I find it hard to believe that so many so-called experts and people with partial information are making such broad and brash statements about the Toyota sludge situation.
I have seen oil gelling in all makes of vehicles since 1976. It all comes down to lack of maintenance, low oil or a combination of both.
Longer maintenance intervals and the growth of leasing have contributed to this condition.
Look at the number of vehicles leased from 1997 through 2001. Lessees have a tendency not to maintain vehicles as well as owners.
I have been in the automotive service business 19 years, 12 of them with Toyota. I have seen many 15,000-mile vehicles in which the oil has never been changed. The few engine gel cases I have seen came in with low oil, and the owners did not have maintenance records or receipts.
The 3.3 million engines that are under scrutiny have 0.3 percent reported cases of engine gel. If, indeed, it was a design flaw, why not all 3.3 million? The change Toyota has made is not a design-flaw correction but a way to help the engine cope with a lack of maintenance.