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Imagine the excitement of owning a brand-new performance car. Now, picture accidentally missing a shift during a routine drive home from work. Sounds like a simple, no-fuss mistake, no? In this case, it was an unexpectedly catastrophic error. This unfortunate scenario became a reality for one GR Corolla owner, catapulting him into a financial nightmare. What’s worse, it happened before clocking 500 miles on the odometer.

The Toyota GR Corolla is what some enthusiasts consider a star of the modern hot hatch cast. Charlie Holmblad was the proud owner of a low-mile unit. That is, until he got hit with a repair bill higher than the GR’s value. The dealership quoted him $42,180 after he admitted to the costly mistake of a “money shift.” Holmblad was stunned.

A “money shift” caused irreparable engine damage

The term implies accidentally shifting into a lower gear than intended. According to Carscoops, Holmblad was driving home from work and went to shift into fifth gear. Mistakenly, he landed in third. This sent the engine’s rpm soaring to a catastrophic 8,900. After all, the car is spec’d to redline at 6,500 rpm.

The consequences were dire: bent valves, metal shavings contaminating the oil, cylinder wall scoring, and even piston melt due to excessive heat. The repair bill the owner received was jaw-dropping, surpassing the cost of a new GR Corolla.

Toyota sent a field tech to assess the damage. The automaker ultimately declined warranty coverage, leaving Holmblad grappling with a hefty bill and unanswered questions.

The black left front interior view of a 2024 Toyota GR Corolla
2024 Toyota GR Corolla | Toyota

Holmblad’s predicament raises concerns about consistency in Toyota’s warranty coverage. Apparently, similar incidents have reportedly been covered in the past. I suspect the decline in coverage here might be connected to his admitting driver error.

Costly components like the short block assembly, head, intercooler, and turbocharger effectively total the car. A new 2024 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition starts at $36,500. The loss is nauseating on multiple fronts. This single circumstance might serve as a stark warning to anyone looking to get into a brand-new high-performance car without substantial awareness of the financial risks. It really highlights the devastating consequences of a split-second mistake.