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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
65,668 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Toyota Sienna electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Toyota Sienna Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Dec 022013


  • miles


I recently purchased a 2008 Toyota Sienna that I believe has a safety issue, particularly in cold weather. The exterior switch that allows the rear hatch to open is not functional in cold weather due to a material malfunction. I noticed that during warmer weather, the rubber seal over this exterior switch had become soft and gummy. Over time, the rubber seeped between the switch housing and the switch button. As the weather became cold, the rubber has hardened around the switch button and the exterior switch is no longer functional. The only way I can open the rear hatch in cold weather is to open a front door and use the interior switch to open the rear hatch. My concern is if we were to get into an accident during the cold months and the only way someone could get access to the interior of the vehicle is through the rear hatch, it could not be done because the exterior switch on the rear hatch would be seized preventing access. It is very alarming when I think of my entire family, especially my 15 yo, my 3 yr, and my 6 mo, being inside of this van and people not gaining access to the inside to help them due to injuries, fire, water hazards, etc... I own a 2005 Toyota 4runner and it appears to have the same switch. However, the rubber on the switch is perfectly fine and functions normally. There appears to have been a material change allowing the rubber to soften resulting in a potential safety hazard during the cold months. I spoke to our local Toyota dealership and they are fully aware of this issue and said that Toyota does not consider this to be a safety issue. Initially I thought the previous owner applied a solvent or something to soften the rubber. As I researched more on the internet, this issue applies to many Toyota vehicles, with models including the Sienna and the 4runner. The earliest model year that I can find for either model is 2007.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #8

Sep 262013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
My sister and I had just returned home from the store and I pressed the button to lift the back door to get our things out. We were in the middle of getting our things out when the door started closing on us. I got out and my sister got caught and it came down on her back and scratched her up pretty good. Ever since then just out of the blue it will not stay up and it will close down on you. I think this is a major safety issue especially since I have two little children. It could really do some harm to them. The sliding doors stop closing if someone is in the way and it should be the same for the back door. I bought this vehicle because it is supposed to be one of the top of the line fans for safety. So far I am not impressed. Someone needs to resolve this issue! I am scared to even open up that back door because of this.....and that is not good.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #7

Nov 012011

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
Right rear power sliding door on 2005 Toyota Sienna lxe malfunctioned. Dealer quoted nearly $1000 to fix. Ridiculous. Had dealer disconnect system (over $70) and now can use door manually although door is cumbersome to move -- almost impossible for children to operate. Inexcusably poor design! same problem right rear window. Will not operate. Now disconnected by dealer (included in $70 charge noted above). Window cannot be operated manually. Permanently shut. Bad! ventilation in rear and thus throughout vehicle adversely affected.

- Windsor, VT, USA

problem #6

May 012011

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


The rubberized surface of the rear door latch has dissolved into goo. I assume that heat from an electrical short melted the rubber. Thus, two problems: 1) this may be a sign of a serious electrical problem that will manifest itself again but with respect to a critical component; and 2) each time the latch is used, some of the black goo comes off on my hand.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #5

Sep 202011

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
I arrived at work and used the interior push button to open the power door on the driver side of my van after exiting the van my key fob would not activate the close of the door. It was dark and I closed the door manually. After leaving work I attempted to activate and open the same door with my key fob. The door would not open and I could not open it manually. After closer examination (it was now daylight) the power door cable was hanging down from the furthest rear window. It had snapped. The door would not open manually (it wouldn't budge) and if I attempted using the fob or interior push buttons you could hear the component that activates the cable humming but the door had no movement. The failure of the door to open as a safety issue.

- Victor, NY, USA

problem #4

Aug 012010


  • 30,000 miles
All of the sudden when I was driving on the highway (2008 Sienna limited AWD) last two week it suddenly stopped while I was driving at 75 mph. With not prior signs of malfunction before the incident. I tried to start it up but it didn't work. (August 1, 680 South bond al costa blvd is where my car broke down) so we towed the car to the sunnyvale Toyota. They said they would give us a report of what went wrong. Turns out the fuel pump doesn't work, and they don't know why because it is a independent part, I consulted a professional auto mechanic for a second opinion. He said that it usually doesn't happen unless your car is over 10 years old. I called the Toyota headquarters to file a complaint but they said it wasn't a very "big" problem and didn't follow up with me and said I have to call my own dealer only. And that it was perfectly safe for me to pull over with the left over momentum. I was not satisfied with their answer and I found it weird that its breaking down already. With only 30,000 miles and 2 years new. Not only that when they returned the car to us, they decided to mention to us that apparently not only is the fuel pump not working apparently the battery rotted too. They said that all the liquid in the battery leaked out so they had to change it also. I am not pleased that they decided to tell me this when they returned the car to me not before when they told me the fuel pump was not working. I am not pleased with the quality of Toyota, and do not feel safe driving my car around.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #3

Apr 012010


  • 22,553 miles


Vehicle traveling 35mph on a level street. Warm, dry, windy, cloudy afternoon. Sudden acceleration! brief (1-2 seconds) ended before I could depress the brake. No damage, collision or injury occurred. Just startled. Checked for floor mat or other visible obstruction/ impedance, none apparent. This was the first time I was sure of the occurrence. There have been a variety of what appear to be electrical /electronic "glitches" : ac green light on button comes on by itself, summer or winter and sometimes I can not get it to turn off. Seatbelt light sometimes comes on when they are properly in use. (and nothing heavy resting on the seats) also airbag light sometimes. Service light remains on sometimes after oil change service. Brake highly sensitive gas pedal very touchy, especially from stop, ie at light. Hard to not spin wheels on starting. (especially when pavement wet, even on level St.). fortunately, having lived in snow territory, I know the importance of slow starts and stops when possible. I have not checked any sites to see if Sienna 2008 has any problems listed yet.

- Cedar Lake, IN, USA

problem #2

Feb 012010


  • 15,255 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact started the ignition. The "engine" warning light indicator illuminated in a flashing motion on the instrument panel. The warning indicator illuminated until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician detected an engine default code. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer on a separate occasion for the identical failure. However, the previous repair code was not detected in the computerized system and other error codes. The vehicle has not been repaired for the malfunction. Whenever the temperatures were 20 degrees or below the failure occurred. The failure mileage was 15,255.

- Laurel , MD, USA

problem #1

Oct 252007

Sienna 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
I was programming a new Sienna van homelink to my garage door opener. It started the sequence as one would expect.(.small house icon blinking )but never apparently moved on to the step of retrieving the signal. As required one must hold the garage door opener remote on to try to accept signal. After attempting this several times I stopped and was just in time to notice the motor of garage door opener was overheating and near fire! fire dept was called and it was all checked out. In fear of faulty equipment I took steps to replace both garage door motors. After new openers were installed professional installers attempted to program the homelink. It failed once again. We tried several times and even tried to program other buttons. End result was button 1 and 2 of homelink are faulty and 3 finally programmed. So after replacing my own equipment which I assumed was faulty...we determined the homelink system in the car was at fault and malfunctioning. This was determined after we tried on new in the end my original equipment was not the cause of the fire but merely a result of a faulty program chip in the homelink. I was fortunate that my house had not caught fire as my garage is under the family room. I spoke with my dealership as well as Toyota customer care center and home link and non of the 3 sources will assume responsibility of the faulty equipment. The car was only a week old brand new 2008. I feel had the homelink worked properly the 1st and 2nd button would of programmed as easily as the 3rd and my garage openers would not of overheated and near caught fire and place my home and pets in jeopardy. Not to mention I had a cost of $700 to replace equipment that wasn't faulty. I would like Toyota to acknowledge that this may perhaps be the first of several homelinks to have a issue and to make consumers aware that there is a potential malfunction so they too don't overheat and possibly lead to fire in the motors in garage.

- N. Easton, MA, USA

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