A P.E.I. man who faced a costly repair on his Toyota Matrix wants to know why the company isn't warning owners about the problem.
Michael Stanley had to get his transmission replaced.
"I heard this clunk, and a squeal, and all of a sudden my gear shift wouldn't go into gear anymore," said Stanley.
'It's a lifetime part. It's not a part that's supposed to wear out.' — George Iny, Automobile Protection Association
His mechanic said a transmission bearing had failed, sending shards of metal throughout the gears, destroying it. So Stanley called a transmission repair shop, and that's when he learned he is not alone.
"I said I have a bad bearing. He laughed on the phone and said, 'You must drive a Toyota.'"
The Automobile Protection Association, a Canadian consumer advocacy group, lobbied Toyota a few years ago to recall the bearings and extend warranties on the cars affected. Association president George Iny said transmission bearing failures are common on 2000 to 2005 manual, small engine Corollas and Matrix models, usually starting at around 120,000 kilometers.
"It's a lifetime part. It's not a part that's supposed to wear out before the vehicle," said Iny.
At the very least, said Iny, Toyota should send warning letters, so owners can get the problem fixed before the bearing fails. An early fix can cost as little as $500, instead of $2,600 for a new transmission. That's what Michael Stanley paid to repair his car.
"I think Toyota should definitely take some responsibility and recall these bearings, because there a lot of Toyotas on the road," Stanley said.
But Toyota does not see that there is a problem with the transmission. It points out the warranty on Stanley's transmission, five years or 100,000 kilometers, had expired. In an email to CBC News, Toyota Canada said it has not identified any trends that suggest the differential bearing on Corolla and Matrix vehicles were experiencing unusual failure rates.
For mobile device users: What should Toyota do about manual transmissions on small engine 2000-05 Matrix and Corolla?