2000 Toyota Sienna LE 3.0L V-6 from North America


This car can develop sludge in the engine


At 34,000 miles we developed sludge in the engine, even though we have documented oil changes. It cost us over $4,000 to repair. They will not honor the warranty.

General Comments:

My husband and I are in our 50"s. We have purchased 12 new cars in our lifetime. Included were Honda Civics. Currently four of our children own Honda Civic (3 of them have over 100,000 miles.) We have never had a "sludge" problem in any engine of any car we owned. Now we are told this is "our" problem.

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

Review Date: 6th February, 2002

21st Jun 2002, 13:35

Our Toyota Sienna also developed this oil sludge problem which similarly resulted in over $4,000 of repairs plus another $500+ for the cost of a rental car. My wife and kids could have been killed when the engine seized up on a busy interstate during the holiday season of 2001.

Toyota has now sent out a letter informing owners of this problem and have set up a Customer Service Program to address this issue and process reimbursements. We'll see how committed they are to customer service and satisfaction. So far, Toyota has been open to a claim, but they want a lot of maintenance information that is not always complete, especially since we have relocated in the past few years. I sense that they will try to push this matter back on us (as our maintenance problem), and that they are trying to act like this is a rare occurrence. However, I know of one other similar problem (besides yours) and I know of auto repair shops who have seen several of these problems.

Hopefully, Toyota will come through and honor their Customer Service Program. If not, I'll be through with them forever.

Good luck to you.

13th Dec 2004, 07:44

These engines have been known to develop sludge even with proper maintenance. The only way you can determine if it is present is to remove the valve cover. Highly recommend that you do this before buying any used Toyota. If it has sludge, you are covered under an 8 year unlimited mile policy (no need for an extended warranty on this) but the kicker is, you must prove reasonable maintenance and unless you have all the previous owner's receipts or unless all the maintenance was done by Toyota and on their records, then you are shot.

19th Feb 2006, 01:41

I drive a 1998 Lexus ES300 which has the same motor as the Sienna. I also had the sludge problem. I was in Las Vegas when the car started blowing out smoke when I started the car. I had all oil changes done every 3000-5000 miles since new. The car only had 45000 miles. I called Lexus and told them my problem and they said to take the car to the nearest dealer. I figured it would be Lexus of Las Vegas and if the car made it that far I might as well risk drving back to my home in Manhattan Beach, Ca. The car did make it all the way home. I took it in to the dealer and they tried to tell me I didn't do oil changes every 3000 miles. I had all records in my glove box and showed them. They decided to do the motor for free. They gave me a loaner ES300 which I was afraid to drive so I drove my LS400. I bought another Lexus after that cause I have faith in Toyota/Lexus.

2000 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.0 liter V-6 from North America


The worst vehicle that I have ever owned


The most significant problem has been engine sludge, which developed at 17,000 miles. My Toyota dealer said that the engine would need to be rebuilt at a cost of $3,300, and it would not be covered under warranty, since the only cause that they will admit to for sludge is lack of oil changes. I produced receipts for three oil changes all less than or within the owner's manual recommendation of every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

Since having the engine rebuilt, the van is making a rumbling noise on idle. I will be taking it back in to check that out.

The van is very jerky on acceleration. I fear a transmission problem is brewing, since I have read much about this being a problem with the Sienna, also.

There is frequently a musty moldy odor, although there are no visible leaks in the van.

General Comments:

Before buying the Sienna, I owned a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan. The Caravan was a lemon - in the four years that I owned it, I replaced the AC evaporator twice, transmission, tensionometer, brakes, and the power window mechanisms, to name a few. These problems, encountered over a four year period, barely add up to the cost I have had to pay on my Sienna in one year.

If you have this problem with your vehicle, post your complaint at http://www.nhtsa.gov and at http://www.ftc.gov.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th June, 2001

2nd Sep 2001, 11:22

The Toyota Sienna manual states that oil should be changed between 5,000 miles and 7,500 miles. If the vehicle is used for deliveries, is driven on dirt roads, or used to carry or tow heavy loads, this is considered severe driving conditions and the recommended service interval is 5,000 miles. The manual states that the 7,500 mile interval applies to all other driving conditions. If oil is changed within this interval and the engine develops sludge, then Toyota should cover under warranty, but it is not. Check www.edmunds.com Town Hall "engine sludge" site -- nearly every vehicle reported on this site is a Sienna or one that has the same V-6, 3.0 liter engine as the Sienna (Lexus RX-300, Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, or Toyota Solara).