I posted this in early 2009. The problem of Toyota Sienna sticking door latches seemed to bring forward a lot of on-line complaints. Owners ALL felt it was a safety threat to the vehicle owner's family, particularly children.
LOTS of Sienna sliding door handles broke due to the excessive force needed to open the sliding doors. Most of these sliding doors could not be opened from either the inside or outside.
Toyota blamed vehicle owners for spilling sticky drinks and oiling the door track was advised by Toyota. The sticky drinks weren't the cause and oiling didn't correct the problem however.
Did NHTSA investigate? There was a silent Technical Servoce Bulletin used for the most vocal vehicle owners. Were there any deaths or injuries as a result of this problem?
It is interesting to not the recent increase in the number of
postings about the TOYOTA STICKING DOOR LATCHES and/or LOCKS
problem. Apparently, Toyota has yet to issue a diagnostic/repair
bulletin about this problem even though it has been around for
years! Isn't this willful neglect and cover-up of a SAFETY ISSUE?!?
I am the original poster about this problem as it occurred in my
Sienna as well. The sliding doors could not be opened by an adult,
much less a child, from the inside of the van. The dealership
insisted it was due to "spilled sticky drinks!" It seems that this
has been the corporate's expected dealership response as I've heard
too-numerous-to-count Toyota vehicle owners recount the same story
about their sticking door issue for the last several years.
I contested this lame excuse. Toyota replaced the locks and the
problem has only recurred intermittently since that time. Having
stuck sliding doors is a scary experience! Paint this picture in
your head for a moment---a Toyota Sienna has sticking door latches.
Then, the sludge monster creeps in. The van overheats due to the
thickened oil and possible oil plugs. The van experiences an ENGINE
FIRE DUE TO ENGINE OIL SLUDGE (it IS happening!). Your passengers,
including small children, can NOT get out of the burning van!
If you think it can't happen, think again. There have been numerous
accounts of spontaneous engine fires, particularly in the Sienna and
Camry. Toyota never admitted that the engine oil sludge (see my
petition) is a problem and blamed the owners just as in the sticking
door lock situation. The owners believe that the engine oil sludge
and sticking door latches are MANUFACUTURING DESIGN DEFECTS and that
Toyota is unfairly shifting the blame to escape financial
In the meantime, there are also reports about faulty ABS (antilock
braking system) systems in these same vehicles. Notice that Toyota
continues to claim that there aren't many recalls in its vehicles.
Is this because there aren't any problems reported OR is because
Toyota has chosen to BLAME THE OWNER for the inherent performance
and/or safety problems?
You be the judge! Consider, however, the fact that through the last
decade, key postings about safety issues in these vehicles have been
eliminated from the internet. I know because I have been part of
many forums where these problems have been discussed at length. My
question is, does Toyota participate in programs aimed at
manipulating postings about its products in order to preserve
the "Toyota Myth" about quality? Only those who have been tracking
the postings over the last several years would notice what is
happening, most likely. Certainly, the company admits that it
tracks what is being said about it online. And...trust me...there
is no shortage of "corporate protectors" out there who actively
contest complaints made about Toyota products!
We all know that these are hard economic times. How is it that
Toyota can get away with blaming the owners and forcing them to put
up hundreds/thousands of dollars for repairs that should be covered
by the manufacturer???? The ENGINE OIL SLUDGE debacle proved that
Toyota will dig in its heels to escape responsibility and continue
to point the finger at its one-time loyal customers!!
SPEAK UP about the safety issues! Contact the NHTSA with a PETITION
LETTER TO INVESTIGATE A SAFETY ISSUE and involve your local
politicians as well. Contact any/all consumer agencies out there
(particularly the Center for Auto Safety) and insist on action being
taken. By being a thorn in the side of the auto manufacturer, you
will ensure that the word gets out and the manufacturer must
respond. Go with your gut---if you know the manufacturer is blowing
smoke, EXPOSE it!