— A Toyota Sienna power sliding door lawsuit alleges the 2011-2016 minivans have sliding doors that tend to open while driving because of problems with the motors, problems that caused Toyota to recall 834,000 Siennas in 2016.
The proposed class-action lawsuit alleges Toyota told its dealers “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 plaintiffs say even after the automaker recalled the Sienna minivans, Toyota didn't know how to fix the problem other than telling consumers to disable the power sliding door feature.
Plaintiff Paula McMillin says she purchased her 2013 Toyota Sienna new in January 2013, and on November 22, 2016, Toyota sent Ms. McMillin a "Safety Recall Interim Notice" about the power siding door. Toyota indicated it was an "interim" notice because the automaker was working on a fix for the vans.
Then on December 19, 2016, Toyota sent McMillin an “Important Update” relating to the power sliding door recall. The notice said Toyota suggested that in order to avoid the problem, owners should disable the power sliding door system. McMillin has disconnected the power sliding door feature but is without a feature the van should have.
McMillin says if she would have known of the power sliding door problem, she would not have purchased the minivan, or she would have paid much less for it. In addition, had she known earlier about the defect, she would have attempted to have the defect repaired according to Toyota’s warranty.
Toyota has allegedly known about the door problems since before 2013 due to complaints from Sienna owners, consumers who talk about the danger of the sliding doors opening and the cost to fix the problem.
"While driving 25 mph, the driver side sliding door opened while the vehicle was in motion. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the sliding door motor failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired." - 2011 Toyota Sienna owner / Apollo, Pennsylvania
"...the two sliding van doors opening to the backseat are supposed to be automatic when you lightly pull the handle but 3/5 times it will stick mid way and sound out a loud alarm then refuse to shut automatically and require a huge amount of pushing and shoving to close it, just to try it all over again with fingers crossed that people will be able to exit the vehicle. Dealer refused to replace anything going wrong after 1 year. This van is so cheaply made its disgusting. Costs thousands to fix. About, avoid, avoid." - 2012 Toyota Sienna owner / Santa Ana, California
The 2011-2016 Sienna minivan sliding doors allegedly are so defective that Toyota made design changes for the 2017 model and fixed the problem, at least for consumers who own 2017 Siennas. The plaintiffs say the minivans are dangerous as occupants never know when the sliding doors may open while driving.
Although the minivans were eventually recalled in 2016, the lawsuit alleges Toyota waited to order the power sliding door recall in an attempt to allow the viable warranty claims of early buyers to lapse.
The Toyota Sienna power sliding door lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division - Dillen Steeby and Paula McMillin, et al., v. Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Williams Dirks Dameron LLC.
CarComplaints.com has owner-reported complaints about Toyota Sienna minivans: