We have had a serious problem with our 2004 Toyota Sienna.
Our new $35,000, Sienna All-Wheel-Drive came with Dunlap run-flat tires and no spare tire. Last week we picked up a nail in one of our tires during the 100 plus mile trip from Boston to Cape Cod. The run-flat tire allowed me to complete the drive, but then the nightmare started. The local Toyota dealer told me they had received a notice advising them not to repair the tires, and to make matters worse they did not have any run-flat tires in stock and could not expect to obtain them through their normal parts system. After my wife explained we were stranded on our way home to Virginia the parts manager called the factory and was able to have a tire shipped in. The tire arrived two days later; cost $281 after taxes, and we paid a tire shop that had the equipment necessary to work on run-flat tires $32 to mount it. Interestingly, the tire shop was a Dunlap distributor and the manager said he repaired the Dunlap run-flats all the time and would have had us back on the road in one hour if we had come to him first.
I then spoke with my Virginia Toyota dealer who confirmed the story about not repairing the tires and the difficulty they were having in locating replacements.
I have since tried to create my own spare tire by purchasing a similar sized regular tire and rim. A number of different brand tires are available in this size, but I could not find a suitable after-market rim. The Toyota rim costs $450, and in addition there is no place to carry a spare tire in the all-wheel-drive Sienna.
I feel like we have been had. We have purchased six Toyotas because they have always been dependable. The Sienna is designed to be a family automobile. I purchased an all-wheel-drive Sienna in order to take my family safely into ski country where it is unlikely that the average auto repair or tire shop has the equipment necessary to work on run-flat tires. No one told me a tire shop needed specialized equipment to work on run-flat tires. No one told me Dunlop run-flat tires could not be repaired. No one told me they could not be easily replaced. No one told me they cost $280 each.
What was Toyota thinking?