2000 Toyota Sienna XLE from North America


Comfortable, but risky


We bought this minivan off-lease, in good shape with no obvious problems. Have now experienced the engine oil sludge build-up problem I am reading about on the INTERNET (too late).

Burnt through 5 quarts of oil on a 1600 mile trip over Christmas. We brought it to a Toyota dealer, along with our info on a high-end GE warranty we had purchased with the car.

The dealer diagnosed it as leaky valve stem seals, which is covered under the warranty ($1400 repair). The bad new was that the sludge build-up was so bad that the valve covers needed replacing and the engine needed an oil flush and oil pan cleaning, etc.-- which was considered the result of "lack of scheduled maintenance and therefore not covered by the warranty". I thought it odd that the dealership would so readily provide this explanation to the warranty people.

We are trying to get the maintenance records, but since this was bought off-lease this may be impossible. It seems obvious, given the record of sludge build-up in this engine independent of oil change frequency, where the problem lies.

We'll see where the fight leads us to get this repair covered, but I am posting this to add my voice to the long list of warnings about buying this vehicle!

General Comments:

This appears to be a frequent and serious problem caused by a manufacturer's design flaw. Prevention of this problem, if there is a way of preventing it, is to change the oil more frequently than is believable, and cewrtainly more frequently than what is recommended by the manufacturer.

The default explanation appears to be that it is always the owner's fault unless certified, meticulous-- perhaps notarized-- records are maintained.

Complaints have been reportedly filed with the NHTSA and the FTC, and a class action suit is rumored.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 7th January, 2004

2nd Feb 2004, 10:59

I suggest that you review some of the archived posts at www.edmunds.com. Go to their discussion page and do a search for "engine sludge", and you will see a number of quite lengthy discussion about this problem. There is one that is titled something like "Toyotas Customer Response" and it was started by Toyota Corp to address questions about the sludge policy. In this discussion it is clear that owners of used vehicles are to be covered, and it should not be necessary to provide historical receipts. It is good you reported to the NHTSA, because they need to hear about Toyota not keeping their word about the sludge policy. I heard that the NHTSA was investigating the problem, and stopped the investigation because of the policy.

2000 Toyota Sienna LX 3.0L from North America


A disappointment


The torque converter failed at 10000 miles.

The rear seat latches failed the first time the seat was removed.

The sound system failed and was replaced twice on warranty. It failed again.

Two window switches have failed.

The automatic sliding door failed.

General Comments:

The ride is rough.

The visibility is poor compared to my old Caravan.

Warranty work always took at least 2 visits and often 3 visits. Parts were not stocked.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd December, 2003

2000 Toyota Sienna LX 3.0 from North America


A low quality brand name vehicle


I thought I was unlucky that I bought a lemon. It's a surprise that there are so many owners that have the same problems I had on my 2000 sienna. Looks like Toyota has some design and quality control issues.

The new car came with chattering problem, I had the dealer checked 3 times, they just re-balanced the wheels, but didn't correct the problem. Then they told me they can't find what's wrong. I finally had a shop looked at it. They corrected it with alignment. But the tires are badly worn already.

On February 2002, the Check Engine warning light came on. The dealership said the mechanics found metal debris in it and decided to replaced the transmission. I have to wait 2 weeks for them to get the new transmission ship from west coast. Yes, I have a loaner car, that's the good part. 3 days after the vehicle was fixed, the warning light came on again. This time, they found it's just a loose wire. Thanks god (but I really doubt that if this is the real problem the first time the light came on, since metal debris in transmission is normal, that's what the magnets inside the transmission oil pan for). A new problem appeared right after they fix the transmission, noise came out from the engine room. Every time the engine is at 2200 rpm, I hear a deep throat roaring sound. Yep, if you cruise at 65, that's the engine's rpm. Pretty annoying. The dealership said there is nothing they can do since it's "normal engine noise", but I really don't think it's the engine since there is no noise if it's not driving and just push the padel to put the engine at 2200 rpm.

And, (yes it's not over yet), I found it's leaking some kind of oil recently. I had the dealer checked the vehicle, this time it's the power steering high pressure hose. It's not under warranty any more. Even I have Toyota Gold extended warranty, it's not covered.

That's it, it's the worst vehicle ownership experience I ever had. Me and my wife are considering trade it in for some other vehicle, like Odyssey, should be more reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th April, 2003

14th May 2003, 08:36

No engine sludge yet? Boy, are you lucky! :-)

22nd Jun 2003, 12:59

Maybe the reason they have no sludge is because they are smart owners that actually do their maintenance on time and at the right places, instead of going to Jiffy Lube "when they remember to" and expect the manufacturer to buy a $5000 engine as a result of their ignorance. I assume luck had nothing to do with it.