12th Dec 2002, 09:57

If you have to change the oil every 2500 miles, I don't want one.

18th Dec 2002, 17:44

After reading the reviews on Toyota and Honda mini-vans, here, I think it is best to go with the American built Hummer H-2.

3rd Jan 2003, 19:49

Thanks for the info. So much for buying another Toyota! No way!

13th Mar 2003, 07:04

We are in the process of buying a used 2000 minivan and now that I've read these comments I'm going with a Dodge. I had forgotten about the trouble at the dealership with the Toyota Corolla I had 19 years ago.

13th Mar 2003, 20:23


Buy a Chevy Venture or an Astro. Actually an Astro is built on a truck frame, and it has the interior of a minivan. Plus they are reliable and very safe to drive, not only because of the truck frame, but because of the rear wheel drive. Check out the reviews of the Chevy Astro and the Venture.

ALSO, check out the Chevy website at www.chevrolet.com.

Just stay away from Chrysler, because the cars they produce are nice, but junk. The transmissions and engines have been known to fail at about 100,000 kilometers, even on the newer models.

31st Mar 2003, 07:44

I owned a Chrysler mini-van prior to my Sienna. It was problematic, but over a 4 year period, the amount I paid in repairs did not come close to the engine repair on my one year old Sienna. All my Caravan problems were AFTER the vehicle was out of warranty, not like Toyota which was within warranty, but denied coverage under warranty for repairs.

13th Jul 2003, 13:30

So what is a guy supposed to buy? I hear good and bad from all brands. I want a Toyota Sienna because of the supposed quality. I can get a new Windstar for the same price as a used sienna. I have a 97 Camry with 112,000 miles on it and have had no troubles at all with it.

What's a guy to do? I'm afraid to buy anything.

21st Jul 2003, 11:50

Don't buy a Toyota because of their supposed past reputation for quality. Do better research than that. You can find a lot of info on line. It may be the lesser of some evils, but do not expect it to be special, problem free or tolerant of even the maintenance requirements in the manual. If you want it to make it to 100,000 miles, like any other car out there, you must handle it with extraordinary care. Just don't be fooled by the hype of the past reputation of excellence. That is the past, not now. And don't expect to be handled any differently when you do have a problem. You will be given the same load of crap that you get at any other dealership.

25th Jul 2003, 09:51

What I would look for is a company's history of customer service. Every car manufacturers have problems at some point in time. I can say from my experience that Toyota does not seem to be very customer oriented when something seriously goes wrong. They try to blame it on the owner. They have been wonderful on minor problems, but if the big one hits (like sludge) watch out.

1st Aug 2003, 15:28

1999 Toyota Sienna CE.

Engine oil gelling ("sludge") issues: I have a copy of the letter Toyota sent in mid-2002 and would be glad to fax it to anyone. My e-mail is kmkurtz@juno.com. Our van was purchased used with 46,000 miles. It now has 88,000 miles with NO SIGNS of oil gelling or any other problems. I've changed the oil roughly every 3-5,000 miles, but not "religiously."

18th Aug 2003, 00:28

My mother had a critical fire incident in her 2000 Sienna just this past Tuesday. She is a burn unit and may or may not survive the 3rd degree burns over 30% of her body. An investigation is underway, but I understand that it probably started in the engine area.

Can anyone out there offer any info that may help me and my family??


3rd Sep 2003, 08:49

File a complaint with the National Traffic Safety Administration at www.nhtsa.gov. You can do this on-line, or you can call and do it in person. Hopefully you have an attorney to assist you.

4th Jan 2004, 05:44

I have a 2000 sienna. I bought it with 20k miles on it. I change the oil (personally) every 3000 miles or so. that's very important on any vehicle. I have no regrets about buying it. it has about 35k miles on it now. I am thinking about using it to tow a pop up trailer. any words of advice?

12th Jan 2004, 10:55

I wouldn't tow unless the vehicle is equipped with the tow package (includes an engine cooler).

You have bought the model and year covered under Toyota's 8 year unlimited mile sludge policy so if you do eventually succumb to sludge, you should be covered 100% for repairs and incidentals during this period. Be sure to continue to change your oil frequently, change the PCV even though not on the maintenance schedule and check your oil constantly for excessive consumption (at least every gas fill up). Hope you are luckier than others.

27th Jul 2004, 11:35

As an owner of a Sienna with a tow package and engine cooler that sludged, I can tell you that the cooler does not help prevent sludge even with proper maintenance. I have seen some anecdotal reports about thsi, but it is not true. You should change your oil every 3000 miles and use Mobil 1 or Amsoil to make sure no sludge in this engine.

8th Nov 2004, 12:56

It probably helps to have your best friend working at Toyota. Unless you can provide a receipt for every oil change Toyota is denying the free engine cleaning or repair. My dealers said I needed receipt for every 3,000 mile even though my manual says 7,500 mile is what is needed for my style of driving.

Also, if all they are doing is cleaning up the engine and not fixing the problem, expect to sludge again in the future.

7th Jun 2007, 13:47

My god, these reviews are terrible. If I could have gone into the future back in august of 01 when I bought my sienna brand new and seen these complaints, I probably would not have taken that risk.

But, I did buy one because a friend is a salesman at a dealership and we got a good deal. We have put 93,000 miles on it to date and have NOT had A SINGLE PROBLEM. We beat on this van all the time, change the oil every 5-6k miles and still no problems like sludge or a fire!? In fact this has been the most reliable, trouble free vehicle I have owned.

I unknowingly took a gamble and I hit the jackpot I guess. Sorry to here about your guys troubles. I am hard core Toyota guy and will always be (maybe not so much newer cars).

26th Mar 2008, 17:04

I would just like to say for the record I can't believe this happened to you. My 2000 Sienna has nearly 290k (KM's) which is like about 180,000 miles on it. Most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. No smoke, no oil loss, great vehicle.

8th May 2008, 17:40

We own a 2000 Sienna (produced in 1999). It is currently at 175000 miles, oil has been changed at intervals of 5K or less (usually around 3k now).

The pro's: still on original transmission, brakes changed at 85K and then at 160K.

The con's: $400 to change a dashboard light, engine failure due to sludge at 105K and 145K. Both times rebuilt by Toyota (after a lot of fuss). First rebuild had some mechanical issues. Took 9 weeks to get the piston rings the second time. Just after the second rebuild blew a rear seal ($990). Appears to have a very small coolant leak after second rebuild (suspect it's the head gasket). Know another owner with a Sienna manufactured within days of this one. It had had its engine and transmission replaced well under 100K miles.

27th Apr 2009, 22:01

My parents bought a 2000 Sienna brand new... never kept up on oil changes or any maintenance. I beat the crap out of this thing when I was in high school. I bought it off them with 175k miles on it, have 210k on it now.

Replaced shocks, struts, flushed the trans, engine, brakes, coolant etc. Basically replaced all the regular maintenance items that I know my dad never did, put around $1000 in parts and 2 days of work into it. Haven't had one bit of problem with it in 35k miles I've had it. Still gets around 20mpg general driving, no smoke, nothing.

Power steering will need an overhaul in the near future, as well as replacing all the hoses etc. but again a couple hundred bucks and a weekend's worth of work and it should be good for another 75-90k miles I hope.

Only complaints are the tire pressure sensor has never been off in the car, and I have gone through two gas caps since I have had it (aftermarket crap I assume).

As with any high mileage car, I recommend adding Marvel Mystery Oil or Sea-Foam with every oil change and every tank of gas.

14th Sep 2009, 16:58

This was caused in part by lack of crankcase ventilation, this was never a problem on the predecessor the rwd Previa. The Previa was a frankly a better van in most respects and more reliable than 1st gen fwd sienna.