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New Yaris Problem - A Lemon?

bambesibambesi Posts: 9
edited May 2014 in Toyota
Hello: I have a brand new Yaris, liftback, automatic. The first day I had it, I noticed this problem (I did not notice is during the test drive) and I need to know if this is normal or do I have a car with a problem. When I take my foot off the gas, the engine sometimes slows down jarringly, like the car just hit a patch of wet sand. And sometimes it even feels like it surges back to normal again. This doesn't happen all the time when I take my foot off the accelerator but I notice it the most when I am in stop and go traffic and accelerate a little then take my foot off the accelerator. Sometimes I even feel it when I still have my foot on the accelerator but not giving it much gas. Like the engine surges down quickly and sometimes even back up again. I hope I am explaining this right. I haven't had a new car in 10 years so maybe this is normal? I want to use the term engine braking but I really am not sure if that is what it is doing. Can anyone tell me if they have this similar feeling? I am going to try to go out this weekend to drive other Yaris's to see if this is just how they drive. Anyone? Thanks so much! This is really bothering me.


  • I think it's a little premature to be labeling your Yaris as a "lemon" at least for what you describe :D . I have noticed this before myself and chalked it up to the self-adjusting transmission perhaps? I was previously driving a 5 speed Festiva; the change to an automatic was different. I've also noticed the acceleration when I want to speed followed by zoom! :)
  • Even though I got this "added paint protection" I've noticed multiple "paint chips" and today a "scratch" that are showing white through them. The paint chips on the front showed with less than 1000 miles! And definitely no flying rocks or sandstorms here. :mad: This is a red Yaris and I had already expected that if I keep it long enough it'd oxidize...but WTH is up with the thinness of the paint finish? Reading through other forums elsewhere it seems to be a common complaint. Sheesh...couldn't "premium paint" be an option at least? Class action may be coming...I'll keep my eyes open.
  • henddhendd Posts: 3
    I am experiencing the same thing w/ my 2007 Yaris Sedan automatic. I've had it for 3 months and it just started to do exactly what you are describing mostly during rush hour traffic, during stop and go, but when I tap on the brakes. I took it in to be serviced and asked the technician about it. He had no idea what it could be or what was happening and didn't have time to drive it (it was the end of the business day), so I have to take it back in. He mentioned it sounds like it's down shifting on me. It bothers me as well so I plan on having it checked out, but now I'm having problems w/ the brakes, so I'm taking in for that first. If you take it in let me know what you find out and/or I'll do the same. I have yet to turn in the Toyota Survey so I'm definitely reporting it.
  • Hi: Thanks for posting. I am glad I am not the only one having this issue but sad that any of us are having it at all. I am really worried that the dealer won't be able to recreate the problem during a test drive as it seems like it does it sometimes really badly and then other times, it is hardly noticeable. But I have to give it a try cause some days it drives me nuts. Just feels like it is so jerky and like something is "grabbing" in the engine. Thanks again. I'll let you know when I take it in if they can figure it out.
  • I was wondering if other people have been having strange issues with the automatic transmission. Whenever I brake while I am going down hill the transmission downshifts on me and gets stuck at 3000 rpm. Also, for some reason only on this one particular slight incline right out side of my residence the transmission decides not to shift out of second gear, so I am stuck going no more than 30 miles an hour with the engine revving up to 4000 rpm depending on how hard i press the pedal. I took it to the dealership to get it checked out and they couldnt recreate the problem, so I guess I have to live with it. This only happens on the sections near my house, so its not so bad.
  • Yup, this sounds like my problem. And that is exactly what I fear - that they won't be able to duplicate the problem. Test drives are so short and if the problem doesn't happen to occur in those few minutes than you're out of luck. I too figured I guess if I have to live with than I have no choice. I just wonder what is going on with this and why it is behaving this way. If it is an issue that can be fixed, I would like it to be. Argh. Thanks for posting!
  • henddhendd Posts: 3
    Well, I took it back in and we drove my car and a brand new one on the lot to compare. Of course it did not duplicate the problem w/ the tranny. I discussed w/ the Technician this issue, he thought maybe it had to do w/ the cold weather? And he said the way this car is designed we have to take good care of the tranny, be easy on it. Because it also bothers me that w/in the first mile it warms up, it will rev a lot. So I think it will be 'quirks' of the car we will have to get used to or deal w/. Unless over time it causes damage and the car actually breaks down and they can define what it is. That's what I found out at least!
  • I know that is what is going to happen when and if I take mine in for this. I wonder how many other people have this issue? This is amazing that this is the same issue. The high engine reving when I first leave my house in the morning when the transmission won't shift is ridiculous. And the transmission not working right off and on through out all my driving is driving me batty. I think I will take it in though next week. I'll post here any news or anything I find out. Thanks so much. I am going to print your messages out and take to my dealer.
  • I don't mean to ask a dumb question, but are you sure that you have your transmition engaged in the D position?
    On the console you have a 3-D. If you have your shift leaver to the left side you are limited to 1st 2nd and 3rd gear, and the car seems kind of jerky. If the leaver is in right side you are in the normal drive position and the car drives and shifts normally. I hope this helps.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Toyota has been programming their transmissions to do this for many years now.

    1. In the morning first thing, the transmission stays in lower gears to make the engine rev more and warm it up faster. It's an emissions thing. Trust me, if you rev it hard enough (like if you need to go freeway speed) it will eventually upshift.

    2. It has "grade logic" for downhill - my Matrix auto had this. Depending on sensors under the hood that judge the grade and the amount you step on the brakes, it will downshift and hold the lower gear to provide some engine braking until the grade changes, or you step on the gas for longer than a second or two. This is far from unique to Toyota, for instance Honda has been doing this for about a decade now, and they go even further than Toyota does. I remember once being in my friend's '98 Civic (new at the time) and we got off the freeway on a downhill ramp and she got cut off briefly. Well she hit the brakes hard just for an instant and then let up, but that was enough to get the thing to downshift two gears, and we came down the rest of the ramp at like 4500 rpm. She was a little startled, needless to say.

    Now is the behavior of your car(s) described by (1) or (2) above? Or did I totally misunderstand (which is quite possible! ;-))

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • HI: I had to laugh - because, no it isn't a dumb question at all - I actually did drive it in that 3 position for a while after I first got it because I wasn't used to that whole gear set-up. Then I realized that it goes all the way to the right to be in D. So your question is right on the money for me... I have to go back and read the post after yours... something about this is normal for Toyotas? Thanks for posting!
  • Hi: Thanks for the post. You are sort of describing my issue and it does ease my mind a bit - at least about the high reving in the mornings. But the engine braking feel thing happens when I am not going downhill. I can be on a very flat stretch or even uphill and if I try to let the car drift after taking my foot off the accelerator, that is when I get this feeling like the engine just went through sludge and slowed down too quickly. And sometimes it feels like it surges back up again, all before I have even touched the accelerator again. Do you think this is normal? And do you think if I was to take it in, I would describe this as an engine issue or tranny issue? (Or just live with it!) I have 1200 miles now on it. Thanks so much!! These messages are a huge help to me. I honestly deeply appreciate them all!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    It is kind of hard for me to get a sense of what your car is doing from your description. Another emissions thing (which affects the manual trans folks more than the auto trans folks) is that the revs drop very slowly after you let off the accelerator, and if the computer finds that NOx emissions have gone too high, it could rev the engine back up a little to reduce them, I suppose. That MIGHT be what you are experiencing?

    Either way, I would say it is an engine behavior, not a transmission problem. If it is bothering you and you can figure out how to make it happen at will, I would go in to the dealer, get a ride-along with a mechanic, and demonstrate it. They should be able to tell you whether it is normal or not.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Hi: Thanks! Maybe this IS the issue. Either way, I appreciate your ideas because this gives me something to suggest to the technician when I take it in. I REALLY appreciate it!
  • henddhendd Posts: 3
    The 'behavior' of my car does match 1 and 2. I'm very thankful for this info. I'm a newby to all of this. Wish I would have known it from the beginning so I didn't worry about having a defect. :) So it sounds like bambesi your car troubles may be a little different...? I hope you figure it out. And the dealer I bought mine from warned me about the 3 D gear shift (which side). I take it you didn't!
  • Glad to see someone else feels the downshift happen when going down a hill. I think its normal for the computer controled tranny to do this, if it continues to bother me I'll end up having the dealer take a look at it at the first oil change. As far as the failure to shift when cold, I've been told that until the tranny warms up to a certain temp. it will not shift into overdrive thus the reving up when cold. Again I was told by the dealer its an emissions thing.
  • lucynethellucynethel Posts: 81
    You are feeling "FUZZY LOGIC". It also saves your brakes and is a GOOD thing....
  • liam3liam3 Posts: 3
    Hello, I bought a toyota Yarris YRX automatic in March of this year and I think that from what you describe I have a similar problem. The car drives like a little beauty when the engine is under load but when going down hill or even on a zero gradient it is almost as if a crude type of cruise control comes into play and the engine revs will drop by about 200rpm, the car will hesitate as the engine is put into the braking mode and then the revs will jump back up again and the "braking effect" disappears. It will then hold back again and the whole cylce continues. It is just as if I am playing with the accelerator when in fact my right foot is perfectly still. I have had the car back to the Toyota dealer 3 times and they can't find anything wrong with it and advise me that this is the first complaint of this type that Toyota have had with the Yarris. The problem is just about driving me crazy. Has anyone else out there had this problem and what was the fix?
  • OK. You guys have hit the nail directly on the head. I bought a 2008 Yaris Liftback Automatic in Dec., 2007 and have the EXACT SAME issues. Do I have a solution? Of course not. What I do have is the Official Toyota Line (by proxy of their dealer, Kenny Kent Toyota in Evansville, IN) There is nothing wrong with your car. The Yaris is going to buck, surge and hunt gears because....are you ready?.....We, as citizens, don't pay enough attention to what our Congress is doing and allow them to pass restrictive emissions standards that Toyota (by their inability to create a car that runs on US emissions standards or can be modified to run better) is incapable of meeting without building a car that runs like my Yaris. This is from the shop foreman at the above mentioned dealership. So.....your car is NORMAL. It's our nasty government. Never mind the bucking and surging. You can either suck it up or your friendly Toyota dealer will offer you a $1600.00 loss on your investment to trade to something different. Sounds a lot like Circuit City offering a TV for $299.99 only to get you to spend more once you realize what a steaming pile it is. We all know how well Circuit City is doing, right? Anyway, having come from a 2001 ECHO (which ran perfectly so I gave it to my college bound son for Christmas) I can honestly say that the Yaris is MAJOR step back in drivability. Hell, the '75 Vega I used to tow a race motorcycle around with was smoother. We'll see what arbitration accomplishes.
  • Yep - my new Yaris does the same thing, and yes, it is designed to do this when cold. It is indeed annoying, but "normal" for this car. :shades:
  • funkrlfunkrl Posts: 1
    I have figured out why the Yaris automatic will not shift into 4th gear. It is an undocumented feature. Microsoft must have designed it :confuse:

    When you start your car, notice the green thermometer on the dash with the word, "COOL", under it. Your car will not shift into 4th gear until this light goes out. If you warm up the car and wait for the light to go out, it will shift fine. If you don't, you won't get out of 3rd gear. I guess it has something to do with EPA or gas mileage :surprise: I guess Toyoa thinks we are not smart enough to decide for ourselves when we are and are not worried about this. :mad:

    It would have been nice if Toyota mentioned this little feature in the operator's manual, but sadly they did not. Perhaps if enough of us call them up and reference the lemmon law, they will get tired of all the complaints and put it in the manual.

    They should have provided a way to turn it off, too.
  • ttaittai Posts: 114
    Are you upset about this? I personally would rather it do that than having the car rev to 2000 rpm in park while it's cold. I always hate that huge thunk when you put it in gear in the morning.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Every Yaris will act like this and that is the good news.

    This is NOT A PROBLEM!

    It's a normal characteristic of the sophisticated electronically controlled transmission. Let me clarify. The specific designation for this transmission, and that of every automatic in the Toyota lineup of cars and trucks is: ECT. That stands for Electronically Controlled Transmission. Many people, even the Toyota technicians at the dealership do not understand this very well made, complex transmission.

    1) It is designed to remain in the lower gears when you first start out in the morning or whenever the car is stone cold.

    2) This has three benefits.
    A) It warms up the engine quicker
    B) It warms up the transmission oil
    C) It reduces emissions.

    4) At 4,000 rpm this engine is just loafing, it's not working hard at all. Remember the red line is 6,000rpm. These engines have been in production and used in a variety of Toyota models for over 15 years both in the US and in the UK and other countries.

    5) Should you feel some jerkiness while shifting that is also good news. It means that the clutches are engaging without slipping and wearing out. This is not your fathers old slushbox Buick transmission.

    6) As someone who has personally owned 2 Toyota dealerships, and a person who was a professional racer, I can tell you that there is NO SUCH THING as A LEMON from TOYOTA.....period.

    All cars from 10k, to a million dollars, have different driving characteristics. It's normal. There is not a perfect car out there! One must remember that it's the most complex item you will ever own. The car makers cannot build any car that suits everyone perfectly so do not assume there is a problem.

    Finally and perhaps the BIGGEST PROBLEM... is the supposed "Expert" at the dealership that you are speaking with. Instead of being honest, they will make up stories, or tell you whatever they feel like. Being a Toyota Technician is the easiest mechanic job in the world. Honda's too. Why, these guys are mostly parts changers. The cars are so good that there is simply not much these guys need to know. Just ask any real mechanic that works on a Nascar Team, An Indy Car Team, An American LeMans team, A Sprint Car team... Now those guys are mechanics.

    Back to everyones Yaris. Stop and think, Toyota is the richest, largest, most successful company, that just happens to sell cars. Their engineers, designers and quality control people are not dummies. They are the finest in the business. There is no way that Toyota is going to build a car with a lot of problems. It just does not happen.

    As far as downshifting under conditions in traffic or when you are going downhill, that is normal as well. It's to reduce wear on the brakes and other components. This used to a feature that you would only get on a car costing $40,000 or more. Just like the letters on top of the engine: VVT-i. That is a very complex, expensive system know as Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence. It's computer controlled, measures vehicle speed, throttle position and a host of other variables then adjust the camshafts to provide maxium fuel economy while also producing maximum horsepower. Toyota is the only car company in the world with that, as they own the patent. When you buy a Toyota you are getting far more than your moneys' worth.

    Stop looking for things that you label problems.

    Relax...breathe....enjoy your car!

    It's one of the finest in the world.

  • ttaittai Posts: 114
    When I drive the Yaris, it was pretty apparent everything they did was geared towards squeezing out the most mileage out of a gallon of gas. The weight of the car is very light. The engine management under acceleration is obviously biased towards fuel efficiency. Toyota was smart enough to give us the gated shifter to override the computers and it works quite well. You get the sense they just didn't slap a small engine on a small car like other makes. How can you justify buying a small car when you're averaging 26mpg? I average 37mpg. No lemon here.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    I'm up to 5,000 miles on my new 08 Yaris S Hatch, auto. I too enjoy the gated shifter for the control it offers. This car continues to surprise me with the level of quality, and integrity of the body panels in terms of great fit, noise free, rattle free, even gaps and build quality befitting a much more expensive car. It's amazing they can do so much and still keep the cost to the consumer down. This car has most of the most importanct tech features of my 2008 Avalon limited. It has VVT-i, and ECT trans, that's smart and shifts down on it's own when in hilly country, as well as some of the smaller amenities.

    When shopping for a car in this class I drove the Fit, the Versa, the Yaris, all in the same day, on the same stretch of freeway and over the same test route of city streets to give each a fair test, and to give myself a fair wayt to compare these cars. It was truly a very interesing experience, as most of you know, there is a heck of a difference between reading someone else's road test report and then actually driving the cars for yourself.

    I honestly did not find a bad car in the bunch. I did'nt even consider any of them marginal. They were all good, just different. My decision making process came down to nothing more than my personal preferences. Having owned several new cars for Nissan, Honda & Toyota I believe I went at this with as neutral of a stance as possible. The only thing that would have made it more fair from my viewpoint was if both Honda and Nissan offered theirs in 2 door models, as I cannot stand four door cars, for anything other than familes. It's just my personal love of coupes or 2 door cars that makes a difference for me.

    Anway I'm very happy with my choice and truly imrpessed as I had purposely lowered my expectations before driving them because I simply did not expect this level of quality and balance at such a low price point.
  • The "bucking" you feel is DFCO (Deceleration Fuel Cut-Off) and is designed to save fuel, not decrease emissions. This is prerfectly normal, and happens on manual cars as well. Don't sweat it.
  • "As someone who has personally owned 2 Toyota dealerships, and a person who was a professional racer, I can tell you that there is NO SUCH THING as A LEMON from TOYOTA.....period."

    Well I would have to say that thousands of disapointed Toyota owners would disagree with you and your quote. Please refer to the Camry forum under "problems" and you will find quite a bumper crop of Toyota "Lemons".
  • rich103rich103 Posts: 1
    I am interested in the yaris, and not sure if there are 2 issus going on in this discussion. If the common denominator is cold starts for transmission quirks, it is normal. My 2001 camry is flawless, but when really cold will not go over 45 miles an hour for 3 miles. I live near an highway on ramp and the first time this happened made me nervous. The engine revs but the transmission will not upshift until it warms up. I am sure this feature is protecting the transmission, which is worth the hassel.

    Once the yaris is warmed up, how does everyone like it?
  • ttaittai Posts: 114
    Good grief there is not a problem. Some people here seem to like to complain about nothing. The Yaris stays in 3rd gear for only a few hundred yards to warm up in the freezing cold. If you go down hill, the Yaris uses the transmission as a brake to keep you from riding the brakes. People who aren't used to that probably get on the gas then back off and on again. Then they come on here and complain about the car fluttering. Gee louise. Trade the car in for a huyndai or Honda then. At $4/gal gas, let's see how 26 mpg in a huyndai will do ya.
This discussion has been closed.