01/02/2012Provided by Citysearch -
I have had too many problems with my Sienna mini-van: sliding doors problems, back door latch failing on a yearly basis, and engine issues. Bought (first hand) a 2001 Toyota Sienna XLE (v6). First couple of years were fine. Noticed around 2007-2008 that every trip that involves the highway will result in the oil to vanish as the Oil light will turn on. I ignored the issue at first as a mechanic indicated there was no leak. I simply put more oil and things were fine up to the next trip.
I then noticed that a gray vapor was coming out from the exhaust each time the car was started (morning). In 2009, I took the car to the dealer (Stevens Creek Toyota). It cost me 3K to fix the issue (they indicated the engine needs to be removed and cleaned). I really didn't get the real problem but just wanted to fix the problem.
Unfortunately, the same problem started happening few months later (2 or 3 at most). In 2010, we went for a summer vacation (500miles round-trip) and again lost all the oil.. The dealer was not helpful at all, as he kept finding excuses and asking us to put oil and come back after 500 miles.. but again nothing happened as my wife did not use the highway (which triggered this issue).
A couple of days ago I spent $400 for overall car maintenance (104K miles now) and headed to the mountains. This time got the scare of my life as the engine started vibrating big time and the engine light started flashing. Immediately took the car to a nearby mechanics who indicated that one of the pistons/cylinder was unusable. He showed me the associated burnt spark-plug while the other ones were OK.
The mechanic changed the sparks and added oil and asked me to head back home (as we were around 200miles away) though using low speed.
I managed to reach home (though with a lot of shaking). For the first time, I started reading the blogs to see whether others had similar issues. Immediately found the following link www.oilgelsettlementcom posted by Toyota v6 owners (camry, sienna, ..). That seemed to correspond to the oil issues I was having.
I went to the dealer (Stevens Creek Toyota) to talk to the manager. As usual, no help whatsoever. The only thing that mattered to the manager is to avoid a lawsuit. I asked him why Toyota never told me about the sludge issue. Again, he used pretext after the other so that Toyota does not pay a cent. He indicated that I needed a new engine and this would cost me 7K.
Conclusion - Our mini-van became unreliable after few years of usage and low mileage. But the biggest disappointment that I have is with the dealership which is an expert at taking your money without anything in return even when they screw up. No compassion, no professionalism. Toyota used to have reliable cars but not anymore. I WILL NEVER BUY A TOYOTA EVER.