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Toyota Solara Convertible - 2004 and Newer



  • rgihlergihle Member Posts: 7
    as I said before, check with your dealer- I would hope that you would only do business with a dealership you were confident in. I also suggest checking the toyota website which lists the differences between warranties. Check the manual, which cites the 3 year basic coverage. Finally, contact Toyota- do research about the rust proofing. You will find that there is a difference between the original and the added. You will also find that there is an issue of warranty coverage in certain states. I had the same doubts, so I did my research long before the car arrived. Where I live, cars often rust out from underneath due to the severe winters and salt issues.
       Finally, in the end, you have to do what is best for you. I am merely suggesting the many factors which could be considered during the process of choosing whether or not to purchase an extended warranty. Hopefully this helps- if not then ignore it :-)
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Per Toyota Owners Manual:

    "Every Toyota Car, Truck and SUV is built to exceptional standards. And that’s not idle boasting.
    We back it up with these Limited Warranty Coverages:
    Basic: 36 months/36,000 miles (all components other than normal wear and maintenance items).
    Powertrain: 60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts and airbags).
    Rust-Through: 60 months/unlimited miles (corrosion perforation of sheet metal).
    Emissions: Coverages vary under Federal and California regulations."

    Again, these things are only a profit center for the dealer. If you want them, go to a reputable body shop and ask them about their services.

    As far as the underbody rust in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. Toyotas have an applied underbody rustproofing from the factory. Not only is it better than any aftermarket "spray on" but it also is in areas that are inaccessible to the aftermarket trade.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Check with your dealer?

    The dealer is there to make a profit. The F&I office is one of it's main profit centers. From financing to warranties to services.

    ALL dealers recommend and sell these products. It's not a matter of being "reputable". It's the CONSUMERS responsibility to research these. I know of no place that will not offer or recommend any of them. The only thing that is a maybe is an extra warranty if you plan on keeping the car for a long time (6 years or more with a Toyota). The basic 3 year is an all-inclusive (save wear and tear items). If you are not going to be keeping it for more than the powertrain warranty, is it really worth the money so that you can have a free window switch or trim piece replaced during those extra 3 years?
  • toppertopper Member Posts: 13
    This link has been posted in another forum I believe. I haggled the cost of my warranty down with the dealer and thought I did a pretty good job until I saw this website: http://www.toyotawarranty.com/ From what I understand, this is a Toyota Dealer out of Ohio or something that will sell the warranties just above cost. I fortunately saw this website before I purchased my 4Runner and told my dealer to kiss my backside.
  • norainnorain Member Posts: 8
    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I'm on the fence about the warranty but am leaning away from it after your comments. If a car starts to give me problems I tend to want to sell it. Covered or not, I don't want to be hung up visiting a service department over and over again.

    I've never paid for rustproofing. In fact, I am considering keeping my existing car so that I can store my SLE for the winter. While it sounds all good on the surface, can garaging for the winter cause any problems? Does it have to be started occasionally, etc?
  • rtg33rtg33 Member Posts: 3
    The following statement was reported in a Motor Trend article about the Solara Convertible: "Hit a pothole, speed bump, or rough patch, and the Solara's cowl, windshield, and steering column will start wiggling, and the view through the rearview mirror turns to gelatin." Is it severe enough that you really cannot see out of the mirrors? Can you feel the shake inside the car or does it just seem to make the frame shake? Does this occur over regualar speed bumps at 10 mph or only going over a pothole at 60 on a highway?
  • rtg33rtg33 Member Posts: 3
    I'm considering ordering a Solara Conv. SLE in the Northeast but I'm not sure if its gonna be worth it because by the time I get it the summer may already be over. Anyone who's ordered a Solara Conv. please just let me know how long the order took from the time between when you ordered to the time you picked it up from the dealer. I'm planning on ordering Black with an ivory interior and black top with Navigation Sys. and VSC.
  • solara4solara4 Member Posts: 12
    We thought the same and rather than order the car, we just called dealer after dealer until we found a car we could live with. We wanted a red SLE without Nav but settled for a silver (Lunar Mist) with Nav. We're very happy with both the color and the Nav system. The shortest order time we were told was three weeks. So we got at least 3 more weeks of the summer with the car. In early June, we felt we would have to pay MSRP either way.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    I've read all of the articles [I could find] on the Solara and yes, like any convertible, there is some cowl shake and mirror movement when going over pot holes. Of course that is true of any car that does not have a fixed roof. Every one I saw did say it was the best built convertible they have seen besides the MB SL, Lexus SC, and the BMW 3 series.

    When I test drove one we went to an area with really bad road issues, it is right by the Air Force Base and get's lots of heavy truck traffic. I was very impressed when we went over it with the top up and even more impressed with the top down. Did the mirror jiggle, sure, did the cowl shake, a bit. Was it the best I've driven, no. That would go to the SC430, which still has a bit of cowl shake. Did I order one that day, you betcha.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    In the Southeast we can go to buyatoyota.com and see exactly which ones are on the lots (not many) and which ones are on their way, and to which dealer they are going. That is what I used to get mine. The only caveat was that the three that were showing "in" were already sold. I did get one of the ones coming two weeks later though. Expect it 8/7.

    What I don't understand is why the Southeast only gets shipments, it seems, every two weeks of these vehicles.

    I wanted an Absolutely Red/Ivory with Nav and VSC. I thought about the Lunar Mist but did not want the gray interior. So I wait.
  • rgihlergihle Member Posts: 7
    While this is a moot point for the person who asked in the first place, for your future reference:

    page 10 of the warranty manual- rust warranty coverage is subject to what is not covered on pages 11 and 12- which includes airborne chemicals, tree sap, road debris, ...salt.... and other environmental conditions (translation-acid rain).

    Anyway- if anyone finds out anymore about the convertible top issue, please post it. Thanks!!!
  • norainnorain Member Posts: 8
    I ordered mine in Massachussets on Apr 17th and it is due to arrive any day now, so basically a 3 1/2 month wait. In my opinion, you're better off waiting until next Feb or Mar. Plus, by then they should have worked out all the kinks. Hopefully they worked out the problems with the top by the time mine was built on July 12th. Also, I saw one that the manager of the dealership bought and it had marks on the top that were made by the top frame. And that was after only a month or two of use. Ugh!
  • norainnorain Member Posts: 8
    Any gotchas with storing a car for winter? Can it be bad for the car? Thanks
  • yankees338yankees338 Member Posts: 28
    Thanks for your help solara and mfullmer. Do you know if there is a site for the Northeast from Toyota like there is for the Southeast to check dealer inventory and incoming vehicles? Thanks again.
  • parkgtparkgt Member Posts: 4
    Try Toyota.com, dealer locator and put in your ZIP code or cities in your area. When I was looking two weeks ago the inventories listed were at least 80% out of date with more cars shown than any dealer actually had.

    Once you have found a dealer in your shopping radius just contact them using the Toyota site. Tell them what you want and ask them for a quote and delivery time. They will call or write back within a couple of days.

    It took me a week once I made up my mind to buy; contacted about 25 dealers in 6 states. Replies ranged from no converibles around anymore to we have what you want coming in in a few days. Bought for over $2100 off MSRP after several tried to get list or more.

    Hang tough and be willing to drive a couple of hours to save money and get exactly what you want.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    Black car with black top and ivory interior is not available. Ivory interior is only available with a tan top
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    Cars are made to drive, not store. Avoid storing a modern car if at all possible. What is your reason for storing the car?
  • redhotredhot Member Posts: 4
    I'm having a hard time locating a wind screen for my Solara. I've been to two dealers, and they could not find one in their computer. Is this a aftermarket item? thanks for any help.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Thanks! I've been thinking the same thing. I want to drive my Solara a few times on the freeway before I commit but I'm interested in the sunshade also.
  • paulopaulo Member Posts: 6
    Mfullmer -

    I'm in the southeast too and can't figure out how you get that inventory info from buytoyota.com. Do you check each dealer individually or is there a faster way?

  • paulopaulo Member Posts: 6
    I'd like to get one I think, but they're impossible to find to test drive, so I'm hoping you all can answer a couple questions for me. :)

    Is the stock stereo ok or do you need the upgraded stereo for good sound?

    Would it be a bad idea to buy this car (or any convertible) if I don't have a way to garage it?
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    First off, I'm getting mine from Marietta Toyota and they have a few on the lot to drive. I'm getting the NAV so it comes with the JBL and I've only driven the SLE, which has the JBL. I'm not sure what to tell you about the garaging. My cars are garaged both at home and at the office.

    Regarding the inventory, it's kind of tricky but yes you can look at all of the ones coming into the SE in one place.

    Go to buyatoyota.com, enter zip code, pick any of the dealerships.
    click on the Solara and then in the window that comes up pick which trim you want. A new window will come up. You have two choices here. At the upper right under "Find your Camry Solara there is a figure stating ALL of the Solaras to list. The next one down (About 1/2 down the page) shows all of the Solara's in the trim style you choose. Finally you can choose which color and choose the number just over the colors. If you choose the one under the trims it will say that dealer has x number of cars but if you click on the next number it will show you all of them in the Southeast.

    Good Luck. Mine isn't listed ('05 Solara SLE AR/IV, 8/20 but I guess that's because it's held for me?)
  • paulopaulo Member Posts: 6
    Interesting - when I did it for my zip code it didn't work at all. But when I did it for yours it worked perfectly. :)
  • norainnorain Member Posts: 8
    I want to avoid it getting bombarded with road salt and slush. I hate having all of that gunk sit on the car, and there's no way I can wash it in winter. You think it's bad to not drive it for a few months?
  • parkgtparkgt Member Posts: 4
    Sitting is one of the hardest thing on a car if left too long. A few months isn't too bad. It would be better if you could start and drive it a few miles on a good day every month or so. If not at least start it and let it run until the engine heats up to normal operating temp. The other thing to watch for is mice building nests in it when it sits for long periods; many have had some interesting problems with chewed wires and nests on fire on top of the engine after letting vehicles sit for the winter. If mice are around put some moth balls under the hood, but not inside the car. Change the oil after letting it set that long no matter what the miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Some car washes have underside washing as you go through,especially those in salt states.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Does anyone know about any changes for 2005 Convertible? My '05 is scheduled for deliver 8/20 and I just heard from a dealer that the Solara Coupe has a few changes for '05 (didn't elaborate though) but he didn't know if they crossed over to the convertible.

    Could it be that they've listened to some of the complaints and are addressing them?

    I emailed my dealer but he hasn't gotten back to me yet.

    God I would love to see a passenger power seat!!!!
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    I know this has been talked about before but I don't understand Toyota's thinking about not providing factory install or at least wiring for XM/Sirius. I was told, both when I bought my RX330 and now with the Solara that not too many people upgrade to the XM. Well DUHHH! They make it so difficult and in the RX330 you can't even get it integrated.

    Are they really blind to the rest of the industry. Go to ANY GM dealership and you'll see that at least 30% of the vehicles, from Malibus to Suburbans to Devilles, have the XM installed. Avis has a deal with XM where Avis purchased the cars with the XM and XM provides the service. It has been amazing. I have two friends who discounted XM as silly ("Why pay for radio"?) but then went out and had it installed/got it in their new car after renting with Avis and getting hooked.

    I'm giving up my Tahoe with XM ($325 option) for the Solara and I'm going to miss it. Of course I may just decided to have it installed with that ugly cord on the trunk.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    I did a search here in the Southeast today and found several 2005 models that are on their way. I have not been able to find out what changes are going to be made for the 2005 models (what I'm getting) but I did notice the following on the pull-up stickers for those on the way.

    The 2004 Standard Features states:
    "8-way adjustable drivers seat"

    The 2005 Standard Features states:
    "Lthr Pwr Heated Drvr & Front Pass Seats"

    Could this mean that they had some complaints and finally put in a power passenger seat?
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    that is good for you, bad for me. Anything about a memory seat for the driver?
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    No, I'm sure that won't be there. The Camry doesn't offer it.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    If there is one thing the car should have is the memory seat....i think the power seat motor is especially slow!
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Agreed. I noticed that on our RX330. The GM power seats I'm used to are very fast. In fact, the memory seat on my Tahoe goes from full back/down to my preset (mid way and all the way up) in about 3 seconds when I turn on the car.

    In fact, I don't find Toyota's version of Memory Seats all that useful (and I haven't had a car without them in about 10 years). The main thing I use on my GM cars in the easy exit/entry since I'm usually the only one who drives the vehicles. Since the Toyota/Lexus doesn't have that, it's not nearly as usable.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    The Solara is my wifes car...so when i get in the seat goes from pretty much all the way forward to all the way aft...seems like it take forver standing ther over the car waiting for the seat to move.

    My Expedtion has the memory that moves the mirrors, seat and pedals making it much easier (and quicker!)
    Regardless, the missing feature is pretty minor when you consider what you do get with the car for the $$.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Agreed again. To think that I was looking at both the Prius and the MINI Cooper, both at right around $27k. For $5k more it seems like a steal!

    I just can't wait until 8/20!!! I did go onto the Toyota/Lexus tech site and looked at all of the changes for the 2005 Camry. It looks like they've changed the Nav a bit, but I can't find anything else. Hopefully this will run through to the Solara since the '04 units were pretty much the same in my RX330 as the Camry & Solara.

    The power seat on the passenger side is what I'm hoping for most. My partner is tall and hates it when the seat can't go all the way down.

    We'll see. I've emailed my salesman but no response yet.
  • napickardnapickard Member Posts: 4
    You are right Toyota is blind on XM.

    I have a new SLE convertible and though the sticker say XM capable (just add antenna and subscription), the truth is you need a $600+
    package that includes a tuner and antenna. With those then you can receive through the factory installed JBL radio that has a satellite button.

    Instead of the 600 rip off, I bought a Roady2 which I can move from vehicle to vehicle.
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    yeah, I thought the same thing, while I have no interest in satellite radio at the moment, I thought it was pretty cool that the radio was what I thought "XM ready" meaning pay the ten bucks and you get the service.....
  • norainnorain Member Posts: 8
    How exactly did you do that search? I can't find any mention of 2005s. The dealer I talked to (in the Northeast) said he wasn't aware of ANY changes for the 2005, except for the standard Camry, which gets new wheel covers and taillights.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    In the Southeast you can do a search by vehicle and then it will list all of them that are coming in (in the region) for the next 30 days. Detail of them shows "Standard Features List".
  • sazaman1sazaman1 Member Posts: 22
    I bought a Solara SE with the SZ package (8/26). To me, the upgraded sound system is quite below par. I would have prefered the standard sound system and upgraded with an aftermarket product at my leisure. I could not get the color combinations I wanted without the SZ package (Arctic frost Pearl/Ivory/tan and SE) and was forced to take the SZ package. If you are concerned about the system, try the sound system in a coupe and decide yourself.
  • rgihlergihle Member Posts: 7
    I went to the dealership the other day and this is what I found out:
    The part to fix the rattle is not for the convertible, but rather for the sun/moon roof rattle problem. Toyota has merely 'recommended' that service departments try the cable replacement to see if it works. Toyota has not yet put out a TSB regarding the convertible top problem.
    I am choosing to wait until Toyota figures it out or windstorm season starts, before I have anything done. For now, I will be able to better tolerate wind noise than I would a rattle. I would appreciate it if those of you who have already received the cable replacement would let me know how the fix on the rattle problem is progressing.
    On this end, my dealership will continue to contact Toyota to keep appraised of the progress on the fix. I have not yet requested a new top because there is no guarantee that a new top would be any different from the one I have now (they are all made the same way and in the same place, so I suspect it will eventually be labled a design defect, not a part defect. Toyota will probably need to develop a new design fix-even using old parts- before it is truly fixed)
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Well, despite the things I heard about "a few minor changes on the 2005" and the fact that the online "stickers" of the 2005 SLE Convertible has changed from "Power Drivers Seat" to "Power/Heated Driver & Passenger Seats", now it looks like there are no changes at all.

    Today Toyota changed their Tech site and now has 2005 info for the Solara. Under "New Features" it just has a page that says "The 2005 model is essentially a carryover of the 2004 model".

    Oh well, I guess no power passenger seat.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Then again, the new description for the Nav system (from the window sticker) is:

    Includes:Auto-dimming mirror w/electrochomic compass inset & Electro-multi visionnavigation system w/6 disc console changer

    So obviously that has changed. Wonder what other changes there will be.

    This wait is killing me!
  • tyresmokertyresmoker Member Posts: 266
    Could you post the link for the (sticker price)site?
    My guess would be that the sticker price is probably more accurate than the tech site.
    Six disc in the console is a decent compromise. I wonder what the price increase will be??
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    That is kind of difficult but I'll tell you how to get there.

    www.buyatoyota.com. Put in 30345 as the zip and then choose any dealer. On the next screen choose the Solara. Click the link with the large number on the upper right (Under "Find your Camry Solara" to see them all. You can sort by MY or Price to find them.

    The SLE Convertible went up by $200.00 but I don't think any of the option prices changed.
  • toppertopper Member Posts: 13
    We just got our Solara back from the dealer. We had them look into the rattle and they said it was from struts that ran through the trunk. They padded them and now the rattle seems to be gone. So the rattle was not from the top fix, but I guess we hadn't noticed the rattle before due to the wind noise the top was making. So now everything seems good with the top fix, except I'm not sure if the interior lining being pulled away from the sides is different than it was before.
  • solara4solara4 Member Posts: 12
    Are many people using the clutchless manual shift option? I'm just starting. It seems pretty cool once you get used to it. It avoids the hesitation in the low gears and I think it has improved the car's gas mileage, too.
  • rudy331rudy331 Member Posts: 27
    Glad to hear everything seems fine now. The rattle is driving me crazy and I've noticed since they fixed the cables that the passenger side is very tight fitting now, but the driver side has more slack and the persistent rattle like something is loose and "flopping around". They also left black grease marks on the top from the repair. Not too noticeable when dry, but they stick out like a sore thumb when wet. The liner definitely is definitely pulled away more than it was originally. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait a bit before taking it back in. Hubby backed into it when backing into driveway at night and now in bodyshop for new front facia. Trailer hitch acted like a cookie cutter and went right through. Ugghhh!! I don't understand why a TSB hasn't been posted for the convertible problems and curious to see if the '05 is improved.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Bummer. I hate it when that happens, but what can you do.

    I sure hope the '05's are better too.
  • mfullmermfullmer Member Posts: 773
    Has anyone inquired into changing the whip antenna on the Convertible to a power one. Say like the one in the SC430?
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