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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2004+)



  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    One or both of the struts are leaking or low on pressure. This is noticed more when it is cold and the pressure is further reduced. If the strut is not strong enough the door will start to drop a little on its own and this will in turn trigger the power door. I would have the dealer check the struts and replace them if they are not strong enough.

  • My van had that rotten egg smell twice last month while on the same tank of gas, which was from a station I had never used before. Research pointed out that in some cases it could be as simple as the gas that was used. I started going to a different brand of gas station and haven't had the problem since (over 1,000 miles later).
  • I live in Pittsburgh and have a 2004 LE FWD. I had the most harrowing driving experience of my life a few nights ago when I left a friend's for the 10-mile ride home just as it began to snow. The Sienna had NO traction on even the smallest incline! The traction control kicked in and did little or nothing. It was a miracle that I got within a mile of home, then abandoned the van and walked the rest of the way. :cry:

    I've lived in Syracuse and Ithaca, NY -- places with plenty of snow and hills -- and never had such a horrible experience with no traction. Has anyone else experienced this? Will snow tires correct the problem? Or do I need to get an AWD? PLEASE ADVISE!

  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I put very little, if any, faith in any all season tires. All season tires are compromises at best, that provides adequate traction in dry, rain, snow, and let's not even mention ice. Summer tires are the best in rain and dry, and winter tires in snow and ice. I have a 04 XLE LTD fwd, but bought a set of winter tires (Blizzak ws-50) mounted on steel rims for about $500 from the tirerack. My wife is the primary driver so went with the most aggressive winter tires just short of studded, but there are other options.

    We did just fine last winter in a few inches of snow and it feels like driving in rain. The traction control rarely comes on while driving in slushes and packed snows. Ice obviously is more challenging, but with a bit of common sense and good set of winter tires, we get around fine.

    By the way, I HATED the washboard surface-like ride quality in the AWD, especially in the back seats. One ride in it was enough for both of us and a friend who rode along. Try the winter tire route before spending thousands on a new car.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    that in the majority of cases the best solution is snow chains. Snow chains on the drive, front, wheels of FWD or front torque biased AWD vehicles can be VERY hazardous.

    My 2001 AWD RX300, definite front biasing, runs year 'round on nice quiet and comfortable summer tires and gets rear chains first and then fronts are added if/when necessary.

    Remember that on non-adverse roadbed conditions, dry or just wet, winter tires will have much lower roadbed traction than summer tires. So if in your area adverse roadbed conditions are the exception rather than the rule winter tires will be putting your life at more risk than just using summer tires continually.

    But be quick, NEVER hesitate, to install those snow chains the instant you encounter adverse roadbed conditions. And with FWD, chains or no, be extra careful when slowing or braking, especially downhill.

    And remember AAA's recommendation, shift quickly into neutral when slowing or braking if traction is low or threatened. ABS can prevent the front brakes from resulting in loss of directional control but can do NOTHING to reduce front braking due to engine compression.
  • Hi,
    Not sure what stock tires you have.
    Solutions - From easy to hard.
    1. Best all seasons with good snow traction.
    1a) GY assurance Triple Tread.
    1b) Yokohoma AVID TRZ.
    2. Nokian WR - all season with "winter tires ratings"
    3. Winter only tires on a new set of rims.
    4. AWD with winter tires.
    5. Snow chains will be my very last option.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Hmmm, I am pretty certain that driving with chains is illegal in most areas unless there's so much snow on the ground, etc. as it will chew up the road surface. Also, on the icy road, snow chain will not do much good, or anything else for that matter, short of studded tires. I do agree that chain is great in deep/packed snow.

    The soft compound summer tire will harden and have a consistency of brick near freezing temp. Tires like Blizzak WS-50 has tread design that help on surface with water (water over ice) according to's description. I'd personally feel more comfortable in a good set of winter tires than summers in the cold weather.

    I used to not bother with dedicated winter tires, but living in Germany for a few years forced (required from Nov to March) me to use them on my 5-series and have not looked back once I saw how much better it was.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    I would consider 4 winter tires for Pittsburg - kinda hilly, and AWD will not help you going down those hills. About $650 at tire rack mounted and balanced on 4 new steel rims with 4 hubcaps and delivered to your door. Just bought mine a couple of weeks ago for my new Sienna. I drove through a blizzard with these (40 mph winds and heavy snow) and while I had to go slowly because of visablity I never felt like the car was anything but planted to the road.

    With 4 snows you save wear and tear on your alloy wheels and your summer tires last longer. Getting through 1 harrowing experience can be worth the price. Your vehicle will be able to stop and turn (assuming you don't stand on the gas around the corner) better than an AWD that has the standard tires.

    I was sold years ago when I test drove an Outback in a snowstorm after driving there in my Integra (with 4 snows). The Integra felt much better in the snow.

    I have two year old all seasons on my Odyssey and got caught before changing the tires this year. It took me 4 tries to find a hill I could make it up to get accross town. Changed the tires that afternoon (this was to snow tires that are on their 6th season) and had no problems getting around at all - even though more snow had fallen.

  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 839
    I live in the Pittsburgh area also, and I highly recommend an extra set of winter tires (with rims for convenience). I have four Blizzak WS-50's on my 2004 Sienna. Not only do they dramatically improve traction, but braking ability as well. Your only problem may be finding a set this time of year. Winter tires--Blizzaks in particular--have become increasingly popular, and can be hard to find after Thanksgiving. Try the TireRack first.

    (IMO, 'All-Season Tires' are inappropriately named, unless you live in the sun belt).
  • zebra5zebra5 Posts: 44
    My wife has concerns with some cars' proximity to the steering wheel and the airbag. Does the telescoping wheel on the Sienna help distance the air bag from the driver, particularly shorter drivers? Also, would buying the optional 6 way power driver seat give the driver the ability to further distance themselves from the steering wheel and air bag?

    Also, doesn't it stand to reason that for 2nd row passengers, a 7 passenger LE model gives them a inch or so more distance from a side impact collision than the 8 passenger model? I don't think the crash tests have spoken to different data on those two models, have they?
  • About 2 months ago I go to check the cabin air filter, the one behind the glove box-there was a frame but no filter. So I called the dealer-guy says just bring in the van. Next week I do just that, different guy(not the one I spoke to on the phone) has not a clue-says bring it back when the guy I spoke to on the phone is in. Few weeks later, call and ask for the first guy, he's in, says bring it in next day as he'll be there. I do that, he sees no cabin air filter, goes to parts dept, after about 30 minutes, locates part-than says I have to pay for it. Parts guy says some siennas have it some don't-he doesn't know why. Being tired of this whole thing, I pay the 20 bucks, and write a letter to the dealership - I enclose a copy of the receipt, a copy from the 2004 sienna brochure, showing clearly this van should have a filter. Hopefully I'll hear from them soon.
    I know, should have been more forceful, but it was a few days before christmas, and I was just tired. Anyway long story short-if you own a 2004 sienna ce, you may want to check if your cabin air filter is there. Happy Holidays!
  • Based on everyone's advice and other research I did, I went to TireRack and bought 4 Michelin X-Ice tires mounted on alloy wheels. The sales rep assured me that if my husband could change a tire, there would be no problem with installation.

    Three days and many frustrating hours later, the tires are still not on (and it's snowing today!). The problem seems to be that the wheels come with something called a "centering ring" that is necessary, but with it, my husband cannot get the wheels on. He called two garages this morning, both of whom had never heard of a centering ring. TireRack has been closed several days for the holiday. Has anyone else come across this problem?

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    I just put 4 x-ice on my Sienna and did not need a centering ring. I did not get alloy wheels though - just steelies. I did have to use different lug nuts, but they were included in the package.

    Wish I could be more help. What does the centering ring look like?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    SOP these days for alloy wheels.

    Provided the centering rings are correct for you car it takes a bit more "feel" and dexterity but otherwise they should go on as easily as changing a tire.
  • We re-measured the centering rings today and after a few conversations with TireRack :mad: confirmed that they sent us the wrong size rings. I still don't understand, though, why they didn't sell us wheels that actually fit the car... the centering rings are PLASTIC. That makes me a little nervous.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Surprised about the plastic but in point of fact once the lug nuts are tightened they are useless.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    The lug nuts are useless? :confuse:
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    You can also use for anything with a headphone jack - tape, cd, DVD (no picture). Nice feature.
  • Does anyone have problems seeing out the front right A-pillar on the new Sienna? The pillar is wide, but not much wider than other minivans, but it seems the position of it relative to the drivers seat blocks oncoming perpindicular traffic from the right quite severely. Without moving your head forward to see around it, you can miss an approaching car until it appears in the windshield. If the approaching car entered the blind spot before you enter an intersection, it can remain in that wide blind spot as you roll forward into the intersection. Any mishaps or near misses for anyone?
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,426
    I have no problem with it - non issue for me. May depending on seat height/posiotion.
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