August 14, 2018
On more that one occasion, I have stepped into my car first thing in the morning only to smell the lingering odor of the carry-out order from the night before. It always amazes me that food that was in the car for just a few minutes leaves an odor that stays in the car all night. The good news is that rolling the window down for just a second or running the air in the car quickly cleans out that food smell.
I bring this up because I got a call from a person who had recently purchased a brand new Toyota Camry and almost immediately began smelling a foul, sewer like odor every time he and his wife got in the car. Unlike the smells in my car, this smell sticks around even after driving for a few minutes. The owner had taken the car to the dealership and, to my surprise, the dealership did not try to deny the smell and said they would take care of the issue.
The Dealership kept the car for a week and said they had cleaned the car thoroughly to get the smell out of the vehicle. When the owner went to pick up the car, he immediately noticed the same foul smell at the car lot. I was further surprised to learn that the dealership did not really fight him about the fact that the smell was still there.
After speaking with the car owner, I did a quick Google search to see if this complaint was isolated or part of a larger problem. It took almost no time to see that this is a widespread problem with Toyota and that there is even a class action lawsuit over this exact issue in California. It appears that the smell is coming from an issue with the air conditioning condenser and that Toyota has known about this issue for years but has yet to fix it. In fact, a service bulletin to the dealership’s said that there was no known remedy.
With no remedy available, it looks like we are going to have to join the class action or file a claim under Kentucky’s “lemon law.” A lot of people over the years call me about the “lemon law.” Unfortunately, it does not apply to used cars but it most certainly applies to new cars. If you have a similar issue, give me a call. It always helps when there are multiple claimants with the exact same problem.