Much of the Scion community already knows that defective rear hatch handles are an extremely common problem amongst our vehicles. Most effected models are tC and XB years 2005-2011. Scion is well aware of this issue and although they discretely admit to it being flawed, they will not recall because they claim this piece is an exterior garnish and by itself does not pose any safety hazards. However, I am here today to help force a recall and inform others that because this faulty part has not been addressed properly, unsatisfied Scion owners are taking matters into their own hands and are at an increased chance of being involved in an accident, are at risk of fumes entering their vehicle, and can become trapped if involved in an event that left their side doors inoperable.
The vehicles rear hatch handle has a design flaw which makes the part fail. The rear hatch handle is fastened to the trunk/hatch with plastic clips. When the release button for the hatch is pressed, it only unlocks the hatch door. It does not spring upward like other vehicles. In the manual it shows to hold the release button and lift with the hatch handle. Because there are no springs to help lift it applies lots of pressure to the clips which weaken them. Eventually, they just snap. They are also known for snapping when the hatch is locked, in cold weather, and there are even reports of the release button melting.
Replacement costs for this particular piece from the dealer is $170 for the handle and upward $200+ for labor. This price does not guarantee a permanent fix. This is the cost for the same faulty part. Because Scion owners are aware of this, many have resorted to their own means of fixing which is where the safety issues arise.
One common repair is duct-tape. Duct-tape as a "fix" covers the main rear brake light which puts those in the vehicle at a greater risk for an accident according to FMVSS No. 108. This "fix" not only puts Scion owners at risk, it puts other motor vehicles at risk. The purpose of this standard is to reduce traffic accidents and deaths and injuries resulting from traffic accidents, by providing adequate illumination of the roadway, and by enhancing the conspicuity of motor vehicles on the public roads so that their presence is perceived and their signals understood, both in daylight and in darkness or other conditions of reduced visibility.
Another problem develops when the hatch handle is completely removed after failing. There are holes for the clips which are left open if this piece is not attached. These holes can allow exhaust and other emissions into the vehicle.
Lastly, there is a possibility of becoming trapped in the vehicle. If there were an accident that left the side doors inoperable and the person(s) in the vehicle were able to exit safely through the hatch, they are unable to do so. This vehicle is not equipped with any type of manual release (which is not required by law). However, rescuers cannot open the hatch from the outside either. This is because when this defective part breaks off, it leaves the dangling release button. Consumers are capping the wires so it doesn't rip off while driving. There is now no way to exit the vehicle.
Scion calls this part an exterior garnish which implies it is for decorative purposes only and is not covered by warranty, but it is not just for looking at. This piece is a housing compartment for some vital components. Because Scion knows about this, they should be held liable for putting their consumers at risk. Sign the petition to Recall Scion Defective Rear Hatch Handles and improve our safety.
Thank you for your time and support.
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Please Call: The Scion Customer Experience Representative at 1-866-70-SCION and make a complaint about the hatch handle. Tell them you want this issue investigated.
There is also a class action lawsuit that was recently filed:
You may submit your information to them and you will be entered into their database.