Hatchback piece breaks off - Toyota Prius Forum : Prius Online Toyota Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Default Hatchback piece breaks off

Has anyone had a problem with the back piece one pulls to open the hatchback breaking off? It became loose a few months ago (I told my Toyota dealer, but they said, "Don't worry"...besides the car (2005) was out of warranty.

It finally broke off this weekend and will cost me $450 to fix. This sounds like something that Toyota should be responsible for. It's a structural problem. Can anyone offer assistance?

David

---happy owner of my second Mr. Prius--- (2005 and now 2010 Prius 4)---my lean, mean, and green machines.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

Hi, drtravel47,

I don't think Toyota will do anything for you because you're out of warranty [unless you bought the extended warranty, but that may not cover it either (as some folks who had the bending dash above the upper glove box problem & found the dash is considered "trim" & the extended warranty does not cover trim pieces)]. I don't think the piece you're talking about is trim because that is what you need to use to lift the hatch (either that or the spoiler & I wouldn't want to lift it by the spoiler---that will surely break off too).

You could however call the Toyota Customer Experience line, ask for a case number, & explain to them that you wanted your dealer to tighten the piece when it first became loose but that your dealer's attitude was "not to worry about it" basically because they didn't want to be bothered. I don't think Toyota would be happy to hear that your dealer tried to brush you off like that & now that you're extremely unhappy because you now have to pay for a replacement piece that wouldn't have broken if they had tightened it up. They might offer to split the cost with you by paying for the part & having you pay for the labor (since you would have paid the labor for the dealer to tighten it up in the first place if they had done as you asked). You never know, they may cover the whole thing [labor & part(s)], if you have had all your service done at the dealer & because you were concerned enough to take it in to the dealer for attention before it broke, only to be brushed off & have it break off later.

I also have an '05, but my piece has not loosened yet (& I do have the extended warranty---though I'm not sure if it would be covered if I too had the same problem), but let us know of your outcome. You could always try to find a salvage yard piece of the same color & do the job yourself (to save some money) if Toyota isn't willing to help out at all. Good luck!!

Just a quick Chrysler-bashing aside. I had a RENTAL Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth minivan one time (less than a year old when rented) & the 2nd time I went to close the rear hatch, the molded-in handle broke completely off in my hand. If I had owned that van I would have been ripping mad & constantly worried about how many times (after warranty) I would have to replace that entire plastic trim panel because of the weakly designed handle. So I can understand your concern & financial pain here. I hope Toyota will help you with some or all of the cost.

Ken (in Bolton,Ct) 2005 Pkg #4 (AM)
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

thanks for the advice

---happy owner of my second Mr. Prius--- (2005 and now 2010 Prius 4)---my lean, mean, and green machines.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

The mini van handle would have probably cost ten bucks to replace!



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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

Hi, hyperion,

No, it was formed right into (as in an integral part of) the whole back plastic panel covering the inside of the hatch. So that whole panel would have to be replaced at a cost much higher than $10. So glad I didn't own it.

Ken (in Bolton,Ct) 2005 Pkg #4 (AM)
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

I got Toyota to do the labor for free. It's still costing me $333, but at least I saved $150 on labor.....although it probably will take them about 15 minutes to replace.

---happy owner of my second Mr. Prius--- (2005 and now 2010 Prius 4)---my lean, mean, and green machines.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

Hey, David,

Who is paying for the labor, your dealer himself or Toyota Corporate? I would have thought Toyota would have attempted to please you better & accepted the more costly burden by paying for the part, since it probably wouldn't have broken in the first place if your dealer had tightened it when you first asked them to (unless it was already broken a little & not just loose). You would probably be more likely to agree to pay the cheaper labor cost (rather than the more expensive part) because you would have paid the labor to have them tighten it way back when the dealer brushed you off.

It's not like you were neglectful of the loosening part---you did try to get them to tighten it so something worse wouldn't happen. But the dealer didn't listen or act & the worst did happen. I feel that Toyota should pay for the part instead of the labor, or do even one better (in the name of customer good will) by paying for the entire bill. They should really make your dealer eat the whole cost of this thing & maybe that would teach the dealer to be more responsive to customer concerns.

Toyota doesn't need to keep the dealers that mis-treat their customers. Those dealers only reflect negatively on Toyota's good name. One way to try to get rid of these bad dealers is to report their actions (or inaction in your case) to Toyota & to relay your experiences here. We have a way on this board/site to do that by going to the "For Sale" main heading, then the "Dealer Recommendations & Experiences" sub-heading, & make a post to report the good things & bad things that you experience during a dealer visit. If enough people report a bad dealer & enough people see that info & stay away, then the dealer will start losing business & may have to shut down. Augh, gee, too bad for the bad ones, but hooray for the good ones that also get reported. The good ones are the ones we need to support.

Let us know if they decide to better the offer & pay for the part or even the whole thing. I think they should.

Ken (in Bolton,Ct) 2005 Pkg #4 (AM)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

For $20 one can get a handle that mounts to the license plate. I think this one is convenient, and it will certainly outlast the car:
http://www.ultimatecupholders.com/trunkhandle.html

A piece of foam tape can be used to pad the assembly from the hatch paint. Of course this is not a fix for already-damaged interior plastic.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: Hatchback piece breaks off

Hi, Richard,

I think rather than responding to David's Toyota Prius handle problem, you were responding to my comment on the minivan INTERIOR handle breaking off, correct? I didn't have to replace it because remember I said it was a RENTAL minivan, but your suggestion is a good one for anybody suffering from the "broken handle syndrome". Thanks. I know those exterior "white metal" ones also used to quite frequently break off too. That's where the handle in your link would do more good. In my rental case, the hatch being already opened & well above your head, you need a sturdy pull handle on the inside of the hatch. With so many openings in the sheetmetal behind the plastic panel, I don't know how easy it is to be sure you'll get a good fastening of an aftermarket substitute handle though. But again, I don't need to worry about it.

Ken (in Bolton,Ct) 2005 Pkg #4 (AM)
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 09:19 AM
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Default Part costs money but is DIY possible

Part comes with the plastic and the electrical/electronics elements and most fasteners. KEEP TRACK OF THE 4 10mm NUTS YOU REMOVE, they are needed!
For my blue 2005 Prius the part cost me over $250 but the dealer wanted $380 plus labor.

Inner Facia must be removed to install. I got a set of plastic facia removers but did not really need them. I pulled off with my finders. A bit on one side then a bit on the opposite, working my way around and luckily I did not break it. There was not really an angle/access to slide the tools in because of the way the part wraps around.

The part itself has 4 integrated bolts. You NEED a deep 10 mm socket, to remove the old nuts and install them in new part install. There are 2 clips in addition to the 4 bolts and they posed no problem for me.

I saw in chat that some folks like to replace the license plate lights with led. If you do this would be the time to do it..... before installing the new part.

Later today I'll press the inner facia back into place, after tightening the 4 10mm nuts with the single deep 10 mm socket I bought last night at Lowes.
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