Recall: Toyota Sienna spare tire problem (Updated)

There are a lot of families out there driving around in Toyota Sienna minivans.  It’s been a popular seller for some time now, with plenty of luxury amenities such as leather, backup camera, DVD entertainment and more.  There’s also a spare tire, like on 99% of vehicles sold in America.  Unlike the others, there is a corrosion problem on the Sienna’s spare tire.

Toyota has announced a recall of some 600,000 Siennas, from model years 1998 to 2010.  The spare tire cable, which holds the spare tire on the vehicle, can become corroded, due to road salt used to melt ice on northern states’ roads in wintertime.  This can lead to the spare tire actually falling off the minivan, causing extreme danger for everyone behind the afflicted vehicle.

What’s worse than having your spare tire fall off?  That Toyota hasn’t come up with a fix yet.  The automaker is currently sending out letters to Sienna owners asking them to take their minivans to their local dealership for inspection of the spare tire carrier cable.  They’ll then need to bring the vehicle back once they get another letter, after Toyota figures out a good fix for the issue at hand.

The states affected by the recall include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

If you don’t live in one of the aforementioned states, but are worried, Toyota is sending out a letter to you with a “Special Service Campaign,” so you can get your vehicle inspected.

The inspection should take about 30 minutes, assuming your Toyota dealership isn’t already swamped with other work.

by John Suit

Source: Toyota

UPDATE: There is a thread in the Road Reality Forums dedicated to this issue, so please use that area from now on. Click here to go to directly to the Sienna Recall discussion.


15 Responses to “Recall: Toyota Sienna spare tire problem (Updated)”

  • They better come up with a solution soon. It has been over a month since this release and they still haven’t came up with anything. I am planning to import my Sienna into Canada and will not be able to do so until I get this outstanding recall taken off my clearance letter.

  • I agree – I think this one has fallen off the map, so to speak, and Toyota isn’t as worried about this recall as some of their other ones (Lexus LS for instance). Let us know when you get some resolution!

  • Today is Sep 08/10. They have not yet come up with a solution to this recall have been checking with my dealer regularly. Also the spare tire on my vehicle that I have which I have not even used once is all cracked up on the side wall making is virtually impossible to use it. What a messed up design. Spare tire that you cannot use since it is rotted dry and you can’t even put in a new one since the new one will also be placed outside and will get damaged by the elements…………my spare tire fell off while driving; luckly my wife was just doing 35mph and reliased that the spare fell off…..imagine this happening at 65-70mph and the disaster that the van will leave for the traffic behind……..

    Edited by Admin on 09.08.2010 for language and spelling.

  • Thanks for the feedback, Javvy. It is a shame that Toyota has yet to come up with a fix for this issue, but it is common to most manufacturers. Still today, a lot of pickup trucks have their spare tires mounted on the underside of the bed.

    The best advice I have for anyone with a spare tire mounted underneath their vehicle is to remove it at least twice a year, make sure there’s no rust on the carrier or spare tire, and check its pressure.


  • I just got off the phone and Toyota says “they are still working on a solution” FIVE months later??? We bought the van so we could fold down the back seat when transporting things. Since they the dealer lashed the spare tire down in this location, we can no longer fold the seat down. How can we exert more pressure or publicity to get this problem resolved? Why would it take 5 months to come up with a cable/strap that doesn’t rust?

  • Debbie, thanks for your feedback on this issue. I have placed a call to Toyota’s PR department and am expecting a response shortly. As soon as I hear anything from Toyota (or anyone else for that matter) who has heard of or knows about the solution, I will write about it. It’s interesting that your dealer lashed down the spare tire in your cargo area – can you send me pictures of that? I’d like to include them and your story in an update for this issue.


  • I’m also one of victim of this recall. cannot register the car in canada, until toyota finds a remedy, surprising my car was taken off the recall list in Jul and then put back on since it was being imported to canada. wonder why its so difficult for the company to find a strong enough rust free cable. sep 30 is the last day to get my sienna fixed, else the car need to be put away. made a wrong choice should have bought a odyssey instead of toyota, atleast honda has remedies for their recalls

  • I took my Sienna in for the tire recall inspection and my dealer also removed the tire, and stuck it in the back of my Sienna — without telling me. I didn’t discover that they had put it in a trash bag and dumped it on my many belongings already in the rear well until I went grocery shopping later that day. I called the dealer to ask why I had not been told and they said “I’m so sorry I missed you. I had wanted to tell you that we did find rust and had to take the tire off. I must have gone out to lunch. We have no idea when a solution will be found. You will be getting a survey about our dealership and we hope you will give us a good grade.” !!!!! What on earth! How can Toyota claim it is dealing with quality issues when it can’t find a solution to this? Thanks for following this!

  • The dealer here also put the spare in a trash bag and strapped it into the cargo area rendering the cargo space useless along with all the other features that require the use of the cargo area. We bought this vehicle for the space. This is not an acceptable solution. I have had to remove the tire and pray that I don’t need it. I think Toyota’s had long enough to figure this one out and if they don’t, it’s the last vehicle I’m buying from them.

  • Unable to use my Sienna for purpose of family road trip Spare tire placed in cargo area by dealership. Need to fold rear seats but unable to now. Maybe they should check with Honda for a fix or part off the Odyssey.

  • I too have suffered the “lets turn your minivan into a car” I called customer service a while back and was told to take the tire out and if I get a flat I am to call roadside assistance. This is all fine and dandy if you only travel in areas with cell coverage but part of the reason I have this van is so that I can go camping in northern saskatchewan where there is no cell coverage. When I did get a flat in the middle of nowhere I was told to tow it 400 miles to the nearest service center that was listed in their books.
    Thanks Toyota

  • I too brought in a 2010 Sienna from the US (florida) I checked the VIN before I bought it and it showed no open recalls…I have numerous letters stating that it has no open recall and yet the RIV won’t release the inspection form to me because the van is now in a northern climate and is now affected by the recall. Toyota is a joke…how can it take over 6 months to find a cable that won’t rust…I suspect they’re dragging their heals to prevent people from importing from the US. My question is how can Toyota dealers continue to sell these vans which are affected by the recall and yet those of us who have imported them can not drive ours? Toyota needs to wake up.

  • Why doesn’t Toyota replace the cable with Stainless steel?

  • Warning:

    Changing the tire from underneath the vehicle to the rear cargo of the vehicle may save a life…there is a danger changing this tire underneath the vehicle.
    There was an accident which claimed the life of a good Samaritan in Texas when the jack was knocked over while changing the car, crushing the man and cutting off his ability to breathe.

  • I have just had the experience of having my spare tire strapped into the storage area of the my Sienna which means I cannot use my back seat. It is now May 2015 and this issue is still not resolved. How can I get this resolved since it has been 5 years and Toyota have obviously not come up with a solution? I will never buy another Toyota van and that’s sad because I loved it until this happened and it shows how little Toyota cares.

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