Toyota Sienna Sliding Door Problems



  • lifelisterlifelister Member Posts: 4
    Dealership says today that the cable broke (rusted) and also damaged the motor. To replace that whole assembly is $1600.00
    Dealer suggested I just remove everything power in the door and convert to manual for $200. , which is what I chose. I have already left a complaint on the DOT site. My car is a Florida car, kept in clean environment, but subject to the humidity that is north Florida.
  • brucehaywoodbrucehaywood Member Posts: 8
    This repair costs between $1,600 and $1,800 depending on where the dealer is. This again remains a major product flaw that Toyota has yet to acknowledge. It's a big money maker for Toyota. The Sienna has major "door" issue, as evinced by the recall on the rear hatch and on the driver's side door. Doors are key to safety and security. Waiting for the recall notice.
  • gagordoxgagordox Member Posts: 1
    The passenger-side, sliding door on my '04 XLE, 55,000 mi minivan just failed. Inspected the driver-side and it looks like the cable housing is going out. I live in CA. I wonder if our vans were from the same batch?
  • paedomorphpaedomorph Member Posts: 2
    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for all of the postings! I traded the Sienna in before the doors all fell off. Best of luck in your trials with the Toyota Customer Appreciation Program.

    Palmers' Airport Toyota Scion Tundra Tacoma Sequoia Land Cruiser Highlander FJ Cruiser Mobile Alabama
  • ndeborahkndeborahk Member Posts: 18
    How many miles did you have on your minivan, and how much did you get for it? I am considering doing the same thing. How did you decide on the Buick Enclave?
  • brian82brian82 Member Posts: 2
    We have lowly manual doors (but after reading some of the posts here I don't feel so bad about it anymore), but the door seal is coming apart.

    Our van is only three years old / 50K miles, and on the drivers side the door seal came off completely and landed on my daughter as she was getting out. On the passenger side, it's just falling off in bits here and there so that you can hear lots of wind noise while driving.

    We have 100,000 b2b and it's not covered because "it is part of the trim," it's "only cosmetic" and "not a safety issue."

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats on the Enclave, but don't jinx yourself - no vehicle is perfect.

    I looked recently and noticed Lambda pricing (that's the Enclave plus it's 3 siblings) have not dropped as much as some competitors.

    If you're shopping in that segment check out the Subaru Tribeca, Mazda CX9, and Hyundai Veracruz. Their prices have dropped dramatically.

    Best of luck.
  • hogan46hogan46 Member Posts: 7
    I'm sorry if this question has already been posed and answered, but I went back a several pages and didn't see it. I just bought a used 2004 Sienna LE with passenger side power sliding door. The motor seems fine opening and closing the door when I press the button that is in the van. However, I cannot seem to get either of my key fobs to open or close the door. I don't know if it is a sensor issue or I may need to get my key fob reprogrammed.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Have you tried a new battery on the key fob? Maybe the signal is weak.
  • hogan46hogan46 Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the suggestion. I guess I didn't really think about it being a battery problem since it is happening on both of key fobs and I am having no problem using the other functions like locking and unlocking the doors from 30 feet. It certainly doesn't hurt to put fresh batteries in them.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, just a "try the cheapest fix first" strategy.
  • ciara1ciara1 Member Posts: 25
    It seems that there's a center hinge that wears out, and as a result the cable frays and then snaps. This is a well-documented, well-known problem -- Toyota actually issued a TSB for it (EL004-04) in April 2004 to "improve the durability of this system" -- and implemented production line fixes to prevent it in the future, but those of us with vehicles produced prior to that weren't even informed of the problem, let alone given the opportunity to have it fixed while the vehicle was still under warranty. The TSB covers vehicles only up to 3 yrs/36k, which is a bit absurd for an issue that's a) obviously a design flaw and b) a serious safety issue. (I personally was forced to drive home with the door stuck open, and from what I've read on the 60+ similar complaints I reviewed on the NHTSA website many other people have had to do the same -- and one person was even hit in the face with shrapnel as the cable snapped.)

    Toyota seems no more interested in taking responsibility for this issue than they did in the rear hatch struts problem, but persistent complaints did eventually result in a recall on that, and I'm hoping the same might apply here. I encourage everyone having this issue to call Toyota Customer Service (1-800-331-4331) to lodge a complaint -- that gets it documented with the company -- and also file a report with the NHTSA ( to increase the likelihood that a recall will be issued. (If you haven't had a repair done yet with 'courtesy assistance' from Toyota -- ie, they pay a portion of your repair bill for an out-of-warranty repair -- they might be willing to pay up to 50% of the cost of this repair, so it's worth asking about that when you call their customer service #. They wouldn't do it for me since we already had 'courtesy assistance' with the hatch repair issue prior to its recall -- which seems more than a bit absurd to me, given that it wouldn't have counted against us if we had just put up with the hatch crushing us for 2 years until they got around to issuing a recall -- but it's worth asking.)
  • rncarrncar Member Posts: 1
    Every once in awhile my power slider door handle does not work. I pull on the handle and it sounds like no power is getting to it. After the 10th pull, you hear the power and it opens. I have tried the handle from the inside and it does not work either. I have taken it in 5 times and they can not reproduce my intermittent problem, so nothing gets fixed. Anyone having this problem?
  • socal13socal13 Member Posts: 14
    Sounds like not enough power is arriving to your motor. Have you tried swapping batteries. Your power source could be failing.
  • socal13socal13 Member Posts: 14
    Great post. I just spoke with the customer relations manager (CRM) today at southern california dealer where I originally purchased my 2004 Sienna.Currently I have 43K miles on it.The TSB was issued in April.04 and my van was manufactured in Sept.04. I missed the post TSB by 4 months and by the last set of numbers on the VIN. The TSB you mentioned only applies to certain Vin #'s Great ! I was told by the CRM prior to having a second inspection of the right side sliding door that the dealership would help with the cost of labor and parts after the inspection :mad: . Today the CRM mentioned sorry there is nothing I can do regardiing lowering the price of parts and labor. "But you said you would on the phone 1 week ago." Sorry I can't. I also asked two different service personnel at the service bay if I could convert to a manual door. Dealer response was: No way we would in no way alter a vechicle door from power to manual. I mentioned other dealer had done at the tune of $200.00. We won't and don't recommend it. Of course you don't ! Anyhow I'm going to purchase the mid and upper hinges and have a friend install both hinges at his body shop. I'm sick and tired of their disgusting customer service and quality.
  • throttythrotty Member Posts: 1
    The passenger side sliding door will not open electronically via any method (fob, dash, b post). It makes an effort and will creep open a bit sometimes enough to register a door open light on dash, but refuses to open. I've followed the reset directions in the manual, but no luck. I have a power door light lit on the dash.

    The following day, the driver side refused to open, but unlike the passenger side, there isn't any sound or attempt made to open. I tried pushing on the opener button on the b post and it pushed in and remains in. Neither door now opens electronically. I can muscle them both open, but would like to get them fixed. I'm sure it's a pricey fix. Any thoughts?
  • ciara1ciara1 Member Posts: 25
    Socal, you might want to try another dealer's service shop for a second opinion, if you really would prefer to just convert it to manual. My most recent dealership (on my first visit to them today -- we recently moved, so our old dealership is now inconveniently far to go, and I wasn't impressed with them anyway) told me that essentially I've already converted the door from power to manual, just by having the cable snap, and all I need to do is secure or remove the remaining cables so that they're not flailing around being a hazard. (The frayed end on the exterior would surely damage the paint left loose, so I put duct tape on it to get it to the dealer today.) I read somewhere else that someone experiencing the same problem was told that the motor needed to be disconnected, and they were charged $50 for that, iirc -- but mine thought it was just fine with just the cable removed. I still need to do a bit more research to be certain it's fine without disconnecting the motor, but either way, it definitely *is* possible to convert the door to manual, because I've read dozens of posts from various people over the past few days saying that's precisely what they did because they didn't want to pay for a $1500 repair.

    Ironically, I was greeted at the dealership with a large poster: "Quality -- Durability -- Reliability -- Toyota! Ask Someone Who Drives One!" Nice slogan -- now if only they'd live up to it. :sick:
  • socal13socal13 Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for your reply. Actually I've taken my van to two dealerships. The first was where a friend of mine works in parts. His master mechanic right away mentioned the mid center hinge was worn out. Which is a fact. At this point I can't afford not to replace the hinge. Even if I left the door to operate in manual mode my issue would still be the mid center hinge. The hinge needs to be replaced no mattter what ! Is just unfortunate that after 40K miles the wear/tear on this hinge would be so apparent. It's my belief that toyota failed to use the proper metal treatment and type of metal for the hinge. In your case it seems that your hinges are still in good shape, which will allow you to operate the door manually.
  • ciara1ciara1 Member Posts: 25
    Thanks for the clarification! That should be a big help. I'll have my mechanic examine the hinges -- especially since from what I've read it seems that hinge wear is the cause of the cable failure in a lot of cases. I was hoping that maybe I could get away with a totally free conversion to manual, but if not, at least a replacement hinge should be much less than the whole repair.

    I completely agree that Toyota appears to have cut too many corners on the materials and structural designs used, both here and elsewhere, as evidenced by the string of early failures associated with this van. It's particularly a shame because until the last few years I would have been the first to praise Toyota's consistent durability, reliability, and stellar customer service. I don't think my family has ever owned a Toyota we didn't easily get 250k+ miles out of with minimal major service issues aside from the routine repairs and maintenance you'd expect (brakes, etc) in a high-mileage vehicle. I bought this van hoping to drive it myself for 10 years as our main family vehicle and then use it to teach my daughter to drive (what safer vehicle than one this size, with side air bags!) But at this point I'm skeptical that it'll last that long, unfortunately.
  • drdan01drdan01 Member Posts: 3
    I think that I'm having a similar problem but it doesn't seem to be quite as bad. Current symptoms are that I have to push the door buttons or key fobs for either door several times before it will close. I never seem to have a problem with the doors opening, and sometimes they will close on the first push. Sometimes I have to yank on the door to "reset" things, and then it closes. Otherwise, I push the button (door or key fob) and all I hear is clicking at the door with no movement. I guess that I need to get it in to the dealer but am hoping that I have an idea what the specific problem likely is before going (so I don't have a complete cable replacement or motor replacement pushed on me if it is just a relay or such). Anyone else had this specific kind of problem (or level of problem)?
  • DanCubsFanDanCubsFan Member Posts: 6
    I called teh Toyota Customer Care number and all they said was that because there was not recall there was nothing that they would do. They just referred me to the dealer. We have a 2004 and have had the door frozen repeatedly. We also had the drivers side sliding door cable snap on 10/1/2008. This morning 12/4/2008 after the doors thawed out the passenger side sliding door cable snapped. The cost for the driver side was $1,635.00 to repair. Not sure what we are going to do with the passenger side, but we will NOT pay $1,635.00 again.

    PLease submit a complaint to the NHTSA. This is the only way something will be done.
  • kinchicagolandkinchicagoland Member Posts: 10
    As soon as there is any precipitation here with freezing weather my Sienna sliding doors won't open. It finally occurred to me to let the kids in through the rear door. It beats them climbing through the front. I plan to submit a complaint to NHTSA.
  • mszmsz Member Posts: 1
    It seems many have this issue, anyone find a way to make it work?
    Last year dealer told us that it happens once in a while and it happened only 3 times. so far this year it has happened 3 times in the last month, it appears to be getting worse.

    Dealer is now telling me i need new weatherstripping around the doors. If this works great, if not its a waste of money.
  • brucehaywoodbrucehaywood Member Posts: 8
    Once again, Toyota has failed to acknowledge a problem with quality on their doors. The obligation of safety and expense is passed onto the consumer!
  • vulcan4vulcan4 Member Posts: 12
    My dealer replace door seal 4 times, so far so good,
    I claimed lemon law, for safety issues but by the time it got around to court, it was summer time and I gid not have issues in summer time, only winter when it froze.
    So my attorney said court would win because as of sept my "problem was fixed" and it had not occurred since my February repair.
    SOOOOO with $2,500 to attorny and $500 for my HASSLE,
  • inflawsinflaws Member Posts: 1
    I have complained for 2 years about the same problem. The dealership told me it was a design flaw and to call Toyota directly. Toyota told me that they have no record of complaints about this issue. That is unbelievable since every Sienna owner I've spoken to has the same complaing and at every stop light here I see Sienna owners jumping out of their cars to try to get the doors open. The guy at Toyota said they need a certain number of complaints before they ask for a recall. Of course, he wouldn't tell me what that number was so I am having everyone I know who owns a Sienna (and there are a lot of us) bombard Toyota with complaints. My next van will be a Honda.
  • jrmacjrmac Member Posts: 5
    Our Sienna is going in next week for the seals on the sliders and they tell me it is not covered under the extended warranty. Our cost will be around $150. While not happy, I would rather pay it and know the doors will open. I agree with letting Toyota know in the hope that they will eventually cover it like they did with the recall on the gas shocks for the rear door.
  • DanCubsFanDanCubsFan Member Posts: 6

    The passenger side door cable that broke was quoted by the dealer (Schaumburg Toyota) as $1,389 plus tax to fix. I called Toyota customer care again to complain about spending $3,200 in 60 days on repairing these doors. Toyota offered to give me a one time Courteously credit of 50% of the cost of the door repair. I have to pay Schaumburg Toyota the full amount and then fax in the receipts and 6-8 weeks later, I will get a check back from Toyota. This is still not satisfactory but it at least is better than paying the full amount. In addition to the door problems the ignition coils must be replace at a cost of $700.00. All this expense $4,000.00 in the last 60 days for a car with 51K. Not what I was expecting from Toyota!!!
  • sandcroftsandcroft Member Posts: 4
    What year is your Sienna? And the "cable" that keeps getting discussed by many provides what function? My only problem,..thus far... is that the drivers side side door has failed to open due to the malfunctioning gas cap related safety catch/latch.
  • DanCubsFanDanCubsFan Member Posts: 6
    We have a 2004 Sienna. The cable is attached to the motor that opens and closes the automatic doors. It is a very thin cable. Once it breaks, the whole motor and cable needs to be replaced to the tune of $1,500.00 per door. My advise, don't use the power door function, change to manual or else be ready to cough up $3,000.00.
  • Newt08Newt08 Member Posts: 3
    I bought a new Sienna last week and believe there was a power door problem from the start. The driver side power door opens on the first attempt, but the passenger side door doesn't always open on the first attempt. About 3/4's of the time the door will try to open, but only moves about 1/2 inch then stops; It opens after I press the button a second time. Has anyone experienced this problem and what is the fix?
  • kinchicagolandkinchicagoland Member Posts: 10
    The sealers are to correct the door freezing shut problem?
    Let me know if this works. I have given up hope but I think we all should file formal complaints with Toyota and the NHTSA.
  • vulcan4vulcan4 Member Posts: 12
    They changed my 3-4 times, I was "told" they developed new door seals.
    but with Toyota, you never can never believe what the serbvice people tell you./

    So far I have not had any problems, but then again,,, we are just getting into the cold weather in New jersey.

    The other thing I'm changing is my tires for 3rd time after 38,000 miles, the AWD is $$$ a $1,000 + to change all my tires
  • ndeborahkndeborahk Member Posts: 18
    Of course you should file a complaint!! It is very easy and is the only way we can get Toyota to be accountable for their shoddy design.
  • travis8travis8 Member Posts: 3
    We are thinking about getting a 2009 Sienna XLE. Are the problems with the sliding doors still happening with these?
  • ndeborahkndeborahk Member Posts: 18
    I would NOT buy a Sienna, or any other Toyota for that matter. Even if the door problems have been fixed, they are not standing by their shoddy design and materials. Would you buy a car from a company who obviously has problems with thousands of defective doors and just tells the consumers, it is your problem? So, if they doors are fixed, what happens when they have brake problems or headlight problems and they tell you, not my problem?
  • lifelisterlifelister Member Posts: 4
    I posted here in September about my 04, driver side passenger door cable break. The cable was literally hanging out the back of the door. Per dealer suggestion, I converted the door to manual for $200. Since then, I had been pulling it open and shut. This week, somehow, the door is operating again with a slight tug. The remote won't operate it, but if I gently pull the handle, the door then slides back or forth on its own. Duh???? I like my Sienna very well in so many respects, but it is a concern that Toyota is not willing to acknowledge responsibility for this widespread and expensive defect.
  • travis8travis8 Member Posts: 3
    I see your point. Our last 3 vans have been Dodge Grand Caravans, which we liked, but the 08-09's seem to have lousy reviews also. Our lease is up in Feb, trying to decide what to go with.
  • Newt08Newt08 Member Posts: 3
    I brought my 2009 Sienna to the dealership Friday 12/12/08, and they told my the passenger side door wasn't working properly because of a latch adjustment. After they "fixed" the problem, the door began to stick again after the third use. I'm taking the vehicle back to the dealership today to see if they can rectify the problem.
  • tillsonburgtillsonburg Member Posts: 29
    I experienced similar problems. the dealer would say they fixed it and then the
    automatic door would not work. They wanted to replace the latch mechinisim for $800 cdn. I looked at the latch and found a small plastic bushing had broke. This
    bushing pulls a cable (inside the door) that releases the rear of the door permiting it to open the door. When the bushing is broken the door cycles to open but
    since the rear latch has not been released the door stays shut. After a
    number of tries the thin open/close cable ends up snapping. Watch out for flying parts when this cable breaks as they will take an eye out should they hit you. see my earlier posts. I am very suprised that this rear latch is not interlocked so that the door would not cycle unless that latch has been confirmed to have been released but obviously they tried to save a few bucks. I am going to fix the latch myself and save the $800 bucks. Right now I have the small latch cover off and can
    open the door using a screw driver to release the rear latch and then
    pressing the door open button. When they say they adjusted the door latch I
    really dont know whats inside to adjust. Take a look at the bolts at the rear of the door when open. make sure they are not loose as if they are the cable will break. These bolts secure a small pulley that the open/close cable runs around out of the door.
  • travis8travis8 Member Posts: 3
    I don't get. We are looking to buy a new van. The reviews on Edmunds state the Grand Caravan has a lot of quality issues and they would not recommend them. They give good reviews to the Sienna and the Odyssee, but when I get on the forums, they are very few complaints about the Caravan, and a ton of safety complaints on the other 2. It does'nt make sense. Can anybody explain.
  • ndeborahkndeborahk Member Posts: 18
    As a very unhappy owner of a 2004 XLE Limited Toyota Sienna, all I can tell you is I would not be a Sienna. They made a car with many defective parts. Not only that, they are not standing by their car. I have spent $1800 so far, have to fix the other sliding door for $1800 and have an appointment to bring my car in again because the rear hatch will not stay opened. This was all ready fixed once. Thankfully enough people complained that they had to issue a recall. Know what the dealer told me? He said, and I quote " you should have bought the extended warranty." I said, if I knew that I would need an extended warranty, I would never have bought the car in the first place!
  • cheranecherane Member Posts: 8
    I went to the dealer yesterday and I was told I was out of warrenty to fix the door. Since 1988 I've own a Toyota with the last two brand new autos top of the line. Cressida and now XLE Sienna. I paid cash for my Van thinking this kind of thing just would be covered or I wouldn't have bought it. The tailgate stopped working and thank God the recall came through. Now, I'm the only one in this van and what the heck can a 67 year old woman do to this van to cause this sliding door to stop working? I let my Eskimo Spitz in and out when I go for a drive into town.

    I'm just a bit upset about this.. Do I remove the latch to open this thing to see for myself what is wrong with this door? Is it possible a fuse is out?
    thank you in advance....
  • ViolaisabelleViolaisabelle Member Posts: 3
    Hi There,

    I just wanted to let everyone here, especially the Canadians, know that we too, have had some major issues with the doors freezing shut. We are dealing with an excellent dealer and are trying to move this forward. A meeting in January will be taking place and we want to make sure Toyota hears this message. I have just started a blog to discuss this and collect information. I would greatly appreciate it if the Canadians would go to this blog, read what's happening and please leave a comment regarding your complaint.

    We have seals that are going to be replace in the next week or two. I'm crossing my fingers, but I'm not so sure that's going to be a permanent fix. Fortunately, our dealer witnessed all the problems we were having and they are being great in getting this worked on. Here is the link to the blog:

    Let's see how many people can express their stories, before the meeting in January.

    Thank you very much for your help and cooperation in getting this dealt with, quickly.....I hope. :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I'll explain - you're in a problems thread, people come here specifically to discuss problems with doors. Mine are fine, while others have had problems.

    Here are 1693 posts about transmission problems for the Grand Caravan:

    If you read enough of these threads, you may end up buying tennis shoes! ;)
  • ViolaisabelleViolaisabelle Member Posts: 3
    I am not trying to discourage anyone from purchasing one of these vans. My goal is to bring this problem to the attention of Toyota, with the specific goal of resolving the issue. Fortunately for us, our dealer witnessed the problems, had to face the embarrassment of me not being able to drive my car away from their lot, because it froze shut and drained the battery and the service workers had already left for home. All that AFTER they thought they *fixed* the problem. The timing was perfect for us. To top it off, they have had several owners bring in their vans during that time. They, like us, are hoping the seals will fix the problem.

    This is a safety issue. Not being able to access your babies in the back of the vehicle, or able to get them into a vehicle with freezing temperatures outside, is truly a safety issue.

    Once again, for those wanting to make a difference, please stop by the blog. link title

    Thank you,

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I agree until you mention the safety part - there is a door on the other side, not to mention a pass-through to the front. I've even had people climb in from the rear tailgate. 5 ways to exit the vehicle.

    Major inconvenience? Yes. Unsafe? Not really.
  • jrmacjrmac Member Posts: 5
    There are 5 operating doors for a very specific reason, safety. The van gets its safety rating based on all of the doors operating. Take away one door and the van can no longer get that same safety rating.

    My Sienna was purchased in part by the safety rating. If this van can not live up to that rating, then Toyota should be on the hook to repair it at their cost.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I don't see how that's unsafe? :confuse:

    In a crash you're better off with all doors closed, locked even.

    The van gets its safety rating based on all of the doors operating

    That's more than a stretch. IIHS and NHTSA/NCAP give out safety ratings that would not at all be affected by a door that didn't operate properly.

    It's very inconvenient, yes. But unsafe? How will someone be harmed by a non-moving door?

    If it were pinching body parts, that would be a different story.
  • ViolaisabelleViolaisabelle Member Posts: 3
    We have had THREE doors frozen shut at one time. Both the sliding doors and the back door.

    I have, personally, been in a car accident where the front passenger door would not open because of the electronic locking system. The driver's door was hit, but the passenger side was not. We were unable to get out the passenger side, leaving us to crawl to the back to get out. Fortunately, the car did not catch fire and we got out safely. We were not hauling babies around, so we didn't have that issue to deal with, thankfully.

    If you are unable to get back into your vehicle, in -20 to -40 C temperatures, because your doors have frozen shut, and it's nearly impossible to crawl over the front seat to buckle babies into their spots, it is a safety issue. If you have gotten into a vehicle accident, and you can't get out of your seat to get your children out of their buckled in seats, and those standing by trying to help can't climb over you to get to your children....that's a safety issue.

    If you have a child who gets car sick and you need to pull over, it is possibly not a safety issue, but it's a very inconvenient issue to not be able to get them out of the vehicle. Yes, we carry a bucket with us and know the routine, but it's not necessary to be so inconvenienced by our doors locking us to the point we can't get out of the vehicle.

    At this point in time, all our issues have been covered by our dealer. As I said earlier, we have a great dealership we are working with and I am very grateful for that.

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