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Toyota Sienna Uncontrolled Acceleration



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wow! Glad you are OK.

    That was some Valentine's Day! :surprise:

    I'm not sure there is much to say. Did the police come as well, to file an accident report? That might help solve the mystery.

    You sure it wasn't in Drive? On a slight incline, the van will not move forward even in D. Did the neighbor notice what gear it was in before changing it to Reverse?
  • Yes, I am sure my 2006 Toyota Sienna was not in Drive. It is impossible to leave the van in Drive in our driveway and exit the vehicle because the vehicle is moving too fast; even if I were to stop it entirely at the very base of the incline of the driveway, as soon as I take my foot off the brake to exit the vehicle, it moves too fast to exit it. Also, my neighbor who rescued me and backed up my 2006 Toyota Sienna says she is sure she had to shift from Park into Reverse.

    If anyone that is reading this has had a similar experience with their Toyota Sienna, please reply ASAP. Thank you. My husband and I think it is of the utmost importance that this vehicle be recalled.
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    I don't ever recall any vehicle moving forward when in park. I'm not a mechanic. However, this doesn't sound possible. Sudden acceleration is a problem that occurs when the vehicle is in drive, not park.

    Could it be that you had the vehicle in neutral? Two things would be possible... 1) if the incline is towards the garage, the vehicle would have rolled and pinned you. Also, your neighbour, who is in panic mode, could have easily thought that she shifted from park to reverse. 2) when you got out of the vehicle, it was somehow accidentally nudged it into drive? Again, you neighbour is in panic mode when shifting.

    Good luck.
  • The following is an update to my original 2/3/07 post regarding my 1/31/07 accident involving uncontrolled rapid acceleration with my Lexus SC400. It's been over a year now and despite letters, calls, e-mails, and an inspection by an "expert" Lexus technician, the problem part(s) has never been located and, therefore, the cause remains unknown. The car remains in my driveway to date after 13 months, and no one in my family has driven it in fear of a recurrence. My husband had a similar incident with THIS car one month prior to my experience but, luckily, he was not involved in an accident. I won't trade it in for another Lexus because I won't give this manufacturer anymore new business. I hesitate selling it privately because of its past history. If I knew for certain which part was defective, I would gladly pay for its replacement so that I could have my beloved Lexus back and drive it once again without fear of accelerating uncontrollably--possibly causing another accident...or worse. Unfortunately, it is an intermittant problem making it difficult (if not impossible) to replicate the part's failure. For what it is worth, I filed a report with the National Highway Safety office but never heard from them again. From previous posts and surfing the web, I KNOW there are others who have experienced similar frightening episodes. With all of today's sophisticated technology, I find it difficult to understand why the cause of this problem cannot be solved. Thanks for listening to my tale of woe!
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    Based, on your story, you wouldn't be here today if your vehicle encountered uncontrolled acceleration. The vehicle would have crushed you and the garage door. Your apparent problem is different.
  • Is your story similar to what happened to me with my Toyota Sienna? In other words, were you in or out of your car when the uncontrolled acceleration occurred? Maybe you can retell what happened to you. Thank you.
  • My current post (#35) above is an update to my original post of #7 found in this discussion group. However, I was a driver IN the vehicle when the incident occurred. In addition, you'll find other posts from me after #7 in reply to the questions of others. Good Luck!
  • YES-just yesterday. I'm still not sure it is was my fault. I wanted to warm my car in the am, I started it and put it into reverse a few feets, so the fumes would not be in my garage, put it back into park and I stepped out of the car and it shifted into reverse knocking me over and plowing into my neighbors fence. I know I did not get out of a moving vehicle. I have it at a collision center-they said it was driving fine-yea I know. I don't think they are able to really tell if there was a defect. When I questioned it, it was brushed off. Were you able to prove anything??? Glad you were not seriously hurt.
  • Hi Jennifer,
    What year is your Toyota Sienna? Have you had an independent (non Toyota) transmission specialist look at your Sienna? My husband will be taking our Sienna to a specialist this weekend. The day after my accident, on 2/15/08, my husband took our Sienna to our local Toyota dealer where we bought it two years ago; they said there was nothing wrong with the transmission; their service manager told me it was more likely I left the vehicle in neutral and someone pushed the vehicle the twenty feet up the incline of the driveway, hitting me. How rude and obnoxious can you get! I am the paying customer who almost got killed after all! I am positive I did not leave my vehicle in neutral; besides, if it was in neutral, it would have rolled backwards down the driveway as soon as took my foot off the brake to exit the vehicle, and like you, I know I did not get out of a moving vehicle; also, my neighbor is sure the vehicle gear shift was in Park when she put it into Reverse to free me. A Toyota Corporate representative will also be looking at my vehicle this week or next; I pray that this will be an honorable person.

    Please, Please PLEASE make a report to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); their phone number is 1-888-327-4236. If enough reports are made, this vehicle and vehicles with the same transmissions WILL BE RECALLED. Also, make a report to Toyota Corporate Headquarters at 1-800-331-4331. Please e-mail me back. Sincerely, Shaina
  • Hi again. I also have a 2004. Just curious-what state do you live in? I did not bring it back to the dealer to be looked at. It was not driveable, it was towed directly to the collision shop to be fixed. Honestly, I know they will look at me like I have 3 heads anyway. I don't know, maybe it was pushed into Park and it didn't shift over to the left and slipped out of gear. I don't thik I will ever know. I do promise that I will call both of those numbers when I get home fromwork later and filed reports to have them on record. So far you are the only person I could find. Have you found anyone else?
  • Hi Jennifer. Just for the record, my vehicle is a 2006 Sienna, not a 2004. Were you hurt when your car hit you? I pray not. Don't doubt yourself. It is very unlikely that your gear shift did not go all the way over to the left when you put it in Park; besides, if you put it in Park and it did not go all the way to the left to be locked in place, that is Toyota's fault, not yours. I have found other people on this Edmund's site who have had experiences with their Toyota when they were shifting into Park; the vehicle accelerated out of control as they were parking in parking lots, etc. I also found someone here in South Florida (that's where I live) who had an experience similar to ours a couple of months ago with his 2005 Toyota Camry. I am hoping more people will respond to my Edmund's message and will also report their accidents to Toyota Corporate and NHTSA (which I thank you for doing, by the way); it will save lives if these vehicles are recalled. Talk to you later. Shai.
  • phishloverphishlover Posts: 4
    All the more reason people really should use their parking brakes, fully engaged. Will probably save a life or transmission or two.
  • mking3mking3 Posts: 1
    jul333, this same exact scenario happened to me last month.I was driving to work at my school where I work as a teacher. While making a slow U-Turn, with my foot lightly on the brake pedal, my 2004 Toyota Sienna LE van suddenly took off and accelerated uncontrollably like a rocket at maximum velocity. The accelerator pedal was never pressed during this incident. I had just a split second to remove my foot completely off the brake pedal to look down at the floor board to ensure nothing was pinning the pedal downward, nothing was there and the van was still accelerating. I looked up in horror as vehicle was continuing to accelerate at an extremely high rate of speed and continuing to accelerate. I quickly steered the vehicle and dodged a screened chain-link fence to avoid an area where children usually stand waiting for parents. With vehicle still accelerating at full power I quickly passed the fence area, applied the brakes with great force, but they felt unresponsive to the acceleration forces. Now, with vehicle moving at a very high rate of speed and still accelerating, I saw a parked vehicle right in front of me and could no longer control the vehicle and I braced for impact. The van violently smashed into an unattended Ford Expedition vehicle, the engine briefly revved and then finally shut down. Had there not been a parked vehicle there the van would have gone directly into the residential house about 50 feet away. It only took about 3 or 4 seconds for the van to travel the 22 yards from where the accelerator malfunction started to the impact area of the other vehicle. In complete shock, I briefly sat there and wondered how this could have happened. Luckily I was not seriously hurt, my neck and back were sore from the impact, but other than that I was thankful that I was ok. I looked down at the floorboard again to see if anything was pushing the accelerator down. Again there was nothing there, no floor mat or any other foreign object around that area. Had this incident occurred only five minutes before, the street would have been filled with young children, parents and grandparents walking them to school. Reported it to NHSTA and they sent a rep to the vehicle. They collected data from the computer but the chances of find a intermittent fault like this on those computer units is remote. Toyota has a serious class action problem here that needs to be addressed. There is just way too much evidence to dismiss. I encourage all to continue reporting these cases to the NHSTA, Car and these blogs so that the NHSTA can eventually file a class action lawsuit against Toyota. Our van was totaled so there are no chances of it killing someone.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are you saying both the throttle and the brake failed completely?

    I ask because they are completely seperate systems. The brakes are hydraulic, while the throttle is by-wire.

    For both the fail at the exact same time would be quite unusual.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are you saying both the throttle and the brake failed completely?

    I ask because they are completely seperate systems. The brakes are hydraulic, while the throttle is by-wire.

    For both the fail at the exact same time would be quite unusual.

    Here is a link to NHTSA if anyone wants to file a complaint:
  • shaina1shaina1 Posts: 7
    mking3, I'm so sorry to hear about this accident of yours. My accident occurred on 2/14/08 (my 2006 Toyota Sienna was parked at the foot of the driveway with the ignition on; it accelerated by itself while the gear shift was still in park, up the incline of my driveway and pinned me between my half-open garage door and the hood of the vehicle) and I reported it to NHTSA and Toyota Corporate. NHTSA never offered to come to the scene of the accident to investigate and Toyota Corporate did a brief inspection of the vehicle (did not take the transmission apart) and said they felt there was nothing wrong with it. My husband, family, friends and I feel deeply betrayed by Toyota's lack of compassion and consideration, especially since we have been loyal Toyota customers for the past 15 years. Has Toyota done anything for you, such as offered to trade in your vehicle, etc? Shai
  • December 10, 2008 12:55 PM I was parked in line at the car wash and I was waiting to go into the car wash with a line of cars. I put my foot on the brake to move up in line, my Sienna took off like a jet engine at full speed. I served to miss the pickup truck in front of me. I just grazed his bumper, missed the car wash building. I raced across the parking lot, jumped a curb, and I slammed into the concrete barrier that protects the gas pumps in a gas station. The man in the pickup said even after my car smashed into the concrete barrier, my Sienna was still running full throttle and my tires were still turning. Both front tires went flat and we ruined. I was hit with the air bag and I broke the dash with my knees. I tried to brake but nothing worked. After the air bag went off, I couldn't stop the engine and I finally realized I need to shut off the key and it finally stopped. I was pressing as hard as I could on the brakes and it didn't help. When I shifted into Drive at the car wash I had my foot on the brake. I never got to the accelerator because as soon I put the car in drive it went full throttle. The Sienna left black tire marks as it accelerated uncontrollably forward. I call Toyota and they denied a problem. Needless to SAY I'll never buy another Toyota. They have a problem with the drive by wire accelerator. I was fortunate that I didn't kill someone or myself but I was injured. I complained to Toyota case# 2008121 at 1-800-331-4331 and I am filling a complaint with the National Traffic Safety Administration 1-888-327-4236. I purchased the van used from Hertz car rental and I filed with them also. My husband said that he believes the car at wide open throttled does not have any vaccum to power the brakes. Normally gas engines at wide open don't have vaccum but we don't know if the newer cars have the same vaccum boost as the older cars do. We contacted an attorney but he said since nobody was killed, I probably wouldn't win. I don't have the money to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees. Someone should start a class action suit for all involved.
  • Harold,I shuttered when I read your post because it brought back the nightmare of my similar experience with my '92 Lexus (story is posted on this website). I went through all the motions you did--filing with the NTSA, contacting Lexus corporate headquarters in Calif. which eventually sent their "expert" who found NO problems!, spending countless hours of writing, e-mailing, phone calls but to no avail. The problem is that the cause is INTERMITTENT and supposedly cannot be pinpointed unless the conditions duplicate itself. On the first occasion, the car accelerated unexpectedly and uncontrollably while my husband was backing up in the driveway...he stopped it in time before plowing into the garage. A month later, the car did it again while I was backing up into another person's driveway. Although I quickly slammed on the brakes with all my force, I didn't stop in time before hitting a parked car in the driveway (and nearly missing the person's brick house!) Because Lexus would not admit to any wrongdoing and because the problem could not be found, I was charged with the accident and am still paying a higher insurance premium because of it. While other readers may try to reason that I was at fault (wore no heels, mat was fine, clear, sunny day, etc.), I KNOW in my heart that this was a malfunction of the car itself. This was my ONLY accident after 40 years of unblemished driving. I only pray someday that the public is made aware of the truth, and that victims such as you and I are vindicated. I, too, did not have the money to pursue this legally and I am so thankful my grandson who was buckled in the car was not hurt. However, from reading other accounts, there are those who were injured or killed as a result of this sudden, uncontrolled acceleration. I believe the "powers at be" at Toyota, Lexus, etc. KNOW the problem but will never admit to any wrong-doing because of $$$$.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the car at wide open throttled does not have any vaccum to power the brakes

    This doesn't seem right to me. The systems are separate. The brakes are hydraulic - you push fluid, it's not brake-by-wire.

    Even if you lost power assist you'd have some braking power.
  • Hi Harold27,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your accident. My accident was almost a year ago on 2/14/08 (my 2006 Toyota Sienna van drove up my driveway by itself while it was still in Park with the engine running, hit me and compressed me at the hips between the van hood and my half open garage door). I still have my van because Toyota refused to do anything about it and we cannot afford to replace it at this time. I do not leave it running while in Park anymore, but I am still leary about driving it, especially when I hear about accidents such as yours. I can hardly wait until we can by a new vehicle...and it definitely will not be a Toyota.
    Thank the Lord you were not seriously hurt in your accident and you did not hurt anyone else.

    If anyone knows of a reliable van to replace my Toyota Sienna with, please let me know.
  • billyendobillyendo Posts: 1
    2006 Toyota 4Runner
    I just had an accident. From a side road, I was attempting to cross two lanes of traffic into a third lane. I did not see a vehicle in the third lane and pulled in between the two stopped lanes of traffic to make a right hand turn. I struck a vehicle that I did not see that was travelling in the third lane. Once the vehicle was struck it began to accelerate and the brakes would not work. It jumped the curb. I made a conscious decision to turn into a 30 foot cement wall, going 20-30 mph (I'm guessing since I did not look at the accelerator) to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was totalled. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The only part I am a little uncertain about is whether the uncontrolled acceleration and loss of brakes occurred prior to, or after, jumping the curb.
  • This may not sound correct but it has, unfortunately, been documented time and time again all over the US.
    For us when our Sienna surged both myself and my husband checked to ensure that the break was the pedal being used. I was depressing the break as hard as possible and the only way to stop the vehicle as it pushed another car that was parked was to turn the ignition off.
    And in our case Toyota (again) claimed they had never heard of this from an owner before.
  • bertha06bertha06 Posts: 15
    Same thing happened to me in my 2006 Toyota van. When this happened, the police, my ins co,, everyone assumes it was my fault. The truth is, I was applying the brake, but the van accelerated instead. I took my foot off and reapplied the brake 3 times. The third time I pushed as hard as I could, but the van accelerated faster and faster. There was a car in front of me, concrete wall on the right, no room to pass, so I went over a median strip on the right, and wound up hitting a concrete wall on the other side. My van was totaled. I have since read in the owner's manual that it has an Event Data Recorder that should show what happened, if the brake pedal was applied, how fast the vehicle was going, etc. Now I am having trouble getting anyone to access the information. Toyota sent someone to inspect the vehicle, and they say the brake system operated as designed. Does not say how they came to this conclusion, since the van was totaled. I think it is a computer problem that is causing this to happen, and I think the Event Data Recorder would show this. Has anyone else that this has happened to had access to the Event Data Recorder, or are your vehicles equipped with one? Mine says in the owner's manual that it does have one.
  • khanectionkhanection Posts: 18
    i am super close to buying a new 2010 Sienna but after reading this thread have put my horses on hold... should i just opt for the Odyssey? They are basically the same but i prefer the look of Sienna; Odyssey is boxy.

    Or is someone sure this uncontrolled acceleration has been resolved in later models?

    Please advise.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The brakes have seperate hydraulic lines - they work even when the vehicle is turned off.

    They're not by-wire, so I don't see how there would be any connection to the accelerator.

    You sure your foot didn't just slip? Also, how did you have enough time to apply the brakes 3 different times, in the middle of all that panic?

    It just seems impossible. The hit the brake pedal and it pushes fluid through the brake lines, which apply pressure on the brake calipers, even without power assist this still works.

    You hit the brakes, which are not by-wire, and that floored the accelerator, and at the same time the brake system failed completely, even though the two systems are not inter-connected?

    It just seems like a loose floor mat getting stuck in the accelerator is more likely to cause something like that.
  • bertha06bertha06 Posts: 15
    At the time this all started, I had time. I was coming down a hill and saw the car ahead. I knew there was a 4 way stop ahead that the car in front of me, as well as myself, would have to stop for. I applied my brake to slow down, nothing happened, then the vehicle accelerated. I don't know about hydraulic lines and all that, but I do know what happened to me. Are you a Toyota mechanic, do you know all about the computers? I think in this world of computers, anything can happen. You will believe it if it happens to you.
    Does anyone know anything about the Event Data Recorder that some of these vans are equipped with, and how to access the information they contain? They are supposed to record lots of information when an accident happens, so why aren't they being looked at?
  • bertha06bertha06 Posts: 15
    I'm sure if you asked Toyota, they would say there never was a problem, but all of us that have posted what happened to us, know better. I myself would never ever consider buying another Toyota product, which, by the way, Lexus is. I noticed someone in an earlier post had a similar problem with a Lexus. Before I bought my Sienna, (new, I was the only owner) I looked at Consumer Reports, etc. I decided that Toyota and Honda minivans appeared to have the best ratings, and decided on the Toyota. That will never happen again. Good luck with whatever you choose.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm not a professional mechanic but I have bled the brakes. Pretty standard.
  • bertha06bertha06 Posts: 15
    I think this is more of a computer problem than an actual brake problem. This is a quote from my owner's manual under the section titled EVENT DATA RECORDER:

    "Your vehicle has computers that monitor and control certain aspects of your vehicle. These computers assist in driving and maintaining optimal vehicle performance. Besides storing data useful for troubleshooting, there is a system to record data in a crash or a near car crash event. This is called an Event Data Recorder (EDR).
    The SRS airbag sensor assembly contains the EDR. In a crash or a near car crash event, this device may record some or all of the following information:
    Engine speed
    Whether the brake pedal was applied or not
    Vehicle speed
    To what extent the accelerator pedal was depressed
    Position of the transmission selector lever
    Whether the driver and front passenger wore the seat belts or not
    Driver's seat position
    Front passenger's occupant classification
    SRS airbag deployment data"

    This is the end of my quote from the owner's manual, however, it does go on to say there may be another EDR if your vehicle is equipped with a vehicle stability control system, which mine was, that contains even more info about how the vehicle was acting.
    Toyota sent someone out to inspect my totalled vehicle. I assumed they would check this info as part of their inspection, but I was wrong. As soon as I called and started asking questions about this, they got the report out that very day, the report which said basically nothing, and got the vehicle released so it could be sold, which it was immediately. Again, when many of the newer Toyotas are equipped with this EDR, why aren't they accessing this information, or are they and they don't want us to know the results. I feel that these EDRs, if they do in fact contain all the info the owner's manual says they do, would tell what really did happen in the case of many of the problems people have posted on this message board, including the vehicle accelerating even though the brake is being depressed, as in my case, and also all the people that have experienced their vehicles moving after they have put them in park and gotten out of them. This is the really frustrating part to me, knowing the information was there and nobody would look at it, so then what, we get blamed for the accident, if we are lucky enough to survive it, and then get higher insurance premiums or worse. I hope someone else that this happens to can get someone to access the information in the EDR.
  • On April 9 2009 I had just turned onto a side street going approx 5-6 MPH when a car ran a stop sign hitting my 2005 Sienna XLE on the rear door/back wheel area on driver's side pushing my angle slightly to the left. My van immediately went into a full acceleration ramming into a car (going in opposite direction) waiting for a red light,all the time with the engine reving. My van actually pushed this stopped vehicle sideways into the curb (only a matter of feet). At the time of impact I saw a brief puff of either dust or smoke so I was going to let van inch back off the hit vehicle before putting into park. While shifting the van with engine still reving van shot backward across a curb, hit a boulder and then into a palm tree. Only then did the engine subside.. All this took place in a MATTER OF SECONDS. The entire time I was going backward I repeatedly hit the brakes to no avail.
    I filed a report with Toyota (case #0904117041) and with NHTSA (confirmation #10265288). As with other cases, Toyota sent a technician to inspect van,, said no problem found. Sent to me what appeared to be a "form" letter referencing my "pulling into a parking space" which was not the case at all. NHTSA has never corresponded with me since taking the original report.
    There was no way that I would have ever gotten behind the wheel of this Sienna
    again. Just thankful no one else was involved. DO NOT BUY TOYOTA!!!!
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