However, when I go on holiday for two weeks, I come back to a car that doesn't start, and it has to be kicked up the battery with jump leads. The guys at the concession can't find out what's wrong and suggest it may be that the battery is the wrong size... They also say that I'm not the only person to complain about this, although, after a search on the internet, I couldn't find anyone else asking about the same issue. Were they not being quite honest with me...?
Not a little put out by this let down to my high expectations of Toyota reliability, I wrote an email to their customer service which expands a little on the problem:
J'ai acquis une Toyota Yaris Lounge très récente (voiture de direction) auprès du concessionnaire Toyota de Montpellier en Août 2013.
En Août 2014, je suis partie 15 jours en congés en laissant la voiture chez moi. A mon retour, il fut impossible de la démarrer, il semblait que la batterie était vide.
En utilisant l'assistance inclue dans la garantie Toyota, j'ai pu faire remorquer la voiture jusqu'au concessionnaire qui l'a gardée 1 semaine, sans rien trouver.
En Juillet de cette année 2015, même problème: après 15 jours d'absence impossible de démarrer. Il a fallu utiliser une autre voiture pour démarrer la Yaris. Là encore, le concessionnaire affirme ne rien trouver de défectueux (batterie OK, pas de "consommateurs" identifiés). J'avais particulièrement vérifié la voiture avant de partir (portes bien fermées, etc ...).
Le concessionnaire suggère que la batterie des Yaris n'est pas dimensionnée pour tenir lors d'une non-utilisation de 2 semaines!
Confirmez-vous officiellement cette explication qui me paraît anormale ?
Si ce n'est pas le cas, je vous remercie de m'indiquer la procédure à suivre afin d'identifier le défaut dont est affecté ce véhicule récent (45 000KM) et qui altère ma confiance.
I waited with bated breath for a reply and got a long (mostly useless) letter a few days later from a chap called Phillipe (important bits in bold):
My DB has been using a Citroen C4 and left it in front of my house for three months. When he got in to move it, it started immediately. Three months is a long period. Two weeks is not.
The most bizarre piece of advice to come from young Philippe is that I should disconnect the battery when I go on holiday! I remember the days when my parents had to do things like that way back in the 70s. Is Toyota nostalgic for the old times when cars were more fun?
Perhaps they would like to take out seat belts too and make us tie ourselves in with string (String is a very Important thing, Rope is thicker, But string is quicker - Spike Milligan, Silly Verse for Kids). And how about removing sat nav to replace it with an airline fold-up table to read a map on? And why bother with engines at all? I had a very nifty go-cart that required furious pedal-power to get it moving when I was 7 (around the same time that car batteries needed disconnecting when left for long periods). Made me super fit.
In short, Toyota is taking the piss. Philippe ends the letter by hoping that he has answered my query,... Sorry Philippe, you have not... at all. You've just blown a huge hole in my trust and faith in Toyota, and if my Yaris dies, I doubt I'll be buying another!
I sent my emails to a car magazine called Auto Plus to see what they think, but of course, this is August, so la belle France is on holiday and I don't think anyone's at home. Maybe they'll get round to it in September when everyone is serious again at la rentrée!
Has anyone else had this battery problem?
No, but a friend of mine has a Toyota RAV4 with a permanent 'engine fault' warning light on the dashboard. Toyota say not to worry about it, it's a feature of this model.ReplyDelete
That's an aesthetic annoyance which is not as bad as having a dodgy battery. Still, I always thought Toyota had the highest reliability standards, and my faith has been knocked!Delete
Have been a long-time (secret) reader of your blog. Used to live not far from you, at St Drezery and had a number of friends in Montferrier. Back in England now.
Never commented before, but felt the urge to reply to this post re your Toyota. I too have a Toyota - much older than yours - and had a similar problem last year, with an almost new battery. Kwikfit insisted it must be something electrical that had been left on and drained the battery.
I was doubtful, but after getting started again with jump leads I checked carefully and found that the interior light did not always go off when I locked up and left the car. I'd never noticed as there is a time delay on the light - so I would not have been surprised to see it remain on. I leave it switched off permanently now.
Another risk area is the boot light which again you may not see if it fails to switch off.
May be a long shot but it's worth a look and will cost you nothing to try!
Hi Philip, oh former near-neighbour.Delete
I came back from Avignon through St Drezery at the weekend (on a trip avoiding the autoroute) - there's been a lot of building going on, lots of new houses! The place was en fête and the road was barred for fun and frolics with chaps on horseback. :)
As for my car, the mechanics tested it with the computer to see if there was anything draining the battery (such as boot light) and found nothing, so I suppose that's not the problem. But thanks for popping in and joining in the discussion. :)
I hope you're enjoying life back in England.
Hi Sarah! How did the mecs test it? Get them to put an ammeter into the line between the battery and its terminal cable (try both!) with the engine turned off and see if there's any drain at all. If not then you've either got a bum battery or else electron thieves :) Good luck!Delete
Well they put the computer onto it, and came up with nothing. I'm not sure if they tried using an ammeter. Thanks for the suggestion! :)Delete