Toyota drivers are receiving notices from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for breaking emissions laws, which the EPA claims are due to Toyota vehicles’ beleaguered factory-fitted diesel particulate filters.
The claims come a month after it was revealed that Toyota has been hit with a class action that alleges that certain Hilux, Prado and Fortuner models fail to meet acceptable quality levels under Australian consumer law.
The number of vehicles involved could exceed 250,000.
The ABC has reported that some Toyota drivers have come forward after they received warnings after their relatively new vehicles were reported for blowing excessive smoke.
Sydney woman Kyle Kinchela told the ABC she was shocked on receiving a notice from the NSW EPA in June last year, alleging that her 2015 Hilux had excessive smoke issues and that she would be fined $2000 if it wasn’t fixed.
Ms Kinchela said the EPA was aware of the issue with diesel particulate filters (DPF) in Toyota vehicles, but said she would still be fined if she didn’t have her car repaired during a specific time frame.
"I called Toyota and tried to get in for a service and I couldn't get an appointment that suited within the EPA's time frame, so I had to get the next best thing and call the EPA for an extension,” she told the ABC.
In NSW, and in other states, the vehicle owner is held responsible for emitting excessive air impurities (smoke), and are responsible for the maintenance of their vehicle. Failure to comply with an EPA warning about vehicle smoke can result in a fine ranging from $300 to $2000. A breach is deemed to have been committed if a vehicle emits visible smoke for more than ten seconds at a time.
While Toyota is contesting the class action that alleges its most popular diesel engine the 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel is fitted with a potentially poor quality DPF, it has taken action to fix the issue.
Toyota made a running change to 1GD-FTV-equipped vehicles from half-way through 2018, which added a manual override button to the HiLux, Prado (below) and Fortuner (above) to force the DPF to regenerate on demand.
Toyota also issued a service notification in January this year – in lieu of a recall – calling for 1GD-FTD owners to visit a dealership for repairs. This process included updated engine software and inspection of the DPF.
DPFs: You're doing them wrong!
WhichCar also understands that the in-cabin switch is being retrofitted on-demand to older vehicles that use the 2.8-litre engine that are deemed to have DPF issues.
Is your Toyota affected?
Toyota Australia stated it is unable to comment on the latest matters as the issue is before the courts, but added that it is comitted to "helping our customers with any questions or concerns they have about their vehicle".
Toyota owners with questions or concerns about their DPF can contact their closest or preferred Toyota Dealer or the Guest Experience Centre on 1800 869 682 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm AEST).
Alternatively, customers can find out more via a comprehensive DPF FAQ on the Toyota website.