What to look for when buying a used 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna

Updated: May 11, 2020

The previous generation Toyota Sienna has not been a great success because it was a fairly small vehicle. Toyota engineer Yuji Yokoya was tasked with redesigning the 2004 Sienna for the North American market.

2007 Toyota Sienna
2007 Toyota Sienna.

To understand what North American minivan owners need, Yokoya drove the vehicle all over Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. This experience has been vital in improving the Sienna. As a result, the 2004-2010 Sienna is larger, more maneuverable and offers more storage compartments, cargo space and many other improvements. The Toyota Sienna comes with front- or all-wheel drive in a 7- or 8-passenger configuration. Overall, it's a pretty good minivan, but there have been some problems to watch out for.

Toyota Sienna problems: Several owners mentioned problems with the sliding doors. According to the Toyota bulletin POL12-02, the warranty for the Rear Sliding Door Latch Assemblies and Power Sliding Door Cable Assembly has been extended for some models to 9 years or 120,000 miles.
The front door checker's mounting panel spot welds can become detached. Toyota has issued a warranty extension. If out of warranty, the repair is quite expensive. See YouTube videos on the subject. The symptom of this problem is a loud popping noise when opening the driver's or the front passenger's door.

2007 Toyota Sienna interior
The interior of 2007 Toyota Sienna.

When buying a used Toyota Sienna, both front door checkers must be inspected carefully.
Many owners have reported cracks in the dashboard at higher mileage. This thread discusses the issue and possible fixes.
Exhaust leaks have also been mentioned. The repair with aftermarket parts is not very expensive.
Leaking valve cover gaskets at higher mileage are not uncommon ($220-$380 to replace).
Oil cooler lines in the 2007-2010 models are another common source of leaks. Toyota has issued the Warranty Enhancement Program ZE2 to address the problem. Read more in this forum.
Several owners mentioned replacing a leaking steering rack. With an aftermarket part, the repair may cost $400-$650. The intermediate steering shaft can fail too. The part is about $180-$370, plus $90-$220 to replace. A bad steering rack or intermediate shaft can cause a rattling noise in the steering when driving on a rough road.

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Despite the problems mentioned above, compared to other minivans, the 2004-2010 Sienna is one of the better ones. It's not uncommon to see the Sienna with over 200K miles still running strong.

Engine: The only powertrain choice is a transversely-mounted V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 2004-2006 Sienna has a 230-hp 3.3L V6 (3MZ-FE). For 2007, the Sienna received a 266-hp 3.5L V6 (2GR-FE).

EPA Fuel Economy: mpg
city/hwy
L/100 km
city/hwy
2004 Sienna 3.3L 2WD 17/25 13.8/9.4
2005-2007 Sienna 2WD 17/24 13.8/9.8
2004-2005 Sienna 3.3L AWD 16/22 14.7/10.7
2007 Sienna 3.5L AWD 16/21 14.7/11.2
2006 Sienna 3.3L AWD 15/21 15.7/11.2

Fuel Economy: The 2007 FWD Sienna is rated at 17/24 mpg city highway. This means that on a long highway trip, you can get up to 440 miles (708 km) on a 20-gallon (75.7 liters) tank of gas. See more details in the table.

Timing Belt or Timing Chain: The 3.3L V6 engine (3MZ) in the 2004-2006 Sienna has a timing belt that must be replaced every 90,000 miles. Replacing a timing belt with a water pump may cost from $690 to $940. The 3.5L V6 (2GR) in the 2007-2010 Sienna has a maintenance-free timing chain. The timing chain only needs to be replaced if there is a problem with it.

Mechanical: The Sienna has MacPherson struts in the front and a torsion beam in the rear suspension. Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) are standard. Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control is available.

2007 Toyota Sienna storage well behind the rear seat

Storage well behind the third seat.

2007 Toyota Sienna seats folded

The Sienna offers 148.9 cu. ft. cargo space.

Toyota Sienna engine

2GR-FE engine.

Interior: Inside, the Sienna offers plenty of space combined with versatility and comfort. Controls are simple and easy to use.
The 7-seat Sienna offers two full-size comfy second-row captains-chair seats with armrests. The right seat can be repositioned side-to-side, offering either a bench or bucket arrangement. In the eight-passenger configuration you get three separate second-row seats forming a bench. The middle seat can be moved close to the front seats, making infants and toddlers in a child seat more accessible. The 60/40 split third-row seat folds flat into the floor without removing the headrests. When the seat is in the upright position you get a large storage well behind it.

If you need more cargo room, the second-row seats can be removed, although they are quite heavy. In addition, on some models, the front passenger seat can be folded down to use as a table-top. With the seats folded, the Sienna offers 148.9 cu. ft of cargo space. Both sliding doors are equipped with power windows. There are plenty of cup holders and storage compartments. The list of available options includes Navigation system with Rearview camera, Rear DVD, Dynamic Laser Cruise Control and power rear gate.

Related reviews:

Driving experience: The Sienna is a pleasure to drive. The ride is soft and quiet, road noise is well absorbed. The steering is light, with a tight turning radius. The 3.5L V6 in our test car delivered lively acceleration.

Pros: Roomy, practical interior, handling, smooth ride, tight turning radius, comfortable second-row bucket seats, third-row seat folds into the floor, cargo space, available AWD

Cons: Expensive compared to other minivans, no spare tire in some models, run-flat tires wear fast and expensive to replace.

Overall: Although not without flaws, the Sienna offers a roomy interior, solid, reliable powertrain and a comfortable driving experience. As of May 2020, Consumer Reports rates only the 2005 and 2010 Sienna 'above average' for reliability. Other model years of this generation are rated 'average'.

What to look for when buying a used Toyota Sienna: If it's the 2004-2006 Sienna, check the service or vehicle history records (if available) to see if the timing belt has been replaced. It's also good to know if the vehicle has been maintained regularly in the past.

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Check the NHTSA website for recalls that have not yet been completed. When checking at the dealer's lot, check the area of the front door strikers for broken welding spots. Watch out for leaks under the hood. A low coolant or engine oil level should warrant further investigation. Watch out for uneven tire wear. Test all electrical accessories, try if the sliding doors are closing well. Test the heater and the A/C. Read more: How to inspect a used car. Watch out for warning lights staying on on the dash after the engine is started. The blue smoke from the exhaust is a sign of engine problems. When test driving, the transmission should shift smoothly without delays or slipping. See if the vehicle holds the straight line well. A rattling noise felt in the steering when driving slowly on a rough road, indicates possible problems with steering parts, such as the steering rack or the intermediate shaft U-joints. Read more: Signs of problems to watch out for when test driving a used car. Before buying, have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic for leaks and mechanical problems, including underneath, for things like bad engine mounts or control arms or a leaking water pump or steering rack.

Maintenance tips: Change the engine oil regularly to keep it in good shape.

2007 Toyota oil dipstick
Check the engine oil regularly and top up if needed.

An air filter, transmission fluid, spark plugs and a drive belt need to be changed at some point. In the 3MZ-FE engine, the timing belt needs to be changed every 90,000 miles. Watch out for dropping coolant level or leaks from the water pump area. If the engine temperature rises above normal, have the cooling system checked. Keep the sliding door rails clean and lubricated. At least once a year, have the vehicle inspected in the repair shop by a qualified mechanic. Regular brake services may prevent brake calipers from sticking. Battery terminals might need to be serviced if corroded. Read more: Car Maintenance Checklist with Photos. By Samarins.com Staff



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Resources:
Safety Recalls - NHTSA - check for recalls.
Transport Canada - Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls - check for recalls in Canada.
Toyota Owners - maintenance schedules, electronic owner's manual and how-to videos.