really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,715 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Toyota Sienna Owner Comments

problem #17

Aug 192016


  • 76,000 miles


Shift lever assembly may allow rollaway 13V429000 my Sienna had the above recall work completed. My little daughter bumped the gear shift and knocked it out park and the car rolled away. The Sienna was in park, the key was out of the ignition and the brake pedal was not touched. My concern is that fix provided for the recall did not actually correct problem completely. If you have a Sienna for the effected years and have had the above recall work completed your vehicle may still roll away. To test park on a flat surface apply emergency brake grasp gear shift apply pressure to move it toward reverse while jiggling the gear shift up and down - do not put your foot on the brake while doing this. If gear shift stays in park you are good. If it falls into reverse your car is now in neutral and can roll away put foot on brake and put the car in park.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #16

Jan 022013


  • 135,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. While the vehicle was parked, the vehicle started to roll away and rolled over the contact. The vehicle crashed into a bush. The contact sustained head, back, and knee injuries that needed medical attention. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer or diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was included in NHTSA campaign number: 13V429000 (power train). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 135,000.

- Pinson, AL, USA

problem #15

Jan 042012


  • 61,637 miles
That was around 2012 new year time when I, my wife and my kid visited our friend at atlanta, ga. We drove our van on interstate highway I-75, in the middle of our trip, our van started shaking vigorously. I felt that was from engine, it forced me to stop on the side of I-75. After a while we restarted our van, we could only drive for < 65 miles/hour. Any acceleration resulted in vigorous shaking. After we came home I drove my van to an auto service center, and was checked. It turned out that 3 ignition coils, spark plugs, and manifold gasket had to be replaced. Yesterday (9/10/2015) the same problem happened again.

- Estero, FL, USA

problem #14

Jun 012015


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact stated that the gear shifter failed to shift out of reverse, causing the keys to be unable to eject from the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the vehicle had to be shifted into neutral in order to shut the engine off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the shift lever needed to be replaced. The mechanic adjusted the lever; however, the failure recurred multiple times. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 13V429000 (power train). The approximate failure mileage was 65,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Regal Park, NY, USA

problem #13

Mar 242014

Sienna 6-cyl

  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact stated there the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id 13V429000 (power train) however, the dealer refused to honor the recall for an unknown reason. The manufacturer was notified and would not authorize another dealer to service the vehicle under the recall. The contact had not experienced a failure. Updated 7/25/14 consumers handwriting is illegible. Updated 08/05/14

- Wailuku, HI, USA

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problem #12

Feb 262014

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
T-sb-0047-10 from safercar.gov "some vehicles equipped with 2gr-fe/fxe engine. The rubber portion of the oil supply hose for vvt-I actuator may degrade over time. This condition may cause oil to leak from the vvt-I oil hose producing abnormal engine noise and the oil pressure light to illuminate " this tsb affects Toyota vehicles going back to at least 2008-present. This is a major issue, and I feel this should be handled as a recall instead of a tsb due to the severity of the issue if/when the pipe breaks. I recently elected to have my vehicle repaired on my own just so I wouldn't have to worry about this issue happening to me or my wife, and thus blowing up my Sienna's engine causing thousands of dollars in damages. Seems pretty bad that a recall can be issued for floor mats and accelerator issues, but no recall is issued for this issue which can drain the oil from your engine in a minute, blow up your engine, and then possibly wreck your vehicle. Consumer's engines are now being destroyed, and this is showing up in different online forums. I feel that the NHTSA needs to force Toyota to replace all of the defective engine oil cooler pipes with the newer metal ones that the tsb addresses. They should also be forced to reimburse all costs to those individuals that either needed to have the repair done, or decided to preventatively have the repair done on their own before those pipes burst on their own. Toyota has told me that my vehicle was not affected by their limited service campaign csc-10033553-6074 but my car has seepage from the rubber portion of the hose that was diagnosed by grapevine Toyota dealership yesterday. Very sad situation that such a dangerous condition exists in so many Toyota vehicles with the V-6 (2gr-fe) engine. Please help!!!

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #11

Oct 162013


  • miles


TL- the contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact stated there was a recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number 13V429000 (power train); however, the contact was unable to have the vehicle serviced because the remedy part was not available to perform the repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The contact had not experienced a failure.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #10

Oct 312013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
I was dropping my kids of to school in the morning. I stop by at my friend's apt to pick her up with her baby. This is my daily routine. So on the day of the incident, I did the same thing, parked my van, got out, and went to the apartment' S exit door from where my friend was coming. My children were seated in the car and I was picking up the baby from my friend when both of us heard my eldest son aged 10, screaming that "the car is moving mama", and in panic he opened his door and tried to get off his seat belt and was trying to jump. I saw the van rolling back, I put the baby on the grass and rushed to help my kids in the moving van that was rolling backwards downhill. First I pushed my son in as his leg was caught in the seat belt and he couldn't jump forwards and then I moved around the back of the van, hit my knee on the bumper and my friend came from the front, she opened the door and I was able to put the handbrakes on. But in doing so after bumping hard on my right knee from the moving car, and when I applied the brakes, I sat on the ground and hit my knee again. The car stopped and I tried to calm myself because there were 4 kids inside when the van was rolling away and 3 of them were small, so they were crying. My friend calmed me and we set off. My knee was heavily bruised and aching. I came home and took painkillers and couldn't get any xrays done because I didn't have any medical insurance. To this day once or twice a week, I use painkillers for my knee which was perfect before. My kids were safe and nothing major happened which could have, but we all went through a very panicky and terrible experience which I hope never happens again. If the van wouldn't have stopped in time, my children could have been badly injured.

- Columbia Heights, MN, USA

problem #9

Jul 222013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 127,313 miles
While driving on inter-state I-10 West bound close to 183 marker, at 65 mph, the RPM shot to 7000 and car started to slow down. The car stopped with transmission failure. It was 2200 hours with my family of 4 kids and wife on board. To replace the transmission (used one 90000 miles) Toyota legacy charged me 3500$. its a lot of money. Additionally, you cannot trust Toyota brand for such poor workmanship where power train is prone to failures on 5 years old vehicles.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #8

Apr 282013

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 77,300 miles
On a rainy Sunday afternoon I was driving 65 mph on the interstate when the check engine, vsc and trac off lights came on. The vehicle was taken directly to the dealer the next morning (69 additional miles were driven). When tested the code indicated to inspect the vvt-1 system, including the actuator bolts and alignment. Upon inspection (requiring the engine to be partially disassembled) it was determined that the vvti gear was coming apart causing debris to spread throughout the camshaft gears and housing only for cam bank 1. this is an obvious material quality defect and Toyota's only statement is "we don't have a recall for this". my van is 90 days past the 5 year & 17,369 miles over the 60,000 warranty. (note: Other manufacturer's offer a 100,000 powertrain warranty). This van has only been serviced by this dealer. This single repair bill is $4,295 with no guarantee the other cam bank won't do the same thing, requiring another high service bill. After 3 days of waiting for Toyota to investigate, they only offered a goodwill contribution to the repairs of $2,400... but only after I submit paid receipts and then wait 10 weeks for them to reimburse me. They flat out refused to send the payment to the dealer. This is Toyota's premier family vehicle and if the engine has seized while driving could have killed my family or someone else. I have driven Toyota's for over 15 years and never heard of this kind of materials defect and then to be treated this poorly over a major safety issue that is a direct result of poor quality materials. I guess they would have been more interested if someone had died. I think everyone who owns a 2008 Sienna should be aware that this model has a vvti gear material quality defect that can be expensive to repair or cause the engine to seize while driving and kill someone. Who knows if other 08 models are also affected.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #7

Aug 192012


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact stated that the vehicle could erroneously be shifted into any gear without having the key in the ignition. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that they would return his call at a later date. The failure and the current mileage was 50,000.

- Milford , MA, USA

problem #6

Aug 122012

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
We have owned the Sienna for 4 years and 53,000 miles without incidence. We have had it serviced by the Toyota dealer and have had all scheduled maintenance. One afternoon, after driving the Sienna all day, we pulled it into our driveway (which is on a slight incline) and placed it into park. After doing this, instead of the brakes being applied, the Sienna rolled back as though it were in neutral. We brought the Sienna to the Toyota dealer who inspected it. They told us the pin that enables the brakes upon placing the Sienna in park was completely shot and the entire transmission would need to be replaced. The service manager said he has never seen something like this before and that these pins don't wear out over time. The service manager also told us that you would only see damage to the pin if you were driving the car and then suddenly put it into park while moving at a high speed. The service manager contacted the offices of Toyota corporate and had the case reviewed. It was determined by Toyota corporate to be related to the warranty and they are replacing the entire transmission.

- Chelmsford, MA, USA

problem #5

May 292012

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
The car was driven normally in gear "D" at 35 mph but slipped out of gear for no reason. I stopped, put in park, turn off the engine, waited a few minutes and restarted the car. It would then only work in gear "3" but I had to floor the gas pedal. After stopping multiple times, I was able to reach home. My 2008 Sienna can now be driven forward in reverse gear.

- Renton, WA, USA

problem #4

Mar 222012


  • 55,900 miles
The contact owns 2008 Toyota Sienna. The contact stated without the keys in the ignition and the emergency brake not engaged her child release the gear shift from park and the vehicle rolled into the mailbox. No one was injured. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated they cannot duplicate the problem and there was nothing to repair or replace. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 55,900.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #3

Nov 242011

Sienna 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Transmission went out; needs complete replacement. 2008 vehicle with only 78,000 miles should not have this problem.

- Ridgeway, WI, USA

problem #2

Jul 222010


  • 1,000 miles
2008 Toyota Sienna hesitation after slow speed turn/stop. After slowing down for a speed bump or for a turn, there is a lag in throttle response after pressing on the gas pedal. When stepping back on the gas pedal, the engine revs but the transmission engagement is delayed. This vehicle consistently behaves in this manner under the above conditions. The dealer stated this is normal operation for drive by wire systems. It does not seem normal to me.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #1

Jun 112010


  • 20,000 miles
2008 Toyota Sienna AWD leaking gear oil onto exhaust system from AWD transfer case. Oil is burning.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

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