Q: On the Toyota Matrix and Corolla (and Pontiac’s Matrix-based Vibe), the digital odometer seizes at 299,999 km – as it did on our 2005 Matrix.
It must then be replaced at substantial cost.
This clearly opens up an enormous potential for fraud on resale vehicles.
We have come to a partial resolution with Toyota Canada. They, our dealer and ourselves will each pay a third ($185) of the total replacement cost of $555.
Jen Sullivan, Newmarket
A: Nicole Grant of Toyota Canada public relations replies:
Toyota has become aware that on 2003-2008 model-year Corolla and Matrix vehicles, odometer mileage is recorded accurately only up to 299,999 km.
A new odometer must then be installed.
Our dealerships record mileage and service dates when an odometer is replaced. A copy of these records is placed in the owner’s manual, along with a sticker on the odometer indicating that it was replaced.
Should a used-car buyer have any questions concerning the odometer reading, they may contact Toyota Canada or inquire at the motor vehicle office in the province where the vehicle was originally sold.
A: Mohamed Bouchama, executive director of Car Help Canada (www.carhelpcanada.com; 416-651-0555), a non-profit consumer advocacy group, replies:
Toyota should be responsible for the total cost of the repairs.
It should “do the right thing by consumers” and recall every vehicle that has this problem due to their factory defective part.
Consumers who consider buying these vehicles as used must perform their due diligence to avoid problems.
A: Stew Low, director of communications for General Motors of Canada, replies:
Because the Vibe and Matrix share the same platform, we have no reason to believe that Vibe customers will not experience the same condition.
While we have not encountered this condition in the field, we are confident that a cost-effective repair can be implemented.
Following established policies for odometer replacement/repair, GM authorized service centres can reset the existing odometer to zero, noting the original mileage and affixing this notice to the door frame. We regret any inconvenience this condition may cause.
Eric Lai adds:
An owner could conceivably add countless extra kilometres before changing odometers.
Potential buyers of these models should check with a dealership if an odometer change, and the previous mileage, is listed on the service record.
If mileage seems too low given the car’s age and condition, be wary.
The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan arbitrates new-car warranty issues on current and previous four model-year vehicles (currently 2003).
Unfortunately, your Matrix is past the 160,000 km eligibility maximum for CAMVAP assistance.
Owners of affected vehicles not past the mileage limit can contact CAMVAP (www.camvap.ca, 416-490-0615 or 1-800-207-0685) if efforts to resolve the matter with the dealership and automaker are unsuccessful.
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