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Toyota Sienna Power Rear Hatch
Just a little background: Last year (first year of ownership) the hatch closed on me and would not retract. And, I was pushing back on this thing by arching my back. I'm not sure how I got out from under it but I did. It pretty much freaked me out. It was cold, and there was snow on the van. There was also an ice damn in the gap at the top of the door. I originally attributed my incident to this ice damn. (BTW - Chryslers don't have this problem because they have a piece of plastic attached to the door that prevents ice from getting into this opening.)
Over the summer I found this website and began reading about this same problem of the hatch closing on people.
I continued to test my hatch on occasion from then on. It worked just fine until today.
Today the temperature dropped to 33 degrees farenheit. It was a clear day. There was no snow.
Sure enough, that thing would not retract when I pulled back on it. It closed - even though I began applying upward pressure while it was still 90% open. If I had been between the closing hatch and bumper, I could have been badly hurt. If my children were there, it could have been worse.
I am pretty well convinced that whatever is being used as a sensor in the door mechanism loses sensitivity during freezing temperatures.
I'm making a WAG here by suggesting that the reason that it can't be replicated at the service centers is because the car has warmed up enough by the time it gets there, or when it is worked on in a heated garage, the sensor then begins to work correctly because it is now "warm".
Each time I've had the problem, my car was stone cold. It sat out overnight in my drive way. The engine had not even been started. I was using my rear hatch to load/unload the van only.
Not sure what I want to accomplish by this other than to let people know of this possible problem.
I'm going to continue to monitor my hatch.