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The Toyota Sienna is a stylish and reliable shuttle that can accommodate more family members than most SUVs. Consumer Reports loved the 2021 Sienna, praising its fuel efficiency and roominess.
There's even an off-roading Sienna Woodlands model for families who love traversing through the great outdoors.
While critics and buyers seem to love the Toyota Sienna, older models were prone to some serious and expensive problems. Here's what you need to know if you're shopping for a used Sienna, based on reports from CarComplaints.com.
What are the most common problems with older Siennas?
The 2004 Toyota Sienna has the highest number of reported complaints, but most of these issues are inexpensive to fix. The dashboard is known to crack after 86,000 miles and will need a dashboard cover. Sometimes the radio gets stuck on one station or displays distorted text.
Some 2004 Siennas also had body quality issues, particularly a broken weld on the front left door. A cracked weld can cause the door hinge to deteriorate to the point where the door falls off completely. It's easy for a mechanic to fix the weld, but it's alarming that this issue was present on completely new cars.
Some drivers also had problems with the Sienna's sliding doors due to a faulty latch or defective motor. A technical service bulletin was released for this issue, but repairs for TSBs aren't typically covered by warranties.
Which model year was the worst for the Toyota Sienna?
Although it had fewer issues overall, the 2007 Toyota Sienna is worse because it's prone to one very severe problem. Close to 38,000 miles, many drivers noticed that they experienced a loss of power when the car slowed down. Afterward, it would "catch up" and jolt forward, which is a huge safety concern in traffic or parking lots.
Some drivers said the problem was most apparent soon after starting the vehicle when the engine was still cold. Some dealers sourced the problem to a bad transmission, costing an average of $3,000 to replace. Other technicians failed to even determine the problem, letting customers rack up diagnostic fees with no resolution.
The 2000 Sienna is also frequently found to have a faulty transmission, with the average repair totaling $3,450. A few users also reported that they had to have the transmission fixed multiple times.
The 2006 Sienna sometimes needs the rack and pinion setup replaced at around 79,500 miles. This mechanical system on the wheels is what allows the vehicle to drive in a straight line. Getting it fixed usually costs around $1,160.
Which Sienna has the least issues?
The Toyota Sienna from 2020 and 2016 each have one severe problem reported. This involves damaged wiring and transmission noises, respectively. Several other minor issues have been reported. The 2018 model had a rare brake failure issue.
If you’re looking for a reliable used Sienna, the model from 2003 only has five frequently reported problems. Interior accessories like CD changers might stop working eventually, and a handful of drivers experienced noisy brakes. Overall, the 2003 Toyota Sienna still gets a “Seal of Awesome” from CarComplaints.com.
It's important to remember that any issues on a large scale would likely have resulted in a recall. Most used Sienna models are still great cars, but be ready to catch potential issues early.
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