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December 13, 2010

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. announced that the company is recalling 94,000 model year 2011 Sienna Minivans due to a defect that could affect the vehicle’s brakes.

This recall only applies to 2011 Sienna Minivans produced before early November 2010.

This voluntary recall addresses a design problem with the Sienna’s stop lamp switch bracket, which illuminates the brake lights by signaling that the brake pedal is depressed. The stop lamp switch bracket is located on the left side of the brake pedal support assembly.

Because of the bracket’s close proximity to the parking brake pedal, a driver’s foot may deform the stop lamp switch bracket during normal engagement of the parking brake. Minor deformation could cause the brake light to remain illuminated or if deformation of this bracket is significant, could cause partial engagement of the brakes resulting in brake drag.

“Depending on the amount of stop lamp switch bracket deformation, drivers may notice the rear brake lights remaining “ON” and/or the brakes remaining slightly applied, resulting in brake drag with associated brake noise, brake vibration and/or illumination of the brake warning light,” the manufacturer advised.

If a driver fails to notice this brake drag condition and continues to drive the vehicle, it may reduce the effectiveness of the brakes.

Toyota will notify owners of effected 2011 Sienna Minivans of the recall in January 2011 however, replacement parts to repair the defect will not be available until late February 2011. In the meantime, Toyota will provide Sienna owners with instructions on how to avoid damaging the stop lamp switch bracket while engaging the parking brake and what to do if they experience this condition.

“Toyota dealers will replace the bracket assembly, which includes the stop lamp switch bracket, with a new one that has been redesigned to take into account the proximity of the component to the parking brake pedal,” Toyota said in a release.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to release an official recall notification.

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