Olathe family’s minivan catches fire while driving; not covered by warranty

Olathe family’s minivan catches fire while driving; not covered by warranty

OLATHE, KS (KCTV)

An Olathe family says they are disappointed in Toyota’s final response to a fire which totaled their 2017 Sienna minivan.

“I have a warranty! It’s supposed to be under warranty,” Janna Klinkhardt said.

Toyota says the fire is not covered under that bumper to bumper warranty because they can’t find any defect. In a letter sent to the family, Toyota says the extent of damage is so severe the inspector could not determine where the fire started or what caused it.

Klinkhardt says she was driving home from her mother’s house along Interstate 35 when she suddenly lost power. She cut across lanes of traffic and smoke began pouring out from under her hood. She grabbed her toddler and ran from the van before it burst into flames.

“It was taller than the van. Flames were coming up from the top, sides and bottom,” Klinkhardt said.

At first, the family was simply grateful no one was hurt. Now, they are sharing their frustration about a lack of coverage they feel is unfair.

“They asked very loaded questions. They asked what kind of performance enhancements I had on my minivan … and then they asked if I ran over a bag,” Klinkhardt said.

Klinkhardt says she was also asked if she possibly had corn husks on her engine. She said it was clear from the beginning Toyota was blaming a minivan mom for doing something to cause a fire. Klinkhardt says she was safely driving along with her toddler in a vehicle that only had around 14,000 miles.

“I’m disappointed that almost killed my wife and kids. So, I don’t know what to say without sounding really, really bad,” husband Jeff Klinkhardt said.

The family will now have to file a claim with their insurance company for coverage and that means their rates will likely increase.

The family says they are disappointed in Toyota’s response. They bought a new vehicle because they have two small children and wanted bumper-to-bumper protection.

The family is reviewing legal options and finding a new minivan. The Klinkhardt’s warn bumper to bumper warranties sound great on paper but the reality is very different.

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