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Toyota Sienna Maintenance and Repair (2004+)



  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Press Menu button on right side of Nav Screen. On this Menu Screen screen, it includes the "Suspend Guidance button, etc." In the top right corner there is a DVD button. Press the DVD button which takes you to the DVD Information menu which tells you what DVD version is installed in your car
    On this screen, press the touch activated screen as follows:

    1. Top Left
    2. Bottom Left
    3. Top Left
    4. Bottom Left
    5. Bottom Right (not the cormer of the screen itself, but the menu page, "inside" of the tab)

    The Service Menu will appear. Press and hold the "Override" button until you hear a beep and the button is highlighted. Unfortunately, this has to be done each time the system is power cycled. (restart engine)
  • lastarlastar Posts: 30
    I am considering a Sienna or Highlander V6 and wanted to hear from owners of both on their experience. I know the specs say they can tow up to around 3500 LB, but wanted to know if they have any engine or tranny problems over time.
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    Well, it's certainly no surprise that the first lawsuit regarding these tires was filed in the litigious state of California.

    I received my spare tire kit last week from my Toyota dealer, free of charge. It consists of a 17" limited-use spare, carpeted cover that is color-matched to the 'Fawn' interior, and some attachment hardware. Though this remedy isn't ideal (I only carry the spare on long-distance trips due to the loss of use of the folding seat), I'm certainly satisfied with the response from Toyota's regional representative, as these parts list for about $500. I replaced the Dunlop RFT's with conventional tires last month, and the ride is much improved. Also, Dunlop has provided me with a $280 credit (valid until 2010) toward another set of tires.
  • I did test the Battery-saver feature on a 2006 Sienna, and I believe that it functions correctly only when you have the general lights switch on (switch next to the rear view mirror). The brochure also states the below:

    "Battery-saver feature - deactivates personal lights after 30 minutes with lights on"

    I believe the "with lights on" refers to the genenal switch for all internal lights to be turned on. Yes, it does not work (will not shut off after 30 min.) if you turn your own individual light on.

    As an FYI, I do have an 2005 Odyssey (full of problems and poor quality) and l am considering trading it in for a 2006 or later Sienna ...
  • my 2005 did the same thing. after the second visit to the dealer they discovered that there was a sticky substance on the belt pulleys. possibly overspray from the factory or something. they cleaned the pulleys and retorked the alternator strut and it took care of the problem.
  • lastarlastar Posts: 30
    I don't see any mention in the Tow Package or Standard Specifications whether this is on the 2006 Sienna or not. Does anyone know?
  • rwenigrwenig Posts: 1
    What magic did you do to get a free spare tire kit for your Sienna AWD?
  • ohresohres Posts: 46
    I have the same problem with my RFTs.
    I cannot see how tires can be the blame for the uneven wear.
    I am wondering if your new non-RFT replacements are evenly wearing now.
    Some contributor posted that their new non-RFT replacements still developed uneven wear. Thanks for your info.
  • I have this problem as well. The dealership says "its normal" for some pinging. Our van has 13k on it and we love the van. I do have the xtend warranty but this van needs to last...... Any updates related to this problem? I will be taking it in for service soon and will revisit issue. Thanks!
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    The non-RFT's seem to be wearing fine, although it's probably too early to tell. But I can tell you the harsh ride and road noise have been eliminated. We drove to Hilton Head and back last month (25 hours round-trip), and I couldn't believe the difference.

    Also, I really didn't have a problem with uneven wear-- it was pre-mature wear, harsh ride and road noise that were my complaints with the Dunlop RFT's.
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    Well, I basically complained politely to both Toyota and my dealer. I praised the van otherwise, noting how happy I was with it, and how much I love it in spite of these lousy tires. I also was clear that I knew when I bought the van that it came with RFT's and that there was no spare (not "the salesman didn't tell me, Toyota doesn't care about safety," yada yada....).

    I posed the question to both Toyota and my dealer as to why I should spend $1,000 on another set of these, when the first set didn't last more than 15K-- even with two scheduled rotations done at the dealership. Obviously, this is an unanswerable question. I proposed the solution of the free spare tire kit, and the regional rep approved it-- probably because it's cheaper for them than a new set of tires, which many others here have demanded.

    I've bought six Toyotas over the last 15 years (two Camrys, two trucks, and two Siennas), but only three were purchased from this particular dealership-- so I doubt that made a difference, or that anyone even bothered to check. I just think Toyota has finally (and quietly) acknowledged there is a problem.
  • mcase2mcase2 Posts: 160
    What octane are you using? Toyota calls for 89 or up. I have heard of knocking complaints when low octane is used.
  • I have the same problem with steering wheel of '05 Sienna with only 1200 miles on it. How did you solve the problem? Some of previous poster said that they had steering shaft replaced. Steering wheel also makes rubbing noise when turning. Also, I found hood is not closed tight enough to lift up about 1/3 inch after it is locked. I think this is why the van is not as quite as I expected during highway drive. I am very disappointed on this van of Toyota. I hope I would not be disappointed from the service of Toyota dealer on this matter. :(
  • ohresohres Posts: 46
    Thanks for your information.

    The improvement on the ride and road noise with the non-RFTs is quite understandable, looking at the design of the RFT.

    My 2004 Sienna Ltd AWD has uneven wears (feathering) rather than premature wear since the uneven wear pattern is not uniform all around. On my other two old AWDs that are driven a lot harsher, never developed such uneven wears. Both 2000 T&C Ltd AWD and 1998 Subaru Outback AWD have about 96k miles on it. Just got a flat on the Subaru and the tire which has about 50k miles on it still has plenty use left with no uneven wear patterns. I frequently check the pressure and rotate tires every 5k miles. Ride on the T&C with load leveling rear suspension and upgraded tires is a lot smoother than the Sienna with RFTs too.

    After reviewing my complaint, Toyota CS suggested me to file an arbitration. I do not expect much from their decision but am waiting to hear from the board.
  • We generally use 87 octane from reputable stations (EXXON/BP). It knocks when its warm, not cold. Any ideas? I understood that the Sienna has a knock sensor that would advance the timing to prevent any issues with the engine - though i am not sure if this is the case.
  • kjokjo Posts: 24
    We use 87 octane as well, never any knocking and excellent performance in gas milage. 6,000 miles on our LE.
  • I moved to Vermont last winter and soon discovered that my Ford Windstar couldn't make it up my hill in the winter on fresh snow. I bought a 2005 AWD Sienna. I am planning on putting on snow tires (we have a snow day today - yes - in Oct!!). Any consenus out there if it is better to go to 16" wheels and snows with a spare in the back versus run-flat snows? Also, if you put in the 16" spare in the back does it fit down in the well of the cargo area?
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    A 16" spare may fit in the cargo well, but a 17" definitely does not.
    I've been very pleased with my 17" run-flat Bridgestone Blizzaks. They're incredible in the snow, and I haven't experienced the pre-mature wear that I did with the OEM Dunlop RFT's-- which I consider to be strictly summer tires.
  • lastarlastar Posts: 30
    A Tow Prep Package is included from Toyota, but I am wondering if the wiring is included also. Or do I need to buy a wiring kit? If it is included, is it for a 7 pin plug?
  • mcase2mcase2 Posts: 160
    Try a full tank of high octane and see if it makes a difference
  • gbtwgbtw Posts: 4
    I have a 2005 Sienna Limited AWD with 6500 miles. Starting at 1000 miles I've been bringing the van back to the Toyota because of an excessive vibration inside the van. They have "fixed" the problem by balancing a wheel, rotating the wheels, balancing 2 wheels. They now tell me that there is nothing more they can do, "it is the nature of the beast". The service department told me it is the combination of the way the AWD wears (scallops) the very stiff run flat tires and the very stiff run flat tire transferring the resulting vibration to the body of the vehicle. I was offered 3 options from the dealer. 1. Purchase 4 new run flat tires at a cost of $600. 2. Purchase 4 new Michelin tires and a donut spare for a cost of $400. 3. Trade my fully loaded 2005 Limited AWD Sienna with 6500 miles to them for $30,000 and they will sell me a new fully loaded 2006 Sienna Limited FWD for $37,611. They said I will get a portion of the Extended Warranty that I purchased for the 2005 Sienna. The cost of the 2006 did not include an Extended Warranty.

    I did not think the first option was reasonable, because it would not resolve the problem (remember- "nature of the beast")

    I have two problems with the second option. First, the safety issue of laying the donut spare inside the van without being attached to anything. Secondly, it just did not seem right that I should be paying anything to have a brand new vehicle ride without excessive vibration.

    The third option? I was astonished that to "resolve" the problem, the dealer was going to make a rather large profit on my trade-in and another profit by selling me a new van. Besides being unethical, I would think that it is illegal!

    I have called the Toyota customer service 800 number and they referred me back to the dealer. I called them again and they said that there is nothing they can do.
  • ohresohres Posts: 46
    Personally, I think that none of the options are attractive. Check your state's Lemon Law to learn about your rights (you should have a booklet illustrating the lemon laws and the arbitration procedures). Make sure that all the repair visits are documented and that you have hard copies of the repair histories. Telephone call is convenient but sending a written complaint seems working better for me. I got the same response as you have when I called about the problems on my 2004 Ltd AWD but when I sent a formal complaint they called me and asked me to file an arbitration. I don't expect too much out of the arbitration process but I think it is better to follow their suggested route. If I cannot accept the outcome then I will seek a help from a lemon law lawyer to see if I have a case or not. Currently, I am waiting a response from the arbitration board. Good Luck!
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    The donut spare tire kit comes with hardware to attach it to the floor, so there is no safety issue. Also, there is a color-matched cover that makes a flat cargo surface over the stowed spare.

    If you can get four new Michelins (not my favorite brand, though), and the donut spare kit for $400, you're doing well. The cost of the spare tire kit and related parts are at least that much, so you'd be getting the Michelins for free.
  • I recently took my new Sienna through a clothfree wash (just water spraying). Upon entering it had an under carriage spray of water. After the wash, I noticed lots of steam from the very front of the car where there are some fans that weren't running and what looked like a radiator (can you tell I'm an expert?). It smoked/steamed the whole way home, similar to what a classic case of radiator overheating has looked like in older cars I've owned.

    It seems to have disappeared the next day. Did I just get water in a spot that didn't like it? Thoughts are welcome. Guess I won't be doing undercarriage sprays again.

    I have just over 1000 miles on the van and the last two tanks have averaged around 17-18 mpg with mostly city driving. Very pleased with the van overall. Nervous about some info about water getting into the van and also hearing about AC system backups that leak into the carpets. (Was told to get the system flushed regularly, though not sure what interval is appropriate).
  • gbtwgbtw Posts: 4
    The donut spare they offered with the 4 Michelin ties does not come with the kit. For an additional cost I can purchase the kit. This would resolve the safety issue, but reduces internal storage space and prevents the 60 split of the third row from laying flat into the floor. I believe I would accept the loss of storage space, but I need to regularly fold the third row seat flat. That was one of the selling points for this vehicle.
  • gbtwgbtw Posts: 4
    I am looking at my state's Lemon Law. For your info my state law says:
    "..the consumer will elect to use the dispute settlement mechanism established by the manufacturer or the state arbitration board. The consumer's election of either the manufacturer's mechanism or the state board will preclude his or her recourse to the method not selected."
    If your state is similar and you are pursuing Toyota's National Center for Dispute Settlement program, then you may not be able to file a claim under your state's lemon law.

    Good Luck!
  • I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions on this. I have a 2006 LE.

    Twice, when I had to stop quickly while in a turn, I heard and felt a loud crunch at least 1 full second long that sounded like metal on metal. Both times were at speeds less than 20 MPH. I can't make it happen on purpose, the two times appear to be random. And both times, the van stopped just fine - but with the funny noise.

    Any thoughts? I want to wait to take it in until I can reproduce it at will.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You're probably hearing the VSC kicking in and "unbraking" the front wheel on the inside of the turn, especially if the street was wet or slippery. That's what it will do if the vehicle isn't closely following the correct "line" as defined by the stearing wheel position. Or it might even be the Trac system.
  • ohresohres Posts: 46
    Thanks for the information.

    As an engineer, not a lawyer, I don't know the details about the law but I went through the process with the same NCDS organization few years back when I claimed my Dodge. The NCDS decided to deny my appeal since the vehicle was not eligible for dispute under the PA Lemon Law. About the same time, I was getting an offer from Chrysler. There was few hundred dollar difference that prevented us to settle. After my lawyer contacted Chrysler and after few negotiations, my lawyer could guide us to make an agreement with Chrysler. My lawyer recovered his costs from Chrysler.

    It appears that Toyota started using the same organization for their dispute settlement. Even if the organization supposed to be a neutral decision maker, their role is unclear. Hence, I don't expect much from their decision rather I consider it as a step toward further negotiation.

    I may get the same answer saying that PA lemon law is not applicable for my vehicle since it has more than 12k miles on it and since we owned it for more than 12 months. If this is the case then, as before, I may seek a help from a lawyer who is familiar with Federal laws. It will be a slow process though.
  • Thanks! That gives me a much needed starting point to start some research.
This discussion has been closed.