Principle Toyota of Hernando, MS Sells Us A Bad Truck

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Well, we live in New England, where vehicles rust badly. Since I had an excellent experience purchasing our last truck, a 2002 Toyota Tundra, from the south, I had hoped for a similar good experience with replacing it. I wanted a Dodge Ram with big brakes, a Cummins diesel to pull car trailers up the hills and a manual transmission. So I found one on Autotrader in Mississippi at Principle Toyota of Hernando, a 2006 with 139,000 miles on the clock. Hoping this would be a truck to last our little business for many years to come, I bought it.

The guy we hired to inspect it pre-purchase (I will leave off the name of the company he represents, as we are still negotiating with them) pointed out a puddle under the front differential--it's a 4X4--and called that a leaking seal. The dealer refused to fix it but, thinking that a leaking diff seal couldn't be so hard to fix, I bought the truck anyway. Andrea and Fiona flew to Memphis to drive the truck home, as I couldn't get away from the office, but after a few hours, they called to say that there was oil all over the bottom of the truck and that there was oil smoke coming out from underneath. The engine dipstick was down by almost four quarts. I told them to buy a fire extinguisher and get a mechanic to look at the truck in the morning.

Fortunately, they found a great mechanic who was open on Sundays-- Clinton Auto Repair of Johnson City, Tennessee, nice guy, kind and thorough. Clinton figured out that the oil was coming out of the crankcase breather tube, sometimes known as a Road Draft Tube, which shows, pretty much undeniably, blow-by caused by worn piston rings. And that costs $1,000 to fix on a Cummins 5.9 engine. The tube dumps on the top of the front differential if the blow-by is severe, and that is what has been causing the oil puddle underneath, not an innocent leaky diff seal.

Needless to say, I was really upset about this, so I called sales manager Bill Baker of Principle Toyota and asked him what could be done. Bill told me that the truck was sold without a warranty and that they "washed their hands" of the whole thing.

What a shame that some people have to treat each other this way. Principle Toyota has my $19,000. Bill has his fat sales commission. And they will admit nothing and give back nothing, even though what I ask of them is about five minutes' profits for a big dealership, although it represents a lot of vary hard work for our small business. And yet, Clinton of Clinton's Auto Repair in Johnson City charged my wife nothing, after spending an hour diagnosing the problem and trying to help a traveller a long way from home.

I'd stay away from Un-principalled Toyota of Hernando if I were you. And if you are in Johnson, City, stop by and tell Clinton what a decent person he is.

Thanks, Clinton.

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