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one for the little guy
I've owned a Toyota Camry since the first model showed up in 1984 and I was pregnant with BabyGirl. My parents bought one four years later, and that 1988 model with almost a hundred thousand miles on it got her through her early driving days. So I know the reliability of the car, needless to say.

The one I have now is a 2001 model, leased for four years. About two years into the lease, I took it for an oil change and was told that "they wouldn't touch it" and to get it to the dealer pronto before the engine locked up. Seems the oil was all gelled up and gunky and on the verge of killing my engine. Still in warranty..no problem. The service manager gave me a fit over improper maintenance because the recipts were kinda screwed up. Hey, I'm a girl, and a disorganized one at that. In the end though, they took the whole thing apart, cleaned out the gunked up oil and I was good to go under warranty, all thanks to the fact that my cousin was the manager of the dealership and leaned on the service manager because I'd bought umpteen cars from them over the years.

End of lease I bought the car because the mileage was extremely low and I couldn't afford anything else. I knew from experience that Toyota motors will run for 200K miles, even if you do skip an oil change or two. They're that reliable.

Fast forward to December 2005, less than thirty days before the five year factory warranty runs out. I hear something all of a sudden that sounds like a rod knockin' and pull into the nearest mechanic. Yep..he says. That's what it is. And you're out of oil, by the way. Uh..okay. And how did that happen? Down the the dealership I go where I'm told after a close inspection that the small block will have to be replaced. Again, I'm scrambling for oil change receipts and begging for mercy on that warranty. Toyota refused at first to cover it because I couldn't come up with the right amount of paper to suit them. Eventually, they relented and replaced the small block. The car had barely 40,000 miles on it and I essentially had a new engine so I figured I was fortunate and should be extremely grateful to Toyota Motor Corporation and bowed down to them in thanks.

Today I got a legal notice regarding a class action lawsuit. It seems that Toyota was well aware of the predisposition of certain 1999-2002 Toyota and Lexus models to develop oil gel. In 2002 they established a Customer Support Program giving vehicle owners additional protection beyond the warranty for damage from oil gel or sludge. The lawsuit says that Toyota failed to describe the benefits of the program to customers who then had to pay out of pocket for expensive repairs to the engines when they could not "properly" document routine maintenance. The settlement of the suit provides an extension of the original warranty from five to eight years with unlimited mileage and the issuance of a "glove box notice" stating such. It also provides for reimbursement of repair costs to those who were not as fortunate as I was to have them covered because a family member was watching my back.

You can check it out here .
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