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Toyota Sienna 2006 airbag light on - serious safety issue

potatpotat Posts: 9
edited December 2013 in Toyota

I looked up the service history of a Sienna 2006 (have been planing to buy the minivan) and found that it had a few incidents with AIR BAG ON. When I initially searched for 2006 Sienna I mostly hit the door latch problems. Looks like the airbag issue has been reported on several blogs and there is no recall yet on this issue.

My question is, if I buy extended warranty, whether this would cover the repair cost or not. Or, should I stay away from 2006 Siennas? If so, which models/years should I avoid?

Any suggestions are much appreciated.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not if the original warranty expired already. When there is a lapse, they will not cover pre-existing conditions.
  • potatpotat Posts: 9
    edited September 2011
    I guess there is power train warranty on the vehicle. Dealer says that I can buy extended warranty. The issue is, extended warranty covers electrical probs., not AIRBAGS. So not sure how this works!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, powertrain would cover the engine, transmission, drive shafts, etc., but not air bags.

    Sounds to me like the dealer is just eager to sell a van...
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Can you get a read on what was done to address the previous owner's complaints? If the service dept responded "No Trouble Found" and thus took no action, is it really a pre-existing condition?

    I see a few ways to go:

    1) Get them to guarantee in writing that they will cover any airbag issues for the first year, given that it is an unresolved issue in the van's history. I don't have the full details, but from the Toyota Owners Warranty Info site I found the following line, so you might already be covered:

    Powertrain Coverage: 60 months/60,000 miles (engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, seatbelts and air bags).

    2) Is the selling dealer a Toyota dealer? Ask them if the vehicle could be sold as a "Certified Used". It costs the dealer about $1k to do the inspection and file the paperwork, but then you get a full 1 year bumper-to-bumper new car style warranty in addition to a powertrain extension to 7 year, 100k miles. That is well worth a $1000 - $1500 premium, and you might be able to negotiate that down depending on the circumstances and how hungry they are.

    3) Look into a Toyota Platinum extended warranty. I hear mixed things depending on who you talk to, but it seems that Toyota dealers can sell vans that are out of the 3/36 warranty and then get full coverage added (sold as Certified Used or not...). Under "computers & electronics" it does list airbags and sensors.

    Let us know how this works out!
  • Thanks, Fibber.

    Great tips. Let me see what they can offer me.
    Yes, I am looking at the extended warranty.
    Thanks so much!
  • I want to comment on the Airbag light issue. One time I took my 2006 Sienna in for service at the dealer for my 100,000 mile service. At that time my airbag light was on, but I also had a lot of work done that day (timing belt replacement, brakes, ect.) My total bill was around $1000. It was all preventative maintainence. I asked about the airbag light, and they said they just "reset" it and it was fine, and did not charge me for that fix. I think, since I spent so much money on that service, that they felt they had alrady gotten enough money, so they did this fix for free. This got me thinking. How can it be such a simple fix? Fasy forward six months. Again, my airbag light went on again. It always seems that my airbag light would go on after long trips. I finally made a the connection about why it would go on only after long trips. It was because of the storage tray UNDER the front passenger seat. Before you think I am crazy, read on. When my family and I travel on long trips, we store all our charger cables for video games and phones in that passenger seat storage tray that slides out from under the front passenger seat. It seems that moving this tray in and out causes the wiring harness for the airbag to come a little loose which makes the airbag light come on. If you take a look under the front passenger seat, you will see the harness right there. It is bright yellow. I just unhooked the wiring haress and re-connected it and the next time I started the car, PRESTO! no more airbag light. It is this smae fix that works every time that airbag light comes on. Before spending $1000's at the dealer, try my way first. I only charge $0.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Interesting, and good observation! I noticed how very vulnerable that connector is attached to the front-right corner of the seat base, and wondered how long it would take before someone simply snagged it getting into the van (like my teenage daughter - trouble always seems to find her!).
  • I am just wondering if this is a common fix for all 2006 Sienna Minivans, or if my situation is just a fluke. I guess we will see if this fix helps other people. I hope so.
  • Thanks, Wysock for your helpful comments. Yes, your great tips will be definitely be helpful to other owners. Greatly appreciated. Once again thanks Fibber for your valuable points.

    Here is my status, I bought a 2006 Toyota sienna, CE a week ago. This was from a private party, a local vehicle. There are no issues as such, other than a driver seat belt coming on and off. My mechanic checked the vehicle and recommended it after checking the vehicle and told not to worry about the seat belt issue as this is more likely a sensor issue, costs about $50 or so for the sensor.

    I happened to check with the dealer where the vehicle has been serviced, and they told that there are no issues with 2006 Siennas.... I did contact toyota customer service center (toll free number) and I was told there has been a technical service bullettin (TSB) that has been issued to fix the air bag issue - but no recall. Now, with the recent toyota recalls and the recent issues, I would assume that toyota would issue a recall if the issue has been serious (may be I am wrong?). So, after considering all the factors I decided to buy the vehicle. So far I am satisfied and hope this lasts for several years!

    Thanks for all your helpful tips.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Some people do Sudoku to keep them sharp and entertained, we do cars! Glad we could help.

    So this is a different '06 from the one you originally came to the board about? That was from a dealer, this a private party. Sounds like you made out OK. Glad to hear it.

    Concerning TSB's.... Usually they constitute little more than a brief, bulletized advisory for the shop's use to highlight problems that seem to be coming up more frequently. Ultimately, I view them as somewhat self serving, as they save Toyota on warranty cost overruns by not having a thousand techs troubleshooting the same issue over and over. Most clearly state that they only provide free service during the basic 3/36 warranty (or 5/60 for powertrain issues). If you beg, you might get some consideration after the warranty. But unlike a recall, these carry no further obligation.
  • Hi Fibber,

    I have been looking at Sienna's for the past few months. The one originally I looked at (and posted the airbag issues) was for 06, from the dealer, base model. I also saw one 05 XLE at the dealer, but the price was too high ($3400), compared to 06 base. As I mentioned before the ext. warranty was a min of $1400. In the mean time, I saw a craigslist post by owner, and that is the one that I bought! It took over a week
    for the process, seeing the car a few times, getting it checked, etc., but I suppose it worked out fairly smooth.

    Thank you!!
  • My 2006 Toyota Sienna I bought at Sparks Toyota in Myrtle Beach has had the air bag light on since I purchased it in 06. It was worked on regularly for 2 years and had every possible thing replaced. The airbag light was still on when the warranty expired and Sparks would not fix it as a warranty issue. They said the bags would was just the light that didn't work. Now that our family is grown we want to sell or trade the van but have found out the bags will not work due to this issue. Don't buy this van....their may be no fix. We have literally had the passenger seat replaced, the center console bag replaced, the sensors in the dash replaced, the seat belt replaced, the wires and connectors replaced...our light is still on.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    If the airbag light is on, there is a problem with the system. As you don't know what the problem is, you really have no idea without physically testing them whether they will deploy.

    The SRS system is covered under the longer powertrain warranty (5/60), I believe. If the light really never went out you should be in touch with Toyota Customer Care and report this.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Sad to see such a long list. But other than the last few, virtually all began in the 70k to 100k+ region, and after several years. Yours reportedly began when new, and has never been resolved. If so, you shouldn't be paying a penny and should not continue to be driving a vehicle equipped with multiple air bags that might never deploy if needed.
  • Thank you so much. Your tip worked like a charm after thinking all day I was going to have to spend 3,000 to get this fixed. Thanks again.
  • I am having the same trouble. I am glad I found your solution. However, I don't know what you mean by ' unhooked the wiring haress and re-connected it'. Do you mean that you pulled out the wires off the bright yellow harness and put it back? I would greatly appreciate your further assistance. Thank You.
  • easymeeasyme Posts: 2
    Thanks for the tip, it worked. Have had the problem for a few years off and on. Always corrected by wiggling this plug. This time it did not work. Saw your post and unpluged and it worked. Drivers side issue.

    At the 100,000 mile check up last year it was on and ask the dealer to check the seats for this issue. Told him I suppected the drivers seat.

    When he called me he said it was a short under the floor mat and he had contacted Toyota and they had agreed to cover the cost of new airbags but I would have to cover the cost of the labor which would be $3500.. Needless to say I said thank you.

    went home and corrected the issue as in the past.

    Thanks again
  • tiroarttiroart Posts: 1
    YES!!! My 2006 Sienna airbag light started blinking for the first time in 106,000 miles last week. The Toyota dealership where I've had it serviced since new "diagnosed" replace the harness for $570. Today I found your post and realized I had pulled out the compartment under the passenger's seat last week to empty and clean it (something I do every 3 years!). So I just went out, removed the plastic compartment, unplugged and replugged the yellow harness plug, started the car twice, and THERE IS NO BLINKING AIRBAG LIGHT!!!!!

    Thank you "wysockigal" for solving the problem that Toyota mis-diagnosed!! I will now tell the Service Manager that I'll keep coming there with my 2 Toyotas if she'll send me a copy of her email to all her service consultants and mechanics about the wysockigal airbag light fix!

    And I'm now registered for forums for good.

    Cheers. :) :)
  • potatpotat Posts: 9
    We all owe a BIG THANK YOU to 'wysockigal' for his observations and diagnosis and his easy fix. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!! Your fix has saved us a lot of time and money. :) :)

    Tiroart, I do not know how your toyota mechanics are. But, the recommended TSB for the airbag issue is replacing the harness/airbag. If you are interested, you can go to your toyota and they can print the TSB for you. Once you share 'the easy fix' your service consultant and mechanics would save time, but will continue charging the customers as much as they can. What one should do is to list wysockigal's easy fix in asmany forums possible so that people are aware of the issue and its easy fix, and they can try it themselves.

    To be honest, my experience with toyota shops are not great. They need your business and that's all what they care. Here in Beaman Toyota, they quote you a price over the phone - $400 + taxes (for replacing a water pump, toy. camry 1999, w parts and labor) and when you reach the shop to get the order written, the total goes up to $675 + taxes. :mad: And I drove out my car without completing the order.

    Have a good week!
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