The company says that the affected vehicles, from model years 2004-2005 and 2007-2009, have a defect which could allow someone to move the gearshift selector out of the “Park” position without pressing the brake pedal.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, “If the shift lever is moved out of the Park position without the brake applied, the transmission will either engage a drive gear or Neutral, increasing the risk of a backover or roll away crash.”
According to USA Today, Toyota is stressing that the selector cannot shift out of “Park” on its own. The company says the issue only occurs when someone physically moves the selector.
Cindy Knight, a spokesperson for Toyota, tells The Detroit News that the company knows of 21 minor accidents in the United States that are related to the recall. Two of them involved minor injuries. Toyota also informs The Detroit News that the same shift selector assembly is used in 2006-2009 Lexus RXs. However, no problems with that vehicle have been reported.
The affected part is called the shift lock solenoid. Toyota will contact all known owners by mail, but if you bought a used Sienna, you may have to check for yourself to see if your model is affected. Go to www.toyota.com/recall and type in your minivan’s VIN to find out.
In the market for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.