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Melting Toyota Highlander Seat

The passenger seat literally began to melt. I took it to the local dealer in Boone, NC, who said they would talk to the district manager about it. Several months passed. I went by again. They finally called and asked me to bring the car in, saying that the seat heater was clearly malfunctioning and the seat would be replaced under warranty. I left the car with them: that evening they called to say that a drink had been spilled and had shorted out the heater cut-off. It would therefore not be replaced under warranty.
TOYOTA MOTOR Manufacturing Company

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    • [-][+]My resolution
    • 9 years ago
    Steve W. (Neutral)
    They should replace your seat and give you a discount on a new car since its taken so long. inexcusable behavior for a company like Toyota, but they seem to have really gone down hill in recent years. Good luck- hope you get your seat fixed
      • [-][+]My resolution
      • 10 years ago
      Josh G. (Neutral)
      Convinces me never to buy a Toyota. – There are several seat heaters recalls for Toyota. Have you check into them? Some are recent. Seems absurd they won't fix your seat because they feel you spilled a drink on it. That would be normal wear and tear for any car, esp an SUV. The Boone dealer might be just trying to avoid expense by stonewalling you. I'd go to Toyota and demand they either prove that you damaged the car by usage that is specifically disallowed by their warranty- drinking or occasional water on the seats shouldn't be- or they need to approve the repair with the local dealer. you would have thought Toyota had learned its lesson about covering up defects, but guess the Boone dealer didn't get the memo
        • [-][+]My resolution
        • 12 Points
        • 10 years ago
        Shaneisha W. (Neutral)
        North Carolina's lemon law states that warranties must either be "full" or "limited" warranties, and that such warranties must state what is and is not covered. I would suggest re-reading your warranty to see what is and is not covered under warranty. Additionally, I would suggest going to the Better Business Bureau website and file a complaint about this issue. Given from what you've stated, you contacted the local dealer about this issue and several months passed, at which you were forced to contact them again as the issue had not been addressed or fixed. When you brought the car in and they told you the diagnosis of the seat's heater, they should have been able to also give you a reason as to what caused the malfunction. Additionally, their diagnosis of there being a spill that cased the malfunction seems like an issue you should question. You should bring up how it has taken several months for the dealer to address the problem you have come to them multiple times over; the dealer is saying that the malfunction is from a spilled drink, however, how can they be sure when there was a large span of time from the time you contacted the local dealer regarding the seat over heating, to the time the local dealer actually contacted you back to have you bring the car in to check out the seat. What I'm saying is that the problem could have arisen from a spilled drink, or the problem could have occurred from a warranty-covered issue, such would have been more easily determinable had the local dealer taken a look at your car's seat issue sooner. However, you must recognize your responsibility in this matter. Yes, the dealer should have contacted you in a much closer time frame from the first point of contact, however, if your seats are melting, that is a serious danger to you and your passengers. Therefore, it was up to you to not wait several months to get back into contact with the local dealer to have addressed this issue.
          • [-][+]My resolution
          • 10 years ago
          Brian W. (Neutral)
          I am uneasy about the dealer's explanation for the malfunction. I admit I do not know a lot about cars, but from what I can find online, it looks like most of the seat heater parts are either underneath the seats - not easily accessible, under the carpet or mounted vertically on the dash. In any case, it would be difficult to spill liquid in such a manner as to "short out" (or otherwise contact) any parts of the system. Additionally, you reported "months" between when the issue first occurred (and you first visited the dealer) and when the dealer determined some liquid spill was the culprit. At the very least, it seems they implied the repairs would be covered under warranty. For these reasons, I think the dealer should repair the seat at no cost to you.
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