Friday, September 10, 2010

The Toyota Drama

We bought our beautiful new 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE back in April. So do the math: that's just over 4 months ago. I'd still consider her pretty young for her age, wouldn't you? Follow along with me.
  • April 2010 - We researched and test drove the heck out of several SUVs and minivans. We decided on the 2011 Sienna, and after LOTS of research (considering Toyota was dealing with the faulty gas pedal and/or floor mat issues at the time), we purchased the vehicle.
  • April 2010 - Less than a week after purchasing the vehicle (and having an aftermarket roof DVD player installed by the Toyota dealer's 3rd party vendor), we noticed a lovely crack in the DVD player housing, right next to the button to release the screen. This was while we were on the road, traveling to Cincinnati. Luckily the unit still operated fine.
  • May 2010 - The cracked DVD player is replaced by Toyota's 3rd party vendor with an identical unit: our now 2nd DVD player. Oh, can I just point out here that the unit they installed (the first and second times) were actually BEIGE when our interior is dark gray? Just had to put that out there. Of course I voiced my dissatisfaction when I saw the first DVD player for the first time, but was told the model they installed only comes in that ONE color, you know, so it can match a variety of vehicle interiors. Right. Beige is the same as dark gray. Good to know!
  • May 2010 - We're getting ready to run out as a family to grab some dinner and get some errands out of the way. We walk out the the garage and... And... the Sienna won't start! It was less than a month old! It wouldn't turn over At. All. I'm pretty sure the lights on the instrument panel didn't even light up. It was beyond dead. I knew it wasn't possible that I had left any interior or external lights on, and even if I had, there's no way it could've drained a battery as new as this one in the short amount of time since it had been driven last. This "fun" resulted in hubs using our Jeep to jump the Sienna (it was an act of congress to get the thing to turn over, running the Jeep at 4,000 RPMs or more, then taking it to the dealership the next day, and waiting around for the battery to be changed. A brand new battery. Went dead. They said it had been happening with other batteries, too. Ah. Good to know. Thanks for putting such a quality battery in my ride to begin with. ((sigh))
  • June 2010 - On the road again! This time headed to the beach in Charleston with LO and some fam. I went to play a DVD for her and -- guess what?! The DVD player was bro.ken. Totally. I made 12 calls while driving (to the Toyota dealership, their 3rd party vendor, and the DVD manufacturer) and was essentially, completely, and totally out of luck. No DVDs to watch on this trip to Charleston and back (about 3-1/2 hours each way!).
  • June 2010 - Our second DVD player is replaced with a third DVD player. This time I was adamant that they replace it with a DIFFERENT brand since the previous one just seemed to be a cheap brand, plus I was hoping a different kind might last longer, etc. So here we go with DVD player #3!
  • September 2010 - It'd been just over 2 months of having no issues or problems with our 3rd DVD player. Yay! We were thinking our problems were behind us. Notsomuch. Guess what we were doing? We were driving on our family trip to Myrtle Beach when lo and behold... DVD player #3 DIED!!! LO had watched Cars start to finish, and we put in Toy Story for her next feature film. It barely got through the opening scene of Andy playing with his toys when %@!!BAM!!@%. Kaput. Are you kidding me!? I couldn't believe it. Well, actually I could. Unfortunately. Luckily this time, hubs thought ahead and brought our portable DVD player that easily hooks onto the headrest so LO could still enjoy some movies on the way home. Phew!
What a lovely little journey, right? Well, it doesn't end there. Today the guys from Toyota's 3rd party vendor came to pick up our Sienna and replace the broken (#3) DVD player. They took it to their shop, did the install, then took it to the Toyota dealership to get the code to reactivate the electronics (this is necessary each time the battery is disconnected on the vehicle). So imagine our surprise when hubs gets a call from Toyota. It goes something like this:
Unfortunate Service Department Worker at Toyota Who Got Stuck Calling Hubs: "Hello, is this Mr. Hubs?"
Hubs: "Yes."
Toyota: "This is 'Elaine' from the Toyota service department. We've got your Sienna in here and it seems that the accelerator pedal and several electronics are broken and/or malfunctioning. We're not really sure what's going on and will need a few days to look into it."
Hubs: "Um, I'm sorry? What??! How is that possible when it was working fine this morning!?"
Toyota: "I'm not certain, sir. It seems that when the vehicle was turned on, several errors were displayed, including issues relating to the accelerator pedal. The pedal itself is not functioning at all."
Hubs: "You've got to be kidding me. I'm on my way up there and I will speak with the manager there and this will get resolved today." ((hubs did apologize to the poor lady and said obviously this wasn't her fault but that he was obviously irritated at the situation))
The dealership sent a 2011 Sienna LE (a base model version of our rockin' Swagger Wagon) and not long after, hubs was on his way to the dealership.

I told him to tell them we wanted them to replace our vehicle with another 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE with the factory-installed dual-display DVD player in it -- at no cost to us. I figure we've been through enough and honestly, this is the only thing I believe will rectify the situation. I think there is some kind of underlying issue with the wiring or electronics of our vehicle, hence the dead battery early on and the fact that we were now onto DVD player #4. This just was getting to be too much! The Sienna isn't even 5 months old yet. Waaaay too much drama for my taste! I think a factory-installed DVD player in another 2011 XLE is the only way we'll eliminate these issues.

So hubs calls me later and tells me what they've found. Apparently, Toyota is saying that the 3rd party vendor who installed our now 4th DVD player had been running some wires near the accelerator pedal and was installing some kind of bracket to help hold the wiring in place. When he screwed in the bracket, one of the screws went right through the 60+ wires in the conduit of wiring that controls the accelerator pedal (along with several other electronics). Yes, so he screwed through the wires, obviously causing several of them to malfunction, resulting in the broken accelerator pedal and several electronic errors.

Gee, thanks.

As of now (8:30pm), the plan is for Toyota to keep our sweet Sienna over the weekend, and then drive it around a bit Monday morning to make sure everything is functioning properly. We'll pick it up Monday afternoon.

Argh. I'm so tired of drama. You have NO IDEA how much drama I've been putting up with over the past few weeks. Did I mention we've taken LO out of her former preschool and enrolled her in a private Christian school starting Monday? And then you've got pediatrician offices who are supposed to keep you informed on when flu shots are available, but don't. And then a pediatric pulmonology office that's supposed to call you to schedule an appointment for your son's RSV vaccine (monthly shots October through March), but don't. That's just the tip of the iceburg in my little world these days. Maybe after this drama rant, I'll post about the "woe is me" world I'm living in. Nah... I think I'll spare y'all from suffering through reading that kind of post, and maybe instead I'll write about butterflies and rainbows.

Peace out, craziness!


  1. Hang'll make it through. Not sure what Pediatrician you use, but Eastside Peds is having a flu clinic today until 11. Remember, Chase can't get the flu mist. Taking Noah today, he is not going to be happy!!

  2. Wow that is a lot of drama. We have those moments here too. Hang in there!!!