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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2003 earlier)



  • mrfong1mrfong1 Posts: 16
    I experienced the same thing described by rfp1nc on my 2000xle. Brought it in 2x and they told me they could not identify anything wrong and I could not get it to "not work" in front of them. Now I am @45,000miles and not under warranty. Problem still occurs intermittently. I clean all contacts on door and frame, then squirt WD40 onto the latch on the bottom track (with a cable coming off of it), and it the problem "seems to" go away for 2-10 weeks. Looks like I missed out on warranty service.
  • I had the same problem with my 2001. Look at # 1219, 1246, 1248 and # 1367. It was a real pain for us. They replaced the (ECU) computer. I have the part number on post 1367. The door is still working great.
  • rfp1ncrfp1nc Posts: 10
    If you brought it in the first time and were still under warranty, there should be a record and Toyota should honor it under warranty. Interesting solution using WD-40 which suggests that the ecu detects a high motor load when trying to close the door. The resistance is interpreted as an obstruction... person, etc. and it stops closing as a safety measure. The fact that you have to repeat the procedure is probably due to the fact that WD-40 is not really a lubricant but an anti-sieze compound that evaporates promptly. Try a lithium base lubricant. The new ecu is probably set at a higher resistance level to accommodate a higher than expected load but could make the door more dangerous for small children.
    Suggest you discuss with the dealer and/or Toyota rep since you brought it in while it was under warranty and they couldn't fix the problem. Always keep good records!
  • Hi,

    I have a 2-year-old Sienna at 30k miles. I found my two front tires terribly worn out because of bad alignment. I am a very, very gentle driver and, never feel the misalignment while driving. I don't know if my warranty covers the alignment problem.

    A big mistake is that I haven't aligned my car since I bought it new. Now I have to pay for the two new tires. Do you know how often should I do the alignment? Please advise. Thanks for your time.

  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Once a year it is a good idea to have it checked.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    If those are the original tires on your Sienna, then 30,000 miles isn't too shabby. I only got ~35,000 out of the ones that came with my Quest, and I had an alignment early on and was pretty good about rotating my tires.

    Steve, Host
  • PekesPekes Posts: 6
    Hey jeprox!

    You seem to be a knowledgeable guy on these boards and you've helped me out before

    A few of us have problems with the slider doors - creaking, sometimes rattling - sounds like something loose behind the inside door handle. I really notice this on the drivers side but now I think the passenger side door is starting to exhibit similar noises.

    Problem seems to occur when the van's body twists such as an uneven road or simply backing out of garage and turning in a tight circle.

    Are you aware of a fix? What would you suggest short of taking it to the dealer?

    Appreciate your input.
  • ortaloortalo Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Sienna LE, about 9000 miles. Earlier this spring we started hearing a noise which sounds like the valves rattling. The noise is not on all the time, just when you would expect to hear it as a regular valve noise.

    The dealer could not find anything wrong with the timing of the valves. He recommended we use premium gaz. That helped a bit but then the noise came back. It's now back anytime the outside temperature is above 45F. Took it in last week, dealer said they did not understand what could be wrong and Toyota had no idea (they suggested putting an additive in the gaz to clean the engine but that did not make any difference). Any suggestions? Has anyone experienced this?

    Does anyone know whether we are damaging the engine when driving with this noise?

    Thanks for your help.
  • Has anybody purchased the extended warranty for the Sienna to deal with some of the potential costly problems? If so, what is a good price? Better to get an aftermarket or a Toyota warranty?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    In my opinion, aftermarket warranties are a waste of money. My dealership used to sell such warranties but we got so many complaints from our customers that we switched to Toyota plans about 3 years ago. The complaints were over the fact that many parts were not covered and that claims were very difficult to process unless the customer brought the car back to the selling dealer for service. We don't make as much money on the Toyota plans but the customer retention is much better. In the long run, it is better for us and the customers.
  • Is there any way to help out a balky seat belt retractor?
    The one on my driver's side always seems to need "help" to retract when I unbuckle.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    One thing that has helped when I have had seatbelts that are "futzy" is to take a bar of soap (dry) and rub it on the area of the seatbelt that seems to be binding up. This normally keeps it slippery enough to go through the guide without binding. Try this out and tell me how it works.
  • stbissstbiss Posts: 10
    My '99 Sienna has experienced creaky doors for at least two years now...I am afraid it is a design flaw. I had them adjusted under warranty, but the noises soon returned.I later came across TSB which addresses problem. (go to If you do this procedure every so often, the noises will stay away. Otherwise, get used to hearing them in my opinion.
  • I have a 1999 Sienna that I bought new. No real problems (busted radio knob, sticking sliding doors that seem to have corrected themselves and the low pressure tire indicator never goes off) but the front wheels/alignment must be whacked. I'm at 29,000 miles and looking at my 3rd set of tires. Early on I noticed a shimmy in the front end at very low speed (like going down the alley). At 10K miles I had it back at the dealership complaining about it (my first pair of front tires was already about shot) and they suggested that the first set of tires wasn't properly balanced. So I spent the money and indeed it was better but still not totally gone. I was watching the wear pattern and the inside and outside edges were going bald way too fast. Today the drivers side went flat and when I changed the tire I noticed that the inside edge was worn all the way through to the steel belts (cut my hand on the nasty little wires sticking out all over the place). I'm sure that I will at least get an alignment, but this seems to me to clearly be a design issue. Has anyone else (message 2108) had this problem and is there any relief from Toyota? Do they admit to it?
  • Hey wiencs, In the "Toyota Sienna" forum I have a post #2154 which describes how my front tires wore much quicker than the rears. Alignment, balancing, and rotating did not prevent the front tires from wearing much more rapidly than the rears. When I complained to my Toyota Service Mgr. I was informed that all vans have this wear pattern and there was nothing that could be done to correct it. I was told that the fronts would wear out 50% faster than the rears and that's about how mine wore-out. If you get a better explanation or find a solution pls. let me know as I now have a new set of tires installed and hope they last longer than the first set did.
  • On any front-wheel drive vehicle, the front tires will wear faster than the rears. That is why you should rotate them regularly. This is because on front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires do alot more work. They have to travel the same distance as the rears (more if you consider front wheels travel further in turns), they take alot more of the braking forces, they are the drive wheels, and go through the abuse of turning and the friction associated with that. All of these factors contribute to front tires wearing more than the rears in general.
  • I agree that the tires should be rotated on a regular basis, but three sets of tires in 29,000 miles is ridiculous. There is obviously something wrong with the alignment of your van Wiencs. I would take it to another dealer's service department. Worst case take to an independent shop that you trust and get it aligned. If something is defective, insist that the Toyota dealer fix it. You should be getting 40k miles out of a set of tires at the least.
  • Thanks for all the feedback. I will probably take it to an independent shop (can't be any more expensive than the dealer). My biggest concern is what #2120 sent. I don't think Toyota is stepping forward to acknowledge this one. Unless it gets off the production line misaligned (and should therefore be fixable) I'm afraid that I'm just going to eat up tires. Lastly, don't front tires wear faster because 60% (the engine) of the car weight is resting on them. And while I expect them to wear faster the wear pattern is indicative of bigger issues.
  • I would agree. For a good set of tires, and keeping proper maintenence, you should easily get 40,000 miles on a set. That is partly why I recomended getting a second opinion from either another dealership or from an independent shop. Hope it goes well, and keep us informed.
  • PekesPekes Posts: 6
    Thanks stbiss!

    I found that link,, very helpful.

    I also bought some Door-Ease - seems to work (at least so far).
  • stbissstbiss Posts: 10
    Anybody have a solution yet to the squeaky rear breaks? I can clean all the dust out of the drums and it is quiet for a few days, but then the noise returns as you come to a slow stop. My dealer says all Siennas are prone to this thanks to the brake shoe composition. I think there must be an answer through some different type of shoe material. Any brake experts out there?
  • Midas was able to get rid of this problem on mine. A well spent $140 for parts and labor. I already put in 5k miles, so far, no squeak.
  • I have had almost constant problems with both of my power doors. I take it into the shop they do various repairs, replacing ECU, door latch. Of course it is one single repair at a time. This may work for 1 week or 6 months then it is malfunctioning again. I have gone through this scenario with both sliding doors. Now I am out of warranty. A couple of weeks ago the car was in the shop for a door repair, had to wait for parts, got it "fixed" the next day on the way for vacation it stopped working. Back to manual doors. Then the manual release button is jammed and the door is stuck open. Now I have no doors and stuck out of town. Got the one door to close and came home. My dealer now says I need to replace the computer and I am out of warranty and am on my own. I am not happy. I already paid once for 2 power doors, I am not going to pay again. ANY ONE ELSE OUT THERE WITH DOOR PROBLEMS ?? I feel a fight with a district rep coming on-
  • I hope you are still around. I have the same problem with my doors. I have a 01 XLE. The dealer repairs something and it may work for 12 hours or 12 months. I am now out of warranty with the same problem. It varies with each door. If you see this please respond with your details
  • lsaclsac Posts: 22
    A doorman had broken my sliding door handle. My van is 98 Sienna 5dr LE with 44k mi. He pulled wrong side while he was trying to close the door. I ordered handle from It costed me about $60 plus shipping. It only took me 10 minutes to put on. Since canucktoyowner had posted same problem, I am posting mine here too. He spent $101 plus $75 labor. I had a Sienna service manual so the job was guided and easier. The new door handle came with white grease. All handles might those grease.
  • lsaclsac Posts: 22
    My 98 Sienna LE had exhibited one problem in heavy rain once. The AC switch light was blinking when defogging was turned on. According Dan Marinucci of, it was a warning from speed sensor in AC compressor. The problem had happened once so I have assumed water caused belt to slip. Has anyone notices such problem? It is a common warning in all Toyotas.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    I know in other cars when the defroster is turned on the a/c comes on with the light. on my sienna (2000 CE) the light doesnt come on when the defroster is turned on but i know the A/c is on. The a/c led comes on if i manually turn the a/c on. Is this the normal behaviour.
  • Isaac, I saw the same thing in my '02 XLE a few weeks ago. I don't think the defroster was on, but plain old A/C was. I DO recall hearing the belt squeal several times while driving through standing water in the driveway at work. About 5 minutes later, noticed the A/C light blinking. Turned the A/C off, then on again, no more blinking.

    This is the only time I have ever seen the blinking A/C light - it is also the only time I have ever heard my belt slip. Doesn't prove your theory, but it does support it. I'm just glad to see a theory - I was clueless!

  • rfp1ncrfp1nc Posts: 10
    Ponysmith... See posts #2104-7 and others. This must be a product defect and a costly one at that for owners. There should also be a warranty on the repairs that you already have had and a responsible dealer will go to bat for you. Let us know how you fare with the Toyota rep.
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