February 13, 2002

Toyota Canada to assist Toyota owners who’ve had engine oil sludging problems

Toronto, Ontario – The day after a report by a leading U.S. industry trade publication that approximately 3,000 North American Toyota owners had experienced engine oil sludging problems, Toyota Canada has announced a program designed to assist Toyota and Lexus owners who may have experienced this condition.

“Across North America, Toyota has observed that a very small number of engines have been damaged or failed as a result of engine oil sludge,” said Stephen Beatty, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Toyota Canada. Toyota Canada said the problem is the result of infrequent oil changes. “If oil changes are too infrequent, the oil may break down forming sludge while losing its lubricating properties, leading to increased engine wear and possible failure,” said a Toyota news bulletin.

“Working with the service histories of thousands of vehicles, Toyota has not found a single instance of sludging in a vehicle that has been properly serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule,” said Beatty. “Nonetheless, oil breakdown and sludging, if allowed to occur, will affect engine life and performance which leads us to our new program”.

The Toyota Canada program includes:

  1. A direct mail campaign to owners of certain 1997-2001 vehicles reminding them of the importance of proper vehicle maintenance and highlighting the Toyota and Lexus maintenance schedule located in their owners manual supplement or from their local dealer.

  2. A recommendation that all owners keep complete and accurate maintenance records for their vehicles. This step will facilitate future warranty service during their ownership of the vehicle.
  3. Underlining the convenience and peace of mind of having routine maintenance performed at their local, authorized Toyota or Lexus dealer. This also ensures that only genuine Toyota/Lexus parts and lubricants are used in their vehicles and that a complete service history is automatically maintained.
  4. Advice to owners who have not regularly maintained their vehicles to get back on a regular schedule by taking their vehicles in for servicing.
  5. Owners in this latter group who notice the tell-tale signs of engine sludge formation are advised to take their vehicle to their local dealer to have the engine inspected. These signs may include the emission of blue smoke from the tailpipe and/or excessive oil consumption which may cause overheating, rough running and the engine-check light to come on.
  6. The introduction of a 12-month goodwill program for the owners of certain 1997-2001 vehicles that will, on a case-by-case basis, provide assistance to the small number of vehicle owners who have encountered engine damage due to maintenance-related sludge build-up.

Toyota Canada said additional information will be sent to Toyota owners by mail.

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