Toyota Recalling 744,000 Sienna Minivans Because Doors Can Open While Driving

Unless you have little regard for your personal safety or the safety of those in your vehicle, you generally want the doors on your minivan to remain closed while it’s in operation. But Toyota says that a defect in its Sienna minivan can result in the doors opening on their own.

Toyota confirmed this afternoon that it is recalling 744,000 2011-2016 Toyota Sienna minivans because there is a possibility that, “under certain limited conditions, if the sliding door opening operation is impeded, the sliding door motor circuit could be overloaded, opening the fuse for the motor. If this occurs when the door latch is in an unlatched position, the door could open while driving, increasing the risk of injury to a vehicle occupant.”

The carmaker has not yet developed a fix for the problem, but says it will notify Sienna owners by mail in mid-January.

Toyota does not reference individual incidents in its announcement, but a search of the NHTSA database turns up a handful of possibly related reports from Sienna owners.

One owner of a 2012 Sienna complained to the agency that “on three separate occasions, my rear sliding doors have spontaneously opened on their own.” The owner claims the dealership told him this was a known issue but since the car hadn’t been recalled it would cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Another complaint, filed in 2013, claims that the power sliding doors on their Sienna began to open while the owner was driving with their kids in the back.

“My kids were safely fastened in their seatbelts but the latch and safety latches both failed and this could have resulted in an accident or injury,” claims the complaint.

There are also multiple reports from Sienna owners of being unable to close the minivan doors and sliding doors stuck partially closed.

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