Vehicle Reliability

Toyota Sienna Reliability and Common Problems

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The Toyota Sienna is known for its comfortable interior and superb safety features. It’s one of the best bets in its segment, so much so that most of its older models are available on the used vehicle market. Whether you’re planning to buy a Sienna or are already driving one, it’s a good idea to get to know the various issues you may encounter as it gains mileage.

Are Toyota Siennas Reliable?

2021 Toyota Sienna White
The Toyota Sienna is known for its comfortable interior and superb safety features. Image source: Toyota.

The Toyota Sienna boasts high scores on all major reliability ratings. RepairPal gave the 2020 model an excellent reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it eighth out of the 32 vehicles in its segment. Older Sienna models have also scored well in terms of reliability. For instance, the 1998 Toyota Sienna received a 4.6 out of 5.0 rating from Kelley Blue Book based on consumer reviews.

Top Toyota Sienna Problems

Despite its superb reliability, the Toyota Sienna has its fair share of issues and concerns. Here are some of the most reported Toyota Sienna problems for different model years:

Oil Leak and Loss of Oil Pressure

Some owners of 2007-2016 Toyota Sienna models have reported oil leaks due to a ruptured VVT-i oil line, which can result in complete engine failure if left unresolved. To address the issue, most of them had to replace the damaged oil line and clear the engine oil and undercarriage.

2011 2013 Toyota Sienna
Some owners of 2007-2016 Toyota Sienna models have reported oil leaks due to a ruptured VVT-i oil line. Image source: Toyota.

Loss of Power

Several owners of the 2007 Toyota Sienna have complained that their engine sometimes loses power when they slow down. Some experienced this problem alongside transmission slipping and jerking. This increases the risk of accidents, especially when driving on a crowded freeway.

Dealers have yet to determine the exact cause of this issue even after inspecting the affected units’ transmission. Some technicians reset the transmission memory in an attempt to solve the issue to mixed results. The average repair cost for this problem can reach up to $3,000.

2007 Toyota Sienna
Several owners of the 2007 Toyota Sienna have complained that their engine sometimes loses power when they slow down. Image source: Toyota.

Cracking Dashboard

2006 Toyota Sienna problems involved issues with the vehicle’s interior accessories. Several owners have complained of sticky or cracked dashboards. Many reported that the cracks were so bad it almost looked like somebody slashed their minivan’s dashboard with a knife or a razor blade.

Some owners opted to have their dashboard replaced, which can cost several thousand dollars. If your Sienna has the same issue, consider buying an aftermarket dash cover to restore your minivan without breaking the bank.

Rack and Pinion Issues

Some owners of the 2006 Toyota Sienna have also complained of issues involving their minivan’s rack and pinion seal. Most have cracked, unseated, or damaged rack and pinion seals that lead to leaks in the steering system. If left unresolved, these can affect the minivan’s performance and result in costly repairs. 

Depending on the extent of the damage, owners may have to replace the faulty seals or the entire rack and pinion unit. Repairs may cost over $1,000.

Broken Weld in Door

Aside from cracking dashboards, the 2004 Toyota Sienna also has issues with the weld of its doors. While it won’t fall off, it can swing open further than needed, which can cause harm or damage. The broken weld may also cause unusual noises and make it difficult to open or close windows.

Fixing this issue can cost over $1,000, depending on the parts that need repairs or replacements.

Power Door Issues

Most 2002 Toyota Sienna power door problems involve the doors locking and unlocking on their own. Since this is a safety concern, most owners brought their Sienna to their respective dealers for proper diagnosis.

If the issue is related to a problem with the vehicle computer, the repairs may involve replacing faulty parts and reprogramming remotes.

According to RepairPal, issues regarding the minivan’s electric sliding doors are among the most common issues that Toyota Sienna owners encounter regardless of the model year. Most owners reported that the problem was caused by a frayed or damaged door cable. Others said that their motorized sliding door stopped working because of a faulty motor.

Whatever the cause may be, having malfunctioning doors can be a hassle. If your Sienna has this issue, you may have to forcibly open the stuck doors and repair or replace any faulty component.

Transmission Failure

Some owners of the 2000 Toyota Sienna have reported that their transmission failed after 78,000 miles. In some cases, the minivan’s RPM increases, but it won’t pick up speed.

Although the issues recorded are not as many as the other problems in this list, it’s still worth talking about because of its high repair cost. Repairs for transmission failure can cost over $3,000. Depending on what’s wrong, owners may have to replace a faulty component like a transmission solenoid or the entire transmission itself.

2000 Toyota Sienna
Some owners of the 2000 Toyota Sienna have reported that their transmission failed after 78,000 miles. Image source: Toyota.

If you’d like to know if your Toyota Sienna was part of any recall, you can check out our guide or visit the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

Despite all the issues mentioned above, a new or used Toyota Sienna remains one of the best minivans you can get on the market today. As long as you’re aware of the issues that the model you’re planning to buy can develop, choosing this minivan comes with little risk. With proper handling and regular maintenance, you maximize the service life of your Sienna.

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