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Toyota Sienna Brakes



  • My front brake problem is finally gone. My front pads weared down after 2000 miles driving from the dealer's front brake job. The dealer offered to replace my front brake pads for free and replace my front rotors at $70 each (discounted rate). I believe the front rotors were resurfaced too much which cause the calipers to be over extended and locks sometimes . I did not have to replace the front calipers or any brake lines. After another 4000 miles of driving, my front brakes is still at 9mm and this is a good sign. My suggestion for those who wants to do front brake jobs, just replace the rotors instead of resurfacing them. My 2001 sienna has 194900 and the next project is to replace the rear and front shocks or struts. Not sure what my van has and I'm thinking to replace just the rear for now to save money.
  • If you Google "bleed abs brakes" you'll find that the ABS side of the brake system can be bled. I don't know how that specifically applies to your 99 Sienna. Some systems require the connection of a diagnostic tool to the OBDII port to cycle the ABS controller during the bleeding process. You might be able to download just the section of the Sienna service manual that details brake service.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My 93 Miata has a slave clyinder that failed, I had to rebuild that.

    I'm not even sure if your 99 Sienna has one, but there may be other parts of the system you haven't looked at yet.

    Do you have a shop manual for it?
  • ckirkckirk Posts: 17
    I have experienced brake failure with 2004 xle awd. With no for-certain previous brake issues, in Nov, on totally dry street, was at 15-20mph when neighborhood dog strolled in front of us. I pressed brake progressively harder as the van barely slowed and the dog waddled just out of the way as we stopped just past him/her with brake pedal now to the floor.
    I had had an experience last winter on the freeway when I slammed on the brakes to avoid pile-up and the van seemed to be slowing gradually. I hadn't noticed ABS pulsing and wondered at the time if the brakes were working properly. I'm not sure about last years event, but the dog was for certain brake failure. Dealer said he couldn't duplicate failure and all was well with pads, etc;
    I've searched internet and have found linea's experience to be closest to mine. Any one else?
  • I also have a 1999 Sienna, and I am experiencing similar problems. Sometimes when I press the brake it doesn't seem to go down as far as it should and it makes sort of a whirring noise. When this happens, I cannot stop quickly. Sometimes it happens when the streets are wet or icy or when I am going downhill, but sometimes it happens for no apparent reason. It feels as though the brakes are locking up. Once I had to put the car into neutral to avoid hitting the car in front of me at a stop sign. I took it to a tire and brake shop, and they said the ABS brakes are activating when they shouldn't (but no light is coming on). They wouldn't fix it because they said something about the computer needing reset. As others have noted, I too have spent more money on brakes for this van than for any other car I have ever owned. The car has over 220K miles and we have owned it for about four years. Does this sound familiar to anyone? The repair shop told me it was fine to drive, but it does not seem to be fine when I cannot come to a stop when I need to.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm assuming a reputable mechanic has bled the entire system and there's no air in the lines?

    Also, do you have the original brake master cylinder? I wonder if that's still OK.

    220k miles - wow, all bets are off at that age. I'd be happy to have a van with that many miles on it on the road! ;)
  • jeffstjeffst Posts: 1
    I've had a similar experience and just filed a complaint with the NHTSA. You should do the same if you haven't already done so.

    I have a 2005 Sienna XLE. It happened just last week, once to my wife and once to me while trying to stop at an intersection. The road was not slick. I pressed the pedal as hard as possible. No ABS pulsing occurred. The pedal did not sink to the floor despite the amount of pressing. I also tried pumping the brakes as I slowwwly came to a halt.

    The brakes have otherwise worked fine. Since the problem is intermittent, my mechanic is having problems diagnosing the problem. He thinks it may be a vacuum issue. Have you had a diagnosis yet?

    This is pretty scary.
  • rlelinarlelina Posts: 6
    I assume a Toyota dealer would do a free diagnostic for a safety critical issue like this. We have a 2002 Sienna and just a little over a year ago, the ABS light started coming on intermittently and eventually stayed on. My wife took it to the dealer and that said the ABS computer needs to be replaced -- $2000 just for the part.
  • jprocjproc Posts: 133
    Perhaps 5-6 times in the past 4-5 months I'll be pulling into a parking spot and the wheel will freeze up.I'm only doing a few mph but the wheel will start gyrating and it feels like the brakes are freezing up.Any ideas?
  • jim374jim374 Posts: 1
    Hello, i have this same problem. im hoping you found out what the problem was and your willing to share with me. i have done everything to fix this problem, new booster, new master cylinder, front calipers, rear as well. and bleed the brakes time and time again, please let me know if you fixed this problem. you can email me at thank you
  • buyer777buyer777 Posts: 70
    On another matter, when did you change your timing belt on the 2001 Sienna. I still have original belt, but only have 70,000 miles on car. Is it a pure mileage issue or does "years" count?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd change it at 10 years.

    Just like old tires that still may have some tread left, you're better safe than sorry.
  • knang8888knang8888 Posts: 13
    ke problems was to replace the rotors. I still think that I need to replace my caliper someday. In the meantime, the locking problem is gone. My self analysis on the problem was that the rotors were worn out to a threshold point that the calipers are not releasing properly even though my rotors are within MFR specs. I did not have to replace boosters, master cylinder, calipers or brake lines. Good luck on your repair!
  • waymondwwaymondw Posts: 2
    I took my car to my personal mechanic to get all the work done. He did the same things you did except the master cylinder as that was going to be an expensive repair. My mechanic approached a mechanic friend of his at the local Toyota Dealer. He got him to look through the entire system and couldn't find anything wrong. Needless to say, it was disappointing but I got the van back and continued to drive it. Doesn't seem like the problem has come back but I'm still not entirely comfortable that the problem was addressed properly. Sorry, don't think this is much help.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Make sure you bleed the brakes and maybe have them cleaned up every few years or so. They get filthy.

    Even at 60k miles I've seen brakes that were caked with black brake dust, a total mess.

    I also had to buy a rebuilt rear caliper on my Miata, though it was old at the time it only had 70k miles or so.

    They should be clean and well lubricated so they move freely.
  • audit2000audit2000 Posts: 3
    Does anyone has a problem with the brake on 2010 sienna? It seem like the brake take about 1 or 2 second before it is finally engage if I brake normally. If I brake hard then it is stop very good but if I brake slightly by press the brake normally then it is not doing good job to stop it. Dealer could not find any wrong with it. dealer let me test drive 2011 and the brake on the model work good as the break I have on Kia Rondo and Chevy Impala. I called Toyota company and they told me go to another dealer to ask for second opinion. I told them about the brake on 2011 model. They said my van has 7K mileage, the one I tested drive is new van. I told them my van is still new. I want to know if anyone out there has the same problem with the brake. What is my option beside report this problem to government?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My brakes (2007 LE) don't behave any different than my other cars.

    I'd have the system bled to make sure there are no air bubbles in the brake lines.

    It is a heavy vehicle, so give yourself plenty of space to stop, also.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    The brakes on my Sienna 2005 felt mushy since the day one. Quite many other people reported the same feeling. The dealer said that is how it is, but this is something every dealer always says. However, as in your case, whenever we needed to brake hard, it did the job very well, so we just stopped worrying.

    Actually I am much more irritated by a very rapid wear of both front and rear pads, I have to change them every 10-15k miles in a mostly "suburban" driving, and as far as I could gather, this is also pretty typical for Sienna. I think maybe its Camry-like brakes are just inadequate for a minivan. Or maybe this is the electronic brake distribution thing, like with newer Honda Accords. This second hypothesis might explain why not everybody experienced this (not all Siennas were equipped with this option back then). Anyway, can't wait to see the reports about brakes of a next generation Sienna.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That seem too frequent - I'm on my original pads at 30k miles, and they have plenty of life left in them.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Yeah, so you are one of those who, as I mentioned, were more lucky. Or maybe you just do more highway? The dearer told me, my wife is too aggressive a driver, and I nagged her with that, but the truth is, we both are very skilled and conscientious drivers (no bragging here), this never happened with any other of our current and previous vehicles over decades, though now I realize that I don't really have a reliable statistics for my previous Oldsmobile minivan. Hold on a moment, there is another exception: my Honda Accord has about 20k miles on it, and the rear pads are gone, while the front ones are intact. But this is a well-known Accord problem since 2006 which remains unsolved so far.

    Back to Sienna, this is not that the brakes would not completely release. I checked the wheel heating right after the trip, it is OK. The fuel consumption of my Sienna is pretty lousy in mostly "suburban" driving, about 18-19 mpg, but that is mostly in line with CR and others experience. (Only most people call this "city driving", whereas it actually is not. City driving - it is, by correct definition, stop-and-go somewhere in Manhattan.) We are getting 26-27 on a highway (and 28 when we purposely observe speed limits), so brake mechanics is not a problem.

    BTW, tires are also gone too soon. I blamed lousy OEM Dunlops for lasting only 20k and installed Yokohamas, but the improvement is just marginal. I did some research, and found that many-many Sienna users have exactly the same complaints about brake pads and tires, much more than owners of other minivans. But then again, many other Sienna owners report better longevity.

    Other than that and 3 problems with doors, Sienna is a very pleasant vehicle, and when I hear complaints about "disconnected feel" and "numb steering", always some old proverbs come to mind, but I don't want to inadvertently offend anyone.
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