Wind Broke My Car, Toyota Warranty Guy Blows Smoke

All it took to turn Bobby’s Toyota Highlander into a mess was a gust of wind. The incident damaged the door’s functions, but Toyota has determined that the vehicle isn’t covered under warranty because the damage was caused by outside forces.

Bobby writes:

I own a 09 Toyota Highlander. One day I opened my car door (here in Brooklyn, not Chicago) a gust of wind blew the door open which damaged the door checks. It took Toyota dealer three visits to figure this out. Then they decided to call the local Toyota Field Technical Specialist to inspect the car. Well he decide that the door check were not made to withstand a gust of wind therefore it is not under warranty.

Toyota’s response to Bobby:

On behalf of Toyota, I sincerely apologize for the concern and dissatisfaction you experienced with the door of your 2009 Highlander.

I have thoroughly reviewed your concern. [redacted], Field Technical Specialist, responsible for Toyota inspected your vehicle and found that the door was excessively forced open due to a wind gust causing the door check to exceed its threshold. This caused the body of the door to become deformed as a result of the force.

The warranty on your vehicle will cover repairs and adjustments needed to correct defects in materials or workmanship of any part supplied by Toyota. The warranty will not cover damage or failures relating to outside forces.

The decision rendered by [redacted] was made on behalf of Toyota as the manufacturer. As [redacted] has been trained by Toyota and is an employee of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and not the dealership, the decision rendered represents Toyota’s final position.

Toyota recommends contacting your insurance company to file a claim to see if they will assist with any needed repair costs.

I again apologize for this unfortunate situation.

Have you ever had a natural occurrence break your car and deny you warranty coverage?

Comments

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  1. Scurvythepirate says:

    Why the hell would this be covered under warranty?

    • keepher says:

      I started to type your exact words so instead I’ll just say;

      ditto

      But add, how stupid could someone be to even think that the door that broke is due to the person not keeping the door under their control. good grief, where is the common sense?

      • Scurvythepirate says:

        I can understand how it happened:

        Me thinks the door flung open and ended up possibly pulling or damaging the internal wiring that is run through the rubber tubing.

        But needless to say, I don’t know why someone would think this would be covered.

        • Scurvythepirate says:

          Damn I am retarded. I thought it damaged some kind of electrical function of the door. Ignore previous post.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Yeah, another ‘ditto’ here. This situation seems totally cut and dry to me.

    • krunk4ever says:

      ditto.

      I’ll turn around and ask, When have you ever had a natural occurrence break your car and the warranty coverage was approved?

    • Bort says:

      The op may think a car should be reasonably durable, it should be able to stand forces that are likely to occur in the real world, though determining how strong or high quality a product has to be to meet reasonable customer expectations would turn out to be at least somewhat subjective.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchantability

  2. rekoil says:

    Sounds like the kind of thing comprehensive insurance coverage is meant to pay for.

    • Scurvythepirate says:

      Exactly. If an big piece of hail broke my windshield, I wouldn’t be going to the dealers and asking it to be covered under warranty. This person obviously has no clue what warranties are for.

    • rambo76098 says:

      Agreed, why the hell would the warranty cover this? You should be carrying insurance for a reason.

      Now if door blew open while closed or locked, I’d be calling Toyota.

  3. thompson says:

    Wait, this is clearly something that should be covered under his comprehensive policy (if he has one) through his auto insurer. There was no material defect in the door. That’s like complaining that Toyota won’t warranty-repair the bumper that fell off when you ran into a tree. Shesh.

  4. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Get over it. It’s not covered, this is a no brainer, no need to even RTFA.

  5. icntdrv says:

    I’ve had this happen to me before. Doors are heavy and not designed to be flung open with extreme forces. This is definitely an issue for the Insurance company to work out. Sure made me more careful about holding onto the door on windy days.

  6. Scamazon says:

    This sounds like an Insurance type job. How do you figure its a warranty issue?

  7. coren says:

    Let me put it this way – if there was an earthquake (a similar act of nature) and your car was damaged due to that, would that be a warranty issue? Tornado, hurricane, blizzard? I have to side with Toyota on this one, this isn’t a warranty matter. Now, if this were your insurance not paying up I’d be right there with you.

    Also, that’s one hell of a gust of wind to damage your car that way.

  8. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    One more vote for “This would be covered by insurance, not a warranty”.

    If he opened the door and it randomly fell off the hinges, then he might have a warranty issue.

  9. thompson says:

    “Have you ever had a natural occurrence break your car and deny you warranty coverage?”

    I don’t think ANY warranty covers natural occurrences.

  10. tedyc03 says:

    mm, ths s wh y b cmprhnsv nsrnc. t’s ls wh y dn’t lt Phl wrt blg psts n hs wn.

    • Scurvythepirate says:

      ZING!

      I was waiting for the Phil comment.

      • failurate says:

        I had just got done saying nice to neutral things and this gigantic slow pitched softball shows up.
        Now I am stuck eating crow.

      • outshined says:

        The Peanut Gallery roar has gotten so bad but even on this one, I scrolled up, waited for the Phil-lash.

    • thompson says:

      Listen, I understand why the Mods disemvoweled him, but c’mon — he had a point.

      • Shadowfax says:

        I don’t. Does Consumerist want to be associated with articles like this? Blaming car companies for not giving you free accident repair? Lying about what game designers say about the people who buy their games? Phil is trying to turn this site into the National Enquirer. “If it’s true or relevant, we’ll issue a correction.” And then the site wants to censor us when we object to it?

        Hey, question, what if Bank of America or Amazon or, say, Expedia censored complaints and negative reviews? What would Consumerist have to say about that?

        Oh wait, we know that already:

        http://consumerist.com/2008/01/is-expedia-censoring-negative-reviews.html

        http://consumerist.com/2008/09/amazon-pulls-negative-reviews-of-spore-then-reinstates-them.html

        So it’s OK to slam another company for censoring negative comments on its website while censoring them on your own? Really?

        Are we still supposed to take Consumerist seriously or not? I’m no longer sure.

        • thompson says:

          Oh don’t get me wrong, I agree with everything you wrote. I understand that they tend to disemvowel the snark, but trust me when I say that I think the snark (and your post) are spot on with regard to Phil.

        • tbiscuit360 says:

          I agree. I am to the point where I am one more Phil article away from not reading the consumerist any longer.
          Come on- they have to read these posts. I could see if people complain about one post- but people are complaining about Phil’s posts every single day!

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          THis is also why I am not donating any money to Consumerist. I think the quality of the articles has gone down since they left Gawker. While I’m happy they weren’t there for the Gawker hacking, at least Gawker site’s have edit features for comments. It seems like the site has just been left the way it was with no improvements to features and less and less “real” articles.

    • Alvis says:

      Snap! Phil found out how to moderate!

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Damn, I haven’t been to a good disemvoweling in a long time!

      Although I’m not sure this was a an infraction worthy of disemvoweling.

  11. Harry Manback says:

    I don’t see a way to disagree with what Toyota said. The door stops are designed to prevent a person, in the course of normal operation, from exceeding the limits of the doors. This shouldn’t be a warranty issue, but rather an insurance issue. If you had enough snow on your roof to cause it to partially crush, you wouldn’t except the warranty to cover that would you? Just because it is designed to be outside doesn’t mean it is designed to withstand all sorts of extreme weather phenomena. I’m guessing this was a pretty strong wind blast for it to damage the door, and would therefore fall into the category of “extreme weather”.

  12. duxup says:

    I also agree that this doesn’t seem to be a warranty issue. This is a comprehensive insurance issue.

  13. Deacon says:

    Why would this be under warranty? If the same gust of wind had blown a tree onto the car, Bobby would have called his insurance company, not his car dealer. Toyota was entirely correct to deny warranty coverage, and, in fact, quite polite about it.

  14. SG-Cleve says:

    I think this was posted just to get a lot of people angry and post replies here.

    Like a comment troll, except this time the troll is the author of the blog post.

  15. technoluster says:

    Yeeeaahh, not sure that should be covered…..

  16. Dre' says:

    This guy should be talking to his insurance agent, not the dealership.

  17. KlueBat says:

    This does not sound like a manufacturing defect but damage due to weather. Call your insurance company.

  18. plumbob says:

    Could someone please fire Phil Villarreal before he causes anymore brain aneurysms?

  19. What’s your problem, Kazanski? says:

    I agree with everyone. What an idiot. Why has Consumerist been printing this crap recently. This is a non-issue.

  20. donjumpsuit says:

    YEESH,
    I give this one three “Crykees” and a “Blow-me”!

  21. Alvis says:

    What if both doors were open and the wind went through the car? Then the damage would be caused by internal forces.

  22. LoadStar says:

    Yup, agree with the others. Definitely insurance, not warranty. Had the submitter just opened the door normally and it broke, that would be warranty, but when you mention the wind blew it and it broke, that’s insurance. Think of it this way: if a large gust of straight-line winds blew your car into a ditch, would THAT be warranty? Of course not.

  23. lucky13 says:

    Now if the door had been flung open after crashing due to a stuck accelarator pedal, he might have a warranty claim…but not on the door.

  24. Brunette Bookworm says:

    Um, when I’ve HAD a natural occurence do something to my car, I filed an insurance claim since, you know, THAT’S WHAT IT’S FOR! I don’t see Toyota doing anything wrong. Car insurance is for unforeseen things that happen to your car; accidents, hail damage, wind damage, etc. Warranties are for manufacturing defects or part failures on your vehicle.

  25. mobiuschic42 says:

    OK, to play devil’s advocate (since no one else is), what if it wasn’t that high of a gust of wind? What if it was just normal wind? Or light rain? At what point is something an “extraordinary” outside force as opposed to Toyota just being shoddy about making their cars stand up to normal weather conditions?

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      Probably at the point the door is folded backwards like a Tommy Boy special. “What’d you dooooo!!?!?”

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Well, think about how difficult it would be to open a door resistent to flying open at certain wind gusts, say 50 mph. You have to balance the door not flying open at an average wind speed (which seems to be aroudn 15 mph in Brooklyn) to making the door able to be opened by most consumers. If it flew open and damaged the car in 15 mph winds then it’s a design flaw, if it takes much stronger winds, then it’s not. Not knowing enough about the forces on the door from the wind, I can’t say at what speed it would no longer be practical to have the door not fly open.

    • esp13 has a pony named Steve says:

      I’m sure Toyota and other manufacturers test their vehicle for various weather conditions. If the doors hinges are designed move under a certain load and the slam shut under a much larger load, there is no defect. If the move and damage something under a much lighter load than rated, then there is a defect. Heavy gusts of wind push way harder than a human pulling the door to shut it. I’m sure it was determined that the force applied to cause the damage was higher than the door or wiring was rated for.

  26. tz says:

    You mean that the doors aren’t built to withstand being forced open so hard they bend metal (I had this but worse happen on an older car with a sudden wind gust of 50+mph that surprised me – I didn’t get it fixed because the damage was mostly cosmetic).

    And that windshields aren’t stone proof? And fenders aren’t steel-toed boot kick proof? And the paint will be scratched if you put sharp and heavy objects…

    This is a case for your insurance company. Warranties cover defects, Insurance covers unfortunate circumstances.

  27. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Yes, it should be an insurance claim, BUT…

    Was this a 10-15 mph gust that the door should have been able to handle and is a flawed design on Toyota’s part, OR was this a 50 mph gust that is outside of normal operating parameters?

    • failurate says:

      I would say it would still be an insurance issue at 10 to 15 mph. I would also guess that cars that experience damage in 10 to 15 mph winds are probably expensive to insure.

  28. tz says:

    Why is this not tagged “Bad Consumer” or equivalent?

  29. ryder02191 says:

    This is absolute lunacy. Why in the world would anyone with half a brain think this is a warranty issue? Comprehensive insurance, case closed.

  30. sharkzfanz says:

    Yes Phil I have.. A tree fell during a storm and smashed my car. Damn Honda said it was not covered by warranty…

    I mean come on get a clue this should never have been posted. Tell the OP to call his insurance. Its obvious.. Look at what happened to me above..

    Funny thing I read the article and then was like I bet this is a Phil article. Looked up and yes it was. Can I filter out all Phil articles???

  31. esp13 has a pony named Steve says:

    I like the way OP pointed out that he wasn’t in the Windy City. Because, as we are all aware, that’s the only place you should expect, you know…. wind.

  32. StevePierce says:

    This isn’t a warranty claim. The OP needs to call his insurance company or open up the check book.

  33. Gramin says:

    “Have you ever had a natural occurrence break your car and deny you warranty coverage?”

    Perhaps you should talk to a few Californians… or maybe someone who was hit by Katrina… or someone in Tornado Alley…

    Do you, Phil, honestly expect car manufacturers to cover “acts of God?”

    If you look at the right hand Consumerist bar on this page, you should see a video clip of a NYC sanitation truck destroying an SUV. Should the SUV’s owner take it into the dealership and ask if they cover the damage?

    Please stop posting garbage from stupid consumers.

    And stop insulting the Toyota warranty guy for doing his job.

    Let’s edit the headline: Phil blows smoke and expects Toyota to cover damage caused by act of god.

  34. KyBash says:

    I don’t think it’s a warranty issue, more of a ‘why would anyone buy such a piece of crap’ question.

    During a blizzard, I opened the door of my ’66 Olds Toronado. The wind caught it and the car lurched forward about two feet. The only way I could get it closed was to restart the car and pull out enough to put the door on the leeward side (and then drive to a spot where I wouldn’t be getting out in that wind).

    I realize “they don’t make them like that anymore,” but the difference between a door sturdy enough to push a 4500 lb. car over packed snow and a door that falls apart in a breeze shows just how bad Toyotas are.

    • SagarikaLumos says:

      To be fair, I’ve ridden in boats that had smaller sails than a ’66 Toronado door. Those things were so big that they had 2 internal door handles-no joke.

  35. daemonaquila says:

    I wouldn’t expect this to be covered under warranty. This is an accident – in his case, due to mother nature’s whims. I’ve actually had the same thing happen. While dropping a friend off in an almost wind-tunnel area of a windy river city on a very windy day (the gusts had to be at least 45 mph), my door was yanked forward so far that it actually dented the door and paneling, and deformed the hinges. I don’t know how this would be a defect due to manufacturing, etc. My solution was to go across the bridge to a mechanic, borrow some tools to take the door off its hinges so I could drive it home, and go buy a new set of hinges from the dealership. Easy, and not particularly expensive.

  36. target_veteran says:

    As most pointed out, this isn’t warranty unless the vehicle itself had manufacturing defects.

    However, this isn’t even an insurance claim, since it’s not like a tree branch fell and broke the windshield. From an insurance standpoint, this is most likely negligence, pure and simple. Yeah, yeah, don’t blame the OP, but sudden gusts of wind normally occur on windy days. Was due caution exercised to make sure the wind didn’t catch the door? This seems analogous, carwise, to storing you oily rag pile and old newspaper collection next to your open-gate fireplace.

  37. Kibit says:

    “Have you ever had a natural occurrence break your car and deny you warranty coverage?”

    Um…warranties do not cover damage caused by outside sources such as the wind, snow, hail, etc…

  38. Mknzybsofh says:

    Why was this even posted on consumerist.com? Has consumerist.com become a bitch site when something does not go your way due to NO FAULT WHATSOEVER of the maker of the item broken? I can ‘kind of’ understand the op’s issue. It sounds like there is a ‘very slim’ possibility that the door checks were not quite strong enough to handle said ‘gust of wind’. But then just how strong of a gust are we talking about? At some point no matter how strong of a ‘gust of wind’ there was they are going to break. DUH! One thing the OP fails to mention at all is the day this occurred on, so that we might be able to check weather maps to find out just how ‘windy’ this day was. After all if he left the door open, he’s just pissed it was the wind and not some driver that he can sue to have their insurance company fix it so he’s not out any money. Sorry OP but you should have kept the door closed like I do. If I step away from the door I close it I could care less if It was 2 inches away, my hand leaves the door I close it. Why? because something like this can happen.

  39. thelion says:

    This is an insurance issue…not a warranty issue. Warranties are meant to cover failure under normal conditions. I gust of wind so strong that it blows the door open is not “normal” conditions. Call your insurance agent.

  40. Darkneuro says:

    I’m an insurance agent.
    I’ve also worked for a major car manufacturer.
    As so many have stated before me….
    NOT WARRANTY, INSURANCE.
    OP=idiot.

  41. TooManyHobbies says:

    There’s no way in the world that I would expect that to be covered under warranty. I wouldn’t even have asked. Clearly an insurance matter.

  42. DanKelley98 says:

    “He decide that the door check were not made to withstand a gust of wind therefore it is not under warranty.”

    May Mike Rowe make mention of this in his next Ford commercial…..

  43. chickensoup says:

    This article is misleading and Toyota is if no fault here. Call your insurance company. This is like experiencing paint chips on your hood as a result of rocks and insisting that the manufacturer cover the cost of reprinting. People like this is the reason why companies treat good honest people like crap.

  44. SkreanAme says:

    For the OP. A few more things that may or may not be covered under warranty (but which Phil should dutifully post anyway):

    Gun fire
    Bear attack
    The Rapture
    Rock slide
    Forest fire
    Suicidal Moose

  45. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    Yes. The same thing happened to me, and it never crossed my mind that it would be anything other than an insurance claim.

  46. bkdlays says:

    I would like to vote for a Flag button like on Craigslist… i personally would kill this one

  47. BuddhaLite says:

    Lesson one when taking anything in for warranty work: Don’t say anything!

    People like to talk about what happened. Just shut the hell up. If they can’t prove that the damage was done by outside forces why in the world would you give them an out?

  48. outoftheblew says:

    “Have you ever had a natural occurrence break your car and deny you warranty coverage?”

    Yes. That’s why people get comprehensive insurance coverage. A sheet of ice flew off the roof of the vehicle in front of me and crashed onto my car, shattering my windshield and denting my roof and hood. I called my insurance company because it has nothing to do with who made the car.

  49. gman863 says:

    It’s obviously a design flaw related to Toyota’s pattern of sudden door acceleration.

    /sarcasm

  50. MountainCop says:

    Let’s see… in a similar situation, a gust of wind blows your car off the road and you end up in a ditch. So you go to the manufacturer and say that because a gust of wind blows you off the road it’s a defect? Nope – not buying it.

    Sounds like an insurance claim to me.

  51. uniden says:

    OK, so if a tornado picks up my vehicle and drops it on its roof, is that covered by warranty?
    What a JA.

  52. stevied says:

    Toyota recommends contacting your insurance company to file a claim to see if they will assist with any needed repair costs.

    Yep. Typical body damage shuffle.

    Toyota knows the new car owner carries insurance. So they passed the buck. Rightfully so if there is real structural damage from wind not related to an actual design defect..

    Unfortunately this is common practice when a claim can be (legitimately) passed unto another party.

    Now, if everybody in the country had a problem with car doors and the wind then maybe, just maybe Toyota would be on the hook for the problem.

    BTW, some dealerships will go way beyond the norm when trying to help a customer. My dad had a Mazda minivan with a bad engine. Engine went bad right outside the normal warranty period. The prior year’s model had a recal on the engine, but his year’s model did not. Mazda thought they had solved the known problem with the engine Dealership fought with Mazda for days/weeks to get the engine covered….. (known defect with other model years, maybe it is the same issue with this other year model). Mazda finally sent an inspector. Agreed it MIGHT be the same defect. MAYBE. More discussion. Mazda finally paid for the new motor.

    And the next motor.

    Yep, the replacement motor died. No problem. It be covered. The van was crushed in the clunker program last year. Still had that 3rd motor. That motor worked fine.

    A good dealership is your friend.

  53. Rob says:

    How fast was the wind gust?
    This past storm wind gust exceeded 60 mph. Even after the snow stopped and the sun came out.
    Any car manufacturer’s door would have over extended.
    File an insurance claim.

  54. kathygnome says:

    I had a tree fall on my Geo Tracker during a freak gale. It wasn’t covered under warranty.

  55. easyman1211 says:

    How is this a manufacturing defect, that is what a warranty is for.

    This is the equivalent of dropping your laptop then expecting the manufacturer to cover it under warranty.

  56. Grandpa_O says:

    In the minority here but, need to examine all sides and dig a little deeper into the issue. What is the wind gust velocity threshold limit Toyota uses to test the strength of open doors? And how strong was the wind gust? Could this be a design flaw?

  57. Woodside Park Bob says:

    Short of being in a tornado or hurricane, any car damaged by wind catching the door is defectively designed. This should be covered by the warranty. Cars should be designed to stand up to normal conditions.

  58. Kevin says:

    I’ve only ever been suckered into one new car, but on all the old stuff I’ve driven, the fix was always just to close a small block of wood in the door and “spring” the hinge back the other way.

  59. CounterfeitGod says:

    Something something Act of God something something.

  60. CounterfeitGod says:

    Something something Act of God something something.

  61. Froggmann says:

    This isn’t a warranty concern it’s an insurance concern.

    Rule of thumb:

    Caused by factory defect or premature failure: Warranty

    Caused by an outside influence like trash truck or wind: Insurance.

  62. physics2010 says:

    I’d have to ask what amount of force the door could withstand. I haven’t looked for other complaints so I’m going to guess that it can withstand a moderate amount of force. e.g. If a 20mph gust of wind swung the door that last foot of the way open and caused the damage then I would blame it on the manufacturer. If a 30mph gust took the door its full travel then I’d be looking at insurance.