Sienna – MY’s 04, 05, 07-09

Shift Lever Assembly May Allow Rollaway

Toyota is recalling certain model year 2004-2005 Sienna vehicles manufactured January 10, 2003, through August 10, 2005; and model year 2007-2009 Sienna vehicles manufactured February 20, 2007, through December 12, 2008. In the affected vehicles, due to a problem within the shift lock solenoid, there is a possibility that the shift lever could be moved out of Park position without depressing the brake pedal.

If the shift lever is moved out of the Park position without the brake applied, the transmission will either engage a drive gear or Neutral, increasing the risk of a backover or roll away crash.

Toyota will mail interim notifications to owners beginning in late October 2013. When parts are available, owners will be sent a second notice and dealers will replace the shift lock solenoid, free of charge. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.

Source: NHTSA

Our understanding of this problem is that the solenoid that locks each gear in position, which is deactivated to free the shift lever upon depressing the brake pedal is defective, so that it loses its activate function and fails to engage the parking pawl that stops the transmission and driven wheels from rotating.

Just as the consequence of this report indicates this is a potentially dangerous situation for owners of Sienna of these model years.

Now, granted some owners of these Sienna vehicles may have bought them brand new, it is unfortunate that this recall will not cover them in Nigeria. Of course, quite a number of Siennas driven here in our country are bought used. Therefore, it is up to each one of us Sienna owners to take proactive action and seek a replacement of the defective part – the shift-lock solenoid – within the transmission assembly. It is understandable that this may be a bit of an expensive repair since it may require dropping the transmission.

In the meantime, owners of the affected Sienna model years are advised always (whenever they must park their vans) to first engage the parking brake while they have their foot depressing the brake pedal so that the vehicle has been brought to a full stop, before pushing the transmission into park position. This will ensure that the vehicle stays in park-lock position even if the pawl has failed. This is especially important if such vehicle is parked on some sort of incline. And, in case, it was still intact, this procedure will slow down the wear and tear and eventual failure of the parking pawl that ultimately results from overuse.

In any case, owners may contact Jigged for further directions if they have noticed some issues.