Toyota Replaces Another Blown GR86 Engine, Warranty Changes ‘Being Looked At’

Toyota hasn’t commented on a possible defect, but it wants to support owners who drive their cars appropriately.

byPeter Holderith|
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___lunk via Instagram


Toyota is replacing the engine in one owner's blown-up GR86 after initially denying the warranty claim in May. The car, owned by a Massachusetts native named Luke who we previously spoke to, was participating in a high-performance driving event at Palmer Motorsports Park when on its warmup lap, the engine gave up in a cloud of smoke. It was later revealed to have a hole in the side of the block, but Toyota representatives said Luke was racing and would not replace the 2.4-liter initially.

Now Toyota has gone back on that decision following The Drive's and others' reports on Luke's predicament. It's taken weeks to get this situation resolved, but in a statement, a Toyota spokesperson told us, "We are honoring the warranty of [track-driven] cars as long as they're driven in the manner they're supposed to be driven. We have to handle any claims on a case-by-case basis, but taking your car to a track or taking it off-road doesn't necessarily limit or exclude warranty coverage."

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This is not the first time Toyota has reversed a warranty denial for one of its new sports cars. Last year, we reported on a GR86 owned by Blake Alvarado which also suffered an engine failure at a high-performance driving event. It's suspected by many owners that excessive RTV, a sealant used to assemble the car's FA24D, falls into the motor's lubrication system and starves the engine of oil, which causes catastrophic failure. Loose RTV has been found in several engines' oil pickups and oil pans.

Luke had heard of these issues before taking his car to the track, but he wasn't concerned as his GR86 had just 19,000 miles on the odometer. It's speculated that because the issue may be due to improper engine assembly, the problem can pop up at any mileage. Alvarado's car likewise had just 13,770 miles on the clock when its engine, built by Subaru, failed. This being said, the Toyota spokesperson did not speculate on any possible engine defects. They claimed they did not have "anything to share" on that front.

Possible changes to the automaker's warranty seem possible. "As we move forward with this brand, with these GR sports cars specifically, we're working it out as we go here, in terms of the policies we have in our warranty," the spokesperson continued. They added that although the arduous process of altering Toyota's policy has not formally begun, "We are in the process of evaluating our warranty language... Warranty language is being looked at."

The spokesperson also noted that it's difficult to provide blanket coverage for track use because Toyota is not able to discern how the cars are used outside of track events. "What about the life of the car outside of that video, too? So that all has to go into our decisions because engines aren't cheap," the spokesperson said.

For his part, Luke is glad his engine will be replaced, though he said in the same breath that it "would be good if going viral online wasn't the most effective way to get a second look at things." He thinks it would probably be best for dealers not to deny a warranty claim as soon as they hear the word "track." All of this being said, he plans to keep his GR86. "As for me, I might be considering another platform for a track car, [but] the GR86 is still a great road car for like 95% of its buyers," Luke explained.

Toyota agrees it's important that people like Luke and Alvarado are supported. "We want to make sure that our customers know they can take their cars into [track or off-road] scenarios with confidence," the spokesperson told us. "Those are the folks that really drive the GR brand forward, and we want to make sure that we're not a brand that's just about marketing our cars for tracks, but actually let people take them on the track."

With two HPD-related engine failures covered so far, it's clear Toyota is taking the situation seriously. These first two instances have necessitated an intense rigamarole to get the fixes done, but the owners still love their cars, and Toyota is seemingly willing to fix them when they break so long as they're being used appropriately.

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