I recently acquired a new 2011 RAV-4 Limited from a North Alabama Toyota dealership who was, and has been, very helpful, and they gave me a quite reasonable deal on the purchase. I deliberately selected the equipment options based on the primary driver being my wife. She has undergone several back and hip surgeries and is not unable to change to a spare tire in the event of a flat tire. Accordingly, the vehicle did not come with any spare tire, but was equipped with Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400, 235-55-R18 Run Flat Tires. Theoretically this set-up would allow the vehicle to be driven at up to about 50 mph for around 100 miles in order to get my wife safely to a repair location, etc.
Here comes the “rub”: At the time I bought the vehicle, nobody mentioned there may be an issue with getting the tires repaired (if they were punctured. Especially, there was no indication that the tires may be impossible to find if you ever needed to replace one! Unfortunately, we just had the inevitable flat on the RAV-4 and have now been told by another local Toyota service department that it should not repaired for safety reasons. This advice was confirmed by the purchase dealership service department and other “Run Flat Certified” tire repair facilities in the area. The idea that I’d have to purchase a new tire every time I get a flat (not to mention it would be considerably more expensive than a similar non-run flat model) was disturbing enough.
But I then found to my utter amazement that a matching brand/size run flat tire is essentially not available for any price until a month or more down the road (and nobody can even promise that). The Bridgestone tires are apparently on back order from the factory and no source I, or the local Toyota dealerships can find, has any in stock! I find it totally unbelievable and unacceptable that any supposedly reputable company like Toyota would be selling vehicles equipped with tires that can’t be repaired (or at least replaced) in short order. Neither the area Toyota dealerships, the local, or on-line tire sales/repair facilities I’ve spoken to has offered any hope other than they’ll be glad to install the tire for me if I can find one sooner than they can get one.
My only recourse seems to be to let my new vehicle sit on a jack for one or two months, or to purchase a non-run flat tire (at considerable expense) that I don’t wan’t as an interim fix until I can find buy another run flat. Then I guess I’ll just start the whole nightmare all over again with the next flat tire! I know this is not just a Toyota issue, but I think a company with their resources should have come up with a solution to this issue other than just wringing their hands and apologizing..even the offer of a loaner vehicle would have helped!
I’ve owned five Toyotas over the years (four bought new) and I’ve recommended Toyotas to others who’ve ended up buying them as recently as a couple of months ago. This situation is just a bridge too far however, and I can say with certainty that the buying and recommending days are never going to happen again!!?
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