2004 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited AWD - Suddenly won't move...

supsvcmisupsvcmi Member Posts: 7
edited July 2016 in Toyota
Hi all -

My recently-purchased 2004 Toyota Sienna is starting to become a nightmare vehicle. I'm worried I may have bought a lemon, but since I bought it as-is, there is no protection under the lemon law. I love the van, but this new development is frightening.

I drove the van about 200 miles yesterday, round trip. No problems whatsoever.
Today, it sat in the driveway all day in 90+ degree temperatures (not sure that has any bearing on this at all, but thought I'd mention it). Tonight, I got in it to make a short trip, only to find that when I put it in reverse, the van felt as though the emergency brake was engaged. It felt as though it was trying to move, but fighting against something, or trying to back up over something large - there was a bit of movement backwards, but it felt like there was something stopping it. Confused, I put it in drive, just to see if I could go forward. Same problem - felt like there was something stopping it from moving. I got out, walked around the vehicle about 4 times, looking for any obstruction - there was none.

I'm sure someone else has experienced this and can tell me what's going on....or at least I hope so. I have no idea what's going on and can't even take the darn thing out of the driveway now. Help?


  • supsvcmisupsvcmi Member Posts: 7
    Ok...no one replied, but my trusty mechanic took care of the issue.

    It was the emergency brake - for whatever reason, the e-brake siezed up, which immobilized the van. Just one of those "old car" things!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Thanks for reporting back. Sounds like you have a good mechanic in your corner. Seems like with older cars, just keeping up with the simple maintenance helps prevent a lot of problems (guess getting your van on a lift now and then with an oil change gives your mechanic a chance to eyeball things).
  • supsvcmisupsvcmi Member Posts: 7
    Thanks, Stever - yes, I've got a good mechanic - the same one my dad used for years. He's been really good to deal with when big repairs come along and I can't afford them all at once. He always tells me what he would do if it were his car - so that makes me feel more confident when he says, "Go ahead and take that long trip, but you'll need to replace the tires when you get back". Things like that. He knows how frequently I travel and how long my trips are, so he keeps that in mind when working on it.

    He gave me the option of repairing the e-brake (costly) or just removing it altogether and keeping the parts in a box for later, in case I decide I want to repair it and put it back on. I opted to have it removed entirely. I rarely use it, and that's why they sieze up - they don't get used. Just very happy it didn't happen when I was driving all over God's green acre the day before! I have a long trip coming up next month, so I'll be taking it back in and having him give it a once-over before I go.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Most cars are pretty good these days, even twelve year old ones. Could be that yours just has some deferred maintenance that caught up with you and not the last owner. Your main problem could be finding a new shop if your longstanding family mechanic retires.
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