2003 Toyota Sienna LE from North America - Comments

10th Aug 2009, 09:03

I have a '98 Sienna, 220,000 miles, up until recently was required to change brake pads once a year. (Front).

I just replaced the rear shoes (drum brakes) for the first time - plus 200 thousand miles. The rear brakes self- adjust by use of the parking brake. More parking brake use means tighter rear shoes and more shoe wear.

Front pads are easy to change by removing the wheel and tire and using a large screwdriver (LARGE!) to push the piston back into the caliper. Don't lose the little springs. I use cheap pads since they wear fast. The Sienna is a very heavy vehicle with a race- car engine that will gobble brakes. There is really no way to cut down brake wear, ceramic, originals Toyota or composite pads, the Sienna eats them all!

Another problem with Sienna disc brakes that eats brake pads even faster is with the sliders that center the caliper will stick eventually. The sliders are 'protected' with small latex boots that crack and allow road salt and debris to enter the slider and weld it to the caliper with corrosion. When the caliper stops centering on the slider it bends the bracket bolts instead. This accelerates brake wear and requires caliper replacement.

When you replace the pads, check the sliders by attempting to turn the slider bolts themselves. If they cannot be turned, or the boots are rotten, replace the calipers. (They cannot be repaired.)

This is $1000 - $1500 Toyota job or a $400 garage jobs. Or, you can do yourself for less than $100 for replacement calipers and brake fluid.

26th Aug 2009, 21:32

My wife had a bad accident with our Toyota Sienna 2004 due to brake failure. Even the brakes were checked two weeks ago before the accident. Be careful with the Toyota Sienna, it can cost your life!!!

13th Nov 2009, 07:52

I have 150,000 on my 2002 Sienna van. We've spent $2000 on brakes since buying it 7 years ago, or about $150/yr. This includes about 4 sets of rotors, lots of pads (ceramic), and a new set of calipers at about 120,000.

It does appear that the brakes are under-engineered for the weight and design of the vehicle.

The garage wants to repair the front shocks and struts, saying that all the weight in braking is focused on the front, which causes the shocks and struts to gradually wear out. That's a $900 job, so I wanted to check to see if anyone else tried that solution. I think it may help a bit, but I would like to hear from others on this possible solution.

16th Jun 2010, 23:45

My 2006 Sienna SE with disks front and rear has 59,000 miles, and there is still about 10% of the pad thickness left on the front, and a bit more on the rear. I was just looking around the net for reviews of ceramic brake pads. It seems bizarre that there are so many Sienna owners on this site who are getting extremely short brake pad and rotor life. I would have to assume that a lot of this variation has to do with driving style and local conditions. Or perhaps incompetent repair technicians, who don't know how to lubricate caliper pins or something. Very strange.

13th Jul 2010, 11:30

We purchased our 2007 Toyota Sienna new in 2007. We got a quote from the dealer for a complete brake job...$700. I have done brakes before and took on this job myself. Had the front brake rotors turned for $30 and new front pads cost $22. The rear rotors didn't need to be turned and the rear pads cost me $25. So for under $80 I have new brakes on my Sienna.

14th Jul 2010, 18:19

Thank God for sane and sensible people like you!! I am sickened at the ridiculous prices I hear my friends say they have paid for brake jobs. Most shops and dealerships tell you you need brakes 50,000 miles before you do, then charge you ridiculous prices for something that costs very little and takes no time at all to do. I now drive only domestics, so I don't have to replace brakes before 70,000 to 120,000 miles, but when we had our poorly built Honda it required brakes every 25,000 miles or so. That could have gotten expensive at $700 a pop. I did them myself and saved a fortune.

15th Jul 2010, 18:32

Only car I ever had that went through brake pads that fast was a Ford Focus. I do all my own work, so I just replaced them myself each time.

My Honda's were great. Usually about 70,000 miles to a set of pads.

19th Jul 2010, 10:41

I am glad to read that some Sienna owners have replaced their own rotors and brake pads. I have been doing this for years on a variety of vehicles including my 2002 Sienna. I too was appalled by how often the brake pads and rotors have required replacement on my Sienna. The last time we purchased tires for the van, the tire dealer said we needed new brakes, front and rear, for $800. I stopped at AutoZone and purchased new pads and front rotors for a lot less and did it myself. Brake pad replacement is one of the easier things that most people can still perform on their cars. The dealer markup on this service is very high, and it is just not that difficult to do even if you also replace the rotors. BTW, I am not a professional mechanic, I am a librarian.

20th Jul 2010, 15:51

I'm having a problem removing the rear brake drum on a 03 Sienna to check the rear brakes. Does anyone know how to remove it? I also loosened the self adjuster.

27th Aug 2010, 22:53

To remove the rear brake drum on the 03 Sienna just hit it with a heavy hammer by the flat side (face to you). If it doesn't loosen, then you can use a bolt-12mm (double check the tread) and screw it in one of the two holes in the front of the drum. It will separate the brake drum from the hub.

4th Jan 2011, 16:55

Another one with unreasonably fast brake wear on a 2003 Sienna. I'm about to replace the pads for the fourth time since the van was bought in 2008, and at the third change we put on new calipers since I figured there *had* to be a mechanical issue with the rapid and uneven brake wear. In comparison I also have a '96 Isuzu Rodeo driven about 20% less per week, but have only replaced the pads once since I bought it in 2001.

20th Jan 2011, 15:12

I have a 2005 Sienna. I bought it at 44,000 miles.

I just had the front brakes put in at 58,000 miles. I don't know if the previous owner had a set put in. My mechanic replaces everything with all new parts, he doesn't bother to turn anything down. He charged me $250.00 for everything new on the front brakes only.

He did this for the past 10 years on my other Toyota and Honda Accord. I averaged about 40-50,000 miles per set. That comes to $1000,00 for complete brakes per car for 80,000-100,000 miles.

A bargain over any dealer.

29th Jan 2011, 20:22

We bought our 2006 Toyota Sienna in December of 2006. First set of brakes were gone at 7,000 miles, second set at 14,000 miles. The dealer installed a special brake pad kit the third time, and they lasted about 14,000 miles. They replaced them with another set, and now we're back to 7,000 miles and the pads are gone. Usually have to replace the rotors too. We just took it in again with pad, rotors and calipers all shot at 56,000 miles or about 7,000 miles from our last brake job. Very disappointed with the brakes on our 2006 Toyota Sienna. Toyota has some real issues with their brakes, and needs to recall them.