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Money-Shifting A Toyota GR Corolla Did $42,000 in Damage: Report

With less than 500 miles on the odometer, the new car owner’s warranty claim was denied.

byBeverly Braga|
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As anyone with stick shift skills knows, once in a while, you can stall and you can miss a gear. I have missed third gear a time or two myself—maybe my brain and left foot shut off when I'm halfway to cruising speed. Who knows? But, generally, a missed shift doesn't kill the car. Sounds like this Toyota GR Corolla, however, revved itself to immolation when its driver grabbed third instead of fifth.

During an apparent commute home, the owner of a 2024 GR Corolla told Carscoops he inadvertently downshifted to third instead of upshifting to fifth. This should be a case of no harm, no foul. Except for the fact that the dealer service record states the vehicle was possibly revving at 8,900 rpm. The GR Corolla has a redline of 6,500 rpm. Holy guacamole, Batman. 

Whether he was just cruising or pushing the car, forcing the car into the wrong gear was a costly error. It seems a piston melted. Given the compact nature of this car’s engine, turbocharger, and transfer case, a lot of damage could be done quickly if the car was forced to rev beyond its intended limits. The dealer provided a repair quote of $42,180. Um, a new GR Corolla Premium, like the owner's, starts at $41,515 (including $1,095 destination). And the news only gets worse. The vehicle has less than 500 miles on the odometer, but Toyota declined to cover the damage under warranty. 

Respect the scepter. Toyota

In save-the-manuals circles, this is called a money shift and generally refers to a botched upshift. The act of skipping or missing a gear isn't the issue. Doing so at redline (or, in this case, beyond) is what can lead to catastrophic results. This is not hyperbole. The reason it's called a money shift is, as you've noticed, due to the high expense of repairs. Redlines are at specific rpm for a reason. Go past that limit, and things will break. 

One obliterated GR Corolla engine is assumed to be the consequence of a money shift but it couldn't be confirmed. Toyota offered to cover the more than $32,000 repair bill. This is a point of contention for this latest victim of a money shift. His incident seems to be unintentional and his vehicle is basically still in the break-in period. 

The owner is in continued talks with different representatives, but no resolution has been reached so far. 

Automakers can deny warranty claims as they see fit. Looks like Toyota is shrugging this one off as driver error, but we’ll keep our eyes on it to see if the automaker changes its mind. A GR Corolla is supposed to be driven hard after all, right?Some have voided vehicle warranties altogether and for seemingly innocuous reasons, like getting mud on a Jeep Gladiator or refinancing a Cadillac Escalade-V. Yeah, perhaps I should focus on not lazily shifting into third gear anymore.

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