Toyota Key Instability Problem. Here is another problem that the Toyota company has ignored. A rather strange one. The Corolla Verso and the Prius models both use the same kind of electronic key which has two separate functions: to start the engine and to open and close the door locks.
My Verso is four years old and almost from the beginning the keys malfunctioned in a strange and undesirable way. I reported this every time I took the car for service but although the dealer's service was impeccable in every other respect no notice was taken of the anomalous behaviour. They tell me no one else reports the same problem and, smiling, politely imply I am mistaken in my observations. (Or that they don't care.) I have exchanged lengthy correspondence with Toyota at local, national (Spain), European and headquarters' levels - up to and including the president's office. They are all unfailingly polite but finally unwilling to recognise the problem.
Which is that every so often the key spontaneously sends a signal to either unlock or lock the doors.. i.e. without the buttons having been pushed or even touched. In many cases it was certain that there could not have been any accidental button pushing while the key was in my pocket. Touching or stroking the plastic body of the key (away from the buttons) may sometimes have been associated with this effect which makes me suspect possibly an electrostatic influence on the internal circuit.
It is not possible to deliberately provoke the anomalous behaviour nor to predict when it will occur and it is very irregular: sometimes happening several times in a day, sometimes with a long interval between events. No apparent correlation with ambient temperature or other conditions.
There is an obvious security implication: the effect often happens when walking away after parking and locking the doors. Masked by traffic noise a spontaneous reopening may not be noticed, leaving the vehicle open, at least for a period until automatic reclosure might occur (if it occurs).
The key I am currently using shows the effect very strongly and it is obviously very unstable. The most recent instances of unprovoked signalling have occurred when walking or standing a few metres from the vehicle which had been parked unused for several hours; the key being loose and unencumbered in my pocket. In one case in fact, having just been removed from my pocket and being held loosely in my open hand, my fingers nowhere near the buttons, the key sent a signal all by itself to open the doors. On this occasion the event was witnessed by my wife (who had previously been a bit skeptical).
The first key that showed this problem many times eventually gave up the ghost and the door control stopped working altogether. (Engine start is not affected.) It was examined at the dealer's who offered no explanation, merely confirming the key was kaput. If the failure is part of the general problem and if static is the cause, the internal circuit may have been destroyed by a static charge in a similar fashion to when sensitive computer circuit boards are not handled with precautions. Obviously, in the case of a key no such precautions by the user are relevant. Another possible cause is a loose internal contact.
This failure caused two more disagreeable surprises: A) Toyota refused to recognise the failure as being covered by the (extended) guarantee. B) The price for a new key would be more than 170! ($246; £154) This reflects a rather dastardly marketing policy common to many manufacturers. It must cause great irritation to customers while having minimal effect on profits since the sale of spare keys can hardly be big business within the general scheme of things.
It is even more irritating: as an electronics engineer I'd estimate that the manufacturing cost of the Verso/Prius type of key is hardly more than a few Euros or dollars, whereas here, for less than 120, you can buy a good 22" flat screen computer monitor - which in every way is infinitely more complex. Hopefully a bit of public attention may lead to some light being shone on this matter.
CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS -- My wife and I bought 2 Toyota Corollas new in the spring of '02. At the 45,000 mile mark the rear suspension on my Corolla collapsed while driving at 20 mph on a new resurfaced Boston street. There were no potholes or obstructions and total passenger weight at the time was about 415 pounds; there was some light sailing clothing in the trunk. My Toyota service department said this failure was not at all common and attributed it to "climate but no excuses." The suspension had simply "rotted" (rusted) out. The cost to me of a new suspension system (struts and springs) was $604; Toyota has since offered me a reimbursement of $302.
I talked to a former neighbor who has been a Toyota mechanic for 20+ years. He has never seen this failure before but stated that it was certainly possible but more so in a much older car rather than in one so young. He questioned whether Toyota had properly treated the underbody before it left the assembly line. He asked if I'd seen the broken parts, and I did not. Toyota did not offer to show me, and I stupidly did not ask to see them.
At the sound of cracking metal I went from feeling secure to insecure. I no longer have faith, trust, or confidence in the product. What about the front suspension!? To me, that's suspect, too! If that fails on a highway at 60 or 65 mph what happens then!? Do I lose control of the car!? Do I jeopardize the lives of others as well as my own!?
I believe these to be serious, necessary, and relevant questions. I no longer trust my wife's car either - hers is in the same "climate." I've a sign in my car window stating what happened; I talk to every Toyota owner I can corner; I've been through a myriad of complaint websites and filed complaints in each; I've written a formal letter to Toyota USA. So far I can't find one other Toyota owner with a failure like mine. I'm very disappointed in this product. It was not worth getting on the Toyota bandwagon.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO -- Well I thought I was purchasing the best of the best but as you will see I will shed some light on the truth: I bought a Toyota Corolla in March 2005 thinking I was buying the "best of the best" "Primo" or "the whole enchilada." The whole problem started in March 2008 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Things start heating up in these parts, and I need air conditioning. So one day I turned on my air conditioning on my Corolla to find that oops it does not work! No problem - I spent $1,300 for extended warranty til 50,000 miles "I am good to go I thought." Well that is til I showed up at Karl Malone Toyota in Albuquerque, NM.
"Well sir your A/C condenser has rock holes in it, which by the way is not covered under your extended warranty!" Things just got worse... I called 1-800-331-4331 which apparently customer service approximately 3 times. It sounded promising at the beginning but then just got worse. They said that the mileage on my Toyota is just too high and outside the manufacturer's warranty (48K). But I have extended warranty that I spent $1,300 on which is somehow different.
Well on top of this Toyota issued a Technical Service Bulletin AC002-06 which corrected this problem only within the manufacturer's warranty which is you guessed it 3 year 36K - oh no. Well I asked how can Toyota have a known problem and not pay for some of my $590? Apparently a TSB is not a recall which is very confusing!!! So I am out on an A/C condenser which is $590 on a Toyota and you thought American cars had problems!!!
ARECIBO -- My wife own a 2005 Toyota Corolla and noticed that the paint on the roof is coming off. Look that the paint they are using for the Toyota's Cars for Puerto Rico is not good and I see many cars here with the same problem. Now don't tell me is the sun because I used to own a 1990 Corolla Wagon and the paint still the same way as it was new. I believe the paint quality is not good. Toyota Motor Corporation needs to improve the paint quality or they will have to pay Toyota's customer to repaint the cars.
CLEVELAND, TENNESSEE -- I have only had my Corolla for a year and 1 month. Two months ago I was rear ended and due to the damage I was advised to not wash the vehicle until repairs could be made. Weeks passed without realizing that the bird poop could cause serious damage, considering that my vehicle is fairly new. I took my vehicle back to Toyota after all my repairs had been made to show them the damage that had been caused. The company that fixed my car assured me that the paint had a manufacturing defect because the bird droppings shouldn't have affected the paint all the way down to the primer in the amount of time in which it was exposed.
Maybe if my car had been an older car but it's not. I can't afford to get my car re painted, I'm still making payments on it. I'm so disgusted with the situation. I will never buy another Toyota or deal with the Toyota dealership in Cleveland TN. I just want my car to look like it should because it's still new.
GANSEVOORT, NEW YORK -- I had purchased a 2003 Toyota Corolla from a dealer (not a Toyota dealer). I had it only 6 months. It purred like a kitten. I had a very dangerous experience with my car. The cruise control came on and started to accelerate to a very high velocity speed with a mile distance. The brake would not disengage the cruise control. I could not stop my car and I had to jump out of my car at a speed of 20 miles an hour. I had to ride my brakes to get it to that speed so I could jump out. I got hurt somewhat and got banged up and bruised. I was terrified while having to maneuver my car. If I had children in the car we all would have been dead.
After I jumped out the car it raced to a speed of about 90 miles per hour into a field. It took a few days now to realize what had happened to me and my car. My cruise control and the mechanism that controls the disengagement of the cruise control, malfunctioned. This is a DANGEROUS malfunction. It is a 2003 and it is not that old of a vehicle. This is a serious matter!!! I pray that this does not happen to anyone else. I lost faith in the Toyota corporation!!! I would like a response back from someone in management of the Toyota Corporation ASAP!!!
ELMIRA, NEW YORK -- Purchased 2005 Toytoa Corolla new. Mechanic advised LF Strut was leaking. Took car to Toyota dealer who wanted to replace LF strut for $305 plus tax and wanted $75.00 to align front end. Dealer advised he had never replaced strut on 2005 Corolla and offered nothing towards the repairs after talking to regional office. I complained to Toyota in Torrance, California but said the dealer must offer any compensation -- if any. I will have both struts via non-dealer mechanic for about $400.00.
This is my 1st Toyota and was purchased due to dependable reputation. I have never replaced a strut on the 15-20 cars I have purchased in my lifetime -- mostly new. LF tire showed cupping wear.
Took the car in to fix the molding that the window goes up into. Got the car back and now the very next day the molding is still coming down with the window that they said they fixed. The car is just 2 months old and I asked them what they did to fix the molding and they told me it was just off track and that they put it back on. Well this didn't work and now I have to go back again today and wait around again.
BOZEMAN, MONTANTA -- No doubt about it, Toyota has lost its mojo. It used to be the best car company but now they can barely compete quality-wise with Chrysler. My last Toyota, a 2005 Corolla, had more problems than any American vehicle I have ever owned. I hear the same from people in the industry, they all say the same, "Toyota isn't what it used to be."