**(EDIT: I RECENTLY DETERMINED THIS ISSUE IS RELATED TO ALL 2005-2011 MODEL YEARS EQUIPPED WITH FACTORY DRL's, NOT JUST 2009-2011)**
As most of us already know, 2nd Gen 2009-2011 model Tacoma's equipped with factory DTRL's are notorious for their melting lenses. From my research, this failure seems to be caused by a higher wattage bulb that Toyota began installing in 09+ models after multiple complaints of premature bulb failure in previous model years. This higher wattage bulb emits much higher amounts of heat, and Toyota failed to do proper R&D and testing to ensure our headlight lenses can compensate for this increased heat.
As many of us have already fallen victim to this, some of us, like myself, have not experienced this failure until after being out of their original 3/36 warranty. Some owners report their dealerships denying claims, and having no success with help from Toyota HQ. Others have reported their dealerships taking the matter so serious, that a rental car was issued because the truck was deemed unsafe to drive. This seems to be a hit and miss situation.
I brought my truck in to my dealership today (John Elway's Crown Toyota, Ontario CA) and had a service advisor write up my melted DTRL issue. I currently have 44k on the truck so I am no longer in factory 3/36 warranty, however I do have Toyota Extra Care Platinum 7/100 warranty with no deductible. My dealer informed me that the lens failure will not be covered, and that my Extra Care denied the claim.
I immediately called Toyota HQ (1-800-331-4331) and opened a case number as advised to do by my service advisor. Toyota forwarded my claim back to the Customer Relations Manager and Service Director at my dealer. Dealer again denied the warranty work, and advised that Toyota HQ also denied my out-of-warranty claim. Called Toyota HQ back to push the issue further up the chain, but was denied access to speak with a manager/supervisor and was told I will be called back on Monday from my original claim writer. It is now a waiting game.
With all this going on, I know I am not alone, and this is far from an isolated incident. If you visit NHTSA.gov or Safecar.gov, you will find hundreds of consumer complaints regarding this matter. Here on TW alone I am sure we can find several hundred members with this issue. This has gone on way too far.
My main point of concern is that this is not a simple part failure like a door sill that causes wind noise, or a window switch that sticks, this is an extreme fire hazard and risk to not only us owners, but our passengers and others on the road. Vehicle fires kill people. I am a highly experienced and knowledgeable in 12v electrical, and although it may not seem like a bubbling piece of plastic will do harm, don't be fooled. Our lives are in danger, and its going to take a vehicle fire or death for Toyota to finally recognize this hazard.
I was estimated $311 for a single replacement headlight assembly (with the same stock bulbs that caused original failure) plus $218 in labor. That is $540 for a single headlight replacement, without even addressing the original issue/failure. Although it is likely that I will eventually be "reimbursed" by Toyota HQ for PARTS ONLY, that is still not acceptable. It is time for us to take a stand against this and make our trucks safe again.
I would like to begin by asking ALL of you that have experienced this problem before, please share your story and the results. Whether you decided to leave it as is, or if you took it to your dealer, please share what the outcome was. Were you in/out of warranty, what was the dealers advice, did you have extended warranty, did you contact Toyota HQ, were you reimbursed, who covered/denied coverage, do you have stock or aftermarket bulbs, etc.
I realize their are many other threads on this topic already, so if you have already shared your story before, please share again. I have no intentions of backing down, and I need your support to make any significant results from this. If it takes a lawsuit, so be it. I will gladly hire an attorney and make something come of this. I am in the process of compiling existing consumer complaints, as well as existing threads on this topic, but the more I have the betted for my case.
I am asking this community to please get together on this and share your story!! It is imperative I get as many personal stories as possible. Do not lie however, share only the facts!
Thank you TW for your support on this matter!
- Anthony (ProForce)