Step 1: Introduction
Toyota Sequoia Rear Hatch Issues:
I own a 2003 Sequoia that I bought new. A couple of months ago, I experienced a failure of the drivers side inside door handle. I took it to the Toyota repair shop and it cost almost $300 to fix the cheapo plastic lever that opens a very heavy driver's side door. I was in a hurry and we had company, so I did not have time to try to troubleshoot this problem myself at the time. So, I was at the mercy of the dreaded Toyota Service Department.
I was moderately upset with the $200 in parts and $95 per hour labor fee. This apparently is a very common type of failure on this vehicle and is definitely a safety problem that should be a recall item. When this lever fails, you CANNOT get out of the vehicle on the drivers side. Very dangerous unsafe situation. I'm surprised that Toyota has not issued a recall to replace the poorly designed door handle.
Then without warning, a few days ago, the rear door latch quit working. I could NOT get the rear door latch to engage the "U" shaped connection on top of the rear bumper. Had to drive home with the rear door open, vibrating and clanging up and down with every bump and irregularity in the highway. Choking on exhaust fumes.
Do not waste any time getting this fixed when it happens to you. And don't try to slam the rear door closed or you will break the latch or even bend the "U" shaped thing on the bumper below that engages this latch!
Never sit in the car unless you are moving with all the windows and the moon roof open. Don't drive in this dangerous condition with passengers, especially young children of infants. Carbon monoxide could fill the cabin and you will get a nice long dirt nap.
Turns out that this rear latch failure problem is ALSO a very big problem. Looking in the Sequoia owners forum, there are over 15,500 hits on a topic dealing with inoperable rear door latches on Sequoias. Another good reason for a recall on safety issues if you ask me.
A kid or the groceries could fall out of the back of the vehicle if the door can't be closed. Dangerous as hell. Plus, you cannot turn the alarm on when the rear hatch is not closed. Poor design and very poor materials.
So, it was with some trepidation that I once again drove on over to the Toyota dealer for an estimate. The service guy told me that he never saw one of these latches broken before. In his next breath, he tells me that when the door latch mechanism breaks, you usually have to replace the windshield wiper and rear window opening mechanisms as well... Must have had "STUPID" stamped on my forehead that day.
Sooooo, he just said he never saw one of these break before... but he is sure that I will have to replace everything but the transmission to get my door to work again. The cost would be between $890 and $1150, so much for parts and so much for labor at a whopping $95 per hour.
I don't think so.