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2005 Toyota Sienna Frozen Doors and Lemons

I have a 2005 Toyota Sienna and have suffered from frozen sliding doors since purchasing it. I live at 9,100 feet in Colorado. The doors freeze, can not be latched again, and in the case of the auto-slider can begin opening when they thaw - particularly dangerous when you are driving.

I originally filed with Toyota in '05 about this design flaw and was issued a case number. Toyota service - being unable to duplicate the problem - will not help. I try to explain that I live 70 miles away during which time the vehicle heats enough to thaw and release the door.

Strangely, the original case number disappeared after two months.

Last week, during a cold spell, the door handle snapped right off in my hand. I contacted Toyota and asked for another case number. I received a call from Stevenson Toyota, in Denver, and was told Toyota will not make the repair out-of-warranty.

Here’s the rub. Toyota denies - FLATLY DENIES -having any knowledge that frozen doors are a problem or safety issue. They adamantly claim they have NEVER heard of this. Ever. I suggested the do an internet search - including the website “” to learn.

If you have had this issue with your vehicle, please contact me. I would like Toyota to become responsible for a very obvious design flaw. Strength in numbers.

Please contact "litfotomatt at gmail dot com.

I’m sure Toyota has heard of this before, if not where you live, certainly up here on the frozen north.

One way to prevent (at least minimize it) the freezing is to apply a dry silicone to the weatherstripping. Wipe the rubber clean with alcohol first.

Make sure the electrical contacts on the doors and posts are clean too, as well as the roller tracks.

It’s not a design flaw at all. The car is going on 6 years old and weatherstripping will harden and stick; especially during cold weather extremes.

Roadrunner has given you good advice about what to do and the only thing I will add is that you not yank the door handles when the door sticks.

This kind of problem exists with many other vehicles and when I worked for car dealers we mechanics used to PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) new vehicles during slow spells or on Saturday mornings. (Boring job for a tech, but easy money)

While the procedure was not part of the factory recommended PDI, we used to always go over all of the weatherstripping with silicone lube to assure this kind of problem did not crop up anytime during the first few years of car ownership.

Hello - thank you both for your comments. However, this is, in fact, a design flaw. First, let me clarify that this problem began immediately after receiving the vehicle in Feb. 05. This is not a matter of old weatherstripping, or other weatherstripping issues. Actually, the addition of weatherstripping in the door design might have alleviated this. Instead, there is an open track. This track allows snow and water into an area where the rear of the door meets the body. Snow and water then freezes the two surfaces together, creating the issue. The problem is exacerbated when an attempt is made to open the door. It will unlatch, but not open, thereby triggering the open door warning. More dangerous, in many instances it will not latch again. When the vehicle warms up to a point of thaw, the door can begin opening while you are driving.

Toyota is aware of this problem and issued a service bulletin. They repaired it last year for me, but it continues to be a problem. I agree that the design of the door is partly to blame. I am so mad about not being able to get in my car some days I am beside myself. The dealership won’t touch it without a new case number. This would be number 2. This has been a problem since the car was about 2 or 3 years old. Age is not a factor as the seals were already replaced once. This particular problem will determ me from buying another Sienna.

hi…thanks for your reply. i have not found this to be the case (toyota issuing a service bulletin). in every instance (i have had) toyota has denied any knowledge of an issue.

given today’s announced massive (MASSIVE) recall, we can all be assured this issue is never going to be addressed.

very upset with the broken door handle and will not spend the $500 it will cost to repair.

will not be buying from toyota ever again.

The prevailing wisom on this board is that Toyotas don’t break, wear out, gleam with a heavenly glow, and anyone who suffers a failure must own the one mutant that was produced.
Not my opinion, but…

I will add that a door can freeze on anything depending on the conditions; and even on a new car.
Buy a tube of silicone based grease, wipe the rubber weatherstrips down with that, and see if they stick anymore.