I bought a used '95 Tacoma truck with 82,000 miles from the JOHN L. SULLIVAN mega-auto mall in ROSEVILLE, CA.
The first few weeks, I occasionally noticed white smoke come out from under the
hood upon starting it. I started to monitor the coolant reserve tank level over time and saw it was dropping. I took it into the shop.
That was a $1000 trip to replace the radiator and exhaust manifold. Neither the radiator nor exhaust system was covered by the service contract I purchased with the truck.
The truck overheated. I towed it in to the same shop. The diagnosis is a blown head gasket and/or cracked head. Evidence to date seems to suggest the previous owner had a radiator leak, the whole system overheated and cracked the exhaust manifold, head --- and whatever else I manage to discover along the way. So the previous owner filled the truck with stop leak and sold it to the dealership...and then I bought their nightmare.
Now I have another $1000+ repair estimate on the head. This also is not covered by the service contract since it is due to the failure of the radiator, a part which is not covered. The truck remains in the shop with no work done to it while I have spent the last week and a half trying to get some direction from Roseville Toyota.
I called The salesman (Steve) I bought the truck from. He told me he would related me message and have his supervisor (Sean), who I also dealt with when I bought the truck, call me.
Sean never returned my call, so that evening I called him. I told him the story and faxed over the paid repair bill and the new estimate. He told me he had no authority to authorize anything, but he would talk to his manager.
I called Sean back. He said he hadn't had a chance to talk with the managers yet. I reminded him that the truck was still in the shop awaiting an answer.
I called Sean back again. He still hadn't had a chance to talk with the managers yet. I urged him to hurry as the truck was still in the shop untouched pending their answer and that I had already delayed a vacation for lack of a vehicle. He said he would get back to me the next day. I told him if I did not hear from him, I was going to authorize the next set of repairs and we'd deal with it from there.
I called Sean again, only to find out that today and tomorrow were his days off. This tells me he never had any intention of returning my 4/8 call the next day.
I bought the truck based on the Toyota's reputation for trucks and engines that last 200,000-300,000 miles. The dealership is one of the top seller sin the country and is fairly reputable... so I had heard.
So now I am left with three issues:
1) What legal recourse do I have to get these repairs covered by the dealership? It is my understanding that the purchase of the service contract gives me the benefit of implied warranties that the truck will do what trucks should do...drive, no?
2) Should I fix it now and then deal with issues of who will pay?
3) The ever lingering question of: What should I expect to fail next on the truck?
I am looking for legal advice on the above first question, as well as a lawyer who will take this case should Roseville Toyota continue fail to respond to my calls.