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Shortly before the 3/36 factory warranty expired, we discovered a fairly significant water leak coming in from the roof. It would pour down the rear pillar. After some research, I found several posts on forums about a design issue that would allow water to enter if the nose of the vehicle was facing up on an incline while raining. Having always parked in a garage until recently, this explains why we only now found the issue.

We took the car to the local dealer (middle-TN) who found a missing gasket on one of the DS rack bolts. They replaced it, but nothing else. When I picked up the car, I specifically asked why they hadn't replaced the headliner since it was visibly soaked. I was concerned about mold and staining. They said it shouldn't be an issue, but if it is, they would fix it.

For the next few weeks, a smell began to develop in the car. Since it is my wife's daily driver, and I rarely use it, I didn't realize how bad it had gotten. It smelled a bit like a 3 week old sippy cup filled with spoiled milk. We had the car detailed, and pulled out all the floor mats. Nothing obvious that smelled like mold, so we didn't suspect the original leak. Everything appeared dry.

Yet, on cooler evenings, all the windows would fog up - something it hadn't done before. So we installed a de-humidifier for several nights, and a bucket of damp rid. No difference. After a month or two of that, we finally threw in the towel, and took it back to the dealer. With no visible stains or other signs of mold, we told them to do whatever it takes to find the source of the smell and get rid of it, or we'll torch the car.

The problem was that the smell was so intense (headache-inducing) that once you took your first breath, you went nose-blind and could not isolate where the smell originated.

The dealer called a couple days later and confirmed that the headliner and padding was riddled with mold. A week later, they had it replaced. The repair was covered by the dealer, despite it no longer being under warranty. Grateful, we took the car back. The smell was noticeably better, but still present.

A week later, the smell was just as bad. We contacted the dealer, at which point they informed us that the factory had not yet reimbursed them for the headliner repair, and they were a bit reluctant to commit to repairing whatever remaining mold may be present without their express permission to do so.

I told them it needs to get fixed either way, and dropped it off with them again.

Yesterday I received a call from the advisor. She said some Toyota big-wigs were there last week (for other things) and looked at the car. They provided instructions on what to do (disassembly, documenting mold, etc), and insinuated that this would get covered by the factory. Since then, they've found mold EVERYWHERE. They've removed everything... all seats, all carpeting, even the dashboard. They've hired a 3rd-party mold remediation company to clean the items (not replace them). This, of course concerns me on several levels.

Will all the parts go back together properly (without missing bolts/screws)?
Will they get all the mold?
What kind of mold is it (i.e. health implications)?
At what point is this considered a catastrophic event where I need to get my insurance company involved (possibly totaling it like a flooded vehicle)?
Should I consider trading it it?

I would trade it in, but it's paid for, and wife really likes it (aside from the smell). I'd prefer not to realize the depreciation hit already.

Sorry for the long detailed post. Hoping others might have some ideas on what my next step should be, or how forceful I should get...
 

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Shortly before the 3/36 factory warranty expired, we discovered a fairly significant water leak coming in from the roof. It would pour down the rear pillar. After some research, I found several posts on forums about a design issue that would allow water to enter if the nose of the vehicle was facing up on an incline while raining. Having always parked in a garage until recently, this explains why we only now found the issue.

We took the car to the local dealer (middle-TN) who found a missing gasket on one of the DS rack bolts. They replaced it, but nothing else. When I picked up the car, I specifically asked why they hadn't replaced the headliner since it was visibly soaked. I was concerned about mold and staining. They said it shouldn't be an issue, but if it is, they would fix it.

For the next few weeks, a smell began to develop in the car. Since it is my wife's daily driver, and I rarely use it, I didn't realize how bad it had gotten. It smelled a bit like a 3 week old sippy cup filled with spoiled milk. We had the car detailed, and pulled out all the floor mats. Nothing obvious that smelled like mold, so we didn't suspect the original leak. Everything appeared dry.

Yet, on cooler evenings, all the windows would fog up - something it hadn't done before. So we installed a de-humidifier for several nights, and a bucket of damp rid. No difference. After a month or two of that, we finally threw in the towel, and took it back to the dealer. With no visible stains or other signs of mold, we told them to do whatever it takes to find the source of the smell and get rid of it, or we'll torch the car.

The problem was that the smell was so intense (headache-inducing) that once you took your first breath, you went nose-blind and could not isolate where the smell originated.

The dealer called a couple days later and confirmed that the headliner and padding was riddled with mold. A week later, they had it replaced. The repair was covered by the dealer, despite it no longer being under warranty. Grateful, we took the car back. The smell was noticeably better, but still present.

A week later, the smell was just as bad. We contacted the dealer, at which point they informed us that the factory had not yet reimbursed them for the headliner repair, and they were a bit reluctant to commit to repairing whatever remaining mold may be present without their express permission to do so.

I told them it needs to get fixed either way, and dropped it off with them again.

Yesterday I received a call from the advisor. She said some Toyota big-wigs were there last week (for other things) and looked at the car. They provided instructions on what to do (disassembly, documenting mold, etc), and insinuated that this would get covered by the factory. Since then, they've found mold EVERYWHERE. They've removed everything... all seats, all carpeting, even the dashboard. They've hired a 3rd-party mold remediation company to clean the items (not replace them). This, of course concerns me on several levels.

Will all the parts go back together properly (without missing bolts/screws)?
Will they get all the mold?
What kind of mold is it (i.e. health implications)?
At what point is this considered a catastrophic event where I need to get my insurance company involved (possibly totaling it like a flooded vehicle)?
Should I consider trading it it?

I would trade it in, but it's paid for, and wife really likes it (aside from the smell). I'd prefer not to realize the depreciation hit already.

Sorry for the long detailed post. Hoping others might have some ideas on what my next step should be, or how forceful I should get...
 
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