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Scion tC Problems and Solutions



  • I too have no problem with the stereo cover. A couple of people looking at the car for the first time were intrigued by the cover and they too open and closed it without a problem.

    While certainly not practical (since it will be open nearly all the time), the door is a neat touch and when closed offers a different and appealing look.

    I guess some people lack that "majic touch" or just need something to complain about. For my money, (unless you just outright bought the wrong type of vehicle) you have to look pretty hard to find things to complain about with this car.
  • I will contact the dealership with teh tsb. I hope it will fix the vehicle.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 17,158
    make to let us know what the do, and if you notice a difference.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • jcfjcf Posts: 35
    I've sat in and played with the stereo covers of at least 10 different tC's at various dealerships. I always found the cover worked, but thought it to be a stupid design - for 2 reasons:

    First, it does take a certain amount of aggressiveness to open the cover successfully - moreso than seems appropriate. The latch system could have, and should have, been made more finite, or precise. It was built like a cheap portable CD door latch rather than a better home stereo door latch.

    Second, I'll bet that most of us play with the radio enough that the door stays open most of the time. Now, with the door closed, the entire center stack looks clean, smooth, and well laid out. But, with the door open, it looks sloppy, unfit, and mismatched - like an aftermarket radio was installed that doesn't fit right.

    I won't let all this ruin my view of a great car, but I would add the stereo cover as another one of the little faults of the car, along with the mismatched, one tight/one loose rear deck cover, and the partially lit rear brake light. I'm no ergonomics engineer, but I think Toyota could have designed these features better without adding to the cost appreciably.
  • by the one tight, one loose rear deck cover? Are you talking about those slide-over cargo covers?

    As to the partially-lit rear brake light, what's that all about? Doesn't it come on bright enough, or just lights up in one part of the brake assembly and doesn't look like it lights up enough of the light?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • geneegenee Posts: 170
    In mine the left side of the cargo area cover fits fine .. the right dips down about 1/2 an inch. Looks sloppy and poorly designed.

    The rear brake light only has LEDs (working)in the centre 1/3 of the assembly. Again, it looks sloppy, broken, or plain cheap to anyone following.

    The stereo "hatch" lid takes lots of "touch" to get it to work. Strange, there is a similar lid in the dash of my 2004 Sienna that works perfectly. So, we know Toyota has a vendor that can supply good parts. They chose not to use them in the tC.

    I love the little car but think that anything I buy new should work properly. Not just "kinda."
  • geneegenee Posts: 170
    Is there a web-site or email address we can use to register our "concerns" with these cars. I have tried the 1-800 number and get someone that doesn't know zilch about the cars. "I'll call you back ..." Ha! I am still waiting for that to happen.
  • much to let those problems you mentioned stop me from pursuing it. The cover over the cargo area being off-kilter a tad is the least of the problems IMO. The stereo cover is not a big deal to me at all. The center "1/3rd" of the rear brake light coming on when the brake pedal is applied is probably the most annoying one to me, unless Scion designers actually want it to look that way. If they do, can someone please explain to me why they want it that way? Still not enough to completely steer me towards the new 2005 Kia Sportage instead of a new tC next fall, but kind of an eency-weency quirky kind of annoyance. Kinda reminds me of a 1965 Ford Mustang I had where, occasionally, the car wouldn't start. I had to pop the hood, take my screwdriver up there and bop the starter solenoid real hard with the handle end of the screwdriver. Close the hood, hop back into the cabin and it would fire right up. Fine, but just knowing that about it was annoying, ya know? The popping sound on the roof by the moonroof isn't a big deal to me, either. Neither is a squeaky, crackly dash, or too much road noise from underneath, nor is a tendency to not take bumpy roads well, etc. I read a few car magazines where reporters noticed a harsh ride over pot-holed roads. Evidently the tires are built for speed more than for smoothness of ride. Same as the tires on Hyundai's new Tiburon introduced in late 2002 as a 2003 model. No, I wouldn't be concerned about any of them. If someone can provide their thoughts on this "1/3rd" of the brake light coming on back there that might prove interesting. Not a deal-killer but kinda weird. Another potential problem is the fact that I want a 5-speed manual tranny and some are popping out of 3rd gear on their own and going into neutral. That would be a problem. That must be a small percentage of tC's, eh? Chime in tC lovers! I saw a white one in Jefferson City, MO, today that looked great! That's my 3rd favorite color(I know, white's not a color!)after BCP and IIP. Love this new Scion tC! Even with some apparent quirks early on!

    Not being a Scion owner yet and not having any promotional material in hand much less an owner's manual I wouldn't know where you might turn in order to voice your complaints to Scion about this stuff. There ought to be an outlet for doing just that though.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • jcfjcf Posts: 35
    A less anal person may not be bothered by the stereo cover, cargo cover, and tail lamp faults, but they all bother me - not enough to keep me from buying the car, but enough to appreciate complaining a bit with others here.

    Now, I'm not only annoyed when I see a tC brake light, but I think of it every time I see another car's correctly designed brake light on - which is only a few dozen times a day. I wonder how long it'll take before I quit noticing and caring?

    You know, Scion has a very good instant chat setup on their website. I used it once and got a very good response from a rep. One of us needs to ask if they have a venue - or interest - for receiving consumer comments.

    As for the manual 3rd gear issue influencing your decision on buying the car: A few more months of production should tell us if they've truly worked out that problem.
  • only shows how much you care about your tC. To me that is an enthusiast and to me that is great. I, too, will ask around(I'm probably gonna join a few Scion chat sites eventually)or, heaven forbid, go to one of my local Scion dealers and ask them about that concern. The closest one is 25 miles away and the next closest dealer of tC's is 65 miles north of me. I think that out of all of these little early-on quirks the one most concerning to me is the "3rd gear popping out on it's own and going into neutral." The taillight "1/3rd of the light coming on" issue is one I intend to ask around and find out about. I don't suppose Scion engineers did that on purpose? Now I long to see it happen in person! I've seen one tC in Rolla and none in the little town I live in 9 miles closer to St.Louis than Rolla. Over.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • geneegenee Posts: 170
    Once upon a time ... I downloaded a tC manual (not the owner's manual) from a California college site. It states that the upper brake light and rear turn signals have to be replaced as a unit. Having a Ph.D. engineer for a son, I KNOW sloppy design is not part of their menu. Not having driven much - at all - in Japan, I wonder if the design was meant to also show turn signals? This 1/3 light is the problem the people at the Scion phone site "will call me back" about ... when they find an answer. No breath holding. Oh! VERY few sales persons and/or service managers know about the "problem." They have to find another unit and see that it behaves in the same fashion.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 17,158
    Of all the things that could bother me about my car, the third brake light is about the bottom of the list. I think I have only seen it once, and thats becasue I was backing up toward a glass window that reflected it.

    Would it have made you all happier if they just put the middle part in (thereby having blank space around it)? It does the job, and I just think of the side parts as a styling device to make the rear of the car look more balanced.

    The cargo cover I think I know what you're talking about. It seems pretty even to me, but overall, the cover isn't the best design, but that's a drawback to having reclinging rear seats.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • Does the light only show up in the middle on all Scion tC brake lights or does the brake light show up only on the outsides and leave a blank space in the middle? Does it happen in all Scion tC's?

    The "3rd gear slipping out" problem is probably gonna get a "Toyota stop the factory" tag on it in Japan very soon if it hasn't already been tagged. I remember that from Continuous Quality Improvement class at work. Toyota production lines totally stop if somebody notices something that isn't quite right on the production line. I'm thinking this problem(by far the most serious one on the list)will be fixed long before I decide to get a tC.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 17,158
    the middle lights up. The outer edges are just red plastic.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • Get a life man!! If the only thing that "really" annoys you about the tC is a 3rd brake light that you can't even see, then you have more concerns than need to be dicussed on a car site.

    First of all, (like you) I probably would have owned the tC for ten years without knowing about the brake light had I not read about it on a web site - placed by someone more anal than you.

    Secondly, who cares? the light works when you step on the brakes.

    Take a look around. There are zillions of cars out there designed with rear ends that are comprised totally of red plastic and only 2 bulbs on either end light up. What's the big deal?

    I apologize if I sound a bit terse (you did ask tC owners to chime in) but not only will you never see the light, I would be willing to bet that all of the admirers following you won't take notice either.

    Sounds like you are in the market for a stick. I f the brake light is so annoying, use your gears to brake, sit back, and enjoy.
  • weekend, or maybe they had a bit too much. I don't know if I was the one you're irritated at, I'm just doing some early research as to what kind of car I want to buy next. The brake light only lighting up in the middle is not a big deal at all to me. AAMOF, if only a small square lights up when the brakes are applied, I think that would look great. In other words, it doesn't trouble me.

    People have mentioned a third light, are you talking about the upper light(sometimes on the spoiler for cars that have spoilers) that is the third brake light added several years ago to all new cars for safety reasons? Is someone having problems with this light on their tC? Or is it working just fine? How is it we're combining this 3rd brake light with the brake lights just coming on in the middle of the brake light assembly as possible problems with the tC?

    Isn't this fun? Completely dissecting an attractive little import that recently hit the U.S. market? I like it and I am going for a 5-speed! Get this dudes: I have a 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 with 85,145 miles on it and because I use my gears to slow the rig down so much I have completely avoided any brake work on the small SUV so far! Not only that but it hasn't needed a single light bulb replaced. It has also gone the entire 85,145 miles without needing it's original Hankook tires replaced! I take good care of my rigs. I will take great care of my tC if and when I buy one, indeed.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • jcfjcf Posts: 35
    iluvmysephia1 - yes, we're talking about the third brake light located in the top center of the rear hatch. Its a long, clear, LED looking strip that looks sharp - unlit. When lit, only the middle third lights up. Sounds like you'll rarely have to look at the rear end of another tC in your small little town though, so you'll rarely notice or remember the glaring flaw.

    genee - yes, I think it would have been better to narrow the plastic inset to the actual width of the light, as all other cars seem to do. The extra wide plastic inset, matching the lower plate lines, WOULD have looked great - if they had completed the concept. I'd agree there's an engineering reason for it too, rather than an engineering oversight. If it is a turn signal connection, seems like a stupid idea. Let us know if you ever get a real answer. SOMEBODY knows.

    tonylexas - lucky you for being less anal than others. I wish I shared your less critical attitude on cars, women, and everything. Your view and prioritization on the issue is appreciated. But, seeing as this is a forum on tC "problems and solutions", our complaints on this issue are also reasonable. I'll agree that many non-anal people such as yourself will never notice the problem, yet alone be bothered by it. But, I can vouch that every Scion salesman I've shown the light issue to (which has been several) has agreed that it looks wrong, broken, or stupid. We'll probably have to live with it, but Toyota deserves some grief and complaints over the design. That's how features get fixed and future models get better.
  • I only knew about the brake light from reading it here. I had my wife press the brake so I could see it myself. It looks fine to me. It frames the license plate quite nicely.

    I've had my tC for a month now and I don't have any issues to report. I'm a little older and have owned quite a few cars. The tC is built well. I just hope the tires last beyond 20K miles.
  • in axiomowner. What color did you score axiom? Congrats to you for getting one! Your input on the brake light issues has completely calmed my fears about them! Just kidding! I wasn't ever really concerned about the brake light issue. I think they'll look cool and yes, I may be the only one in St.James, MO, who will own a tC, or I may never see the other owner if someone else does buy one. Unless we form a St.James, MO, tC club...

    What about the tires bothers you? Are they cheaply made or are your roads as bad as Missouri's? We have so many trucks here on I-44 that they eventually beat the tar out of the roads and then people's tires. I must say, my '01 Sportage's Hankook's have 85,550 miles on them without any problems at all. I honestly can't believe they've still got viable tread on them and I'm headin' into another winter with 'em!

    Keep poppin' those stereo covers open with glee!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • jcfjcf Posts: 35
    I stopped by a Discount Tire last month and asked them about the tC's tires. The sales rep seemed quite familiar with them.

    He said their soft rubber and low profile gave them a limited mileage in the low 20's for most people. That's pretty poor in my budget conscious view. They not only cost twice the amount of any economy car, but they have to be replaced 3 times as often.

    Discount Tire sells a (supposedly) comparable high performance, low profile, Cooper tire for about $120. That's still not cheap to me, and the mileage isn't much better.

    Apparently, the only way to significantly increase the mileage wear is to switch to a lower performance tire. He said doing so might be possible, but that it could likely worsen the understeer/oversteer handling in corners.

    Let those who wear out their first set of tires be the guinea pigs for us all. I hope for some better guidance before its my time to buy new ones.
  • markg4markg4 Posts: 44
    look at the conti extreme contacts if you want a good high perf. all season. they are only $94 each and i am very happy with them on my 2000 si.
  • In/re tires. I looked at ratings and reviews on TireRack and the Potenza's didn't fair to well in any category among all-season performance tires. The Pirelli P Zero Nero M+S ($116) were the most recommended in my shopping and comparing.

    Considered changing mine immediately but could get virtually nothing for the 'new' Potenza's so I'm going to run them out and keep my fingers crossed as we head into the Michigan winter.

    I'm not expecting much from the OEM's. Had Bridgstone Duelers on my RX 300 - awful in snow and wore out in 35K. The Michelon's I repalced them with have nearly 70k on them with @ half the tread life remaining!

    First tank of gas 25/75% city/hwy 28.3 MPH - 2nd tank, 10/90 city/hwy - 31 MPH both tanks topped off, hwy speeds varied between 55 & 85. Coming from a Jeep Liberty where I was lucky to get 17 MPH, I'm ecsatic. Just another way this car has exceeded my expectations. Time for another fill up and it's looking like the MPH is holding up.
  • on Edmunds to list incredible mileage on your SUV's tires. My OEM Hankooks on my Sportage are going to head into another Missouri winter even though they already have 85,550 miles on them! Yikes! I can't believe it. I'm used to replacing my rig's tires at 40,000 miles, maybe if they're exceptionally mighty, 50,000 miles. This blows me away.

    I wonder if it has something to do with the riding and handling characteristics of top-heavy SUV's and how they grip the road. Any tire engineers out there? When I get my tC I am hoping y'all will've figured out a good replacement tire to swap out to after I rub the tread off of my Potenza's. BCP tC with all standard features, no options at this time intended for this tiger.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • jcfjcf Posts: 35
    Thanks for the reco markg4. I'll keep the name stashed for future use.

    Anyone have any other comments for the cheapest, longest wearing, decent handling tire replacements for a tC? I'd think some others besides myself might be willing to sacrifice a bit of road hugging ability for lower price and longer wear.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 17,158
    not a lot of choices in this size, and most 45s are performance oriented. From the looking I did, if I was getting new tires now it would be the Pirelli P Zero Nero M&S. Also standard equipment IIRC on the new Mustang GT.

    Go to tirerack and do a look-up on the size and you can get an idea of whats out there. Even if I only get 25K out of them, that would still be 3 years for me, so there will be lots of new choices by then.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • you're only gonna be putting 8,333-odd miles a year on your tC?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • jcfjcf Posts: 35
    Thanks to your comments and references, I finally got motivated and spent a couple of hours researching all the tire options - considering high performance, ultra high performance, all season, and summer treads. You guys pegged 2 of the best choices right from TireRack. I'll add a third reco among the best performance/lowest cost, 215/45-17 options:

    Pirelli PZero Nero M&S ($116) - The number 1 ranked best performing, ultra high performance, all-season, tire. It has excellent to superior ratings in every category.

    Continental Conti Extreme Contact ($94) - The number 3 ranked best performing, ultra high performance, all-season tire. It has excellent to superior ratings in every category but underperforms the Pirelli in all categories except in rain and snow conditions. Its main advantage over the Pirelli is lower cost - an $88 savings for a small performance sacrifice.

    Yokohama Avid H4S ($98) - The number 4 ranked best performing, high performance, all-season tire. It has excellent to superior ratings in every category but also underperforms the Pirelli in all categories. Its main advantage over the Pirelli is lower cost and potentially better tread wear. Whereas the Pirelli and Continental have tread wear ratings of 400, the Yokohama is rated 500. And, while the Pirelli and Continental's W speed ratings (168 mph) exceed the Yokohama's H rating (130 mph), I don't think that should be a concern on the tC which has an electronic speed inhibitor and top speed of 127 mph.

    All 3 tires look like good options. I'll let a sale price dictate my decision.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 17,158
    I only do about 7K a year now, but I'm moving to a new office soon, so my weekly commute will go up by about 30 miles a week.

    I have about 2,600 miles on it now, in about 3.5 months, but that includes a few extra trips I don't normally do. It also sits at home when we travel.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • Hello all-

      I have a manual Scion TC and I notice a whinning noice while accelerating in second gear to third. I have had automatic cars in the past so I am not sure if the Scion engine was built like this or not. It is only in second gear where I hear this noice. My car drives very smooth, but the sound is not. If your car does or does not have a higher pitch sound when in second gear and when accelerating in second gear could you please reply to this message. I am concerned about my car and if this sound is supposed to be normal because it is a manual transmission please let me know.

  • cplacecplace Posts: 4
    I have a Scion tC (manual) with 1000 miles on it. When I start the vehicle cold (meaning that it has been sitting for several hours) and travel either forwards or backwards, I hear a single clicking noise after moving anywhere from 10 to 20 feet. The noise only occurs once. The click doesn't occur following a warm start-up. Has anyone else heard this click? Does anyone know what this clicking sound is? I don't remember hearing it when I first got the car.
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