I bought a 2010 Prius 3 in 2010 and now have abut 63000 miles on it. I love this car. I have had no mechanical problems except one that made itself known just past the 36 month warranty period.
I noticed that my solar driven cooling fan wasn't working this summer. I thought the fan had maybe died but then I looked at the solar panel and saw that green copper corrosion caused by long term moisture infiltration had shorted out the solar panel and it was unable to produce electricity anymore.
I had the Dealer look at the panel and by looking at the panel from a ladder he ascertained that the moisture infiltration had reached all the way across the panel to the rear as evidenced by the green corrosion of the wiring in the panel.
Now this just didn't happen overnight, it is obvious moisture had been infiltrating the panel for several years. There was no moisture visible in the pane, just the evidence of long term corrosion throughout the panel.
What I am saying is this. These panels were manufactured by an outside vendor for Toyota. If made properly, a solar panel should be hermetically sealed. Most solar panels normally have a useful life of 15 years. This panel was defective the day it was made and it just took 3 years for the corrosion to infiltrate deep enough to disable enough of the solar cells to render it inoperative.
The reason I tell you this is the solar option is an expensive option.($2000 replacement cost) If you are still in your warranty period I would suggest having the panel inspected for corrosion before you experience a failure. Once you know what to look for you can examine it yourself. Much like a hermetically sealed double pane house window there will be some clouding of the glass panel where the moisture has infiltrated.
In my case the infiltration appears to have been going on for years before total failure. Since it is tinted and part of the roof design you won't notice the subtle changes in the color unless you inspect the panel closely.
In conclusion, these panels should be waterproof and sealed during manufacture. If any moisture infiltrates by means other than from damage it is a design and/or manufacturing error.
Oct 11, 2012 (11:23 am)
(Oct 11, 2012 1:38 pm)
Well, I just got off the phone with Toyota Corporate. Basically they told me that they will give me $750 towards my repair of $2000 for the defective solar panel on my 2010 Prius. I told them I was surprised that they weren't at least offering to supply the part and I could pay for the labor(about $350) for repair as most all other car manufacturers would have done. Even Ford has been known to do this. Sadly, It appears Toyota's customer service quality is well below Ford's.
I guess Toyota has made a corporate decision of "Buyer Beware". If Toyota installs a defective part in your new car and you don't find out until 9 days after the 3 years warranty is up it is just to bad for you. Even if it was defective before the warranty expired. Amazing! It is disappointing to see this attitude from a company I thought was known for quality and great customer service.
I asked them if I could appeal the decision and was told "No, I would have to pursue a remedy outside Toyota". In other words hire a lawyer or file in small claims court. What a craven answer.
I hope you folks don't have any problems with your Toyota after the paper warranty is up. Toyota appears not to care about or understand their customers. I t has become, in my opinion, a company run by bean counters and Lawyers.
I like my dealer and had planned on making Toyota my car of choice for the future, but after this experience I think I won't be buying any more of their cars.