Toyota Corrosion Warranty Weasel Clauses
Published January 22, 2016
Unbelievable! Recently we received feedback from a visitor about his experience buying a 2016 Toyota Corolla in Utah. He told us the story about how he was pressure sold a protection package after the salesman told him that the road salt used in winter would void the Toyota corrosion protection. To answer the visitor's question, we did extensive research and were shocked by what we found.
What Toyota Says Is Covered
At first glance, the coverage seems to be pretty good. Quoting from the 2016 Corolla Warranty and Maintenance Guide (pictured below), "This warranty covers repair or replacement of any original body panel that develops perforation from corrosion (rust-through), subject to the exceptions indicated under 'What Is Not Covered' on pages 14-15."
What is Not Covered
We quickly took notice of the list of things that cause normally "covered" damage to "not be covered." The second to last bullet item says, "Airborne chemicals, tree sap, road debris (including stone chips), rail dust, salt, hail, floods, wind storms, lightning and other environmental conditions" and the last bullet says "Water contamination" are excluded.
Wait a second! Salt? Water contamination? Am I reading that correctly? So basically, they don't cover corrosion caused by pretty much anything that would typically cause corrosion. If something that isn't in this list causes a body panel to corrode then there must be a serious defect in the material!
Toyota's Instructions to Protect Your Vehicle from Corrosion
The Warranty Guide says, "For information on how to protect your vehicle from corrosion, refer to sections related to maintenance and care in the Owner’s Manual." We did just that and found some very interesting information.
Based on Toyota's documentation, to properly care for your vehicle and prevent corrosion, you must IMMEDIATELY wash your vehicle after driving near the sea cost or driving on salted roads. How realistic is that for anybody living north of the Mason-Dixon line or near the coast line? Are you supposed to install a car wash inside your garage and wash your car every night?
They also list several other cases where immediate washing is required for proper care. Many of these are going to occur pretty frequently. Apparently, you are supposed to wash your car more often than show cars are washed.
Should You Buy the Protection Package?
Unfortunately, the visitor that contacted us had already purchased the protection package and added some profit to the dealership's bank account. Even though the salesman was correct in saying that corrosion caused by road salt would not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty, there was no reason to waste money on the protection package.
The super impenetrable, space age, protective coating that is applied is nothing more than overpriced wax. There is nothing that you can apply to a car, unless it is paint or a plastic film, that will last forever.
All decent quality car wax will protect the paint from environmental contaminants like road salt. There is nothing special about what the dealer is applying, except the special rip-off pricing. The same thing applies to fabric and carpet protection or dashboard protection. For a few dollars you can get Scotchgard for the upholstery and carpets and Armor All for the dash and do the same thing yourself.
When the salesman tells you that you need a protection package because the warranty doesn't cover corrosion due to road salt, tell him you changed your mind and no longer want this car. Tell him that you don't want to buy a car that is made so poorly that you need to buy an expensive protection package to keep it from rusting.
What is really necessary?
Most of what is listed in these manuals are meant to be weasel clauses and are not normally necessary. If you keep your car washed regularly and apply wax every couple of months, you shouldn't have any issues with corrosion. Try to apply wax before water stops beading on the paint from the last application.
What we discovered is that Toyota added a benefit into their warranty for marketing purposes that is essentially useless. There are so many weasel clauses that I'd be surprised to find an example where they actually covered corrosion damage. You should not use this additional coverage as a reason to by a Toyota over another brand that doesn't have corrosion coverage.
About The Author: Lyle Romer is a consumer advocate, Founding Contributor and Vice President of CarBuyingTips.com. A 20 years veteran of the auto industry with a high level of expertise, Lyle has been researching all aspects of the automotive sales industry.
Lyle's expertise and research played a vital role during the creation of CarBuyingTips.com in 1999 after years of industry research. He carefully observed every aspect of his own car buying experience as the internet began to take a foothold in the process. He also designed the site to make sure that consumers had easy access to the best consumer advocate education.
Lyle has been an auto industry insider since 1999. He also has worked with other automotive websites to help improve their offerings based upon feedback from CarBuyingTips.com users. He covers important industry events and gathers off the record sources while attending industry conventions.
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