On Your Side: Toyota owner hits speed bump when odometer stops

A car so dependable... it drives farther than the odometer is designed to count.

Well, one local Toyota owner found out no miles counter means no insurance discount. And when the company wanted more for a replacement part than the whole car was worth, she got FOX 4’s Steve Noviello on her side.

Lisa Allen will be the first to tell you she loves her 2005 Toyota Corolla.

“It's working good.  I still have the original motor. I have all of the original parts. It's driving well, really driving well,” she said.

But how far it's driving is anyone's guess because the odometer in her '05 Corolla that she bought brand new has stopped at 299,999.

“I remember driving it off the lot. It was my very first car that I purchased with my money,” Allen said.

The odometer is not broken. It’s designed that way.

“I've called corporate twice. I've called several dealerships locally, but nothing,” Allen said.

Here’s the problem. Allen gets a Drive Safe and Save discount from State Farm, which requires her mileage to be reported. It’s something she can’t do with an odometer that’s reached its limit.

“If the odometer stops, I lose my discount,” she said.

Desperate to find a solution or get the part replaced, she called Toyota’s Plano-based headquarters again.

“The gentleman said he'd call me back in 48 hours. That was two weeks ago,” she said.

That's when FOX 4’s Steve Noviello reached out to Toyota's corporate media contact and suddenly Allen got a call from corporate.

“They said some news media has been asking about why nobody has looked at my car.  So today, five minutes before you showed up they now want me to take my car in to look at it,” she said.

Steve also confirmed with corporate, the odometer isn't broken. It just reached its limit.

"We are aware that the odometer in certain Toyota models only goes to 299,999 miles.  We consider this to be a maintenance issue, so customers who reach this milestone and need to have their odometer replaced should contact their Toyota dealer directly.  We are working with Ms. Allen directly to schedule an inspection,” the company’s media contact said.

Steve asked which models and was told, “There could be other models impacted. I don’t have a list.”

“Wait. What? I want to make sure that I’m understanding you correctly. You as the media contact for Toyota is unable to find out which Toyota models you are referring to in your own statement?” Steve asked.

"Toyota has nothing more to add,” the spokesperson said.

So Steve reached out to State Farm. Immediately they found a workaround allowing Allen to submit her mileage and keep her discount.

Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly.

Allen took Toyota up on their offer to inspect her car's odometer. The dealership wanted $135 to determine if the odometer stuck on 299,999 that Toyota confirms stops working at 299,999 was functioning.

Then it offered to sell her a new odometer. The grand total with parts and labor was $905.

“I don't feel like I should have to pay for anything,” Allen said.

“You can’t help but think, is Toyota missing the mark here?” Steve said. “Come on Toyota. You make a car that’s so dependable and runs so well that it lasts longer than the odometer is designed to count. Lisa and her ’05 oh so dependable Corolla should be in your next set of commercials!”

While that's clearly not happening, her odometer was fixed for free. After weeks and weeks of trying, Steve Noviello got Allen the fix she needed.

“I called you. You made some phone calls. And all of a sudden, it was done... for free!” she said.

It looks like Allen’s long road ahead – every mile – will now be marked.

A spokesperson for Toyota maintains despite the work they did for Allen, this is a maintenance issue for customers.

By the way, if you're curious what the other affected models are, Toyota still won't confirm that. Why that is such a speed bump for Toyota to share, remains a mystery.