tune event (no timekeeping, no competition) in late March (I was testing different setups and playing around with tire pressures. This was the only time that the car has been driven as shown in the photo). They also showed me an onboard video of me riding in someone else's white GR86 (mine is black).
This "evidence," along with the AGV's comment that the problem with drifting is common (he's a local drifter well known in the community), caused him to deny the warranty claim and the service manager to agree with the decision. I was given an estimate of €11,000 for the repair.
Alvarado tried to fight Toyota over the decision, or at least let them foot part of the bill for the replacement engine. But the service manager at his car dealership stayed with the call from the field technician. Rather than pay for a new replacement engine, Alvarado had his car towed to a nearby Subaru dealership to have a low-mileage engine installed, which cost him about $7,000 out of pocket.
Not surprisingly, Alvarado's story spread like wildfire. Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ forums, groups and channels across the Internet shared his story, wondering if their engines are next and if the repairs would be covered by the car's warranty. The BRZ+86 twins are sports cars and many buyers want to use them like sports cars. That might dampen people's fun.
In response to Toyota showing the Facebook post, the company made the following statement to Road & Track.
Toyota is currently investigating the case you mentioned. Customer satisfaction with our vehicles is important to Toyota. As always, we encourage customers experiencing problems with their vehicle to contact their authorized Toyota dealer or call the Toyota Brand Engagement Center (1-800-331-4331). In cases where a retailer is unable to resolve the matter, customers are of course encouraged to contact our Brand Engagement Center.
"Most of these people [intend] to use their cars for HPDE and other similar activities, but now people are afraid that the same scenario that happened to me will happen to them," Alvarado told Road & Track.
The story goes on
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