• Jan 17, 2007
If you're the owner of certain Toyota products built with the 2.2L I4 or 3.0L V6 between 1997 and 2002, you may soon be receiving notification from the automaker concerning its recent settlement in a class-action lawsuit. Filed as the result of damage caused by sludged oil (which ultimately can destroy an engine by clogging lubrication passages), the suit claimed that affected customers suffered from failures despite following Toyota's maintenance recommendations. As a result, Toyota will be extending the warranty of up to 7.5 million vehicles to 8 years and 120 days from the original purchase date (without regard for mileage), and will pay for damage incurred as a result of oil sludge - also referred to as oil gel.
In 2002, Toyota offered an extended warranty to some owners who were affected by the sludging problem, but many customers claim to have been accused of improper maintenance and were forced to pay for their own repairs.

Sludging is the result of several factors, some of which included longer drain intervals, tighter engine tolerances, and the typically higher operating temperatures of new engines. Several other manufacturers have also faced allegations of oil sludging problems and have responded in a variety of ways.

As a consumer, the best defensive measure is, of course, a regular oil change (following the "severe service" schedule if required) with a name-brand oil that meets the manufacturer's recommendations for viscosity and API service rating. Some manufacturers recommend different viscosities for operation in extremely hot or cold climates; as always, the owner's manual is an outstanding source of information on matters like these.

[Source: Consumer Affairs; a hat tip to AB readers Drew and Ryan]


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  • 60 Comments
      DriftPunch
      • 8 Years Ago
      Failing to change the oil and/or having oil with a bad additive package does "Seem" to contribute to sludge development but it is not a cause. If that was the only cause as some manufacturers state, one would expect sludge to be a problem in ALL vehicles, yet only certain engines from certain manufacturers are plagued with the problem. The reality is that engine design IS INDEED the culprit, and a Nazi-ish adherence to a maintenence schedule is a cover for the fact that these engines are quickly destroying the chemical makeup of the oil.

      As fas as I know the two greatest causes are large fluxuations in temperature along the oil path, and lack of proper scavenging.

      The following are points of failure, not causes of sludge:
      - Low oil capacity or running with a low level
      - Tight tolerances
      • 8 Years Ago
      japh8r, no mistaking what side you're on but great point.

      It is laughable that this took so long to filter over here..

      mkbruin, on point as always.

      Any way any of these apologists slice it, to drag your feet, go through court (we can whine about how much lawyers made, but Toyota took them there), put it on the customers and end up with the smoking gun in your hands is shameful and poor business practice regardless of WHO it is.
      • 8 Years Ago
      >100K+ miles? That's seriously NOTHING. If you're gloating over 100K miles then that says a LOT about the cars you're used to.

      >All of that other stuff doesn't make the car good, it just makes your friend a MORON.

      No, 100K miles in general isn't a big thing, but with that kind of treatment for at least the last 10K it is entirely different. Yes it does make his friend a moron, but it also shows the durability of the engine. His point is that a not-new engine can take some pretty severe beating and still pull through.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Jap stranglehold over the mainstream media is losing its grip. The last realm of every Toyota apologist's argument, better reliability than the domestics, has evaporated like the lie that it is. The best antiseptic is sunlight and it's finally being shown what a fraud that Toyota really is. Now there's absolutely no reason to buy Jap crap over a truly superior offering from the domestic automakers. Vindication for what many of us knew all along is sweet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota/Lexus has replaced LESS than 4,000 of the just under 2,400,000 engines sold in the USA.

      And of the replaced engines, only just over 300 actually qualified for the good faith extended warranty in the first place.

      Which means you must proven that you have *attempted* to maintain the engine by provening that you have changed the oil once in the last 10,000 miles.






      There is no sludge problem... If there was, there would have been recalls, buy-backs, and class action lawsuits that paid money.



      The lawsuit did nothing but extend the good faith warranty 180 days.






      The criteria to meet the good faith extended warranty has not changed.
      THIS IS NOT A RECALL.







      Sludge in Toyota engines is a COMPLETE owner/operator problem. Not a design problem....
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think the point is that Toyota was so haughty and arrogant when dealing with this particular problem. My sister had a 99 Camry that they insisted it was her fault, despite my being able to document oil changes every 5000 miles. This would be above the fold news if it were GM or Ford.
      • 8 Years Ago
      JapH8r, i couldn't agree more. I was one of the guys that put in the request with autoblog to see this news covered. I am absolutely astounded at how quiet this has been kept. There are literally millions of vehicles affected, and not a word of it in the public media. Yet the coverage of Domestic mfg. distress is f#cking perpetual.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i have similar symptoms with my 02 highlander, how do i go about getting my existing mechanical expenses covered, and possibly get the problem fixed?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Engine failure. Lexus 2003 Engine sludge, told by a Lexus mechanic (for 17yrs) due to failure of catalitic converters. My oil light did not come on. Lexus voided my warranty saying I failed to properly maintain. I took the SUV to Lexus after 30,000 and I was told mu gas cap was loose. Engine failure at 35,000?
      • 7 Years Ago
      My 1998 Toyota Avalon with a total of 66,108 miles had to have the Idle Control Valve replaced twice at a cost of $947. I submitted claim for reimbursement under the sludge class action suit. Toyoto requested further verification which I submitted. My reimbursement was $0. They are SORRY but... Guess what my next car will NOT BE?
      • 8 Years Ago
      "4. ...before talking smack.

      http://intrepidhorrorstories.blogspot.com/
      http://www.lemonlawclaims.com/dodge_intrepid_engine_failure.htm


      Posted at 9:29AM on Jan 17th 2007 by Any Chrysler fans might want to think twice "

      But Chrysler fans don't claim that Chrysler is infallable or perfect like Toyota fans do. We actually realize they're not perfect but like them anyway because they're an honest car...no hidden issues like with the Toyotas
      • 8 Years Ago
      Boy does this ring a bell ... but with my sisters V6 Accord Coupe. Walmart of oil change, engine leaked from oil pan to head gasket .. Honda said the oil was not changed at the dealer so all warranties were void. They said it did not matter that there was no fault by Walmart; if you "abuse" your car by not doing all your changes at the dealer, it is your fault. So they said the dealer's extended warranty was immediately cancelled, and they were contacting Honda to cancel the factory warranty.

      I found old TSBs on the internet and the dealer repaired the car for free once we showed them the engine was well known for problems by Honda.
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