Toyota Denies Warranty Claim On GR86 Based On A Single Picture

Sports Cars / 51 Comments

Little more than 13,000 miles were put on the clock before the engine failed, and no one wants to accept fault.

UPDATE: Toyota has issued a statement. It will now replace Alvarado's engine.

Imagine you buy a modern sports car to drive and enjoy, one that is openly marketed by professional racers and drifters at the behest of the brand, only to track your car, blow the engine due to what seems to be a mechanical fault, and then have the brand tell you the warranty claim has been denied because you've taken the car racing?

Well, that's allegedly the situation with Blake Alvarado, the owner of a 2022 Toyota GR86 with 13,770 miles on the clock - a car Toyota sells with a 12-month NASA membership and a free NASA high-performance driving experience.

The issue Toyota reportedly won't fix is that Alvarez has no rod bearings in cylinder four after he "suffered an engine failure due to oil starvation." Toyota is apparently denying his warranty claim based on a photo of his autocrossing efforts.

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Alvarado says he bought his 2022 GR86 as a "daily driver and occasional autocrosser." Despite the car's low mileage, the engine oil had been changed twice already at 5,000-mile intervals - which is pretty smart routine maintenance for any car guy that tracks their vehicle - using high-quality Motul fluids.

His car spun a bearing on July 10 and after an engine teardown, it was determined that cylinder four was the culprit. Worse still, grey sealant was found blocking the oil pickup - an issue that plagued first-gen Toyota 86s and was a known issue often fixed under warranty.

A field technician specialist (FTS) was assigned to Alvarado's case. Alvarado claims that the FTS - a well-known drifter in the area - did not inspect the motor. Instead, the FTS looked up Alvarado on social media, picking out a photo of him going sideways in his GR86 (above) and denying his claim based on his antics at a Test & Tune event in March.

Alvarado claims that the event was the only time he'd driven his GR86 in such a manner.

The FTS remarked that a spun bearing and oil starvation is common when drifting, prompting the dealer to deny the warranty claim and hand Alvarado an $11,000 repair estimate.

Naturally unhappy with this, Alvarado showed the images of the sealant in the oil pickup to the dealership service manager, as well as Toyota Corporate.

His case manager told him that she took the contested warranty claim as high as Toyota's Gulf States Regional Manager. At this point, "everyone involved is standing by the FTS and dealer's decision," despite Alvarado's effort to make a deal, even offering to pay half the cost of the warranty claim. He was denied this option and instead ordered to either pay the $11k bill or have the vehicle removed from the dealer's workshop.

Blake Alvarado/Facebook

At present, Alvarado has had his car towed to a Subaru specialty shop and ordered a "low-mileage pullout motor." He says he is expecting to pay roughly $7,000 for the engine, which is substantially cheaper than what Toyota wanted him to pay for the whole ordeal.

Naturally, this is a concerning set of circumstances for both Toyota Motors North America and buyers of the GR86. Should they take their cars to a track day or drive the cars in the same way Toyota repeatedly marketed them, they could have a warranty claim denied.

CarBuzz reached out to TMNA for comment on the matter, with a representative responding that "Toyota is currently looking into this matter. A customer's satisfaction with our vehicles is important to Toyota. As always, we encourage customers who experience any issues with their vehicle to contact their authorized Toyota dealer or call the Toyota Brand Engagement Center (1-800-331-4331). Of course, in cases where a dealer is not able to resolve the matter, customers are encouraged to contact our Brand Engagement Center."

Jim Rowland/Facebook
Blake Alvarado/Facebook

We know that there are always two sides to a story, and often the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Still, you can bet that Toyota will be getting involved in the matter in depth, as this incident could have big knock-on effects for Toyota that has reinvigorated its brand image with a plethora of enthusiast-focused cars - almost all of which have been marketed on track or in full drift.

The GR86, GR Supra, and GR Corolla are all proclaimed to be track-ready and developed with motorsport know-how. If Toyota - a brand that prides itself on reliability and customer service - is unwilling to support customers engaging in such events, it would curtail the efforts of the automaker's bigwigs in Japan to make the brand exciting again.

We'll be following this story and will update you with what happens.

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