By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a little piece of plastic that’s causing headaches for car owners coast to coast.
While Rebecca Freedman loves her 2007 Toyota Scion TC, when we first met her this winter she didn’t love the fact that the handle on her hatch back was being held on with double-sided tape! The plastic handle had snapped off months earlier and she wasn’t the only one.
The handle on Christina Good’s 2008 TC broke too, right after her warranty expired. “I believe they should be recalled, they’re aware it’s a defective part,” she says.
Across the country Scion owners say the part isn’t strong enough to lift the car’s heavy hatch. While new models of the Scion are being built with a stronger handle, or what Toyota calls a “back door garnish,” the owners of older TC and XB Scion models complain the automaker wasn’t doing enough to help them.
A Toyota dealer told Rebecca it would cost $175 plus labor to repair the handle and when she called Toyota’s corporate office she says, “They said there was nothing they could really do, except pay for half.”
“It may belong on a toy car — it doesn’t belong on a real car,” says Clarence Ditlow of The Center for Auto Safety. According to Ditlow, while the broken handle is a hassle and doesn’t appear to be a safety issue, he does think Toyota should do what’s known as a “service campaign.”
“They notify the owners and they say ‘We’re sorry, we made a mistake, we’re going to replace the plastic handle on your car,'” he says.
When 3 On Your Side reached out to Toyota they said they were well aware of the problem and had just launched what they call a “Warranty Enhancement.”
Coincidence? Who cares?
Rebecca was just happy to get it fixed for free.
“I am just happy that it’s fixed for now,” she says, making it another 3 On Your Side problem solved.
This Warranty Enhancement extends the warranty on the back door garnish to seven years from the date of first use and covers 2005 through 2010 Scion TC’s and 2004 through 2006 Scion XB’s. Toyota tells me it began sending out letters a few weeks ago alerting owners and should get to everyone within a few months.
By the way, the plastic part is being replaced with the same plastic part.
For more information visit: www.toyoheadquarters.com.