Where is Toyota’s Solution for their Sienna Spare Tire Recall?

Debbie's 2004 Toyota Sienna

One of our readers, Debbie from Wisconsin, sent in some pictures and her experience so far with Toyota’s Sienna minivan recall.  I reported on the original recall notice here, the update here, and Debbie was kind enough to email her dealer’s “solution” to the rusted-out spare tire carrier problem.  Her minivan was bought new and has been primarily driven in Wisconsin, so it falls into the list of 600,000 Siennas to be recalled.  Read her story after the jump.

When Debbie received her recall notice from Toyota, she took it to her local dealership, where they relocated the spare tire from underneath the vehicle, to the cargo area.  They told her they didn’t have a timeline for a replacement spare tire carrier, and she still hasn’t heard back from them for a permanent fix.

She bought the Sienna for its fold-flat rear seats, which she hasn’t been able to use for some months now.  This severely limits space for luggage or groceries, not to mention bicycles, which are a frequent family activity of hers.

Calls to Toyota’s PR department haven’t been returned yet, so more phone calls must be placed until I have answers for Debbie and the other readers who have written in to express their frustration with Toyota’s temporary fix.  Until then, stay tuned!

If you’d like to share your story regarding this or any other topic covered by Road Reality, please email me!

by John Suit

Thanks for your feedback, Debbie!

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47 Responses to “Where is Toyota’s Solution for their Sienna Spare Tire Recall?”


  • The solution is as plain as the nose on their faces! A quick and relatively cheap resolution would be to replace the existing carrier assembly cable with a stainless steel version. I haven’t looked at what is involved with the removal of the cable but one would assume it would be designed to facilitate a replacement at sometime in its life. I have a 2004 Sienna that I imported from Florida to Canada back in July and I am unable register the vehicle due to this outstanding recall. All recalls have to be complete as a requirement to license a vehicle in Canada by the RIV (Registry of Imported Vehicles). A senseless rule as it does not alter the fact that there are other Canadian vehicles with exactly the same issue currently driving the roads unrestricted. I am dead in the water!

  • Stay tuned to Road Reality – I spoke to Toyota last week and it looks like they’ve got a solution that is undergoing testing and should be available in the coming weeks.

    -John

  • I took my 2007 Sienna into the dealer on Thursday the 16th of Sept. for the recall. When I picked up the van, they said here’s your keys Mr. Dodd your good to go. I assumed the cable had been replaced. Yesterday my wife called me at work, all in a panic. (her) “Did you know there’s a tire strapped in the back of our van?” (me) “No” (her) “Well there is, and I dont like it!” (me) “Calm down Honey, I’ll call on Monday and find out what the deal is.” Thanks to this website for shining some light on the subject. I’m still gonna call the dealer tomorrow and find out why they neglected to inform me of their temporary solution, and ask why they didn’t even tell me it was a temporary solution? Thank’s Toyota

  • We moved to Canada back in June with a Sienna 2004, but before doing so we made sure that the outstanding spare tire recall could be fixed in time to be able to import the vehicle officially. Toyota told us that by July 15 2010 the remedy would be ready, so we went ahead and moved with our Sienna to Montreal. On July 15th, we called again and were told that by August 15 for sure…August 15 we were told that by mid-September…and now they don’t give dates anymore …

    Conclusion, our car is parked in our garage without plates and registration since last week (we had to send the US plates back)..

    Amazing! because of a spare tire cable, our minivan cannot circulate and we are still paying it ….. to Toyota Financial services!!!

    Any advice?

  • Hopefully we’ll have word from Toyota on this matter shortly. As soon as any information becomes available, I will have it posted here!

    -John

  • Count me as another frustrated Sienna owner — I really feel like Toyota is not putting any priority on this, and it will affect my thinking next time I purchase a vehicle.

    Really didn’t like going on two months now with no way to fold down the rear seat, and having to pile things on top of the spare tire, which in my case, is loose in the rear of my vehicle.

  • I’m in the same boat as a lot of others except I was given written clearance that my Sienna was clear of all recalls by a dealership in Oregon. I wonder if I have a lawsuit? Is there a time-line for companies on how long they can wait to fix a recall? What about a class-action suit? I’m desparate.

  • As a result of the abysmal handling of this recall, I would strongly urge everyone to reconsider if they are contemplating purchase of a Toyota vehicle. They have shown their true colors. They are totally focused on liability and have NO interest in the customers who have purchased their defective product!

  • Just got off the phone with the wonderful Toyota Customer service,or lack there of! They are saying that they have no information and don’t know when that will come! Why is it that the spare tire cable cannot be removed entirely and then inspected at a Toyota center to have the recall cleared????People are paying vans they cannot drive!!!!!

  • Very frustrated……we are expecting a baby anytime now and i dont have a CAR!! i mean i do have a van sitting in the driveway for the past 4 months…….cant register or drive it in canada due to RIV inspection requirements….After calling Toyota every week for the past 4 months and screaming at them sometimes….im almost giving up!!!

  • Let’s start a lawsuit. i too have a van sitting in my driveway that cannot be driven. I was even given a recall clearance letter by the dealership in oregon. All gladly leave my e-mail in the future if there is any interest. Let me know, I’ll check back.

  • I have a clearance letter too showing all recalls are complete. In fact the toyota owners website shown no open recalls for my VIN number. When i talked to RIV, they told me Toyota is playing games with clearance to get their ratings back to normal.
    I am on for a lawsuit if possible….where do we start?

  • just got off phone with toyota. same info.
    sir, we do apologize for the trouble, however at this time there is no remedy and toyota has not provided us with a timeframe or date when the remedy will be available. its just like a recorded conversation since last 4 months.

  • Have a 2007 and am unable to register it in Canada. Had a Toyota Technician inspect the cable and said it is 100% fine, but I still can’t drive it. Call and email Toyota every week and they just say they don’t have an answer and don’t know when the recall solution will happen. This is my first Toyota and will be my last if I can ever get this recall done so I can sell it. I can’t believe how ridiculous this whole situation is.

  • I just bought my 2005 Sienna today. I was disturbed that the spare tire was in the trunk and not securely fastened under the vehicle. Has anyone discovered their own solution to this problem? What about a simple nylon ratcheting strap from Home Depot, for instance? I know this would not be a permanent solution, but could give us our trunk space while we wait for Toyota to respond with their answer. I would love to hear other thoughts/solutions anyone has. …And John Suit – could you post an update? I would love to know how long we will have to wait before receiving a permanent fix. Thank you.

  • Greg, thanks for your update – I haven’t heard from anyone else who has bought a Sienna minivan since the recall went into effect! As for a nylon strap, I definitely would advise against it, as the nylon just won’t hold up long enough. From what I’ve heard, we should hear something this month from Toyota regarding their solution to this recall.

    -John

  • WOW….Toyota USA has a fix finally…….phase 1 will cover upto 2006 siennas……but guess what!!! NO fix in CANADA yet….just talked to them yesterday….they anticipate another month or so….but if you are in Canada with a US imported Toyota, you will not receive any notification at all……best is to keep calling the dealership!!! what a waste of time and MONEY…im paying for the past 5 months for a car sitting on my driveway!!!
    what happened to the lawsuit idea?? any lawsuits we can join to get some compensation???

  • I would love to start a lawsuit. Any more interest. Let’s get something rolling. Toyota should pay for this. Any thoughts on their customer service?

  • Abbas – where did you find information on the Toyota USA fix? I have a 2005 Sienna and would love to hear what they have to say. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Greg you can go to Toyota USA home page and look for a page where you can put your VIN and it will give you more info on your vehicle….its called the toyota owners page or something……its under recalls…..let me know if you cant find it……
    AND IM STILL WAITING FOR THE CANADIAN FIX!!!!

  • I am in Pennsylvania and I have a 2005 Sienna and I just got my notice yesterday in the mail to have my spare tire recall fixed.

  • That’s great, Steve! Let me know how the fix goes for you!

    -John

  • I have been unable to get full use form my van as well. Like Mr. Dodd, he dealer did not tell me what the “fix” was – they just strapped the tire in the back. The only reason I bought a van was for this extra space. Amazing that they didn’t even offer anything for the troubles they have caused. My Uncle just had his Buick recalled for something simple and they gave him a $100. check just for bringing it in. When are they going to fix this thing?

  • Spoke with Toyota Canada on Friday October 29 and they said the campaign has launched in Canada. I was told to call the local Dealership to find out when the parts will arrive, and then they will do the recall.

  • I just had my recall resolved. The fix was a new spare tire carrier cable and CRC applied to the cable.

  • Are you in Canada Steve?? Does RIV accept local dealer invoices??

  • We had our U.S. Sienna spare-tire-recall fixed in Montreal last Friday. I just got the recall clearance letter from Toyota USA and will submit it to RIV (Canadian vehicle import office). Hopefully this nightmare is over soon…
    Never again a Toyota! EVER.

  • Got my 2007 fixed at a local dealership no problem. Sent the recall letter to RIV, and they say the fix has not come out for the 2007 model yet, so I still can’t get my van cleared. If there is no fix yet for the 2007, what was done to my van? Toyota and RIV are jerking everybody around for reasons I don’t understand. There must be somebody out there who can step in and stop the bleeding….this nightmare has gone on way too long!

  • Toyota is a complete joke. My first ever purchase after 5 Hondas. Why???????????????????

  • so has anyone that imported a sienna received their inspection form from the RIV yet? Is there really a fix in canada? Last toyota EVER!

  • Update from RIV today. Check out http://www.riv.ca. Go to the “Important Notices” tab for some good news on the spare tire recall. I am going to attempt to get my recall clearance tomorrow so I am still not completely sure if it will work, but am hoping.

  • Received my inspection form from RIV, the nightmare is finally over!!!!

  • Blair-was that for a 2007? John can we check with him on that through his e-mail? Thanks

  • Finally registered 2007 Sienna in Canada. RIV did accept fix from Toyota.

  • Guys, sorry to tell you that but I think you will need a fix on the fix. On November 22, 2010, a Toyota dealer re-install my spare tire under my minivan Sienna 2004 with the recall fix. Today, February 7, 2011, we just lost the spare tire, hopefully we were only going at 40 km when it happen on a country road.

    So we will need a fix on the fix, at least for me.

  • Just had the fix applied to my car on August 20, 2014. Same as the 2010 fix and per there “Customer Experience” group they still they are working on a solution with no time line! Sounds like the plan is to ignore it. Does not reflect well on Toyota.

  • The SAME problem exists with my 2011 Sienna. I am furious. How many years and interations will it take Toyota to redesign the car to alleviate the problem for new cars and a legitimate FIX for existing customers?

    My husband came up with a “better fix” He removed the removable tiny seat that can be inserted between the second row of bucket seats. This is snapped along the back left side of the van storage section. We used the buckle from the fanny pack to tie the tire flat against the side of the car. At least this way, we can put the right side third row seat flat. It will make it much easier and safer for the bikes , goats and hay we carry.

    I have a photo but don’t know how to paste it here.

    If you want a picture, email me or tell me how to paste it here.

  • March 16 2015, Just took my 2004 Sienna in for the Spare Tire Carrier Cable recall. The inspection of the cable failed so they relocated the spare to the back cargo area. I did not realize what they had done until I got home. They did say it was a temporary fix but it is totally unacceptable. Will call the service manager tomorrow.

  • I just called Toyota corporate and still no fix for this issue. This is ridiculous. My next step is to investigate lawsuit. I have a $45K van and due to a $10 cable and Toyota’s poor handling of this matter, I will NEVER buy another vehicle from Toyota.

  • It’s April 2015 and Toyota still has not solved this problem. It’s outrageous. I’ll advise anyone who asks not to buy a Sienna. I own a 2008 and they just got around to telling me about the spare tire recall four months ago.

  • More recent victim here. Went in for the recall a few months ago, never found out til the next trip to the grocery store that the tire was strapped in the back. Dealership claimed fix would be available in a few weeks. Called today to get an update, told fix is now scheduled for next month. Not holding my breath. Had I known they were gonna do this “jury rig” I would have never brought it in for the recall in the first place.

  • This is now 2015 and the tire is just taken off and put in the back of my 2011 sienna. I am going to sue the car dealership that sold it to me and did not disclose this problem.

  • Just an update on the recall: As of July 1st 2015, still no fix (this article was published in September 2010!).

    I took my 2009 Sienna in for some other service. They told me that would inspect the tire and relocate if necessary. They never bothered to tell me that they moved it (although they took time to talk to me about all of the recommended maintenance they wanted to do to my van). I emailed the Assistant Service Manager 4 days ago to ask how long I would have to drive around with the spare in the cargo area. He has not replied.

  • I own a 2004 Toyota Sienna. In 2014 the Toyota was taken to the Toyota dealership for the spare tire cable recall. Three days ago while driving home the spare tire cable snapped causing my daughter to serve into a curb. Thankfully she was ok. Two tires were ruined, rims needed to be repaired and now the car can not be driven. I have been in contact with Toyota because I wanted them to tow my car to a Toyota dealership to fix the damage. Once a claim is filed though, it could be a few month process of review before our car is fixed or we are reimbursed!As of now, we are without use of our car don’t know what to do.

  • Hello, There is a real fix for the spare tire issue now. I brought my Sienna Minivan back to get the bogus fix removed .The spare tire is now properly stowed underneath the car where it belongs.

  • I had mine repaired (Calgary Canada) Had to complain online (Yelp) and the manager of the
    Dealership brought one in for me from Atlantic Canada. Squeaky wheel gets the grease

  • I brought my 2007 sienna to the dealer for the recall,It was inspected and I was told when they had the remedy I would get a call from toyota wich never happened.After a few months I called toyota and that went no where,then a couple of months later went by and did not hear from them,I called again a couple more times and still no solution to the problem.Toyota does not seen to care about safety,I lost the tire and who knows if anybody got hurt or killed because of it,I only found out it was missing because i had a flat.At this time I’m driving with the spare inside my car,Can you imagine what can happen to anybody inside the car if I have to stop short or If I get into an accident? this I explained to the toyota Rep,but they don’t seen to care..I used to be a toyota fan because of its quality,but after this,I would never buy a toyota again.They just don’t stand behind their product.

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